Chile has long been one of the most popular countries in Latin America for teaching English abroad. The capital city of Santiago has a thriving demand for ESL teachers year-round and is subsequently the most popular location for foreign teachers. If you prefer to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city you will also find a smaller number of options in other towns and cities across the country. Although not an official requirement in Chile, it is recommended that you complete a TEFL/TESOL certification of at least 120 hours duration before looking for work as it will increase your job prospects significantly.
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There are many things to consider when calculating your expected salary for teaching English in Chile, such as your level of experience, qualifications, location, type of employer, and number of working hours. However, an average monthly salary is likely to be between 550,000 and 800,000 CLP (US$800 and $1,200). Teachers with extensive experience and/or qualifications should find they can earn substantially more than the average stated. If you choose to take on private students in your spare time you are free to charge any figure you like, but the average rate is around 8,000 to 10,000 CLP ($12 to $15) per hour.
The majority of foreign ESL teachers in Chile are employed by private language institutes which can be found in most towns and cities throughout the country. Teaching jobs in language institutes generally fall into two categories, either teaching classes within the school or traveling to teach in the offices of business clients. Teaching off-site can involve extensive travel between lessons and you are unlikely to be compensated for your time or expenses, however, it can be a great way to gain the experience necessary to apply for better positions in the future. Teaching on-site reduces the need for travel time and expenses, but you should be prepared to work unsocial hours as most classes run in the evenings up to around 10:00 p.m.
Teachers with a university degree and previous classroom experience can also apply for positions in local universities. Starting salaries are generally much the same as private institutes but the standard working hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday are a draw for many teachers. University positions also offer the chance of long-term prospects for those looking to make a career of teaching. Another popular option is to recruit individual students for private tuition outside of your normal working hours. This is common practice for earning additional income and can also lead to full-time freelance work once you have built up a significant client base.
Although the general cost of living in Chile is lower than in North America and Western Europe, it is certainly not as cheap as some other countries in the region such as Bolivia, Peru, or Ecuador. Public transport is generally inexpensive, and the cost of basic groceries can be significantly reduced by favoring fresh food markets over supermarkets. Accommodation is usually the biggest expense, with a one bedroom apartment in a good location starting at around $500 per month. To reduce costs many new arrivals choose to rent a furnished room in a shared apartment which can be found from around $300 per month.