What Qualifications Do I Need to Teach English in Spain?
A TEFL certification and a visa are two essential requirements to teach English in Spain. You should also understand what types of jobs are available in addition to financial matters like salaries & start-up costs.
Teaching English in Spain Requirements
Now let's look at the following requirements to teach English in Spain in more detail:
Be a native English speaker (no college degree required)
Have a TEFL certification
Understand visa laws & common practices
Understand the types of English teaching jobs in Spain
Save for basic start-up costs
1. Be a Native Speaker (No Four-Year College Degree Needed)
Teaching English in Spain without a degree is a question we get often. It is true that many language schools may still require a degree or other advanced qualifications. However, the demand for English language education among Spaniards is robust and a native English speaker is the ideal educator for the world’s second language.
Can I teach English in Spain without a degree?
You don’t need a four-year college degree to teach English in Spain. It is common for language schools or families not to prioritize a four-year degree and hire English tutors because they are native speakers with a TEFL certification.
So if you want to teach English in Spain without a degree you can make it happen - there will be English teaching jobs in Spain without a degree required. Just be prepared for a more competitive job search.
2. Have a TEFL Certification
A 4-year degree may not be required. However, being a native English speaker alone does not qualify just anyone to take charge of a Spaniard’s future with the English language.
Therefore, nearly all language schools and private families require their English teachers to hold a legitimate (accredited) TEFL certification to know what training and skills a prospective English teacher possesses.
To read more about what defines a legitimate TEFL certificate, take a quick detour to this article.
3. Understand Visa Laws & Common Practices
If you're looking at how to teach English in Spain, understanding visas is your first step. Having the legal right to work in Spain looks different for various passport holders. While EU citizens will typically have legal working status, Canadians and Australians may want to consider applying for a Working Holiday Visa.
American English teachers (with their highly prized American accents) are in high demand in Spain, but most private schools will not go to the trouble or expense of processing a work visa.
However, Americans can get a work visa by participating in Spain's Ministry of Education initiatives such as the famous Cultural Ambassadors Program.
The most popular option for International TEFL Academy (ITA) graduates currently teaching English in Spain is to get TEFL certified and teach legally on a student visa. Because it is difficult for Americans and other non-EU citizens to get legal work visas to teach English in Spain, International TEFL Academy offers special Student Visa Programs in Madrid and Barcelona.
These exclusive programs enable participants who take a TEFL certification course through International TEFL Academy to enroll in a part-time language program and receive a student visa. This student visa provides iTA students with the ability to legally live and teach English in Spain.
Participants also receive job search guidance in Madrid and Barcelona to assist with gaining employment. To obtain the student visa, participants enroll part-time in designated culture and language classes through an arrangement with ITA and our partners in Spain.
Check out the following links to learn more:
4. Understand the Types of English Teaching Jobs in Spain
The English teaching industry in Spain is undergoing something of a revolution! Thousands of private-sector language schools throughout Spain employ TEFL-certified English teachers. Many of these schools provide training to adults who need to learn English for professional reasons, and more jobs in Spain require proficiency in English.
There are still many opportunities to teach in such schools. However, in the country’s most popular cities, Madrid and Barcelona, attendance at English language academies is slowly declining. This shift does not represent a decline in demand as many students are opting to hire a private tutor to work one-on-one with their language learners, and often such tutoring is conducted online.
While many teachers envision themselves in a classroom setting, the reality of teaching in Spain these days (especially for Americans) is that many opportunities entail working in private tutoring sessions. ITA has hundreds of TEFL Alumni who are currently teaching or have previously taught in Spain in this style. Most recently, many are also teaching English online, which provides more flexibility and convenience.
Finally, several government-sponsored programs recruit Americans and others to teach English in Spanish public elementary and high schools, such as the aforementioned Cultural Ambassadors Program.
Read more on how to become an English teacher in Spain:
5. Save for Start-Up Costs
Finally, as Spain is an incredibly popular destination, start-up costs and monthly cost of living are going to be something you’ll want to plan for to prepare for your arrival. Interviewing for work in a language school or establishing yourself as a private tutor almost always happens in the first two weeks after arrival. After that, you should expect another four weeks to pass before you earn your first paycheck or until your schedule is comfortably filled with private tutoring clients.
Therefore, we recommend you plan to bring enough funds to cover your first 6 weeks of living in Spain. In USD, this amount should be somewhere between $2,300 and $3,000 for 6 weeks. In Euro, this amount should be somewhere between €2,050 and €2,750.
To learn more generally about financial planning for teaching abroad, check out:
6. Bonus Hot Tip!
Last, but not least, to make sure you are prepared to teach English in Spain you should plan to speak to an ITA Admissions Advisor! Reaching your goal of teaching English in Spain will require planning and research. ITA’s Advisors are experts in the nuanced details of teaching English in an incredible country like Spain, so they’re here to make sure your questions and concerns are addressed.
So here you have it! The complete list of Teaching English in Spain requirements. Finally, if you're interested in International TEFL Academy's TEFL courses in Madrid and in Barcelona, check these classes out: