Find Your Dream TEFL Job

Quick Facts

  • Degree Required

    None

  • Salary

    $1,250-2,000/month

  • Visa

    Work Visa in advance / EU passport holders

  • Age

    21-60

  • Contract

    10-12 months

  • Cost of Living

    $1,000-1,900/month

  • Typical Students

    Business Professionals, Children

  • Interview

    Phone / Video call / In person

What Kind of Teaching Jobs Are There In Spain?

Most TEFL teaching jobs in Spain are at private language schools – a popular extracurricular activity for Spanish children of every age group. Another option for teaching English in Spain is being a Language Assistant at a public school.

Outside of these two common teaching positions, many TEFL teachers pick up work as volunteer English teachers. And if you’re looking for an extra source of income, you can also pick up private tutoring, which usually pays a generous hourly rate of about $15-28, depending on the school’s location.

Teaching at private language schools in Spain

Less than a fifth of Spain speaks English at a conversational level, but many locals are desperate to improve. Children and adults alike sign up for regular lessons at private language schools, also known as ‘academies’, of which there are thousands throughout the country. Lots of students also have private tutoring in English, which is another TEFL teaching opportunity. So, there’s plenty of work to go around!

Unfortunately, if you’re not an EU passport holder, you probably won’t be able to find legal TEFL teaching work at a private language school. This certainly doesn’t mean that you won’t be offered English teaching jobs in Spain. But keep in mind that if you accept a position, you’ll be working illegally on a tourist visa and won’t have the benefits of sick pay or health insurance.

Finding a job

The majority of jobs in Spain for English speakers can be found online, in places like our very own LoveTEFL jobs board. There are also a number of regular teacher job fairs and recruitment events, such as Spainwise. And you can always visit schools in person if you prefer to job hunt the old school way.

When to apply

Private language schools hire teachers year-round but the most popular times of year to find work are in September – at the beginning of the public school year, January – at the beginning of the next term, and in June – when summer English camps start.

It’s always sensible to start applying a few months in advance as lots of schools secure teachers months beforehand. For example, many schools hire teachers in May for a September start date, so you may want to start applying in April!

Teaching hours & Class sizes

Working at a private language school, you’ll likely be offered 20-25 hours of teaching per week, bearing in mind you’ll have to allow extra time to prepare lessons. Class sizes are usually smaller than at public schools, with only 12-15 students per class.

Salary & Bonuses

You can expect to earn between $1,250-1,650 per month with a TEFL certificate and $1,700-2,000 with a higher qualification, such as a CELTA or DELTA. Although, this is a higher monthly wage than most jobs at public schools – to match a higher number of working hours – your start-up costs may be more as well. It’s unlikely that a private centre will sponsor your visa, provide accommodation or reimburse you for your flight – whereas some public schools will.

Vacation

The vacation situation can be complicated in Spain. Centres that are part of a teaching association will give you two weeks of paid holiday at Christmas, one week of paid holiday at Easter and paid days off on public holidays. Private language centres that are not part of a teaching association don’t have to follow the same code of conduct and won’t necessarily give paid holiday.

When summertime comes around, you might be offered optional work at a summer camp. If you accept, work and pay will usually continue as usual – if you don’t, you obviously won’t be paid over the summer holiday.

If you take a job at a private centre as a non-EU passport holder, you’re unlikely to be given paid holiday. As employers would be paying you “under the table”, there’s no incentive for them to give you any benefits that they would do if you were hired legally. It goes without saying that securing legal teaching work will benefit you in both the short term and the long run!

Pros

  • There are more job openings at private language schools than at public schools
  • You don’t have to go through a programme to find work
  • In general, you’ll earn more than you would at a public school
  • You’ll be in charge of your own classes, rather than being a language assistant
  • Class sizes tend to be smaller

Cons

  • It can be difficult to find legal jobs in Spain without an EU passport
  • It’s unlikely that your flight, accommodation or visa will be paid for
  • You’ll probably have to prepare your own lesson plans

Teaching as a Language Assistant at public schools in Spain

It can be harder to find work at a public school, especially if you’re not from Europe. However, if you manage to find a public school job, the benefits can be top-notch. Along with working normal office hours from Monday to Friday, you’ll be given a working visa, health insurance and sick pay.

Finding a job

If you have an EU passport, you can usually find work in the same way you would for private language school teaching – searching online or visiting schools in person. However, if you don’t have an EU passport, you will probably have to go through a government-funded or teacher training programme to get work in Spain legally.

A popular programme for those from North America and Canada is the North American Language and Culture Assistants programme. Though there are a number of other programmes available with all-sorts of different benefits and requirements. For example, some schemes offer you a working visa if you study Spanish and others allow you to live and work in Spain while studying for a TEFL certificate.

When to apply

Spain’s academic year starts in September and ends in June, with most teachers securing contracts that start at the beginning of the school year in September or at the start of a new term in January. Though, as the TEFL market in Spain is rather competitive, April and May are generally considered the best times to look for work, well in advance of the first school term.

If you’re applying for public school work through a programme, you may be able to apply a few months in advance. Each programme’s application deadline varies, so make sure to check when applications are due well in advance. And remember, getting your first choice of teaching location may depend on how early you apply.

If you’re not quite ready to sign up for a full academic year, you can apply to teach at an English summer camp from June to September. These positions are much shorter than regular teaching contracts in Spain and give you the opportunity to get a taste of teaching in Spain.

Teaching hours & Class sizes

Teaching hours at public schools tend to be between 12-20 hours per week, allowing plenty of time for siestas and exploring! And classes usually have up to 30 students.

Salary & Bonuses

Depending on the number of hours you work, you can earn between $900-1,350 per month at a public school. This is usually enough to break-even in Spain, and many teachers will do private tutoring in their spare time to earn some extra cash.

Contracts at public schools usually also include health insurance and may have free accommodation included.

Vacation

Language Assistants in Spain generally benefit from paid holidays between term times. And you can expect three end-of-term breaks, at Christmas, Easter and summer.

Pros

  • Generally, you won’t have to prepare lessons for classes – as you’ll be an assistant, you’ll just help the leading teacher
  • If you apply through a programme, you may have accommodation provided and the cost of your flight reimbursed
  • You should be provided with health insurance, paid holiday and sick leave

Cons

  • If you are a non-EU passport holder, you will have to go through a programme to find a job
  • You’ll probably earn less than you would as a private language teacher
  • Class sizes are usually larger than at private schools

Other types of teaching work in Spain

Outside of these two common teaching positions, many TEFL teachers pick up work as volunteer English teachers. And if you’re looking for an extra source of income, you can also pick up private tutoring, which usually pays a generous hourly rate of about $15-28, depending on the school’s location.

Am I eligible to teach in Spain?

At the very least, you’ll be expected to have a 120 Hour Online TEFL Course. Teaching experience and a university degree aren’t essential, but you’ll definitely find more opportunities if you have these. If you don’t have either of the latter, it may be worth investing in the 140 Hour Combined TEFL Course to give you a competitive edge.

How can I get a visa?

If you’re an EU citizen, you can legally work in Spain without a working visa. If you’re from elsewhere, you’ll need to have a job offer in hand from a company willing to sponsor your work permit. Although this is possible, it can be very difficult to find a company that will sponsor you, as they will need to prove that your job couldn’t be done by a local. It can also take a number of months to obtain the work permit.

Lots of non-EU citizens legally teach part-time in Spain on a student visa. To do this, you must apply for a work permit from the Foreigners Office and prove that your job won’t interfere with your studies. Other non-EU citizens choose to teach under the table on a tourist visa, but bear in mind, this is actually illegal and can have consequences!

Where can I teach English in Spain?

Barcelona is possibly the most popular city in Spain for foreigners to live. Located on the Mediterranean coast, showered in sunny weather and home to some of Gaudi’s most famous architecture, it’s no wonder it’s so popular. On the other hand, Madrid has some of the best teaching resources and opportunities in the country. The city doesn’t have as many famous landmarks or sights as Barcelona, but it offers a great standard of living with plenty of green parks, fun bars and clubs, and great transport links. Seville is a great option for teachers who want to work somewhere quintessentially Spanish, with fantastic tapas, dancing and sizzling sunshine. Granada is a top teaching location for those who enjoy history, stunning landscape and adventure, with the opportunity to hike, ski or snorkel! Other places you might enjoy teaching English in Spain include Bilbao, Palma de Mallorca and Valencia.

What are the challenges of teaching English in Spain?

Although teaching salaries are comfortable, they’re not as high as many other TEFL teaching destinations. Though for most people, living in Spain isn’t about the money – it’s about the lifestyle!

A common challenge for teachers working at private schools is obtaining legal work, getting a working visa and getting fair benefits. For example, some private schools may not declare your full wage to the government – this can cause you problems if you ever need to apply for unemployment benefits.

Cost of living in Spain

As a TEFL teacher in Spain, your cost of living will be comfortable in comparison to your salary. To give you an idea of costs, an apartment in the centre of Madrid might cost roughly $950 per month, a pint of milk is around $1, a beer is about $2, and a one-way metro ticket is $1.50 or more.

In general, Spain has a similar cost of living to most of Europe, with Madrid and Barcelona coming up more expensive than Tallinn and Lisbon less expensive than Paris and Amsterdam.

About Spain

Spain is all about fiestas and feasts! Locals love a good party and a delicious dinner. So you can expect to enjoy an active social life and a few late nights – even if they’re just spent snacking on tapas all evening.

The scenery in Spain is much more diverse than most people imagine. There’s the incredible Pyrenees mountain range, and plenty of other places for hiking, as well as postcard perfect villages spread across hillsides.

Add to that the fact that the weather is beautiful most of the year – with plenty of sunlight and blue skies even in the colder months. The language is relatively easy to learn as an English speaker, as much of the vocabulary is quite similar to English. And there’s no shortage of nearby European holiday destinations for your summer break. What’s not to like?

Spanish culture

In much of Spain, life is about living, not working. In many cities, bars are busy most night of the week, as well as the weekend, and restaurants are full on midweek lunch-breaks.

That isn’t to say you won’t work hard – many TEFL teachers in Spain know it can be taxing, and many Spaniards work long hours – but you can expect to be surrounded by people who like to make the most of their spare time. So it shouldn’t be too difficult to find friends to go on adventures with!

But that Spanish energy doesn’t come from nowhere – Spaniards like a good snooze in the afternoon. Don’t be surprised to find shops, restaurants and post offices closed when it’s the nations naptime.

Spanish cuisine

Tapas alone is reason enough to move to Spain! Many seemingly average bars provide an assortment of delicious tapas, often serving it complimentarily when you order a few drinks. And depending on how close to the coast you are, you can usually expect some tasty seafood. A common favourite is patatas bravas (fried potato in a spicy sauce), as are an assortment of dishes with chorizo, cured ham or alioli (creamy garlic sauce).

Paella is another popular dish, which traditionally comes with large, juice shrimps and other types of seafood, but can be ordered with chicken too. Cool Gazpacho (chilled tomato soup) is ideal for a hot Spanish day and Spanish tortilla (potato omelette) is a nice hearty dish for a cool winter evening.

When it comes to sweet dishes, you can’t go wrong with churros covered in icing sugar. And popular Spanish drinks include café con leche in the day time and sangria in the evening!

The Spanish dining culture is also a fun one – locals like to go out for dinner quite late, ordering meals and tapas well into the evening. Although it’s not hot year-round everywhere in Spain, its usually mild enough to enjoy a meal outdoors.

Accommodation in Spain

For those of you who are lucky enough to get free accommodation included in your contract, you’ll likely be provided with a studio apartment or shared accommodation with other teachers.

If you need to find your own accommodation, a good employer will usually help you find the right location and price, as well as doing a little translation for you if needed. Monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Madrid costs about $700 for somewhere outside of the city and around $950 for somewhere in the centre.

Without the help of an employer, finding accommodation isn’t particularly difficult in Spain’s major cities. You’ll usually browse flats online and do viewings in the exact same way you would do it home. However, if you plan to live in a smaller town or village, you’ll need to speak a little Spanish – or have a friend who does. Be prepared to stay in a hotel or hostel for a few days while on your search, and beware of housing scams!

Weather in Spain

When you think of Spain, you’ll likely think of heat and sunshine. This is absolutely true, much of Spain enjoys delightfully hot weather, especially between May and October. Madrid is one of the hottest cities in Europe, often hitting temperatures over 40°C in summer, but experiencing little humidity. On the other hand, Barcelona peaks at about 28°C in summer and drops to around 5°C. Rainfall varies across the country, with Madrid getting about 11 days of light rainfall in May, and Barcelona getting about six days of slightly heavier rainfall in October.

However, don’t forget, Spain does in fact have seasons other than summer! During autumn and spring, Spain receives cooler weather and occasional rainfall. Whereas in winter, some parts of Spain reach freezing temperatures, especially in the north of the country.

While it’s true that the most popular destinations in Spain tend to enjoy warm weather, the country actually has quite a diverse climate. With a combination of coastal cities and inland mountain ranges, as well as winds from both the Mediterranean and Atlantic, there’s a real variation in weather between the south and north. In fact, the highest and lowest recorded temperatures in Spain range from -32°C in Lerida and 47°C in Andalusia. So, don’t make the mistake of assuming everywhere in Spain has scorching sunshine!

Please note: The information in this guide is accurate as of the time of writing. However, the laws and requirements to teach abroad can often change. Make sure to check the latest advice from the local authority of the country you plan to work in.

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