Spain has it all, from historical landmarks and captivating landscapes to world-renowned cuisine and friendly people. So, if you're after a life of siestas, fiestas, and tapas, come and teach English in Spain!
Read on to find out about how to teach English in Spain, the sort of teaching jobs you can apply for, and the requirements for teaching English in Spain.
The two most popular types of English teaching jobs in Spain are full-time teaching at a language academy or working part-time as an assistant. These are the ones usually given to EU citizens.
For non-EU citizens, the common jobs are teaching English in private, semi-private, or public schools. They can also offer private tutoring. Let’s take a look in more detail.
For individuals who have permission to work in Spain and a teaching background, securing a job at one of the many private language academies is a good option. This therefore usually applies to a citizen or permanent resident of Spain or an EU citizen.
Private language academies provide EFL/ESL lessons and cater to both young learners and adults. Some academies cater solely to adults who wish to learn business English.
If you don’t have any teaching experience, you can still work as a language and cultural assistant in a Spanish classroom. You can do this by applying to one of the several language assistant programs that exist in Spain.
One of the best programs you should explore is NALCAP or the North American Language and Culture Assistants Program. It is managed by the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports in cooperation with the Education Offices of the embassies of the US, Canada, and Spain.
NALCAP offers native English speakers from countries like Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, India, and the Philippines thousands of opportunities to work in a public school classroom.
There are also programs like BEDA and UCETAM, that send assistants to "concertados" or semi-private schools.
If you have an official teaching credential that is recognized in Spain, then you can teach English in one of the many public schools in this country. The credential is known as “Máster en Profesorado de Secundaria” and it allows teachers from other countries to teach at a public secondary school in any part of Spain. You have to pass the state exam to secure this.
Some private schools have less stringent requirements for the teachers they hire. A few American international schools only require that their teaching staff be state-licensed.
British schools in Spain, on the other hand, only entertain applications from teachers with QTS or Qualified Teacher Status. Working as an assistant in these schools requires no license.
More prestigious institutions require previous teaching experience and a basic level of Spanish.
Concertados are jointly funded by the Catholic church and the Spanish government. The requirements for getting a job teaching English at such institutions are less rigorous than those for international and government-run schools. You don't need to be Catholic to work there.
English teachers in Spain can expect a monthly salary of €730 to about €1,700 ($760-$1,775 or £630-£1,460) depending upon where they teach. The good news is that this should be enough for you to comfortably experience everything this beautiful country offers.
The hourly wages for English teachers in Spain vary greatly, but the average hourly rate is around €10 to €25 ($10-$26 or £8-£21) The amount depends on your qualifications, your level of experience, and the amount of work you need to do for your classes. On average, teachers spend 20 to 24 hours a week inside the classroom.
Depending on the teaching position, employers will look for different qualifications. Below are the standard ones:
A Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification is needed if you want to get a job at the many private language schools or academies in Spain. The certificate proves that you’ve undergone training in teaching English to non-English speakers.
Many TEFL course providers offer online TEFL courses. They usually allow their students to study in their own time. You can also take an in-person TEFL course either at home or in another country. Both qualify you to teach English abroad.
A bachelor’s degree in any field or major is needed to qualify as a language assistant for private programs like BEDA. For NALCAP, an associate’s degree is all you’d need.
If you want to teach at a private school, in some cases you may need a degree. However, the demand for English teachers in Spain is high, so you’ll often get away without one.
If you want to work for a public, state-run school, you must be a legal resident in Spain. You should also have an official teaching degree from a Spanish university. Alternatively, you can have a teaching degree from another country that has been certified. Either way, you will still need to pass the "oposiciones" or state exams. Know that this particular exam is quite rigorous and difficult to pass.
The requirements for getting work in public schools are fairly intensive. So, if you don’t have a teaching degree and you know you want to stay and work in Spain, you can take the Máster Universitario en Profesorado en Enseñanza Secundaria Obligatoria (MAES). However, this is related to what you studied at university and qualifies you to teach that subject in secondary schools. Therefore, this will only be helpful if you took an English or languages-based subject at university. You can read more about this here.
Besides having a valid passport, if you’re not an EU citizen you will need a visa to teach in Spain. The most common one used by non-EU citizens is the student visa. Anybody who enrolls in a language school or university is eligible to study and legally secure English teaching jobs in the country. You need to process your student visa even before you leave for Spain.
To receive the most accurate information about the process of applying for a student visa, you need to contact the Spanish consulate that presides over your jurisdiction. Make sure that you consult about the requirements at least 120 days before your planned departure.
Set an appointment with the Spanish Embassy no less than 6 weeks before your projected arrival date. Your appointment cannot be more than 12 weeks before that date either.
Since you are applying for a student visa, you will need to enroll in a university or language school that is duly recognized by the Spanish government. Upon payment of the tuition fee, the school will provide you with a Study Visa Invitation letter. This is also known as your Certificate of enrollment. It should be sent in the post and via email.
Fill out a Student Visa application form. You can request a copy of this from the consulate or the nearest Spanish Embassy.
Completed study visa application form
4 passport-size pictures
Valid passport (must be valid for at least six months)
3 copies of the photo and personal information page of your passport
Certificate of enrollment
Health insurance policy
Certificate of criminal background check from the police department of the cities where you currently live (you must have stayed in that city for at least 6 months); a copy of the certificate translated into Spanish
Medical certificate verifying that you are free from any quarantine disease; a copy of this certificate in Spanish must also be provided
Confirmation of accommodation payment done in full
You will also be asked to provide proof of financial means to complete your studies in the country, such as a copy of your current bank account statement with a minimum balance of $800 for every month you plan on staying in Spain.
If you dream of teaching English abroad in Spain and don’t have any other options, a working holiday visa may also work. This applies to citizens from Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. The age restrictions can vary but it’s typically between 18 and 35 years old. You have to contact the Spanish consulate for more information regarding this type of visa.
If you applied and passed NALCAP, you don’t have to worry about your visa as the organizer will provide you with the appropriate work visa. This is how 2,500 Americans and Canadians get to work as English teachers in Spain every year.
To qualify to be part of the NALCAP program in Spain, one must be a US citizen or a permanent resident at the very least. You need to be 18 to 60 years old. You also should have a valid passport.
If you haven't earned a bachelor’s degree yet, you must be currently enrolled as either a sophomore, junior or senior in your program. You must also have an associate degree or be a student at a community college in your last semester.
As for your language proficiency, you do not need to be fluent in Spanish. Basic Spanish knowledge is enough since you will be required to speak only in English inside the classroom.
There are plenty of teaching jobs in Spain for native speakers. You just need to decide whether you want to stay at a small pueblo or in one of its bustling cities.
Madrid is a cultural and historical hub and is the capital city of Spain. It is located right in the center of the country. You will have no trouble finding something to do or see in this city. Maybe wander around the Royal Palace or watch a Flamenco show. You can even catch a football game at the Bernabeu Stadium. It is also a great starting point if you have plans to travel while you teach English in Spain.
English teachers can find countless teaching job opportunities in Madrid, giving ESL lessons in language schools, or private lessons, to both adults and young learners.
Barcelona is the second most populated city in Spain. Thus, it will be easy to find a teaching job here. This destination in the Catalonia region has so many things to offer its visitors. You can spend your day off on one of the many pristine beaches in the area. Alternatively, you can lose yourself in Las Ramblas and eat, relax, and watch street performers the entire day.
If you want to have just the right balance between busy and tranquil, you should explore the teaching opportunities in Seville. This city is not too big, but it is not small either. There are numerous language schools here so you’d have no problem finding a job. And during your downtime, you can spend your days enjoying the art and music that the city is known for. The people of Seville are known for being laid back, so you can really unwind after a day of teaching in the classroom.
Finding a job to teach English in Spain is easy if you know where to start your hunt. Make sure that you have the necessary qualifications and documents so that you can go through the application process.
If you are planning on working as a teaching assistant, go directly to the websites of the major language assistant programs. Search for NALCAP, UCETAM, or BEDA.
As for other job listings, visit job boards. You can also search for English academies together with the name of the Spanish city where you plan on working. You can use the search phrase “academias de ingles” to find more teaching jobs in the area.
Applications for being a language and cultural assistant with NALCAP start in January. BEDA starts its hiring process around December. UCETAM begins accepting applications around February to March. It is best to send in your applications early.
Private language academies hire all year round. You will find a job listing post as soon as a position opens, so it is a good idea to keep an eye on various job boards.
For the NALCAP teaching assistant program, go to the website and fill out the application form. The form will require you to attach a photo of your passport along with a recommendation letter.
You will need to fill out a similar form for your BEDA or UCETAM application. Besides the form, you will need to send a copy of your current resume and a recommendation letter.
As for academies, the hiring process varies depending on the employer. It is standard to submit your TEFL CV or resume along with your cover letter indicating your intent to teach English.
