South America is an increasingly popular choice for people wanting to teach English abroad. It’s got breath-taking scenery, diverse culture, welcoming communities and delicious cuisine – so what’s not to like?!
To be an English teacher in South America, you’ll need to be a fluent or native English speaker and you’ll need a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification. To get a TEFL qualification, you’ll need to take an accredited / regulated TEFL course (such as i-to-i’s!). Your TEFL course will prepare you for numerous different types of roles as well as providing lesson planning instruction, classroom management and teaching the basic principles.
Once you’ve successfully completed your TEFL course, you can start applying for English teaching positions online and get started on your dream job – hooray!
There are numerous TEFL course providers whom you can choose from when looking to teach English in South America. However, you’ll need to make sure that whichever one you choose is accredited / regulated, at least 120 hours of training and that you have access to tutor support.
There are multiple different types of TEFL course that you can choose from, including:
– Online TEFL Courses: these are 100% online with no classroom component, you can study whenever and wherever you are in the world (with an internet connection) and for some online courses, you can study from any device.
– Classroom TEFL Courses: these are solely based in the classroom with no online component, the study times and dates will be determined by the course provider and you’ll get face-to-face interaction with a tutor.
– Combined TEFL Courses: these are a blend of online and classroom training, the majority will be online, usually combined with a weekend of classroom training to learn and practice your teaching skills.
– Specialist TEFL Courses: these are shorter online courses based on specific aspects / types of teaching, you will normally need to do a further online / combined course alongside a specialist course to make 120 hours and they can help boost your employment potential.
– CELTA: this is a higher level qualification which normally takes place in a classroom, full-time over a period of around 6 weeks. A CELTA qualification costs approximately £1200-£1500 and is best for those who are looking for a long career in TEFL.
Each of them has their own benefits and whichever one you choose should be based on the type of role you are looking for. For example, if you want to teach English to help fund your travels around South America, an online or combined TEFL course will be the more suitable.
Good news! Apart from a TEFL qualification, you don’t need any other qualifications to teach English in South America. For some countries outside of South America, a Bachelor’s Degree is required to get a working visa but (currently) this isn’t the case anywhere in South America.
And in case you were wondering, you don’t need any previous teaching experience either. Because you’ll probably be teaching conversational English most of the time, it’s enough that you can speak English fluently and your TEFL training is there to prepare you for the physical teaching aspect.
More good news, you also won’t be expected to know another language to teach English in South America as your students should know a small amount of English and they’ll be expected to speak English at all times in your classroom. However, feel free to brush up on the basics before you go if you want to create a good impression for your fellow teachers!
Where can I teach English without a degree? >>
Once you’ve got your shiny new TEFL certificate, you can start applying for jobs straight away. Remember, you’ll need funds to cover you for flights, travel insurance and spending before you start to get paid from your new TEFL job. The best place to look for teaching English in South America jobs is online on TEFL jobs boards.
Here are a few reputable job sites for you to browse and apply for work:
You can register as a job seeker for free and then apply to any jobs that you think are suitable. TEFL jobs boards change daily so it’s worth checking consistently if there’s a specific type of role you are looking for.
When you start applying, don’t be alarmed if the organisation you apply to asks to see a copy of your passport and / or any other documents. This is mainly so that they can verify your identity and make sure that you’re eligible for a working visa. Just make sure you do your research on any organisation you apply to: check social media, review sites, TEFL teacher forums, etc. to get a good picture of who they are and what they do – it’s a big decision to make!
The process is normally straightforward; you’ll submit your application online along with your CV / resume and if they like the look of your application, you’ll probably be asked to do a Skype interview and after that you’ll find out whether or not you’ve been successful. Good luck!
There is money to be made in teaching English abroad but South America is less about the money and more about the experience. If you’re looking to save bucket-loads of cash, you might be better looking for work in Japan, South Korea and the UAE (all require a Bachelor’s Degree).
Please follow the below links for average salaries and a little bit about teaching English in each country:
If you’d like to learn more about teaching English in South America, check out our travel blog. It’s full of daily posts about travelling, TEFLing and adventures from around the globe!