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How Much Do English Teachers Make in Spain?
Learn how much money you can make as a TEFL-certified teacher in Spain across various job types including Government Programs and explore recommended start-up costs and cost of living expenses.
Written By: Lynda Galea | Updated: June 29, 2023
Written By: Lynda Galea
Updated: June 29, 2023
Spain has continued to be a very popular English teaching market for those looking to teach English in Europe. With its laid-back and slower-paced lifestyle, delicious cuisine, beautiful weather and beaches, and lively culture and nightlife, it's no wonder so many of our TEFL-certified students want to teach English in Spain. It ranks up there with South Korea as one of the hottest TEFL markets in the world!
In this article, we explore how much money you can make teaching English in Spain and the expenses you will need to consider both in terms of start-up costs and your monthly cost of living.
Salaries for Teaching English in Spain
There are many different teaching opportunities available for TEFL-certified teachers in Spain. Americans who ultimately spend time teaching English in Spain do so via one of the following three avenues:
- Teach English in Spain through Government Programs;
- Private tutor in-person while studying Spanish or another language on a student visa;
- Teach English online while studying Spanish or another language on a student visa.
Your salary will fluctuate depending on which teaching route you choose to pursue. On average, English teachers in Spain can expect to make anywhere between 700€ - 1,100€ ($800 - $1,250 USD) per month through a Government Program with the option to earn additional income through private tutoring (€15-€25 / $17-$29 USD per hour) and teaching English online ($10-$20 USD per hour).
Let's explore each option and what you can expect to earn from them:
1. Spain Government Program Salaries
English teachers have several different Spanish Government-sponsored or approved programs to consider applying to. These programs place teachers into part-time, language assistant roles, so oftentimes English teachers supplement their work schedule and income by teaching English online as well.
a. North American Language and Culture Assistants Program (NALCAP)
Also referred to as the Auxiliares de Conversacion, this language assistant program places teachers in public schools all over Spain and is the most popular of all the Spain Government Programs. English teachers on this program can expect to make 700€ - 1,000€ ($800 - $1,150 USD) per month depending on what region they are placed in. There is no application fee associated with this program.
This is a language assistant program that places teachers in schools all over Spain. English teachers on this program can expect to make 330€ - 930€ ($380 - $1,070 USD) per month, depending on their qualifications and whether housing will be provided to them via a host family. There is no application fee associated with this program.
c. Bilingual Education Development and Assessment (BEDA)
This is a language assistant program that places teachers mostly in Madrid in Catholic schools, but there are also opportunities to be placed in other cities within Spain. English teachers on this program can expect to make 873€ - 1165€ ($1,010 - $1,350 USD) per month. There is a 175€ ($200 USD) application fee associated with this program.
d. Unión de Cooperativas de Enseñanza de Trabajo Asociado de Madrid (UCETAM)
This is a language assistant program that places teachers in schools all over Spain. Participants of this program can expect to make 900€ ($1,040 USD) per month for 18 hours a week, 1300€ ($1,500 USD) per month for 26 hours a week. There is a 150€ ($170 USD) application fee associated with this program that is returned at the end of the contract period.
e. UP International Education
This is a language assistant program that places teachers in infant, primary, and secondary schools all over Spain. English teachers on this program can expect to make 840€ ($970 USD) per month. There is no application fee associated with this program.
f. Conversa Spain
Another language assistant program that places teachers in public schools specifically in Madrid or Murcia. English teachers on this program can expect to make 1000€ ($1,150 USD) per month for Madrid and 875€ ($1,010 USD) per month for Murcia. There is a $1,650 USD application fee for this program for a Madrid placement and a $1,395 USD application fee for a Murcia placement.
This is a teaching assistant program that places teachers in schools all over Spain. Salaries for the Fulbright program vary depending on which award is granted but will cover airfare, insurance, and estimated living expenses. There is no application fee associated with this program.
h. RVF International
This is a language assistant program that places teachers in bilingual public schools all over Spain. English teachers on this program can expect to make 700€ - 1,000€ ($800 - $1,150 USD) per month depending on their placement location. There is a $1,299 USD application fee associated with this program.
