How do I get a TEFL job in Portugal?

As it is a popular tourist destination, Portugal has a strong demand for English language teachers in some areas. However, the country’s economy has struggled considerably in recent times which has led to a relatively low average salary in most cases. Despite these economic issues, the relaxed lifestyle and pleasant climate means that it still attracts plenty of TEFL qualified teachers.

What do I need to teach English in Portugal?

If you want to live and work in Portugal you will typically need a university degree and a TEFL qualification. It is also relatively common for employers to demand at least a year of previous classroom experience. However, a TEFL course that includes a practical teaching component is often good enough to get you through the door of many schools and language centers if the position is not flooded with applications. A typical contract in Portugal will be for either a calendar year or an academic year and the salary will usually be based on your qualifications and experience.

What type of TEFL employer will I work for in Portugal?

Teaching jobs in Portugal typically fall into one of two categories: state-run schools and private language institutes. Jobs in government schools only make up a small percentage of those taken by foreign teachers as a good knowledge of Portuguese is generally required. If you meet the criteria you will probably find that the salary on offer is quite low and extracurricular activities are often expected of you without extra pay. Because of these drawbacks, the vast majority of foreign teachers who head to Portugal will find work in private language schools. These employers usually offer a better salary than the public sector and you might even get free housing or a subsidy to put towards your accommodation.

The other option for foreign teachers is to work as a private tutor. If you follow this route you will most likely be helping students to improve their conversational English. Although for most teachers this will just be a convenient way to add some extra income to their main salary, it is possible to make it a full-time job once you have found enough regular clients. Portugal also provides a number of volunteer teaching programs in some of the country’s poorer regions. These opportunities offer a great way to experience a more authentic side of the country and they will look great on your CV when applying for future jobs.

What about visas for teaching English in Portugal?

To avoid the hassle that can come with work permit applications, many employers prefer to take on teachers with an EU passport. Many also prefer native English speakers which further narrows down the field. However, there are still options for non-EU citizens who can find an employer who is willing to go through the work permit application process. This is most likely in areas where demand is particularly high, such as the capital Lisbon.

When should I apply for TEFL jobs in Portugal?

June and July are the best months for job hunting in Portugal as the start of the school year is in August. January also offers a smaller window where some schools will be hiring. It is common for schools to advertise vacant positions online so it is well worth searching out job boards and teaching forums. If you are keen to be in a specific location, you can track down schools in the local area and then contact them directly. If your search is successful you should make sure you negotiate the contract before signing on as employers will often try to get away with a smaller salary than might actually be available. It is also worth remembering that a contract with any form of housing allowance can make a big difference to your quality of life.

Where should I look for TEFL jobs in Portugal?

Lisbon is a lively and cosmopolitan city that is very popular with foreign teachers. It is also home to the largest number of potential employers in the country. The country’s second city, Porto, is also a popular choice as it is famous for its cultural attractions and many people think it has a more personable feel than the capital. Other good options that you might want to consider are the cities of Braga and Coimbra. The southern coast of Portugal is famously home to the tourist resorts that make up the Algarve. This region is popular with teachers who prefer a more international feel.