Teaching English in Chile: A Great Demand
The demand for English teachers in Chile
is a direct result of Chile’s attempt at integration into
the global economy through trade agreements with the U.S., the
Asia-Pacific region, and the European Union. Private language
institutes have grown tenfold and a national academic program, “English
Opens Doors,” has been implemented to help children
become fluent in English by the time of high school. The more
ambitious long-term goal is to make all 15 million of Chile’s
people fluent in English within a generation.
North American native speakers previously
did not require a TEFL degree, but that has become increasingly
more important and advisable in Chile and worldwide.
North American speakers are valued and hired often because of
their accent to teach conversation classes.
How to Get a Job
If you are starting your job search
from your home country, begin with the Internet; many of the
large and medium-sized institutes have a web presence so you
can arrange a work situation before arriving. Some institutes
even arrange a work visa and housing. Contact Sam
Marsalli (site in Spanish) and ask about opportunities.
Some North Americans begin teaching
English on a tourist visa, thereby working illegally. Tourists
do not pay taxes (which is a standard 20 percent), even though
some institutes will take 20 percent out of your paycheck for "administrative
If you know that you will only be working for three months or less, work on a tourist visa because chances are you won’t get caught by the immigration service. If you are planning to work for more than three
months, find an employer who will give you a contract in exchange for a temporary visa. Then you won’t have to renew the tourist visa every three months. Instead, you renew the temporary visa annually. Make sure you understand the process
well. Many institutes do not take the time to explain it and frequently make contractual mistakes, which delay the issuance of your visa. Going on a tourist visa to Chile and looking for jobs once you get there requires enough basic Spanish
to understand the yellow pages and contact institutes either by phone, Internet, or in person. I recommend this option since getting a feel for the work environment is as important as securing a contract beforehand.
When you finally decide
to go with a particular institute you will often be trained
even if you don’t have ESL experience. Not all institutes
follow the same methodology. Once hired, you will be offered
a part-time or full-time shift in the institute. Watch out
for institutes that give you a contract in exchange for the
right to control your time schedule so that you always have
to be available. Teaching English is by no means the best-paying
job, and you should be able to work for more than one employer
if you choose to do so.
If you are more conservative in approach,
you may also wish to check out the following programs, several
of which do have associated costs in order to train you to
become a certified teacher (if you are already) and do offer
to help you to find work thereafter: