Teaching English in Spain

The Ultimate guide to teaching English in Spain

Spain is an attractive destination for living and teaching abroad. It has everything you need: a decent salary, relaxing work-life balance, beautiful sights, and unique culture. Fortunately, there’s a high demand for English teachers in Spain, and the job requirements aren’t too strict.

Here are all you need to know about finding an ESL teaching job in Spain and how teaching English in Spain would be like!

What Are The Job Requirements?

The requirements for ESL jobs in Spain aren’t that strict. Though many Spanish schools require a TEFL/TESOL teaching certification, there are programs that don’t even require a TEFL certification or a Bachelor’s degree. Here are the qualifications you need to get an English teaching job in Spain:
  • You must be a native English speaker
Optional (Nice-to-Haves):
  • Being an EU resident – this isn’t required but certainly would help you qualify for numerous jobs at public and private schools!
  • A Bachelor’s Degree will open up more doors for you and bump up your pay scale.
  • A TEFL/TESOL Certification, similarly, will make you a more competent candidate and entitle you to a higher salary.
  • Basic Spanish skills: you don’t have to know Spanish to teach English in Spain, but knowing some basic Spanish will be extremely helpful, especially in smaller towns.

Types of ESL Teaching Jobs in Spain

There are various types of ESL teaching jobs in Spain:

  • Language Assistants in a public school: This type of ESL teaching job is the easiest and most popular choice for foreigners in Spain. This requires from 12 to 20 hours of work per week for $850 to $1,500 a month (plus health insurance). However, you must be from the EU or else go through an official program.
  • Private Schools: The jobs are abundant, but again, if you aren’t from the EU, you will be paid under-the-table, and not offered insurance or sick leave.
  • Language Academies: The students here vary by age, level of English proficiency and background. The schedule is also odd, requiring ESL teachers to work nights and weekends.
  • International Schools: They tend to have smaller classes and a relaxed environment, some following bilingual curriculum. Many provide English summer school programs as well.
  • Private Tutoring: It can be both a part-time or full-time gig. You get around $17 to $30 an hour – the more qualifications and/or previous teaching experiences you have, the higher rate you can charge.
  • Au Pairing: If you’re into early childhood education and not fond of classroom experiences, au pairing (babysitting) is for you! It pays on average $400 a month and offers free accommodation.

How to Get a Job in Spain?

The hiring season in Spain peaks in September, as schools reopen from summer vacations in October. Thus, pay attention to this hiring season schedule where most interviews happen. Another hiring season starts from the second week of January. If you apply through a program, January to March would be the usual application period.

During summer, there are many jobs open at summer camps as well. Note that their hiring season would begin in the winter and spring.

Obviously, for private tutoring or au pairing jobs, the hiring seasons wouldn’t matter. However, August in general is a quiet month when the majority of people go on vacation.

We can help you find English teaching jobs in Spain!

How Much Do I Get Paid As an ESL Teacher in Spain?

The ESL teaching salary isn’t much usually, averaging around $1,250 to $1,850 per month. As you spend more time living and teaching English in Spain, your pay will increase. If you combine your ESL teaching job with additional private tutoring sessions or private classes, you can earn up to $2,500.

Cost of Living in Spain

 The ESL teacher’s salary won’t be a big financial gain or enough for you to save up and shave off your student loan. However, the cost of living in Spain is quite low for a European country. The fresh fruits and vegetables are diverse and super affordable here. Around $1,500 per month is enough to live comfortably in Spain.
  • Rent: $400-$750 for a small, furnished, one- or two-bedroom apartment
  • Utilities: $100-$150, including water, gas, electricity, phone, and internet
  • Groceries: ~$300
  • Occasional Dine-outs: $200 (~$15 at inexpensive restaurants or $45+ at fine dining)
Lifestyle and Culture in Spain

The Lifestyle and Culture in Spain

Life seems chill and laid back in Spain. The country does not operate well on a fixed schedule either. When the Spaniards say “on time”, they probably mean something else. They always end up being late.

You’ll see the obsession with futbol (football/soccer) and wine here. Spain is an ideal destination if you care a lot about the work-life balance. Two-hour lunch breaks are normal in Spain. Even when working full-time, you’ll still have enough free time to spend with family and friends, or traveling outdoors.

What The Spanish Students Are Like

The types of students you’ll get vary from business professionals to private students and children in public schools, summer camps or language schools. They are often used to communicating and interacting in class as well as likely to learn better phonetically. You may have to change your teaching plan and incorporate more fun and engaging activities in the class to keep the students interested.

At language academies, happy students mean more repeat customers and revenues. Thus, you must deliver the best quality that will satisfy the students and/or their parents. At public schools, you’re usually expected to follow a specific set of methods and teaching materials in class, requiring less creativity. Whereas in private schools, you can design your curriculum and teaching materials more freely.

Where To Live in Spain as an ESL Teacher

The highest number of language schools and ESL teaching jobs are in Barcelona and Madrid. Bilbao is also a popular city in Northern Spain. The demand is lower in small towns, but growing quickly thanks to government programs that place teachers throughout Spain. But if you’re applying for a Language and Cultural Assistant position, your working location is decided by the Ministry of Education.

Valencia and Sevilla are common choices for foreign ESL teachers as well, since they offer plenty of things to do.

Quick Facts About Spain

  • The capital of Spain is Madrid.
  • Language: Spanish
  • Population: 46.57 million (2017)
  • Currency: EUR
  • Spain is the second largest country in the EU.
  • There are 47 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Spain, making it one of the most popular tourist destination in the world.
  • There are hundreds of fiestas or festivals all year long, including La Tomatina when you throw tomatoes at each other!

What to Teach in Class?

This depends on your students. If it’s an exam preparation course, heavily focused on grammars and textbook exams, you’ll need to invest in a good book and structure your sessions around it. For the majority of classes, Spanish students like interactive and practical lessons. Thus, look online for worksheets, videos, games and songs to incorporate in your teaching.

If you haven’t had much experience and would like to gain some confidence initially, try volunteering as an assistant! Once you’ve familiarized yourself with what the students want and how their learning habits are, you can start applying for ESL teaching jobs.

Overall, the teaching environment in Spain should be far less stressful than in other countries. The classroom will feel pretty informal.

What Do I Need to Get My English Teaching Visa for Spain?

If you’re an EU citizen: Well, you’ve got nothing to worry about. You can start applying ASAP since you don’t need a special visa to teach English in Spain.

If you’re not an EU citizen: You need to get a legal teaching visa through a program that handles your paperwork such as the Auxilia de Conversación Program (eligible for residents of the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and China only). Or you can apply for a Working Holiday Visa, but it only allows certain nationalities (not the US!).

Unfortunately, getting a working visa in Spain is very hard. Many people choose the Tourist Visa, which is a 90-day permit for tourists. However, it’s not entirely legal to work on a Tourist Visa and overstay if you’re going to teach in Spain for more than 90 days.

Are you looking for opportunities to teach English abroad in Spain? Check out our Teach English Abroad Facebook group for daily job listings.