Teaching English in Portugal

Portugal Overview

There is high demand for English tuition in Portugal even though the language is spoken to a high level by many citizens. As one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, with great weather and fabulous beaches, it is a popular destination for TEFL teachers. Be warned that you will not become rich teaching English here and may need to take on more than one job to pay for the rising cost of living. As usual in Western Europe, it is much easier for English-speaking EU nationals (i.e British and Irish) to find work due to European bureaucracy. Some employers in Portugal are very unreliable so do as much research as you possibly can before signing a contract.

Type of Institution Typical salary (USD/month) Typical hours Typical annual leave
Language centres and self-employed 1,000 – 1,500 Various shifts 2 weeks plus national holidays
International schools and universities 3,000 upwards 9am – 4pm Monday to Friday plus some weekend work 10 weeks plus national holidays

Main places for jobs

Lisbon, Porto.

Typical requirements

Degree, TEFL certificate, EU national.

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1. Before signing a contract, ask to speak to both past and present employees for their opinions of the language centre or school. International House has a good reputation.

2. Consider becoming a self-employed tutor so that you can work when you like and potentially earn a higher salary.

3. Learn some Portuguese before you arrive. This will make day-to-day life much, much easier and it is almost essential for private English lessons.

Red tape

As with most countries in Europe, it is a lot easier for EU nationals to find work as the paperwork required is significantly less than when applying to employ non-EU nationals.

Cost of living

High – accommodation, food and transport. The cost of living has risen sharply in recent years but unfortunately the average TEFL wage has remained the same.

Tax and salary information

Employers generally pay your income tax for you and as usual you should expect to be paid on a monthly basis. Many EU nationals (particularly British and Irish) decide to become self-employed tutors as the profit margins and flexibility can be attractive when compared to working for a typical language centre.


Fabulous history and culture Lots of red tape for non-EU nationals
Delightful weather and beaches High living costs and relatively low salaries
A pleasant working environment It can be difficult without Portuguese language skills

Directory of Recommended Schools, Language Centres and Recruitment Agencies

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Qualified English teachers please register with World of TEFL and we will contact you with relevant vacancies as they come in. This is a free service for teachers.


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