Chile's robust economy, which ranks among the most advanced in Latin America, has long fostered a strong demand for English language proficiency. The growth in international trade, industry, and tourism has further amplified the need for English skills in the workplace, attracting a plentiful supply of TEFL qualified teachers. During your stay in Chile, you can relish exploring the remarkably diverse terrain, including a coastline spanning over 4,000 miles, the majestic Andes Mountains, and the renowned Atacama Desert, famously known as the driest place on Earth.
Table of Contents
Chile's appeal as a teaching destination is also fueled by the relatively modest requirements expected by employers compared to many other countries. As long as you hold a TEFL certification and possess a native-level understanding of English, finding a suitable teaching position should be relatively straightforward. While a degree is not typically mandatory, it is preferred by some employers. Previous classroom experience is also not usually required, although it can give you an advantage if included on your CV/resume.
Private language schools are the primary employers of foreign English teachers, with establishments located in most urban areas. The capital city, Santiago, serves as the focal point of the TEFL job market, housing approximately 40% of the country's population. Many teachers begin their teaching journey in Santiago due to the abundance of job opportunities and relative ease of securing positions. Once established and equipped with experience, you can explore other sought-after areas, such as coastal resorts or ski towns.
Another option for those seeking an authentic local experience is the English Opens Doors Program, a voluntary initiative that places foreign teachers in public schools. To be eligible, you must be a native or near-native English speaker between the ages of 21 and 35. A bachelor's degree is also required, along with sufficient funds to cover flights and living expenses. In return, participants receive free housing and meals, health insurance, free transportation within Chile, Spanish language lessons, and a monthly stipend of approximately $100.
There are generally two main options for working legally in Chile: the Subject to Contract Visa ($600) and the Professional Visa ($470). As requirements may vary over time, it is advisable to consult the official website of the Chilean Embassy for up-to-date information. Another option is to work on a 90-day tourist visa, which allows you to bypass the work visa route. However, you would need to cross the border every three months to renew the visa, which can be inconvenient and time-consuming.
Many employers in Chile advertise teaching vacancies online, enabling you to apply and interview for jobs while still in your home country. In such cases, most employers will assist in organizing your work visa before your departure. If you prefer to search for teaching positions upon arrival in Chile, you will have a wider range of options and the opportunity to assess schools and their locations before signing a contract. In this scenario, you would need to enter the country on a tourist visa, which can later be converted to a work visa once you secure employment. The peak hiring seasons for English teachers in Chile are typically February to March and July to August.