A Guide to Teaching English in South America

Teach English in South America

South America is an incredible place to visit if you are thinking about going to teach English abroad

Schools in South America are very different to what you might have seen before, sometimes conditions can be basic and teachers lack resources which is where you can play a role by helping. Sometimes you might be working with classes which have around 30 students which will be a challenge but also a lot of fun. Local teachers will be very welcoming and also the students will apreciate your help.

The official language in the majority of countries in South America is Spanish; one exception is Brazil where the official language is Portuguese. You might want to try to learn some Spanish phrases which might make the communication easier, no previous language skills or teaching experience is required though.




Why the Need for TEFL Teachers

Tourism is one of the main reasons for the high demand for English teachers in South America. The growing number of international visitors is helping local people gain employment in hotels and travel companies but knowing English is key to local people progressing their careers.


Best Country to Teach English in South America

Choosing a country to teach can be difficult, all the countries in this continent are diffierent and special in their own way. You really need to decide what type of experience you are looking for, and take into account your savings and the cost of living of the destination.


How to Find Teaching Jobs in South America

You can search teaching jobs in South America on our website or search out opportunities locally. There are public schools, private language schools and universities in South America which hire international teachers throughout the year. One of the best ways to get employment is to take a TEFL course in South America as most schools have excellent links with recruiters.


Working Week & What to Expect

Most days you will work in the morning and afternoons helping with lessons from Monday to Friday. You might be helping children aged from 6 to 18 and helping them with their English or assisting with normal lessons like science, music, art, music and dance. You could be preparing lessons and activities, any ideas or creative games you have will be welcomed and integrated into class rooms.


TEFL Courses in South America

TEFL Courses South America

South America boasts natural wonders, exquisite sunny beaches, dense rainforests, cities and above all a significant variety of people and cultures. Search the best TEFL courses throughout South America and get qualified to teach English. 

You can join a classroom TEFL course in South America or take an online course and study at your own pace from anywhere in the continent. There are TEFL, TESOL and CELTA courses in most countries which are great value. South America is one of the most exotic and popular places to study for a TEFL qualification in the world so what are you waiting for, book a course today


Top Reasons to Take a TEFL Course in South America

  • This continent is incredible with world famous sights, cities and beaches
  • There are so many different destinations and places you can study
  • Improve your local language skills you could also study Spanish in South America or learn Portuguese in Brazil
  • Meet other students from all over the world
  • Get links with employers locally rather than applying for employmeny online after completion


Best Places to Take a TEFL Course in South America

This really comes down to personal preference, all destinations are different and there are options in large cities and more rural locations.


Cost & Start Dates

Course prices vary depending on local and the type of course. You can usually expect to pay around £1000 (US$1500) for a full TEFL certification course. You can book a course through our website and join anytime throughout the year. You will need to book in advance to secure a space. Most courses last 4 weeks.

What you get:

  • Accredited and internationally recognised TEFL course
  • Recognised by schools worldwide
  • Exclusive lifetime access to TEFL Job Database
  • All course materials included
  • Free coursebook with every classroom TEFL course
  • Highly qualified and experienced TEFL tutors

Top Tips for Teaching in South America


  • Learn Spanish in South America, even basic words and phrases (or learn Portuguese in Brazil)
  • Know the best times and places to find employment
  • Research work permits in advance before departing
  • Work out how much you will get paid to what the cost of living is
  • Learn about local culture and etiquette
  • Consider un-paid positions to gain experience in the short term
  • Some employers don't require a degree but it is beneficial to have one



Wages can vary depending on your employer and location. If you are just interested in making the most money when teaching in South America you will need to base yourself in a large city and also have a degree and a TEFL certification. Some language schools pay higher than others and you will need to check our individual country guides for more information on wages in speciifc destinations. If you are keen to volunteer in South America as a teacher this is usually unpaid.


How to Apply

If you would like to teach in South America and have any questions or need any help arranging a job please get in touch. You can search positions on our directory.


South America TEFL Reviews & Testimonials

If you have ever taught in South America and would like to share your experience, review a company/agency or give any recommendations to future teachers please contact us,

'I am teaching in 2 schools, one is a primary school and the other secondary. I absolutely love my classes with the little ones; whenever they see me they shout ´tia!´ or 'aunty!' They are so energetic and constantly tire me out, but they are a joy to work with.' - Ceri Broussine, arranged a teaching job through Oyster Worldwide

"Teaching with Tinkuy was a big learning experience for us! We discovered a joy of teaching, and the eleven children in the first Andean School class discovered a joy of learning about other languages and cultures. A few days after I arrived, Tino took myself and another volunteer for a bike ride into the Andes. We visited Cochas where we bought hand engraved Peruvian items and then biked through local villages, such as San Jeronimo, where we went to a silversmith workshop and then ate lunch. The bike ride was absolutely beautiful. It was so interesting to experience the local villages and people. We watched the sun set over the Andes before returning home. An unforgettable exchange!" - Sara Sandwith and Daniella Rubeling

"Take a gap year to South America and you will experience the most awesome people and country. You will never forget it. The Mountain School I worked at become my second home. The children will steal your heart and open up feelings far deeper than you ever thought was possible. The love and affection given by these children is far greater than you would ever expect. Their ruddy cheeks and tossled hair will emblaze a spot for evermore on your heart. The rugged, macho acting little boys are just as starved for your hugs and kisses. What I have been able to give in books, supplies and myself is never going to equal what I have received. This country is so full of loving, caring people. My month here has been the most wonderful experience of my life." - Elaine Binkley