Teaching English in Spain

By | November 25, 2016

Spain is located in south western Europe and shares borders with France, Andorra, Portugal and Gibraltar. It has had a major influence around the world and Spain’s culture and traditions can be found all over. A number of countries use Spanish as their official language and Spanish is the second most commonly spoken first language in the world after Mandarin.

There are 3 main climates in Spain: the Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters, the semiarid climate where the dry season continues into the winter months, and an oceanic climate where temperatures tend to be influenced by the ocean.

Currently, Spain has the 13th largest economy in the world and offers a high standard of living, offering a good quality of life that has seen it placed higher than other European counties such as France, Germany and the UK.

Read more about Spain from Wikipedia.

Why Teach English in SpainNuevos Ministerios Madrid

Nuevos Ministerios Madrid

Nuevos Ministerios Madrid – Image courtesy of WikiMedia.

Could you image living in a country where you get to take afternoon siestas, drink fine wine and sangria, and also eat delicious tapas whenever you want? Spain is also home to age old traditions and culture, beautiful landscape, great shopping, and a fantastic night life!

Moreover, there is a real demand for native English speaking teachers and is a very popular destination for TEFL teachers for a number of reasons. To name just a few, it is possible to find a job teaching English without a degree or a teaching certificate (albeit, with a much lower salary than those with a degree and a teaching certificate) and moreover, the lifestyle is relaxed, the country is beautiful and the locals are welcoming!

You can also earn a fairly high salary compared to your cost of living and TEFL teachers can actually live quite well on their salary when compared to other European countries. It is even possible to earn enough money to save a little each month working as an English teacher in Spain.

Where to Teach English in Spain

You will find that there are teaching opportunities all over the country, but you will find that the biggest job markets are located in the bigger cities including Barcelona, Madrid, Seville and Granada to name just a few.

For more specific information about teaching English in Spain, click one of the links below:

Barcelona Seafront


Types of Teaching Jobs in Spain

Public Schools

Madrid by Night

Madrid by Night

To work in the public school system in Spain you need to have passed something called ‘oposiciones’ which are public examinations for civil service employment. Moreover, the public schooling system generally only employs teachers from the EU.

If you come from North America, you might want to consider applying through a government program called the North American Language and Culture Assistants. In this program, you could become a teaching assistant at a public school anywhere in Spain.

Read more about the program from the official website. You will find everything you need to know about how to successfully apply to the program on their website.

Private Schools

On bimulous nights when the sky is like lace...

Costa Del Sol

Most TEFL teachers will find jobs in private language schools which can be found all over the country. These schools have different requirements for their teachers, most will require that you have a bachelor’s degree, teaching certificate (such as a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA), and experience, whilst others will only require that you are a native English speaker! However, schools with higher standards will often pay higher salaries and offer more job security than those that don’t.

Private Lessons

The final option for TEFL teachers in Spain is to look for private students. Usually, teachers use this method to supplement their income and not many use private lessons as their main source of income.

The reasons for this are that it can be difficult to find enough students to make it a full-time job, and students often cancel or rearrange lessons at very short notice meaning that you will have to be very flexible and have a large number of students to ensure that you get a regular income.

If you have enough time and patience you can find enough students to make this a viable income as there are many Spaniards that are willing to pay for private lessons to improve their English.

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Teaching Requirements and Qualifications


Alcazaba y Teatro Romano – Malaga

It is possible to find a job being only a native English speaker, but for most jobs you will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree, a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA, and some experience. Therefore, you don’t really need to have a teaching certificate to get a job in Spain, but having one will mean that you can find more opportunities and you will probably be able to get a higher salary than those without one.

You don’t need to speak Spanish to find a job as an English teacher, but outside of the big towns and cities, you won’t find many people that can speak English. Therefore, being able to speak Spanish will help with your day-to-day life.

Expected Salary and Living Costs

[sociallocker id=”1631″]Your expected salary can vary quite considerably depending on a number of factors. This includes where you are living in Spain, the school you’re working for, your experience and qualifications, and finally what type of job you have.

If you successfully apply for the North American Language and Culture Assistants program, you will get a monthly stipend of €700 per month.

Private schools will pay between €10 and €20 per hour and you can easily make at least €1000 per month and in some cases as much as €1600 or more. Again, the amount you get paid will depend on many things.

For private classes you will be able to charge about €15 – €20 per hour and your monthly salary will depend on how many students you have.

The cost of living can be between €1000 and €1600 per month and this largely depends on where in Spain you are living (cities are usually more expensive) and your lifestyle. Therefore, a teaching job should be enough money to make ends meet every month, and you could even save a few Euros every month.

For more specific information about the cost of living in Spain, see Numbeo.[/sociallocker]

Visa Requirements

Amanece en Playa Velilla

Amanece en Playa Velilla

It is quite common for teachers that aren’t from the EU to arrive on a tourist visa and stay for longer than the allotted 90 days. However, you will be working illegally and whilst some schools are happy to pay you in cash, it isn’t the best idea because you will have no backup if things go wrong.

EU citizens are preferred because they don’t need a visa to work in Spain and if a school wants to employ a non-EU citizen legally, they must prove that there are no Spaniards or EU citizens that are capable of doing the job. In the English teaching profession, this can be quite difficult because there are many qualified teachers from the UK and Ireland.

Foreigners that come from both EU and non-EU nations must apply for a NIE which will be used as your official ID. You will need this to rent an apartment, open a bank account and even for things like joining gyms. To obtain one of these, you must have proof of a job or a job offer.

For more information about the NIE click here.

How to Find a Job Teaching in Spain

Duquesa port

Duquesa port

First of all, the peak times for hiring in Spain tend to be in September, October and January. The worst time to look for a teaching job would be in August as this is when most Spaniards take their holidays.

You will find that a number of schools actively recruit online and advertise vacant teaching positions on international, national and local jobs boards. You will also find that some schools will carry out interviews online and in some cases offer you a position without meeting in person. Mostly, however, you will be expected to complete a face-to-face interview in person before being offered a job.

For this reason, it will usually be much easier to find jobs when you are already living in Spain. You can still use the internet to find vacant positions, but you can also use other methods too. Try getting a list of schools in the area where you want to teach and contact them directly either by email, phone or in person.

Finally, you should try networking and meeting other English teachers to see if they know of any job openings. A good way to meet expats is on the internet because there are always forums or Facebook groups where expats living in Spain like to hang out.

Teach English in Spain

There is a real demand for native English speaking teachers in Spain. British and Irish applicants are often preferred because they don’t need to apply for a working visa which can take a long time to process.

If you are a qualified and experienced English teacher, you will find the most opportunities and it’s possible to find a job with a reasonably good salary where you can afford to live a fairly comfortable lifestyle.


Although I have never worked in this country, every effort has been made to ensure that this information is correct. This blog post has been written after extensive research online, interviews with teachers who have worked or are working in the country, and local schools have been contacted. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. If you have worked or are working in Spain, we would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and share your experiences with us.

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