Additional Reading: For a breakdown of all the Spain Government Program requirements, please view our Spain Government Programs Comparison Chart. To learn more about the North American Language and Culture Assistant Program, please read this post.
2. Spain Private English Tutoring Salaries
Private tutoring ESL students is one of the most common job types among English teachers in Spain. Teachers that choose this route are often:
- Teaching English in Spain as part of a Government Program and taking on some private tutoring students to help supplement their income;
- In Spain on a student visa meaning they are legally able to work for up to 20 hours per week while taking language classes at an approved school;
- Teaching English online while on their student visa and seeking supplemental income by privately tutoring students in addition to their online teaching job.
Getting clients for private lessons is a marketing exercise, and all the avenues that seem appropriate to your circumstances have to be explored. Here are some ways you can market yourself:
- Post notices in schools and universities, coffee shops, supermarkets, or corner shops;
- Run an advertisement in the local paper;
- Send notices to local public schools, announcing your willingness to work with local students on their English;
- Compile a list of addresses of professionals (lawyers, architects, etc.) who may need English for their work and have the resources to pay for it and then contact them;
- Call on export businesses, distribution companies, and perhaps even travel agencies;
- Get ESL business cards made before you leave your home country that has your name, email address, and phone number on them;
- List your services or find job postings on sites like LingoBongo.
How much money can I make from private tutoring ESL students in Spain?
As a private ESL tutor in Spain, you should expect to charge and make around €15 ($17 USD) per hour if you are new to teaching. If you have teaching experience under your belt, you can charge up to €25 ($29 USD) per hour. Just remember, this is all relative to your level of skill and what your students are looking for.
Something to keep in mind - a student may only be after a single private tutoring lesson, or a handful, and can withdraw from their lessons with you at any time. As a result, you should be cautious when trying to budget your private tutoring income too far into the future.
3. Spain Teaching English Online Salaries
Like private ESL tutoring, teaching English online while on a student visa in Spain is an extremely popular way for teachers to make money. It's also a great way for teachers who are part of a Government Program to supplement their income.
Teaching English online provides TEFL-certified teachers with the opportunity to make money from the comfort of their own home, with most teachers being able to make anywhere from $5-$20 USD per hour. Hours are flexible and it is up to you how much or how little you teach - you are in total control of your schedule.
A key advantage of teaching online is that you can begin teaching and making money before you move to Spain. This is a great way to help cover the start-up costs of your move and will ensure that you have an income immediately upon your arrival to Spain.
Additional Reading: To learn more about how much you can earn from online ESL teaching, please read How Much Money Can I Make Teaching English Online? Need help finding an online teaching platform? Check out Non-Chinese ESL Companies to Teach English Online With.
Expenses for Teaching English in Spain
There are two categories of expenses that need to be taken into consideration for those looking to teach English in Spain:
- Start-up costs
- Cost of living
Let's explore each of the two in more detail.
1. Start-Up Costs for Teaching English in Spain
Start-up costs are expenses you will incur from your arrival in Spain until you receive your first paycheck and may include things like a security deposit and first month's rent, apartment supplies, transport, groceries, getting your new local cell phone number set up, etc.
Start-up costs should be enough to cover your first six weeks of living in Spain and will range somewhere between $1,700 and $2,850 USD for the first six weeks. This is the minimum amount of savings you should have on hand before leaving home and arriving in Spain. If you have more, great, but if you have less, you may be setting yourself up for failure from the get-go which can cause unnecessary added stress during an already stressful period of adaption and change.
2. Cost of Living for Teaching English in Spain
Cost of living refers to everyday monthly expenses you will incur during your time in Spain. The most popular expenses that fall under this category include:
- Monthly rent expenses
- Utilities (electricity, gas, water bills, etc)
- Food and grocery expenses
- Health insurance
- Internet bill
- Cell phone bill
- Transportation (transit card, ride-sharing services, etc)
- Travel/entertainment expenses
Your cost of living expenses can vary drastically based on where in Spain you are based. For example, those living in larger cities like Madrid and Barcelona can expect to have a higher cost of living compared to those located in smaller cities or towns. As a general rule of thumb, you should budget $500 - $1,000 USD per month to cover your cost of living.
Spain is very much a break-even country, meaning you can cover your rent and bills, support yourself, live comfortably, and enjoy your life abroad to the fullest, but you shouldn't expect to save money at the end of each month. If you are hustling and taking on private tutoring lessons and/or teaching English online in addition to your regular teaching schedule, you may increase your ability to save and come out on top at the end of each month.
Cost of Living Comparisons Across Cities in Spain
To provide a clearer picture of what the monthly cost of living across various cities in Spain may look like, here are the expense breakdowns of some of our International TEFL Academy (ITA) alumni that have lived in or are currently living and teaching English in Spain.
Please note: These snapshots should be used as an example and not an exact representation of what your expenses will look like. Everyone lives a different lifestyle and what is a necessity to one person, may not be to another.
Madrid, Spain Cost of Living
This monthly expense breakdown comes from ITA alumna, Christina Bates. She spent three years living and teaching English in Madrid from 2016 - October of 2019. Christina was in Spain on a student visa and provided business English lessons across workplaces in Spain and would sometimes pick up additional private tutoring work.
Bonus: Want to check out what a day in Christina's life was like teaching English in Madrid? Watch her video here.
Valencia, Spain Cost of Living
This monthly expense breakdown comes from ITA alumna, Molly Ryan. Molly taught English in Valencia as part of the North American Language and Culture Assistants Program (NALCAP). Some things to note:
- Molly lived with her boyfriend, so the rent amount shown below is her share of the rent expense only. If you plan to live alone without roommates, rent will obviously be higher.
- On top of her 1000€ ($1,150 USD) monthly salary from NALCAP, she was also teaching English online and brought in an additional 1000€ ($1,150 USD) per month from doing so. Because of this, Molly was able to save a substantial amount of money each month in a country that is typically a break-even market.
Bonus: Want to check out what a day in Molly's life was like teaching English in Valencia? Watch her video here.
Vigo, Spain Cost of Living
This monthly expense breakdown comes from ITA alumna, Ally Chard. Ally teaches English in Vigo as part of the Fulbright Program. Some things to note:
- Ally lives in a shared apartment with two other roommates, so three people in total. The amount she has listed for rent is her share of the rent only.
- Ally's travel expenses are lower than normal for this month due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. As a result, she has been able to save money each month during the pandemic.
Bonus: Want to check out what a day in Ally's life is like teaching English in Vigo? Watch her video here.
Barcelona, Spain Cost of Living
This monthly expense breakdown comes from ITA alumna, DelRae Felten. DelRae is in Barcelona on a student visa and teaches English online to support herself. Some things to note:
- DelRae lives in a shared apartment with two other roommates, so three people in total. The amount she has listed for rent is her share of the rent only. Notice that she mentions her rent is "super high" - this is because she lives right in the city center of Barcelona.
- Whales English, the online platform DelRae was teaching English online with, is no longer in business as a result of the Chinese Ministry of Education crackdown on Chinese-based for-profit private tutoring institutions that cater to children.
- DelRae's student visa allows her to legally work 20 hours per week. In addition to teaching English online, she brings in additional income via babysitting.
Bonus: Want to check out what a day in DelRae's life is like teaching English in Barcelona? Watch her video here.
An accomplished traveler (she's visited 40 countries!), Lynda hails from Melbourne, Australia. Since she joined ITA in 2017, Lynda has become a primary expert on the field of teaching English online. Not only has she published numerous articles on the topic herself, but she has worked with International TEFL Academy alumni around the world to produce an entire library of information and content about teaching English online. Lynda also serves as a primary organizer of ITA's ground-breaking Teach Abroad Film Festival.
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