Teaching English In Spain:
Livin La Vida Loca

When you think of Spain, your imagination conjures up the spicy bite of a tapas, the luxurious feel of a siesta on drowsy afternoons and the vibrant energy of the flamenco. Expatriates living in the country soon discover that they cannot bear to tear themselves away from Spain’s sunny coastline with its fabulous beaches, healthy Mediterranean cuisine, hospitable people and warm family-oriented lifestyle. It is little wonder that Spain is a leading destination as one of the best countries to teach English. If your career plan includes a stint teaching English in Spain, be ready to face stiff competition during your job search.

From millennials taking a year off to experienced professionals, teaching English in Spain is on everybody’s bucket list. In this competitive milieu, the first step is to research and focus on the right opportunities. If you are keen on the idea of teaching English abroad in Spain, the information and tips given below will be helpful.

Snapshot Of Spain

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    The Job Market For Teaching English In Spain

    Despite the competition to teach English in Europe, there are plenty of opportunities to fulfil your dream of teaching English in Spain. English language/English speaking teachers are sought-after in the public-school system, private schools and language academies. There is considerable scope in Spain for a career as a private English tutor. There are also several international schools in the country. They offer lucrative openings every year for experienced teachers. Freshers looking to finance a short stay here can apply to summer camps, adult learner programs or special camps held for kids.

    Schools do not have to go through the hassle of obtaining work permission if they hire EU residents. The paperwork involved is minimal. The job market is, therefore, skewed in favor of EU residents. If you are a non-EU resident – even if you are a native English speaker – private schools and language academies have to first advertise the position publicly. After three weeks, they have to convince the authorities why you are more qualified for the job as compared to an EU candidate. If there are no objections raised, it will take another 3-4 months to process your visa. Schools are rarely willing to go to these lengths to hire a non-EU teacher.

    countries-of-the-eu-to-teach-english-in-spain-without-a-visa
    You do not need a visa to start teaching English in Spain if You are from any of the EU countries
    Let us look at the various options available for teaching English in Spain.
        1. Government programs:

          The Spanish government has a cultural ambassadors’ program called the North American Language and Cultural Assistants Programs. Under this, 2000 American and Canadian citizens are hired every year as teaching assistants. They are placed in Spanish public schools. If you are hired as a language and cultural teaching assistant, you are eligible for a stipend and medical insurance.
        2. Language academies:

          There are language academies in most big cities of the country including Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Granada, Valencia and Bilbao. But while applying do remember that Spanish is not the main language in all the cities of the country. In some areas, Catalan is more popular than Spanish.
          Other languages spoken in Spain include Galician and Basque. It is important to consider this during your job search. For example, if you are planning on polishing up your Spanish while teaching English in Spain, Barcelona might not be the right choice. Also, if you know basic Spanish, it will be easier to adjust to life in a Spanish speaking city.
          The language academies have full time contractual positions as well as part time opportunities. They cater to students with differing levels of abilities in English. You are expected to teach both basic English and advanced level English as per the students’ abilities. Most language academies also prefer to hire teachers with some level of fluency in Spanish.
        3. Private School:

          If you have a TEFL or equivalent qualification, it will be easier for you to get a job teaching English in Spain’s private school system. Again, your application will carry more weight if you have some knowledge of Spanish. The salaries are higher than the language academies and you are eligible for benefits and perks.
        4. International School

          These jobs are most sought-after by those interested in teaching English in Spain. The pay scales are high and benefits are lucrative. In addition, the schools do not insist on fluency in Spanish. However, the bar for candidates seeking opportunities for teaching English in Spain’s international schools is high. Most schools will consider your application only if you have a teaching license and at least 2-3 years of experience.
        5. Universities:

          Several Spanish universities now conduct classes and programs in English in order to attract international students. If you have the qualifications and work experience, do apply for the well-paying university jobs.
        6. Private Tutoring:

          This is ideal for young graduates looking to take a year off in sunny Spain. Qualifications do not really matter as most Spaniards take private classes to hone their conversational skills in English. You can either take individual classes or group classes. It is also common for Spanish families to hire an English teacher to stay with them for a few months while teaching the children English. If you want to really experience the way of life in the country, this might be a good opportunity.

