How much can I earn teaching English in Portugal?

Located in the far Southwest of the continent, Portugal has a lot to offer ESL teachers looking to live and work in Europe. A warm climate, one of the lowest costs of living in Western Europe, and a laid back approach to life all await those who decide to head to this relatively small corner of the TESOL world.

What are TESOL salaries in Portugal?

TESOL qualified teachers working in Portugal generally earn around $1,300 to $1,850 US per month when working for a private language center. Many teachers also add additional income by private tutoring students in their spare time. Private tutoring can pay anywhere from $11 to $22 per hour for one-to-one lessons. If you are able to find groups of two or three students at a time you can increase your rate as the cost will be split between the group members.

Who are the main employers of English language teachers in Portugal?

Portugal is not one of the easier countries in Europe for non-EU teachers to work legally as the paperwork and expense involved puts employers off sponsoring those from other parts of the world. If you are eligible to work in Portugal you will most likely find work in a private language school or as a private tutor. Private tutoring is a popular way to top up a salary from a language school or it can be a full-time option once you have found enough regular clients.

What is the recruitment process for English teachers in Portugal?

As mentioned, gaining a work permit as a non-EU citizen can be difficult right now as employers are often unwilling to go to the effort of sponsoring a teacher. Unless you have a legal right to work through a family connection or partner most employers will take the easier option of employing a teacher with an EU passport. One potential option for non-EU citizens is to apply for a student visa which allows you to work on the side for up to 20 hours a week during term time and full time during holidays. You can apply for a student visa before departure through your nearest Portuguese embassy or consulate. It takes between one and three months to process this visa so make sure you get the ball rolling as early as possible.

As only a small percentage of jobs are advertised online it is usually best to arrive in Portugal during the peak hiring seasons of September or January. Once on the ground you can visit as many schools as you can find in your chosen area. Lisbon and Oporto have the most language schools, although smaller cities such as Coimbra and Braga are also good options to explore.

What is the cost of living for English teachers in Portugal?

How much you will earn and your monthly outgoings will depend on where you are based in the country. The best salaries are found in the capital Lisbon and in Oporto, but these are also the most expensive places to live in Portugal. In general, a monthly budget of around $1,300 to $1,700 US should be enough to cover your expenses such as accommodation, groceries, transport costs, etc. When you first arrive in the country it is best to have a good pot of cash saved up to see you through until your first payday. We would recommend a minimum of $2,000 to $3,000, although the more you have set aside the better.