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The number one thing I read when looking for information about moving to Chile to teach English is that you have to be in Chile before you can get a job. This is not true, and honestly, this will put you in a difficult visa situation if you try to move to Chile BEFORE securing a job. Maybe this is true for other Latin American countries, or maybe this was true in the past before Skype interviews were a thing. But it’s not the case anymore, especially considering the  So how do you start the process to teach English in Chile?

  1. Get a TEFL Certificate

There are many “programs” out there that for a hefty fee, will give you a TEFL certification course, visa assistance, and job placement in Chile. Are these programs worth it? Probably not for most people. Part of the goal of this blog is to help make this whole process easier and save people money on these visa/job programs. If you have a lot of extra money and can’t be bothered to go through this process on your own, then by all means use one of those services. If you don’t fall into that category, no worries – the process isn’t all that complicated.

So TEFL certificates. The prices really vary. Some include real classroom time, some are all online, some cost $50, and some cost $2,000. How do you choose? It really depends on your goals. If your goal is to have the experience of living in another country and English teaching is the easiest path to your goal, then the $50 online program will do the trick. If you are planning to make a career out of teaching English and want to teach at universities/prestigious institutes, then maybe one of the more expensive programs will be better for you. I found a program on Groupon for like $60 (I hear there are some that are even cheaper). My certificate is from TEFL Fullcircle and was good enough for me to get a job to teach English in Chile, with minimal effort I’ll add. Just make sure the program is accredited and is at least 120 hours and you get a certificate at the end.

Note: Some jobs may require a Bachelor’s degree (in any field) in addition to a TEFL Certificate. Some may not require either, but the more education you have the more options you will have. Teaching experience is not necessary for most jobs, just being a native speaker is sufficient in may cases.

2. Send your resume/CV to English schools and institutes.

A quick Google search for English schools/institutions will give you plenty of options to send your CV to. You might also try Googling “clases de ingles santiago, chile” and asking in Facebook groups such as “Discover Chile” for information about places to apply. Any job you get will have to create a contract for you so that you can apply for a work visa. Plan to spend a couple of months job searching, and then the visa application process will likely take about 3 months.

Note: Because of changing immigration laws, this entire process must be done from you country of origin. You cannot enter Chile with a tourist visa and then apply to change it to a work visa. You’ll have to return to wherever you came from to complete the process, so it’s best to do everything from the US (or wherever you are from).

3. Secure your job, get your visa

Once you are offered a job and you get a contract, the employer will send the contract in the mail and should also send you a digital copy that you need to include in your visa application. You will apply through the Chilean embassy for where you’re from. From here, the employer should assist you in regards to the visa process (they likely will not help with the cost).  

More details about how to teach English in Chile are included in my “Gringa’s Guide to Chile”. It’s a comprehensive, constantly updated guide on topics of interested for those moving to and living in Chile.