    Educating Abroad Quick Tip: It is not mandatory to know fluent Spanish to be successful in teaching English in Spain. But it will certainly make your life easier in other ways. Making friends and networking is difficult without basic knowledge of the language.

    When And How Should You Apply For Jobs Teaching English In Spain?

    For those of you in North America, the North American Language and Culture Assistants Program is run by Spain’s Ministry of Education and Culture. The academic program is from October to May. The application period is between January and April. You can download the forms from this page of their site Spain’s Ministry of Education and Culture application.

    Some Of Our Latest teaching Jobs In Spain

    The slots for the program are given on a first-come, first-serve basis. Before applying keep the following documents ready using their documents checklist PDF:

        1. The main page of your US or Canadian passport
        2. Copy of official college degree
        3. Signed statement of purpose
        4. Letter of recommendation
        5. A scanned, signed and dated copy of the checklist issued by the ministry

     

    public-school-in-spain-where-tefl-teachers-teach-english
    A typical government / public school in Spain which you could expect to teach English

    Unfortunately, getting a job at a language academy or a private school is not as streamlined. In this case, it is easier to get a job teaching English in Spain if you are already in the country.

    You can use your contacts on the ground and also visit the schools personally to submit your application and CV. However, if you do not have the financial resources to take this risk, there are online sites and professional agencies to help you in searching for a job teaching English in Spain. The peak hiring season for private schools in September-October and January-February. Language schools hire throughout the year.

    What Qualifications You Need For Teaching English In Spain

    A TEFL certificate is a must if you are looking to work in language schools. Private schools may accept your application only if you have a Bachelor’s degree. International schools generally prefer experienced teachers with a teacher’s license. If you are extremely fluent in English and interested in private tutoring, then basically it is just a matter of working your contacts and network. You can get private teaching assignments even without a TEFL certification.

    If you are keen on teaching English in Spain under the government program, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

        • A US or Canadian passport
        • A BA or BS degree
        • English is your first language
        • Basic Spanish speaking skills.

    A short summary on qualifications & requirements for English teachers:

    RequirementGovt ProgramLanguage SchoolsPrivate SchoolsPrivate Tutoring
    DegreeYesNoPreferredNo
    TEFLNoYesYesNo
    ExperienceNoPreferredNoNo
    Native English SpeakerYesPreferredYesPreferred
    EU CitizenN/AYesYesNo

    The Visa Process For Teaching English In Spain

    If you are an EU resident, you are legally allowed to start teaching English in Spain as soon as you land a job. Let us look at the visa options if you are a non-EU resident:

        1. Non-EU residents who are keen on teaching English in Spain can come to the country on a Schengen visa. It allows you to stay in Europe for 90 days. It does not give permission to work. However, there are several people who work on the visa. Once the 90-day period is over, they continue to stay in the country and teach. This is illegal.
          The Spanish government is aware of the problem but rarely takes action against teachers working on a Schengen visa or teachers extending their stay once the visa expires. But you may face a ban or a fine when you try to leave the Schengen area on an expired visa. Though we would not advise this route to achieving your dream of teaching English in Spain, it is undeniable that this is a popular method adopted by teachers.
        2. Non-EU residents can also come on a student visa. You have the legal right to teach if you are in Spain on a student visa. Student visas are granted if you enroll for a 6 to 12-month course with a government-registered institute. The visa allows you to work up to 40 hours a week. You can continue teaching English in Spain as long as the student visa is valid.
          Of course, there are certain conditions attached to working on a student visa. The visa states that you are only permitted to do work that is related to the course you are pursuing and that the work should not affect your studies in any manner. But these provisions are ignored both by those teaching English in Spain and by the government.
        3. If you are a non-EU resident, the only way to get a legal work permit is if you are selected for the North American Language and Culture Assistants Program. Since this is a government program, the work permit is allotted as a matter of course. Of course, doing the documentation and applying for the visa well in time for the new session is your responsibility.
          Among the documents required is a medical certificate stating that you are in good physical and psychological health. You will also need a police background check accompanied by an apostille (US citizens) or a legalization (Canadian citizens). Since it is a time-consuming process, it is best to apply for the work permit as soon as you send in your acceptance for the program.

    Educating Abroad Quick Tip: To work legally teaching English in Spain, you need to be an EU citizen or part of the North American Language and Culture Assistant Program.

    The Salary & Work Environment For Teaching English In Spain

    If you have been selected for teaching English in Spain under the government program, you will be paid a stipend of €700-1000 a month. In addition, you are eligible for medical insurance. You will work the full academic session from October- May, assisting Spanish teachers.

    Work hours are between 12-16 hours a week. That leaves you with plenty of time to explore the country. One of the drawbacks of the program is that you have no control over where you will be posted as a teaching assistant. It may very well be in the rural areas of Spain. The plus side is that the whole of Spain is beautiful and fascinating. But if you like busy urban spaces, there may be adjustment issues.

    rural-village-Vielha-in-Vall-dAran-Catalonia-Spain-where-english-teachers-can-find-jobs
    The rural village Vielha in Vall dAran is probably the furtherst away you could get from the likes of Madrid Or Barcelona

    Language schools and private schools pay in the range of $1000-$1500.  If you are hired on a part time basis by a language school, you will be paid between $18-$25 per hour. For private tuitions, the charges are normally $20-$30 per hour, with higher rates for personalized, one-to-one sessions. Most schools have a weekly 25-hour work schedule. Your life while teaching English in Spain will be a pretty relaxed one. Most schools have long lunch breaks. The classes are interactive. Students are formal with their teachers who are expected to maintain discipline in the class.

    Educating Abroad Quick Tip: Though work environments vary from school to school, teachers have a fairly good work life balance. The bigger language academies and schools also offer options for professional advancement with in-house training programs.

    The Cost Of Living Teaching English In Spain

    You will earn enough while teaching English in Spain to live comfortably and to explore the country. Saving may be difficult unless you get an assignment in an international school or university. The cost of living in Spain is the lowest in western Europe. The quality of life is great with well equipped apartments, excellent public transport and a diverse range of food. Spain also has state-of-the-art health care. Since transport is very cheap, you get a chance to travel not just in Spain but also to other parts of Europe. Air tickets to other European countries from Spanish cities like Madrid and Barcelona are very affordable.

     

    spanish-rail-network-for-international-teachers-to-travel
    Spain has great inter-city rail links which means you could easily visit all the parts of Spain you want

    Rent and utility bills will account for 35 percent of your monthly outflow. The rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center will be approximately $600-700. Utility bills for garbage, electricity, heat and cooling will add up to another $120 per month. If you prefer to live away from the city center, you can bring down your rent bill by around $100. You can get a one-bedroom house in the outer locations of the city for $550. Communication costs including internet and mobile phone will be approximately $46, depending on the plan you opt for.

    Rents are high in cities like Madrid and Barcelona. But if you are living and teaching in smaller cities like Granada or Alicante, your monthly outflow on rent will be much lower.

    Eating out will be one of the highlights of your Spanish adventure. The food is healthy and delicious. If you like to have a leisurely and filling lunch, you have come to the right place (Do not worry. Spanish schools have an extremely long lunch break!).

    The Spanish lifestyle places a lot of importance on regular meals and lunch is the main meal of the day. Most restaurants offer a `lunch of the day’ special. The menú del día is usually a three-course affair and is priced at a very affordable $12-$15.  A regular three-course meal for two at a mid-price restaurant will be around $40.

    english-teachers-learn-how-to-cook-spanish-paella
    If you decide to teach English in spain why not learn to cook one Spain's most famous foods - Paella

    You can use your stint in Spain to pick up tips on how to cook the local favorites like paella and various kinds of tapas.  Spain has an amazing range of produce. If you enjoy cooking, grocery shopping and running your own kitchen is easy. You can also save money by whipping up home meals.

