Teaching English in Chile

By | January 21, 2014

The Republic of Chile lies on the western coast of South America and stretches over 2,700 miles from the centre of South America right down to the very southernmost part of the continent. Chile shares its borders with 3 countries: Argentina, Bolivia and Peru.

The north of the country contains the great northern desert and the south is mostly forest, volcanoes, lakes and islands. Most of the population resides in the relatively small Central Valley, which includes Santiago and is the heart of the country’s agricultural resources.

The climate is spectacularly diverse as the world’s longest country stretches such a huge distance. In Chile there is the world’s driest desert, the Atacama, and in the south huge ice glaciers can be found.

Where most people decide to live and work is in central Chile and the climate has more a Mediterranean feeling to it. It is claimed that Chile includes at least seven major climate subtypes.

For more information about Chile see Wikipedia.

Why Teach English in Chile

Coihaique, Chile

Coihaique, Chile. Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

The government of Chile recognises that it is important for children and young people to be educated in the use of English. To this end with projects such as the English Open Doors program, the learning of English has been made mandatory for all students in fifth grade and above.

Moreover, as the country’s business and tourism industry continues to grow, there is a real need for Chilean people to be able to speak English and because of this, there are a growing number of private language schools in the country.

Therefore, there is a growing demand for native English speaking teachers in Chile and qualified and experience teachers will have no problem finding relatively well-paid teaching jobs in the country.

Where to Teach English in Chile

Of course with a population of nearly 6 million people many English teachers will tend to look for and find positions in the Santiago Metropolis area.

However with many teachers combining their teaching skills with the desire to travel, opportunities do exist all around the large country.

Types of Teaching Jobs in Chile

English Opens Doors Program



The English Opens Doors Program (EOD) is a government sponsored initiative designed to improve English in Chile. Native English speakers are wanted to volunteer to work in schools all over the country and you will usually be placed with a local family and given a small amount of money to cover your expenses each month.

You can read more about the EOD program on Wikipedia or the official EOD website here.

Private Language Schools

Most paid opportunities will come from Private language schools and they all look to employ native English speakers. Most of these schools are found around the capital city, Santiago, but more and more are opening around the other bigger cities in Chile.

Private language schools have classes both in classrooms in the school and off-site where you will be sent to various businesses to teach.

You will mostly be teaching older student that include business people, tourism workers and university students.

Private Classes

Some teachers also end up taking private lessons. After you have been in Chile for a while and made a few contacts you will probably have students coming to your asking for private lessons. You can make more money taking private classes than working in school but often this type of teaching is unreliable. Students often cancel at the last minute and you are left without being paid!

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Teaching Requirements and Qualifications

Flying Free

Flying Free

It is possible to teach English in Chile without a degree, a teaching certificate nor any previous experience. There is no legal requirement that you have any of these things for working in the country.

However, a teaching certificate such as a CELTA, TEFL or TESOL will always help you to find a higher paying position than those that don’t have one.

Usually, the higher paying schools will require that their teachers have at least a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate. The schools that don’t require these things will usually pay the least.

Expected Salary and Living Costs

[sociallocker id=”1380″]The average hourly rate for most teachers is between $10 and $20 per hour. You will find that some schools will even pay you a monthly salary rather than an hourly wage.

It’s not easy to estimate what your monthly salary will be because it depends on a number of factors which include how many hours your work and how much your hourly rate is. But you could expect to earn anywhere between $800 and $1500 per month.

Teachers with the most experience and qualifications can expect to earn towards the higher end of this pay scale and accordingly, teachers with the least experience and qualifications can expect to earn towards the lower end of this pay scale.

The cost of living in Chile is far less than in all the western European nations and the United States and a teacher could live quite comfortably on a salary $800 to $1000 per month. For more information about individual prices in Chile, take a look at Numbeo’s website.

It is possible to have a fairly comfortable lifestyle and even save money each month. Most teachers will even take a few private classes and they will be able to save even more money.[/sociallocker]

Visa Requirements

Las MC en Alameda?

Las MC en Alameda?

A number of teachers in Chile work illegally and schools pay them ‘under the table’. This isn’t recommended because you will have no job security and you will be breaking the law. Moreover, if you are working on a tourist visa you will need to leave the country every 90 days and this can turn out to be quite a chore, especially during the winter time when the border is sometimes closed due to snow.

If you want to work legally in Chile you will need a residency permit and your school will need to help you with this process. Usually the school will not pay for your permit, but they will need to provide you with some documents so that you can apply for this yourself.

For more information about getting a residency permit, take a look at the official Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores website.

How to Find a Job Teaching in Chile

The Streets of Santiago, People seem Strange when you´re a Stranger

The Streets of Santiago

You won’t often find that schools advertise for vacant positions online or in newspapers, so you won’t usually find a job before you arrive in Chile. Moreover, nearly all schools will require that you complete a face-to-face interview in person before offering you a position. The exception to this rule is the English Open Doors Program.

Get a list of schools and contact them directly. First try calling and emailing the schools as this doesn’t take much time. After this, you can just go around all the schools in your area and leave your CV.

You should always try to speak to the person who is responsible for hiring teachers because your CV might not ever reach them. If you are forced to leave your CV with reception staff, at least try to get the name and number of the person responsible for hiring teachers and follow up your visit with a phone call.

Teach English in Chile

With a growing demand for native speaking English teachers, a relatively good salary, low cost of living and the ability to save money each month, Chile is an attractive option for TEFL teachers.

There are many opportunities and most people will find it quite easy to secure a job because the job market isn’t that competitive.


Although I have never worked in this country, every effort has been made to ensure that this information is correct. This blog post has been written after extensive research online, interviews with teachers who have worked or are working in the country, and local schools have been contacted. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. If you have worked or are working in Chile, we would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and share your experiences with us.

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