Chile is an exciting place to teach English abroad, ticking the boxes of many bests. Not only is it considered one of the best places to teach in South America, but it's also one of the best places to teach abroad in general!
And although English teacher salaries are usually only enough to cover the cost of living, Chile is a destination that continually wins the hearts of ESL teachers. Why? Because Chile offers the opportunity to perfect your Spanish and gain valuable professional experience, with the diverse beauty of South America right at your fingertips.
This ultimate guide shares all you need to know to start teaching English in Chile!
Snapshot of Teaching English in Chile
Avg. Salary: $500-$1,000/month
Teaching Hours: 15-22 hours
Duration of contract: 10-12 months
Peak hiring season: March/April and July/August
School term: March to December
Visa requirements: Subject to contract work visa or temporary residence permit
Why teach English in Chile?
Chile is an incredible travel destination that includes the likes of the Andes Mountains, the arid sands of the Atacama Desert, and the mythical stone heads of Easter Island. But if scenic beauty isn’t enough to entice you, that’s not the only benefit of teaching English in Chile.
Chile also offers the unique opportunity to gain an intimate glimpse of South American culture while earning an income teaching abroad. And while English may be in high demand in Chile’s largest cities, most locals speak only Spanish, making Chile an excellent teach abroad destination for learning a new language (another best!)
Not to mention, Chile is considered one of the safest and most developed countries in South America, which means you can enjoy a comfortable quality of life.
Read More: Is Teaching Abroad Alone Safe for Women?
What are the requirements to teach English in Chile?
To teach English in Chile, aspiring ESL teachers will need to meet these job requirements:
- Be a native-English speaker or near-native for some positions
- Have a bachelor’s degree in any field
- Hold proof of a clean criminal background
- A reputable TEFL certification
Most teaching positions in Chile require applicants to have a reputable TEFL or CELTA certificate. Additionally, teachers aren't required to show proof of Spanish language skills, but it's highly recommended for day-to-day life.
How much can you earn teaching in Chile?
English teachers in Chile, on average, make $500-$1,000 per month. There are many opportunities to earn additional income as a private tutor or online English teacher, and doing so can earn you between $10-$15+ per hour.
A teacher's earning potential can vary drastically and depends on the teaching position and professional credentials.
Cost of Living in Chile
Life in Chile is a bit more expensive than other South American countries, and English teachers in Chile generally earn just enough to cover the cost of living. It's not uncommon for an expat's monthly cost of living in Santiago to be as much as $500-$700+ per month.
Teachers in Chile are responsible for finding their own housing. However, many foreign teachers find rooms in shared apartments with other teachers or locals to cut costs each month. Additionally, Chile's English Open Doors program places volunteers with a host family to offset the cost of living.
Otherwise, renting a one-bedroom apartment outside of Santiago's city center can be as much as 270,000 CLP per month ($300-$500).
Types of Teaching Jobs in Chile
ESL teachers can find jobs in public schools, private language centers, and even international schools in Chile.
1. Private Language Academies
Many opt to find an ESL job in Chile at a private language academy. These academies pay higher salaries than the public school program and are concentrated in the city centers. Teachers work most often with business professionals and are expected to travel to their students versus teaching at a designated center.
Teachers at a private language academy typically earn $500-$800 per month and sometimes receive additional benefits like reimbursement of transportation costs.
2. Public School Volunteer with English Open Doors
Another route to living and teaching in Chile is the English Open Doors (EOD) Program. Sponsored by the Chilean government, this program places applicants in public schools throughout the country.
The work entails about 12 hours per week of teaching students between the ages of 12-18, allowing for private tutoring and plenty of travel in your downtime. Teachers are considered volunteers but receive a stipend and housing with a local host family. EOD pays volunteers 100,000 CLP per month ($125).
3. International Schools
Teaching at an international school in Chile requires a degree in education, a teaching license, and some degree of Spanish. Working at an international school isn't unlike a typical teaching job at home, and you'll be responsible for independently leading your classes.
The bulk of these teaching jobs are in Santiago and Valparaíso, and you can expect to earn $1,000-$1,200+ per month.
Where to Find TEFL Jobs in Chile
You have options when it comes to finding Chile teaching jobs.
CIEE TEFL Job Placement Assistance
Recent graduates and alumni of the CIEE TEFL 150-hour flagship TEFL course are eligible to take advantage of CIEE TEFL's job placement assistance in Chile. CIEE TEFL’s reputable partner school in Santiago regularly hires CIEE TEFL alumni as virtual instructors for business English professionals.
Applying with CIEE TEFL not only simplifies the application process but provides teachers with a high monthly salary of 625,000 CLP ($775) per month. And as a virtual English teacher in Chile, you're free to live anywhere in the region!
Other benefits of CIEE TEFL's job placement assistance in Chile include 10-month long contracts, access to Spanish classes and other professional development sessions.
Learn more about CIEE TEFL’s Job Placement Assistance in Chile.
Applying to English Open Doors
English Open Doors is a program organized by the Chilean Ministry of Education and places native or near-native English speakers in public schools for a semester or the school year. Participants are given a monthly stipend to cover basic needs, local health insurance, room and board with a host family, and financial support to cover school transportation costs.
To be eligible, you must be between 21-35 years old, have proof of a clean criminal background, and a four-year degree. A TEFL certificate is not required but can help you prepare for your year in Chile. There are two application periods throughout the year for placements during the first semester (March to July) and second semester (August to December).
You can apply on the English Open Doors Website.
Applying to Private Language Schools
It's possible to apply to Chile's private language schools both in-country on a tourist visa or from home before you depart. However, teachers must have employer sponsorship in order to apply for Chile’s “Subject to Contract” work visa.
Many of Chile's private language schools list their current openings online, allowing you to apply directly on their website. Additionally, CIEE TEFL’s Job Placement Assistance in Chile offers an excellent way to connect with reputable and high-paying language schools in Santiago.
Best Places to Teach English in Chile
Unlike other popular teach abroad destinations, Chile is unique in that the bulk of job opportunities are found in Santiago. However, there are some opportunities found in Chile's other bigger cities.
Here are some of the best cities to teach English in Chile.
Santiago is Chile's capital city and is where most ESL teachers find work. Home to over 6 million people, this modern city provides an excellent quality of life thanks to its great public transportation, close locale to the mountains, and large expat community.
Valparaíso is the country's second-largest city and is another top pick to teach English in Chile. It's located 1.5 hours north of Santiago along the coast and is known for a rainbow display of colorful buildings set into the hills.
Antofagasta is a mid-sized city in the Atacama Desert on Chile's northern coast. There are significantly fewer job opportunities found here compared to Santiago and Valparaíso. However, persistence is often rewarded with a quality teaching position.
Concepción is much like Antofagasta in its size and limited job openings, but does offer some. This bustling mid-sized city has a modern atmosphere, vibrant nightlife, and international flare.
What’s it like to teach English in Chile?
Before you make the leap to begin your exciting adventure teaching English in Chile, check out these helpful guides to learn a bit more about it:
- What to Expect When Teaching English in Chile by CIEE Teach Abroad
- Teaching English in Spain vs. Chile by CIEE TEFL
- 7 Cultural Differences in Chile You Need to Know About by Ashley Liliana
- MUST SEE of Chile by Brittni K
Which TEFL certificate is best for teaching in Chile?
Like other teach abroad destinations, the best TEFL certificate for Chile should have at least 120-hours of accredited TEFL training. Although not all teaching jobs in Chile require it, TEFL-certified ESL teachers have stronger applications and may be eligible for higher-paid positions.
Plus, a TEFL course provides aspiring teachers the skills needed to lead a class successfully like classroom management tactics, lesson planning tips, teaching best practices, etc.
CIEE TEFL’s 150-Hour TEFL Certification
CIEE TEFL is an internationally recognized and trusted TEFL provider with a proven track record of helping graduates successfully secure English teaching jobs worldwide.
CIEE TEFL's flagship 150-hour certification provides comprehensive training to ensure aspiring ESL teachers succeed in the classroom. The CIEE TEFL 150-hour course includes:
- 130 hours of ACCET accredited coursework completed in 3 months online
- 20 hour TEFL practicum
- Instruction by highly qualified TEFL tutors
- Lifetime job search assistance
- Access to CIEE TEFL Job Placement Assistance in Chile