    Transport services are efficient in Spain. However, the Spanish generally walk everywhere. The cities are designed for walking with easily accessible shopping centers. Once you settle down in Spain, you may also prefer to walk through the colorful and vibrant streets rather than take a taxi or bus. Of course, if you want to explore the country, you can use the affordable public transport system.

    In case you are contemplating a move to this gorgeous country, The Expat Insider 2019 report on Spain highlights the following points:

        • Nearly all expats (97%) enjoy the Spanish climate and weather.
        • Spain achieves its best-ever rank in the Family Life Index (5th).
        • Over half the expats (52%) rate the quality of medical care very highly.
        • Spain ranks among the top 5 in the Quality of Life Index for the fourth year in a row (2nd out of 64).

    Other Things To See And Do Whilst Teaching English In Spain

    Visit the sleeping volcanoes at La Garroxta:

    volcanoes-at-la-garroxta-in-spain-a-adventure-for-esl-teachers
    You can arrange champagne air balloon flights...Safest way to visit a volcano?

    Take a trip to the La Garroxta volcanic zone. Wander around the pretty Pyrenees villages, have a lovely farm lunch and of course, gaze with wonder at the 40 volcanic cones looming in the sky.

     

    Walk back in history at the Alcala De Henares:

    english-tefl-teachers-visiting-alcala-de-henares-in-spain
    Walk the gorgeous streets of yesteryear in Alcala De Henares

    A world heritage site, the town is near Madrid. Cycle through the streets and slip back into the past as you pass the old churches, convents and university buildings. The town is also famous as the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes, author of “Don Quixote”.

    Eat, Swim and Catch the Sun at San Sebastián:

    international-teachers-teaching-english-in-spain-eattting-swimming-and-catching-the-sun-at-san-sebastián
    Rated as one of the best beaches in Europe

    Let your hair down in this picturesque resort town. Relax on the golden sands of the Playa de la Concha and Playa de Ondarreta beaches. Splurge on a dinner at a Michelin star restaurant. Or indulge in local delicacies at the quaint little eateries.

    Go on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela:

    english-teachers-teaching-in-spain-go-on-a-pilgrimage-to-santiago-de-compostela
    Beautiful catholic architecture can be found all over the city

    Say a prayer at the ancient Roman-Gothic cathedral that towers over the town. Follow the path taken by thousands of faithful over the years during the traditional St James Way, a pilgrimage that ends at Santiago de Compostela. Even if you are not religious, the hike through the scenic town will revive your spirits.

    Teaching English In Spain: Our Final Thoughts

    Spain can be something for everyone, however I do feel it most suited for those who like to have a relaxing and calming lifestyle with a few crazy nights here and there.. Also one for sun worshippers and food lovers.

    It is pretty simple. If you get an opportunity to teach English in Spain, go for it!

    International Teachers Experience Teaching English In Spain On YouTube

    Teaching English In Spain | Educating Abroad
    Teaching English In Spain | Educating Abroad
    Teaching English In Spain | Educating Abroad
    Teaching English In Spain | Educating Abroad

    Some Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching English In Spain

    How much money do you make teaching English in Spain?

    You can make anywhere from around $15 to $25 dollars per hour teaching in language schools as an English Teacher in Spain. If you manage to find a private English teaching tutoring gig in Spain you can expect to earn between $20 - $30 dollars per hour

    What qualifications do I need to teach English in Spain?

    The main qualifications to teach English in Spain are:

        • TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language)
        • CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults)
        • TESOL (Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages).

    You would also need a degree if you would like to teach english at an International school in Spain

    Can I teach English in Spain without a degree?

    Yes you can teach English in spain without a degree! It will be more difficult, but i you have a TEFL, CELTA or TESOL this will help you teach english in spain without a degree.

    If you want to teach English at an international school in Spain you would require a degree.

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