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Teaching English in Portugal

Written By
By Munira Maricar
Travel Writer

Are you considering a career move that combines your love for English with the allure of living abroad? Teaching English in Portugal might just be the opportunity you’ve been looking for. This picturesque country offers a robust job market for aspiring English teachers, especially if you’re from the EU. Here’s everything you need to know about how to get started on your teaching adventure in Portugal.

Who Can Teach English in Portugal?


To teach English in Portugal, certain qualifications are necessary:

  • Degree: You need a four-year university degree in any field. 
  • TEFL Certification: Earning a TEFL certification is crucial. It equips you with the skills needed for the job and is often required by employers.
  • Fluent English Speaker: While it is not a mandatory requirement to be a citizen of a country considered to be a “native” English speaking country, being a fluent speaker is important.
  • Teaching Experience: Some teaching experience, often at least a year or 100 classroom hours, can also be advantageous when looking for teaching English Portugal jobs.

Visa Requirements

Young man with backpack in airport near flight timetable

If you’re not an EU citizen, acquiring a work permit can be challenging. Portugal’s job market is competitive, and local employers often prefer hiring EU citizens due to the straightforward legal process. If you’re not an EU citizen, your options for a visa to teach in Portugal will be as follows:

Short Stay Visa

This temporary stay visa is designed for those planning to stay for periods exceeding three months. It encompasses a range of purposes, including attending study programs, undergoing training, and more.

Job Seeker Visa

This visa lets you stay in Portugal for 120 days, and you can extend it for another 60 days. However, it’s important to know that this visa only allows you to enter Portugal once, and before applying, you need to show interest in registering with the Portuguese Public Employment Service by filling out a specific form online.

If you find a job and sign a contract within those 120 days (or 180 days if you’ve extended), you can then apply for a residence permit to stay longer. If you haven’t found a job or started applying for a residence permit, you’ll have to leave Portugal. Also, if you want to try again, you have to wait a year after your visa expires before you can apply for a new job seeker visa.

Salary and Living

Volunteer Forever - Volunteer in Portugal

Start-up Costs

Starting life in Portugal comes with initial costs, ranging from $2,300 to $2,900 USD, depending on where in Portugal you are. These cover rent, transportation, groceries, and other essentials until you get your first paycheck.


The typical teach English in Portugal salary ranges from $1,300 to $1,850 USD per month. While this may not allow for significant savings, it’s sufficient to live comfortably given the cost of living in Portugal, which averages around $1,300 to $1,700 USD per month.

Living in Portugal as an English Teacher

Once settled, many teachers enjoy a fulfilling lifestyle, exploring Portugal’s rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes. Most teachers find sharing accommodation with peers an affordable and fun way to live.

The Job Market and Opportunities


When and Where to Find Jobs

English teaching jobs in Portugal generally become available in two main periods: early autumn (September or October) and mid-winter (January). The major cities like Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra, and Braga are hotspots for these opportunities. For those looking to teach through the summer, numerous language camps across Portugal and Europe offer seasonal positions. These typically start in late June or early July, perfect for those who want to maximize their time teaching abroad.

Types of Jobs

When you’re looking to teach English in Portugal, you’ll find several types of teaching opportunities that cater to different audiences and preferences. 

  1. Teaching Adults in Language Schools

Language schools are a common setting for English teaching jobs in Portugal, especially in larger cities like Lisbon and Porto. These schools typically offer classes to adults who are looking to improve their English for personal or professional reasons. As a teacher in a language school, you might teach general English courses or more specialized classes focused on writing or conversation skills.

  1. Teaching Business English to Corporate Professionals

In this role, you’re likely to work either in-company (at the business premises) or through a language school that offers tailored courses to corporate clients. The focus here is on the specific vocabulary and skills needed in a business context, such as making presentations, negotiating, or writing formal emails.

  1. Private Tutoring

Private tutoring offers more flexibility and can be quite rewarding. As a private tutor, you work one-on-one with students, which allows you to tailor your lessons to their specific needs and learning styles. Tutors often help students prepare for exams, improve conversational skills, or even help with specific projects that require a good command of English. This job can be done in person or online, and it often pays more per hour than teaching at a school, though the hours may be less stable.

  1. Online English Teaching

With the rise of digital platforms, teaching English online has become a popular option. This job allows you to work from anywhere, providing flexibility in terms of location and schedule. This role requires a good internet connection and the ability to engage students through a screen, which can be quite different from traditional classroom teaching.

Gain experience to Teach English in Portugal

Institutions may offer higher wages to teachers who bring specialized skills, such as preparing students for international exams. You will also have an advantage if you can show demonstrable past teaching experience.

Volunteer Forever - Volunteer in Portugal

Here’s how you can get some teaching experience while you’re in Portugal:

  • Youth Support Volunteer Program in Lisbon: As a volunteer with International Volunteer HQ in Lisbon, you can assist in after-school programs for disadvantaged youth. This role provides vital support and mentoring, including informal English teaching, helping to inspire and uplift young people while you gain valuable experience.
  • Youth Support Program in Porto: This program with Volunteering Solutions gives you a chance to teach English, help with homework, and engage children in extracurricular activities. It’s a perfect opportunity to make a significant impact while experiencing Portuguese culture and enhancing your teaching skills.

If you’re not yet in Portugal, you can try internships or volunteering teaching opportunities worldwide through the following providers: 

Portugal Awaits!


If you’re dreaming about starting a new life abroad and have a passion for teaching, teaching English in Portugal offers a perfect blend of adventure and professional development. Whether you’re looking to teach English in Porto, Lisbon, or even the picturesque Madeira, the opportunities are vast and varied. With the potential to teach business English, engage in private tutoring, or even conduct lessons online, there’s a teaching job suited to nearly every preference and skill set. 

For those without a degree, certain positions may still be open, especially in more informal settings or via volunteering. Remember, while the salary in Portugal might not be the highest, it is generally enough to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, embracing the rich culture and beautiful landscapes of Portugal. If you meet the requirements to teach English in Portugal, this could be the start of an exciting new chapter in your life. So, why wait? Explore the English Portugal jobs available and take the first step towards an enriching experience in one of Europe’s most charming countries.