Teaching English in Spain has many benefits. On top of that list is the chance to enjoy the charms of the country. The relaxed environment and low cost of living in Spain make it possible for teachers to find a work-life balance that just isn’t possible in other countries.
Here are some things that you can expect when you move to Spain:
Spain is a pretty laid-back destination. Its citizens and visitors know how to enjoy good food and good times with friends and family. Spaniards enjoy being outside, thanks mainly to the sunny weather that the country experiences throughout the year. It is not uncommon to see people spending time on their terraces and balconies even if the weather is cold.
Spanish students love to practice what they learn and are always eager to participate in any classroom activity. Expect your classroom to be noisy especially when competitive activities are involved. It is a good idea to think of ways to manage the noise level in your classroom before classes even begin.
As for your colleagues and supervisors, the most important thing to focus on is communication. Make sure that your and their expectations match, especially about your responsibilities in the classroom. You should also make sure that your work is covered if you need to take time off due to illness or personal issues.
It is polite to greet everyone in the teacher’s lounge with a hello. If you are leaving for lunch, don’t forget to wish your co-workers an enjoyable meal with a "buen provecho". Chatting with co-workers during breaks is common. People might see it as rude if you keep to yourself.
Teachers in Spain don’t dress up too often and wearing business casual can sometimes be seen as formal. A good shirt and pressed jeans should usually be more than enough for the classroom. However, always check with your school before you begin your classes.
Siesta time is nap time for Spanish people. Almost all businesses (stores, restaurants, etc.) close for a short break. It time lasts about 2 to 3 hours and it happens every day. The streets are often empty. Big businesses and malls do stay open though.
Restaurants are very strict about their operation hours. Lunch is usually served between 1 and 4 p.m. Dinner is served after 9:30 at night. You will discover that restaurants will not serve patrons food outside these times.
Luckily, living in Spain can be cheap if you know how to budget your money. According to some teachers living in Spain, a salary of €1,100 ($1,150 or £945) should be enough to allow you to live comfortably. You’ll be able to eat out and even take some trips on the weekend. Spain enjoys a lower cost of living than many of its European neighbors.
The cheapest apartments normally cost about €200 to €350 ($208-$365 or £170-£300) a month. It would be difficult to afford this on your own. That is why most teachers share accommodation with others.
Having lunch at a restaurant costs about €6 to €9 ($6-$9 or £5-£8). Dinner with wine will cost you €15 to €20 ($16-$21 or £13-£17). Many teachers choose to make their own meals at home to save a few euros.
Public transportation in this country is cheap and efficient. To get around, you’ll save money if you buy a monthly travel pass worth €40 ($42 or £34). This is cheaper than taking a taxi.
Spain is known for its rich Spanish culture, great food, and beautiful islands.
Millions of visitors flock to the Spanish beaches on the mainland, Canary Islands, and Balearic Islands to enjoy the sunny weather and interact with the friendly locals. People also come in droves to party in Ibiza.
Besides going to the beach, another thing that you can’t miss is the food. Authentic Spanish tapas, Jamon Serrano and Iberico, Arroz Negro, and the Gambas al Ajillo are all things you have to try at least once during your stay. The Spaniards have a way of preparing their dishes so that each is a feast for the stomach and the eyes.
No trip to Spain is complete without taking part in one of its fiestas. Millions witness the festivities during the La Tomatina in Buñol, the wine drenching festival in La Rioja, and the ever-popular running of the bulls in Pamplona.
Being able to live and work in Spain should be on everybody’s bucket list. So, if you enjoy good food, good times, and good weather, you should try teaching English in Spain.
Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding teaching English in Spain:
How much does an English teacher make in Spain?
A native speaker teaching English in Spain can make anywhere between €800 – €1,700 a month depending on where he or she teaches and the number of hours spent teaching.
What qualifications do I need to teach English in Spain?
The requirements will depend on where you want to teach. If you plan on teaching at a private school, a TEFL certification will often be enough. However, if you’re applying to be a language and cultural assistant, you’ll need an associate’s degree.
For teaching in schools, at least a bachelor’s degree is required. Some schools may even require a teaching degree or a master’s degree.
Is teaching English in Spain worth it?
Yes. The cost of living in Spain is low, so even on a teacher’s salary you’ll be able to enjoy the great food and various activities that the country has to offer.
Do you need to speak Spanish to teach English in Spain?
No, it is not required. However, having basic knowledge of the language will help you in your day-to-day activities.
Are English teachers in demand in Spain?
Yes, there is a growing demand for English teachers in Spain. Even the small communities have job listings for those who wish to teach English.