Teaching ESL in Brazil
35,119 Certified Grads since 1992

Teaching ESL in Brazil

Teaching English in Brazil’s exotic culture and beautiful landscape is a great way to gain valuable teaching and life experience.

Living and Teaching in Brazil
Brazil: At a Glance
Brazil: Living in Brazil
Brazil: Teaching ESL in Brazil
Brazil: Financial Snapshot

Peak ESL Hiring Season in Brazil
How to Find Jobs Teaching English in Brazil
Largest Chain Schools in Brazil
Tips for ESL Teachers in Brazil
Teaching Requirements for ESL Teachers in Brazil
Embassy and Consulate Information for Brazil



Peak ESL Hiring Season in Brazil

The Brazilian school year begins in February and goes until December, with a semester break in July. While hiring takes place prior to the start of both the February and July semesters, ESL teachers can begin teaching at any time throughout the year. Teaching positions are available through public and private schools, language schools, universities and colleges, and through private tutoring.

Public and Private School System

Public and private schools in Brazil are somewhat similar to North America's conventional primary and secondary schools and run on a two-semester system. The school year begins in February and lasts until December, with a vacation in July to break up the two semesters. The summer vacation, generally lasting from mid-December to February, gives a welcome break during the hot summer season.

Education is compulsory for children between the ages of 7 and 14 and is free in the public school system. There are many Catholic-run private schools in Brazil.

Private Language Schools

Private language schools provide supplementary education for students who require additional tutoring. Classes are offered during after-school hours and at other convenient times. As private language schools do not follow the semester system of conventional schools, teachers are hired year round.

Teaching Business English is in demand in Brazil as in other parts of Latin America. Taking Oxford Seminars' Teaching Business English Specialization Module would be advantageous for teaching English there.

Universities and Colleges

In recent years the government has focused its attention on improving higher education in Brazil. As a result, public universities and colleges are fully funded by federal and state governments. Public institutions are reputed to offer higher quality education because of the funding; however, private institutions have been narrowing the gap with improved quality. Competition to get into public universities is very stiff. The academic year generally runs from early March to mid-July and then early August to mid-December.

Private Tutoring

Private tutoring is quite common in Brazil, as the ESL teacher can be flexible with teaching hours and can earn substantially above normally low teaching wages. ESL teachers charge between BRL$60 - 200/hour.

Many businesses hire in-house private English language instructors to teach their employees. Classes are normally scheduled before and after business hours and during the lunch break so as to keep from interfering with job-related duties. Networking through relationships in a business setting is a great way to grow one's private tutoring clientele.

How to Find Jobs Teaching English in Brazil

There are many resources available to ESL teachers searching for teaching positions abroad, including:

Graduates of Oxford Seminars receive our Job Placement Service with exclusive access to established schools and recruiters around the world.

Largest Chain Schools in Brazil

  • Berlitz Idioma
    With more than 470 centres in over 70 countries, Berlitz is a well-established English language training company. Berlitz offers one-on-one tutoring as well as small and large group instruction.
  • Cultura Inglesa
    This well-established English language school has centres all throughout Brazil.
  • CCAA
    Boasting over 200,000 students registered in their centres, CCAA offers English and Spanish classes throughout Brazil.
  • Wizard
    With over 1,000 branches all over Brazil, Wizard by Pearson might be the largest language school in the country. Wizard offers courses in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese.

Jobs Teaching English in the Summer in Brazil

ESL teachers seeking summer teaching positions in Brazil will find that the North American summer does not coincide with the summer months in Brazil, December through February. As such, securing a teaching position during North American summer would be to arrive in the middle of the school year in Brazil. The most likely way to find teaching positions during these months would be to contact volunteer agencies for short-term positions. Private tutoring is also an option during the summer months.

Additional ESL Resources to Help Teach English in Brazil

There is an abundance of ESL resources on the Internet for teachers to help teach English as a Second Language. Examples are listed below.

