TEACH ENGLISH IN SPAIN

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About Teaching English in Spain

Spain is one of the most popular locations in Europe and the world for teaching English abroad. Spain also represents one of the strongest job markets in Europe. 

English teachers in Spain have a variety of options for finding work, this is one of the reasons why it's so popular among ITA graduates. From government and student visa programs to English summer camps and private tutoring in-person and online, the job opportunities are available for the taking.

International TEFL Academy alumnus Chris Vergatos teaching English in Barcelona, Spain Teach English in Spain TEFL


The majority of English teachers find work in Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia, and the peak hiring seasons are September to early October and January. So English teachers planning to work in Spain should be done with their TEFL class and ready to begin interviewing during one of those peak hiring seasons.

Important Note About The Job Market In Spain For Americans: At this time, the vast majority of non-EU citizens, including Americans and Canadians, teach English through government programs or on a student visa.

American & non-EU citizens who want to teach in Barcelona typically do so as independent contractors and private tutors. Please speak with your ITA Admissions Advisor to learn more and create your plan.

Read More: What You Need to Know Before Moving to Get a Job Teaching English in Spain [The Ultimate Super Cheatsheet].

Teaching Requirements

TEFL CERTIFICATION

A TEFL certification is required to teach English in Spain. You do not need professional teaching experience but earning your TEFL certification will provide you with the training and qualification you do need to get hired. 

Teachers typically interview in-person in Spain, therefore, it is most common for students to take one of our TEFL course options listed below:

NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKER

You will need to be a native-English speaker to teach English in Spain. This means you must be a citizen from a recognized English-speaking nation: U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa.

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

While a bachelor's degree is not required to secure a job in Spain, it can still be strongly preferred by employers. If you do not have a degree, you should be prepared for a more competitive job search. 

Read More: What Are the Basic Requirements for Teaching English in Spain?

TEFL Jobs in Spain

JOB TYPES

There are several teaching routes for ESL teachers in Spain:


Be sure to talk with your ITA Admissions Advisor about Spanish Government Programs and student visa programs, as the planning can take anywhere from 3-6 months.

HIRING & VISAS

The best time to find teaching jobs in Spain is in September or early October, and then again in January. English teachers in Spain will be expected to interview in-person once they arrive in Spain, and they will also be responsible for their airfare and housing. Applicants for Government programs will apply in advance from home in Spring for positions beginning in Aug/Sept.

There are a variety of visa options for teachers in Spain. Spanish Government programs are extremely popular and will sponsor visas for non-European Union citizens. Most Americans & other non-EU citizens will also teach on a student visa. Learn more about our Spain Student Visa Programs. EU citizens can typically work legally in Spain, and Canadians may also be able to teach on a Working Holiday Visa

HOURS & STUDENTS

Schools in Spain typically offer 20-25 hours per week of work, leaving you plenty of opportunities to travel and explore. If you teach English online or private tutor outside of this, it will be up to you how many additional hours you take on each week.

It is common that your students will be school-aged children in summer camps and public schools. It is not uncommon, however, to private tutor both children and adults, or even business professionals at their place of work.

Salary & Cost of Living

START-UP COSTS

Start-up costs should be enough to cover your first 6 weeks of living in Spain and will range somewhere between $1,700 and $2,850 USD for 6 weeks. These are expenses you will incur from your arrival in Spain until you receive your first paycheck and may include things like rent, apartment supplies, transport, groceries, getting your new local cell phone number set up, etc. 

SALARY

A solid hourly wage enables English teachers in Spain to live a comfortable and enjoyable lifestyle. English teachers in Spain can expect to make roughly $800 - $ 1,500 USD (€700 - 1,300) per month. 

There are no flight or housing benefits/stipends provided so you will need to remember to account for accommodation or temporary housing for your first few weeks in your start-up costs until you find an apartment to rent. 

COST OF LIVING & SAVINGS

The cost of living typically ranges between $500-$1,000 USD per month (€450 - 900). 

