How to Teach English in Chile


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Chile is one of the most beautiful destinations in the world for ESL teachers. This enamoring country in the heart of South America has a lot to offer those looking for a new challenge in an incredible location. If you’re looking for a place where you can leave class and be hiking with breathtaking views within the hour, it could be the ideal destination for you. 

In this article, we’ll be exploring the details of how you can teach English in Chile including salary, job requirements, lifestyle, and visa specifications.

Let’s get started!

About Teaching English in Chile

Teaching English in Chile can be a rewarding experience for both keen travelers and professional teachers alike. There’s an abundance of job opportunities to choose from and the jobs themselves tend to be relatively easy and flexible. Teachers in Chile often work less than 40 hours a week, and the low cost of living in the country allows them to live a comfortable lifestyle on a typical teacher’s monthly salary. 

If you’re new to teaching, working in Chile can be a great way to gain teaching experience while you enjoy a destination that is rich in culture and history.

What are the requirements to teach in Chile?

Compared to some popular TEFL destinations, job requirements in Chile are quite lenient, making it a great destination for people who have little to no teaching experience. However, there are also visa requirements to think about.

As a general rule of thumb, most jobs in Chile will require teachers to:

  • Hold a BA/BS Degree
  • Be a native English speaker from the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa
  • Have a TEFL qualification or experience teaching

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Although it may be possible to get a job in Chile without the above qualifications, teachers are required to have a BA/BS Degree and a police background check in order to qualify for a valid working visa. 

What does teaching in Chile pay?

On average, a teacher in Chile can expect to earn between $750 and $1000 a month. This wage is based on a 20-25 hour workweek, which is the average for most teaching jobs in the country. Teachers who are more qualified and have a lot of experience or teaching qualifications from their home state can secure higher-paying jobs at international schools, but competition for these positions is generally tough.

In comparison to teaching jobs in Asia and the Middle East, the salary for teachers in Chile may seem quite low. However, the cost of living in Chile allows teachers to live in large cities like Santiago comfortably even on low wages. On average, most teachers spend between $600 and $1000 per month on living expenses. 

What is the visa process for teaching in Chile?

Teachers looking to get a job in Chile have two options when it comes to working visas: you can either apply for a working visa before leaving your home country, or you can travel on a tourist visa and change to a working visa once you’ve settled in and found a job. 

Most teachers travel to Chile before finding a job as a lot of schools prefer to interview candidates in person, rather than on the phone or over Skype. Luckily, most countries have a 3-month tourist visa treaty with Chile, which is more than enough time to find a job and apply for your working visa. 

Below is a step-by-step guide of how to apply for a working visa once you’re in Chile:

Step One: Gather your Documents

You’ll need a few different documents in order to be accepted for a work visa:

  • A degree certificate
  • A police background check from your home country
  • A valid passport
  • A notarized copy of your employment contract
  • A notarized letter from your employer which justifies the reason for hiring you
  • A visa application form

Step Two: Visit the Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

Once all of your documents are in order, you’ll need to visit the Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The government office is located in Santiago.

Step Three: Pay the Processing Fee

You may be required to pay a fee for the processing of your application. The fee amount varies depending on your nationality as they charge you the same amount that a Chilean would be charged for a working visa in your respective country. Usually, visa fees are not covered by employers, so it’s a good idea to set aside money for this before you travel 

Once your visa application is submitted, it can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to be accepted or declined. However, after 4-8 weeks, you should get a letter confirming your application, which will allow you to stay and work in Chile until a decision about your visa status is confirmed.

What is teaching in Chile like?

Teaching in Chile can be a unique and exciting experience, but your lifestyle can vary a lot depending on the type of job you choose. There are four main types of jobs: 

  • public school 
  • private school 
  • international language school 
  • private tutoring 

Let’s take a look at each of them.

Public School Jobs

The most common teaching job in Chile is in the public school system. Teachers in public schools are expected to work between 20 and 30 hours per week, usually between 8 AM and 3 PM every day. One of the main bonuses of teaching in public schools in Chile is that you get to enjoy a lot of paid school holidays.

The pay in public schools isn’t that high at around $10 per hour, but this should be plenty for teachers to live comfortably and enjoy their free time. 

Private School Jobs

Private school jobs pay more than public school jobs but they’re also typically a lot harder to find. Vacancies in private schools are few and far between and are usually taken by qualified teachers with a lot of experience.

The school schedule in private schools follows regular school hours and teachers will be expected to teach between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM, but the exact times will depend upon the school. Private schools may get fewer holidays than public school as these schools often run summer camps. 

International Language School Jobs 

International language schools are aimed at anyone wishing to learn English. Therefore, you won’t necessarily teach children and your working hours can vary greatly depending on your school. A lot of international language schools are open late into the evening to provide for students that want to take supplementary lessons after school or work so teachers may find the hours challenging if they are hoping to socialize regularly. 

However, there are also lots of benefits to working in international schools. For example, they may offer some extra flexibility when it comes to your schedule and you can usually choose your own vacation time providing you arrange a substitute teacher in advance.

Private Tutoring Jobs

Private tutoring is also an option for teachers in Chile. Many teachers choose to do private tutoring on the side to supplement their regular income and the pay for these gigs can range from $15-$30 per hour. However, it’s not really possible to work as a private tutor in Chile full-time as you will need a school or institution to sponsor your work visa.

Job Benefits When Teaching in Chile

It’s very unlikely that a teaching job in Chile will come with an attractive benefits package. Teachers will be expected to find and pay for their own accommodation and while some schools may help teachers pay for their visa expenses, it should not be expected.  

Regarding insurance, teachers can make contributions to the public healthcare system, but many people recommend taking out a supplementary private healthcare policy.

Resources & FAQs

Can you teach in Chile without a degree?

Strictly speaking, no. Although it may be possible to secure a job without a degree, it will be impossible to get a working visa. 

Do you have to be a native English speaker to teach in Chile?

No. Being a native speaker of English is not a requirement for securing a working visa but native English speakers are highly preferred and a lot of schools will not hire non-natives

Do you need a TEFL?

No, but teachers with a TEFL or experience working in the ESL industry are preferred.

Resources for teaching in Chile

  • VisaGuideWorld – More helpful information about the visa process in Chile
  • Teaching Chile – A great website for planning and working out the cost of living for teachers in Chile


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