Your professional project: becoming a Portuguese teacher?

The Portuguese language is the third most widely spoken European language in the world with 270 million speakers.

The number of pupils learning the language of Camões increased by 73% between 2001 and 2014 according to the figures of the National Education Association in France! Portuguese is also becoming increasingly popular in the United States.

To reach your goal and give Portuguese lessons, take stock of the different options available to you, according to your profile and your desires.


Teach Portuguese in the National Education Association (NEA)

How to Join the Association

The National Education Association (NEA) is the largest professional interest group in the United States.

It represents public school teachers and other support personnel, faculty and staffers at colleges and universities, retired educators, and college students preparing to become teachers. The NEA has just under 3 million members and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The NEA had a budget of more than $341 million for the 2012–2013 fiscal year.

Whether you are a public school teacher, faculty member, education support professional, retired educator, or a student preparing to become a teacher, NEA and its state and local affiliates have a place for you in their 3.2 million member organization.

If you're interested in joining the NEA, you can start by selecting your membership type:

  • Active Professional / Certified Instructor

For individuals employed in public education in a certified position in a public school district or institution of higher learning or whose job is primarily education.

  • Active Education Support Professional (ESP)

For individuals who are employed in public education in a support position in a public school district or institution of higher learning or whose job is primarily in education.

  • Retired

For individuals no longer employed in public education and who are eligible to receive a pension from an educational employment institution

  • Pre-Retired

For individuals who are currently working and are an NEA Active Professional or ESP, you may join as a pre-retired member in advance of retirement.

  • Student

Student Membership is available if you are enrolled in a postsecondary program that is preparatory for employment in a position that will make you eligible for Active (teacher) membership in the NEA.

Find out also what qualifications you need to become a teacher of Portuguese!

Give Portuguese Courses with Certification

Because education in the US is typically viewed as a state and local issue rather than a federal one, each state can set its own requirements for prospective teachers. As a result, the requirements for earning a teaching certificate vary by state. The process typically requires passing knowledge and skills tests such as the Praxis series of exams, completing an approved teacher education program, earning at least a bachelor's degree, and passing a background check.

For Example:

To become a New York teacher, a candidate must meet the requirements stipulated by the Office of Teaching Initiatives. Like most states, New York requires that all state teachers hold a bachelor’s degree, complete a New York teacher certification program, and pass the required content examinations. Upon meeting the requirements for certification, an applicant may be issued an initial certificate, which is valid for five years. This entry-level certificate leads to the professional certificate, which is an advanced level license that is continuously valid, assuming the teacher completes the appropriate number of professional development hours every five years.

The most direct, traditional route to New York teaching certification is to complete an approved teacher preparation program at a New York college or university and be recommended for certification by the certification officer at that university, which is known as an institutional recommendation.

Pick up on these tips for preparing your Portuguese lessons!

Give Portuguese Lessons in a Language School

Are you a bilingual English-Portuguese speaker, or native of Portugal or Brazil, but you do not have the teacher qualifications required to practice in secondary education?

There are other ways to give Portuguese language courses in the Untied States.

The foreign language training centers are numerous in the United States and each have their criteria for selection and recruitment. It is quite possible to apply to these structures to offer your Portuguese teaching services.

And don't forget these TED translator tips when you first approach your students:

  1. Get real. Decide on a simple, attainable goal to start with so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. German translator Judith Matz suggests: “Pick up 50 words of a language and start using them on people — and then slowly start picking up grammar.”
  2. Make language-learning a lifestyle change. Elisabeth Buffard, who in her 27 years of teaching English has always seen consistency as what separates the most successful students from the rest. Find a language habit that you can follow even when you’re tired, sick or madly in love.

Among the essential structures for the teaching of Portuguese in the United States, you might consider the Institute Camões. Founded in 1992, it is a public institute whose purpose is to promote the Portuguese language in the world. Its headquarters are in Lisbon, but the institute has ties to language centers in several American cities:

  • Boston,
  • Newark
  • San Diego

It offers many options for learning Portuguese, including intensive courses. It is possible to prepare diplomas of Portuguese as a foreign language. If Portuguese is your native language, your profile will certainly correspond to this type of structure. Provided of course you are able to justify your teaching skills.

Check for online tutor jobs here.

Future expats in Brazil will want at least a rudimentary handle on the Portuguese language.

You can also go to other private language schools offering Portuguese classes for individuals and professionals. Portuguese is not only spoken in Portugal, but it is also the official language:

  • In Brazil,
  • In Angola,
  • In Cape Verde,
  • In Mozambique,
  • In Guinea-Bissau,
  • In Timor ...

It is a language offering beautiful perspectives. Unesco believes that Portuguese has strong growth potential in South Africa and Latin America. By 2050, the Portuguese language should be spoken by 350 million people around the world.

Portuguese is increasingly used for international trade. The demand for training is therefore growing. The foreign language training centers offer courses in Portuguese. There are many in the Unites States. You will find specialized centers in various languages, vocational training centers in Portuguese, schools specialized in teaching Portuguese - Portuguese, or Brazilian - Portuguese

Give Courses in Local Portuguese Associations

To teach Portuguese, there are also opportunities to seize in other structures providing courses. You can turn to local associations.

For this,  you can inquire with your city council which will direct you towards the Portuguese cultural associations or the associations of school support. The Portuguese-speaking community is strongly represented in the United States.

The associations are numerous and particularly dynamic. You will be able to offer your services to give Portuguese lessons. This is a good opportunity to develop your teaching skills and start teaching even without a degree.

If you live in New York, it is always useful to get closer to associations such as:

  • The Brazilian Endowment for the Arts,
  • Consulate General of Brazil,
  • New York Latin Culture
Portuguese associations often offer language courses.

Teach Portuguese as a Private Instructor

Another opportunity to share and transmit your passion for the language of Camões is to give home courses of Portuguese or Brazilian.

Discover how to set your rates for tutoring in Portuguese!

Indeed, no diploma is required. It is enough to be over 14 years old and of course have a good level in the practice of the language! You will need to have very good skills to master all aspects of the language both written and oral (grammar, vocabulary, conjugation, accent, pronunciation ...).

Home teachers are very diverse in their profiles:

  • Language Students,
  • Natives of Portugal (or a Portuguese-speaking country),
  • Bilingual Portuguese-English,
  • Professors with Independent Practice,
  • Passionate Auto-Didacts ...

Convinced? Before embarking on the great adventure of home tutoring, it is important to think about it and get organized. You will need to:

  • Evaluate the level of your language skills,
  • Have teaching skills,
  • Prepare structured language courses,
  • Find suitable teaching aids,
  • Determine a coherent Portuguese course price.

... and of course, look for students!

It's not always easy at first. Take time to think about:

  • The ways you can teach,
  • The types of courses you can offer,
  • The types of students that you can support in learning the language.

This will allow you to propose a coherent offer and find your first students more easily before starting to give private lessons in Portuguese. The possibilities are numerous:

  • Conversation courses,
  • Tutoring,
  • Intensive revision courses,
  • Language upgrades,
  • Professional Portuguese courses,
  • Brazilian Portuguese Courses,
  • Adult evening classes,
  • Beginner's course,
  • Summer courses,
  • ...

Teaching at home has many advantages. The first is to be able to customize the courses. You are not facing a class with a strict program to follow, you can adapt your pedagogy and your methodology case by case, according to the needs of your students. It is a privileged relationship that requires trust.

Private lessons also have practical advantages:

  • You are the master of your organization, and of your planning,
  • You can teach at home or at your student's home
  • You can work under different statutes, in particular that of individual company,
  • Your students benefit from tax credit,
  • You can exercise this activity on a full-time basis or in addition to a salaried activity,
  • ...

With the internet (and Superprof), it has never been easier to start offering your services as a private teacher.


You don't have to be face-to-face to give quality Portuguese lessons! Online classes via Skype or similar networks are a great alternative.

Teach Portuguese Online

Finding students in a specific geographic area is a challenge that you will likely face in giving private lessons.

It all depends on the region in which you live. Logically, demand is greater in larger cities, but that does not mean you have to give up your search for a student body.

There is a simple solution which is very practical: distance courses or online learning. This is all the more interesting because it makes it possible to optimize the course schedule, avoid too many trips and save valuable time.

With new technologies, it's very easy to get started without having to make big investments. You will simply need:

  •  A reliable internet connection,
  • A webcam and a microphone of good quality.

Software like Skype offers many advantages. You can even share documents with your students or share your screen to optimize your online Portuguese courses. Contrary to what one might think at first glance, it is not difficult to provide quality courses online.

If you dream of passing on your knowledge of Portuguese by becoming a teacher, you must know it is a feasible goal. You just have to decide which solution is right for you and which opportunities you can seize based on your profile and constraints.

Now find out everything you need to know to become a Portuguese teacher!

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As an Englishman in Paris, I enjoy growing my knowledge of other languages and cultures. I'm interested in History, Economics, and Sociology and believe in the importance of continuous learning.