English teachers in Spain can expect to break-even month over month. This means 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 the 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.

 

What does teaching in Spain look like?

Watch ITA alumnus Allen Tunstall show us a day in his life living and teaching English in Barcelona, Spain.

Visit our Video Library to watch day in the life videos from our alumni and get a glimpse into what your life as a teacher in Spain could look like!

Download Spain TEFL Ebook

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Teaching English in Spain FAQs

What are the basic requirements for teaching English in Spain?

To teach English in Spain, make sure you understand what is and is not required:

Required:

  • A TEFL certification
  • Understanding of the visa laws and common practices
  • Understanding of the types of English teaching jobs that are available
  • Savings for start-up costs

Not Required:

  • A four-year college degree is not required, although it can still be strongly preferred by employers

Read More: What Are the Basic Requirements for Teaching English in Spain?

What type of visa can I use to teach English in Spain?

The type of visa you will use to teach English in Spain will depend on your nationality and perhaps other factors. Research is extremely important when deciding on which type of visa one will get and you should speak to a TEFL Advisor to discuss your specific questions and concerns. 

The following are the most common types of visas that can be obtained for Spain:

STUDENT VISA

ITA offers Student Visa Programs in Barcelona & Madrid that enable students from all ITA TEFL classes who are US & other non-EU citizens to study Spanish. This student visa also allows teachers to work legally in Spain and teach English full-time. Citizens of EU nations don't typically need a visa to teach in Spain.

Student Visa Programs are right for you if you're looking for a legal way to teach in Barcelona or Madrid, and they are also great options if you're passionate about learning Spanish.

Read More: How to Apply for a Student Visa to Legally Teach English in Spain

GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS

It’s uncommon for English language schools in Spain to sponsor work visas for North American English teachers, so Spanish Government-sponsored or approved programs are realistic alternatives.

The Cultural Ambassadors Program is one of the most popular avenues for ITA graduates teaching English in Spain. Each year, the Spanish Ministry of Education recruits more than 1,000 Americans & Canadians to work as assistant language teachers in elementary schools. Other popular Spanish Government Programs are listed on this chart.

Spanish Government Programs are right for you if you’re flexible on what city you want to live in, and if you prefer to line up your teaching job in advance.

WORK VISA

This type of visa is very uncommon for non-EU English teachers to receive in Spain as you need an employer to sponsor you in order to obtain one. Work visas are only typically given to those teachers working in public schools through the Ministry of Education program or international schools.  

WORKING HOLIDAY VISA

A working holiday visa is a permit that allows people with certain nationalities to legally work and sometimes study, in certain countries around the world (excluding Americans). 

Take a look at International TEFL Academy’s Working Holiday Visa Chart to see if you qualify. As of October 2016, citizens of Australia, New Zealand, and Canada may be eligible to work in Spain on a working holiday visa.

Read More: What Type of Visa Can I Use to Teach English in Spain?

What is the Cultural Ambassadors Program for teaching English in Spain?

Operated by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, the Cultural Ambassadors Program recruits and places native English & French speakers from the U.S. & Canada as assistant language teachers in elementary and secondary schools throughout Spain. 

The program, which is also known as the North American Language and Culture Assistants Program- or the auxiliares de conversación (“conversation assistants”) in Spanish, recruits up to 2,500 Americans & Canadians to teach English (and in the case of some Canadians, French) in Spain each year. 

Cultural Ambassadors applications are evaluated based on a list of criteria that are indicative of a candidate’s potential for successful participation in the program:

  • U.S. or Canadian citizenship;
  • Academic Requirements: Hold a minimum of a BA or BS by the end of the academic year preceding the start of the program, be a junior or a senior, or have become a university graduate;
  • Demonstrative communicative skills in Spanish - the official program website states: "Official college transcripts, high school records, Spanish language certificates or others may be uploaded as extra proof of language competence."
  • Demonstrate that you are in Physical and Psychological Condition: you will be required to submit a medical form.

Read More: What is the Cultural Ambassadors Program for Teaching English in Spain? [Auxiliares de Conversacion]

Are there different government teaching programs in Spain other than the Cultural Ambassadors Program?

YES! There are several government teaching programs available in Spain other than the Cultural Ambassadors Program. 

These programs come with a student visa and each has different costs and requirements associated with them, so be sure to do your research to ensure you qualify. They include:

  • Meddeas - Language Assistant 
  • BEDA Program - Language Assistant
  • UCETAM - Language Assistant
  • UP International Education - Language Assistant
  • Conversa Spain - Language Assistant
  • Fulbright Spain - Teaching Assistant

Read More: Spain Government Programs Quick Guide

How do I find private English teaching work in Spain?

ITA alumna, Lauren O'Rourke, outlines the steps she took to find private teaching work in Barcelona, Spain. These steps consist of:

  • Joining a teaching community
  • Creating online ads to find students looking for English tutors
  • Drawing up contractual agreements to establish hours and pay
  • Referrals
  • Networking

Read More: How to Find Private English Teaching Work in Barcelona, Spain

Recommended TEFL Classes for Teaching English in Spain

Barcelona TEFL Class

What's included 👇

  • In-Person 4 Weeks, Full-Time
  • OFQUAL Level 5 Accreditation from TQUK
  • University-Level Instructors
  • Lifetime Job Search Guidance
  • 10-Hours Live Practice Teaching
  • Classes are capped at 12 students
  • Option to include Language Study & Student Visa as part of the Barcelona Student Visa Program

Madrid TEFL Class

What's included 👇

  • In-Person 4 Weeks, Full-Time
  • Accredited by The International Accreditation of TESOL Qualifying Organizations (IATQuO) - Meets OFQUAL Level 5 Standards
  • University-Level Instructors
  • Lifetime Job Search Guidance
  • 6-Hours Live Practice Teaching
  • NON-E.U. Citizens must also enroll in the Madrid Student Visa Program to join this course

Online TEFL Class

What's included 👇

  • 170-Hour Online Certification
  • 11 Weeks Part-Time
  • OFQUAL Level 5 Accreditation from TQUK
  • Live Office Hours with Your Instructor
  • Peer-Participation with Classmates
  • Lifetime Job Search Guidance
  • 20-Hours Live Practice Teaching
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Why Our Alumni Love Us!

Ken Patel

Teaches English in Spain

Ken Patel

I chose ITA primarily because of their huge and active alumni community which has been an invaluable source of information and encouragement throughout my experience - it was definitely a good choice. My plan was to work in a language academy in Spain but they didn't have enough hours so I picked up a job teaching English online to supplement my income. I really enjoyed this and I earned about 3x as much per hour after accounting for travel time, lesson prep, and corrections. At the end of the school term, I quit my academy job and switched to working online full time.

Brandi Nelson

Teaches English in Spain

Brandi Nelson

I chose International TEFL Academy because after my first conversation with an advisor I felt comfortable and at ease. The advisor was very patient and answered my many questions and hypotheticals. I felt that this was a place where I would get the support and guidance I would need to take the next step. My favorite part about living in Spain is that everyone is so laid back - they do their own thing and do what makes them happy. It really is a simple life compared to living in the States. It is by far the best decision I have ever made and it has completely changed my life!

Kellie Kaufmann

Teaches English in Spain

Kellie Kaufmann

I found other TEFL certifications that were cheaper but I still chose ITA because of their reputation and resources. One of my favorite things about ITA is that you have an assigned advisor. Changing careers and moving abroad was such a foreign concept for me... I had so many questions, I didn't know where to start. I scheduled multiple calls with my advisor and they answered all my questions - not just about the TEFL certification, but about the entire process of moving abroad. The support was worth spending the extra money and now I'm living my dream in Madrid!

Visit the Spain section of our blog to read more articles and stories by our alumni about their experiences teaching English in Spain.