Tips for ESL Teachers in Brazil

  • Learn some basic Portuguese phrases before you go to Brazil and plan to continue learning the language once there.
  • Ensure you always carry identification as this is enforced by law. A photocopy of the relevant pages of one’s passport is usually sufficient.
  • In light of the laid-back, time-flexible way of life in Brazil, one should be prepared for slow line ups in stores, supermarkets, etc. Having a pocket phrase-book handy to study the language while waiting may help to alleviate the anxiety caused by waiting.
  • Adopt an adventurous attitude and experience the cuisine, culture, and sites of Brazil.
  • Consider getting an international driver’s license in your home country.
  • While the “thumbs up” gesture is quite common to indicate an affirmative response, the gesture made by creating an ‘o’ shape with the thumb and index finger is considered obscene.
  • Women should not go to local bars or clubs unaccompanied.
  • Petty thieves can take advantage of foreigners coming into their laid-back culture.  Teachers should take care to watch their wallets and cell phones, especially in light of the close proximity of interaction.
  • Use only bottled water from reputable companies for consumption. Boil filtered water if unsure. Milk in rural areas is not usually pasteurized and should be boiled before consumption.
  • Ensure meat is well-cooked. Vegetables should also be cooked well and fruit should be peeled.
  • Shoes, while not always high in quality, are abundant in Brazil. Half, narrow and wide sizes however, can be difficult to find.
  • Some brand-name toiletries and medicines can be found in Brazil, though usually at higher prices than one would pay in North America. It may be helpful to take a year’s supply of favourite cosmetics, or essential items with you to Brazil.
  • Tipping is common in Brazil, and much appreciated due to low wages and high unemployment. Rounding up to the nearest Real for taxi drivers and giving $BRL1 for each normal-sized bag for baggage carriers is standard. Sit-down restaurants generally add an automatic 10% to the bill.
  • The voltage in Brazil is not standardized. Some regions use 120V and other areas use 220 or 240V. The purchase of a transformer may be necessary for appliances that are not dual-voltage.
  • While possession of drugs may only warrant a “slap on the wrist” and community service for local Brazilians, it may mean deportation or incarceration for foreigners. If caught going into or out of Brazil with drugs, it would be an automatic jail sentence.

Teaching Requirements for ESL Teachers in Brazil

The requirements and guidelines below are listed for ESL teacher applicants to Brazil who are citizens of: Canada, United States, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa.

Minimum Requirements to Apply for Teaching Positions in Brazil:

  • TESOL/TESL certificate
  • Native English speaker

Types of Applicable Visas:

  • Tourist Visa: The government of Brazil has implemented a visa-free regime from June 17, 2019. Travelers can enter Brazil for a stay of up to 90 days, which can be extended for an additional 90 days. Please keep in mind that even if staying less than 90 days, you must; 1)stay less than 180 days within a 12-month period, 2) hold a passport valid at least 6 months on entry with at least 1 blank visa page, 3) hold proof of sufficient funds and hold proof of onward/return airline tickets, 4) hold all documents required for the next destination, 5) confirm with the airline that boarding will be permitted without a visa, as these conditions are subject to change. It is illegal to work in Brazil if entering as a tourist; however, entering on a tourist visa in order to apply for teaching positions is permissible.
  • Volunteer Visa (Temporary Type 1): designed for those who wish to volunteer in Brazil.
  • Temporary Work Visa: designed for those working with a legitimate company in Brazil. Sponsorship by an employer is required for this type of visa.
  • Student/Trainee Visa: designed for students at any level and trainees. Some ESL schools in Brazil utilize this visa for ESL teachers, as work visas can be difficult to obtain. For a more complete description of the requirements and conditions for this type of visa, please see more details on the website of the Embassy of Brazil in Canada.
  • Spousal Visa: designed for those married to a Brazilian citizen and living in Brazil. A proper work visa is still required in order to teach English.

Important Visa Information:

  • As work visas are difficult to obtain, many schools are unwilling to sponsor one. Schools will most likely hire teachers on a tourist visa, though it may be possible to find some that will sponsor the work visa. 
  • Schools may be more willing to do so if the teacher offers to pay the expenses involved.
  • Citizens from the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand are exempt from requiring a visa to enter Brazil.
    In addition to obtaining a visa, entry/exit permits are required.
  • Leaving the country without a re-entry permit essentially cancels one's visa.
  • Visas must be used within six months of receiving it. (This should be confirmed with local embassy/consulate)
  • One must apply for a visa at a Brazilian Embassy or Consulate in one's own country of citizenship.
  • One should apply for a visa in person.

Standard Process for Obtaining Documentation to Work Legally in Brazil:

  • The applicant secures a contract with a legitimate school.
  • The school applies for a work permit with the Ministry of Labor in Brazil on behalf of the applicant.
  • The ESL teacher applies for the visa in one's home country once the permit is approved.

Standard Required Documents for Visas:
(Important to check with embassy/consulate as variations in requirements sometimes occur)

  • A valid passport with at least six months remaining at time of application. Passport should have at least two blank pages. (This should be confirmed with local embassy/consulate).
  • Completed visa application.
  • Passport photos (Specifications should be confirmed with local embassy/consulate).
  • Work Visa: Employment contract with letter of invitation.

Embassy Information for Brazil

Canadian Embassy Offices in Brazil

Embassy of Canada, Brasilia
SES - Av. das Nações, Quadra 803, Lote 16
CEP 70410-900 Brasília - DF, Brazil
Phone: +55 (61) 3424-5400
Fax: +55 (61) 3424-5490
Website: http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/brazil-bresil/index.aspx?lang=eng
Hours of Operation: By Appointment Only 

American Embassy Offices in Brazil

Embassy of the United States, Brasilia
SES - Av. das Nações, Quadra 801, Lote 03
CEP 70403-900  Brasília - DF, Brazil
Phone: +55 (61) 3312-7000
Fax: +55 (61) 3225-9136
Email: BrasiliaACS@state.gov
Website: https://br.usembassy.gov/

Australian Embassy Offices in Brazil

Embassy of Australia, Brasilia
SES Quadra 801
Conjunto K, Lote 7
CEP 70200-010 - Brasilia, DF, Brazil
Phone: +55 (61) 3226 3111
Fax: +55 (61) 3226 1112 (chancery)
Email: embaustr@dfat.gov.au
Website: http://www.brazil.embassy.gov.au/bras/home.html

British Embassy Offices in Brazil

Embassy of UK, Brasilia
Quadra 801 - Conjunto K - Lote 08
Av. das Nações - Asa Sul 
CEP 70408-900 Brasilia - DF, Brazil
Phone: +55 (61) 3329-2300
Fax: +55 (61) 3329-2369
Email: press.brasilia@fcdo.gov.uk
Website: http://www.ukinbrazil.fco.gov.uk
Hours of Operation: By Appointment Only

Irish Embassy Offices in Brazil

Embassy of Ireland in Brazil
SHIS QL Conjunto 05, Casa 09, Lago Sul
Brasilia - DF, Brazil CEP 71630-255
Phone: +55 (61) 3248-8800
Fax: +55 (61) 3248-8816
Email: https://www.dfa.ie/irish-embassy/brazil/contact-us/
Website: http://www.embassyofireland.org.br/
Hours of Operation: By Appointment Only, Monday – Friday: 10:00a.m.-13:00p.m.

New Zealand's Embassy Offices in Brazil

Embassy of New Zealand in Brazil
SHIS QI 09 conj. 16 casa 01
71625-160, Brasília - DF Brazil
Phone: +55 (61) 3248-9900
Fax: +55 (61) 3248-9916
Email: emb.novazelandia@gmail.com
Website: https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/countries-and-regions/americas/brazil/new-zealand-embassy-to-brazil/
Hours of Operation: By Appointment Only

Embassy Offices Outside Brazil

Embassy of Brazil in Canada

Embassy of Brazil in Ottawa
450 Wilbrod Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6M8
Phone: +1 (613) 237-1090/ 1 (613) 755-5160
Fax: +1 (613) 237-6144
Email: brasemb.ottawa@itamaraty.gov.br
Website: http://ottawa.itamaraty.gov.br/en-us/
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 09:15a.m.-12:00p.m.

Embassy of Brazil in the United States

Embassy of Brazil in Washington, DC
3006 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington D.C 20008
Phone: +1 (202) 238-2700
Fax: +1 (202) 238-2827
Website: http://washington.itamaraty.gov.br/en-us/

Other Latin America Countries:

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