From Madrid to Cusco, Valencia to Buenos Aires, major cities across the Spanish-speaking world offer ample opportunities for TEFL / TESOL certified English teachers. Even fluent English speakers without university degrees are successful in finding jobs in the majority of countries due to their growing economies and increased cultural and commercial interaction with the rest of the world.
In addition to the opportunity to experience a fantastic culture and stunning natural beauty, one of the best incentives English teachers find for teaching English abroad in a Spanish-speaking country is immersing themselves in the Spanish language during their free time. While there are dozens of great options for this experience, below are the top 5 Spanish-Speaking Countries for Teaching English Abroad.
Teaching English in Spanish-Speaking Countries: Our Top 5
There are several Spanish-speaking countries where you can teach English as a foreign language, but the best ones can vary depending on factors such as cost of living, culture, job opportunities, and personal preferences. Some of the most popular destinations for English teachers include Peru, Spain, Costa Rica, Mexico and Chile.
What are the Best Spanish-Speaking Countries for Teaching English Abroad?
The best Spanish-speaking countries for teaching English abroad include:
Honorable Mention: Argentina
As Chile continues to thrive as one of South America’s most economically stable and prosperous countries, the demand for English education has not slowed down. Chile is one of the few Spanish-speaking countries where obtaining a legal work permit is the norm, and English teachers can count on earning a salary that will afford them a very comfortable middle-class Chilean lifestyle.
Chile, considered by many as the California of South America due to its extremely diverse landscape, never-ending coastline, magnificent mountains, and world-class wine-producing regions offers an incredible quality of life for its inhabitants. Whether you enjoy modern city living, hiking in some of the world’s best national parks, or wine tasting in many of South America’s finest vineyards, Chile has something to offer for everyone.
If you want to ensure your success teaching English in Chile, head to Santiago, Chile’s capitol and largest city. Although some English teachers line jobs up in advance by doing phone interviews in their home country, interviewing in person during the hiring seasons of March/February or July/August will provide far more opportunities for employment. Other paid English teaching positions can be found in secondary cities like Valparaiso or Concepción.
With more than twice as many people as the next largest Spanish-speaking country, Mexico provides nearly endless opportunities for trained and certified English teachers. The United States is Mexico’s biggest trade partner so learning English is essential for business executives and university students. Mexico is also the only Spanish-speaking country where you can typically find English teaching jobs year-round.
While it is common for English teachers to find jobs online before they arrive, many teachers choose to interview in person in places like Mexico City, Guadalajara, or Puebla. Many English teachers also find jobs in beach hotspots like Cancun, Acapulco, or Puerto Vallarta where people need to learn English for jobs in the tourism industry.
3. Costa Rica
It’s no secret that Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful countries in the world with its lush rainforests and pristine beaches. It is also an ideal destination if you're looking to teach English in a Spanish-speaking country. Although English teachers certainly won’t get rich in Costa Rica, they will be able to live comfortably and essentially break even after expenses while enjoying life in the tropics in what many travelers have called one of the happiest countries in the world. It also provides some of the best surfing options on the planet for beginners and experts alike.
Successful English teachers find jobs in Costa Rica during the hiring seasons of January/February and June/July. Some TEFL teachers have even reported landing jobs before Christmas in December and then starting to work during the second week of January.
Although Spain has endured some economic hardships recently, it is still one of the better countries, especially in Europe, to find English teaching jobs. Many unemployed citizens have even decided to invest in English education to enhance their skill sets. Due to its magnificent architecture, world-class cuisine, and never-ending nightlife, Spain remains one of the best Spanish-speaking countries to teach English, learn Spanish, and immerse yourself in one of the world’s most addicting cultures.
If you want to make sure you are successful in finding English teaching opportunities in Spain, head to Madrid during the hiring seasons of mid-September into October then again in January after the New Year. Other populated cities like Barcelona and Seville provide opportunities for English teachers, but in Spain, Madrid is king. It's very common for Americans to obtain a student visa to teach English by enrolling in Spanish language courses.
ITA has student visa programs in both Madrid & Barcelona. On a student visa, you are able to work 20 teaching hours per week which is a common workload for English teachers. Government programs like the Cultural Ambassadors Program are also extremely popular options for English teachers going to Spain.
From the soaring beauty of the Andes and the enchanting mystery of Machu Picchu to the legendary rain forests of the Amazon and the colonial charm of Cusco, Peru is a not only an amazing place to live, but also a great place to teach English. Lima, Peru’s capital and largest city, is where most jobs will be found, but certified TEFL teachers can also find many opportunities in the mountainous colonial cities of Arequipa or Cusco.
It is very common for English teachers to work under the table on a tourist visa, although teachers that can commit to staying in Peru for one to two years can many times obtain work visas. Similar to most of South America, in order to ensure your success as an English teacher in Peru, it is important to head to the major cities during the hiring seasons of February/March or July/August.
Honorable Mention - Argentina
Being the fourth most populated Spanish-speaking country in the world, certified English teachers find all kinds of job opportunities in Argentina’s major cities, especially Buenos Aires. Argentina has long been a popular destination for English teachers. Here you can teach English to Spanish speakers while enjoying incredible food culture, vibrant nightlife, tango scene, and numerous natural wonders, including the glaciers of Patagonia and the breathtaking Iguaçu Falls. It is also a popular choice due to the country’s intense love for soccer. To put it simply, in Argentina, “fútbol” is a religion.
It is not common to find jobs teaching English in Argentina before you arrive so interviewing in person during the hiring seasons of March/February or July/August is essential.