Portugal is a very popular tourist destination, which is one of the main reasons why the demand for ESL teachers is high in many areas. However, the local economy has had a rough time in recent years, so the salaries on offer for foreign teachers are not particularly high. Despite this, teachers are still drawn to the country by the promise of a pleasant lifestyle.
What are the requirements for teaching English in Portugal?
All employers of foreign ESL teachers in Portugal require a university degree and a TESOL qualification, while many also expect at least one years teaching experience. If you are new to teaching, a TESOL course that included a practical teaching component is often accepted instead of previous work experience. The salary offered to teachers is generally determined by their level of experience, with contracts lasting either nine or twelve months depending on the type of employer.
Who are the main employers of English teachers in Portugal?
Teachers will generally have two types of employer to choose from, state run schools and private language institutes. Government schools are only open to a small percentage of teachers as you typically need a good understanding of Portuguese to be eligible. Those that do qualify will find that the salary on offer is quite low and you might be required to take on extracurricular activities without compensation. Due to all these reasons, the vast majority of teachers working in Portugal are employed by private language schools. The pay is usually better than public schools and some jobs even include free or subsidised housing.
One other possible option is private tutoring. This type of work usually involves helping students to brush up on their conversational English, which can be a fun and stress free way to add a little extra income to your main salary. You might also be interested in volunteer teaching programs which can be found in some of the poorer parts of the country. Despite the lack of pay, these positions are a great way to gain experience and they always look good when applying for other jobs in the future.
What are the visa requirements for teaching English in Portugal?
As the process for applying for work permits can be a bit of a hassle, many schools will only employ EU nationals. Most also prefer native English speakers which means that the majority of positions are taken by teachers from the UK or Ireland. Teachers from outside the EU can still find work in Portugal, but you will have to find an employer who is willing to act as your sponsor.
What is the best way to apply for English teaching jobs in Portugal?
The best time to be looking for work in Portugal is during June and July, ready for the start of the new school year in August. There is also a secondary window in January. Many schools advertise online so you should start by searching online job boards and teaching forums. If you have a specific area in mind, you can also look for the individual websites of local schools and then contact them directly. If you are offered a job you should ensure you negotiate the contract as employers will try to get you to sign on for as little as they can get away with. If you can secure a job that includes any additional benefits such as a housing allowance, you will find your quality of life significantly improved.
Where are the best places to find English teaching Jobs in Portugal?
Lisbon has by far the most numerous options and it is a very popular place to live and work. Porto is also very popular due to its cultural attractions and it can also feel a bit more personable than the capital. The smaller cities of Braga and Coimbra are two more that you might want to look at. The huge resort of the Algarve in the far south of the country is also worth considering if you would prefer to be close to the beach and other tourist attractions.