Teaching English in Spain: Country Guide

The climate, afternoon siestas, renowned cuisine, and the strongest TEFL jobs market in Europe are just a few reasons why so many EFL teachers love teaching English in Spain.

EFL teachers are in high demand in Spain and we’ve heard from many course graduates who’ve gone on to teach there that within a matter of months they were turning down work because they were so popular! Whether you’re attracted to the bustling nightlife of Madrid, the beaches of Valencia, or the picturesque views of Granada, there are opportunities to be found across the width and breadth of the country.

Palace in Spain


Key Facts

  • Popular locations for TEFL jobs in Spain: Madrid, Grenada, Zaragoza, Seville, Barcelona
  • Average salary for EFL teachers in Spain: The basic monthly salary for full-time positions is likely to be in the region of €1,200 – €1,500 (£1,100 – £1,400)
  • TEFL qualification requirements: For shorter contracts (2 weeks – 3 months) found in summer camp roles the 20 or 30 hour classroom courses are generally all that is expected. If you’re looking at a long-term role then we would recommend a TEFL course of at least 120 hours
  • Prerequisite university degree: No degree required
  • Term times: The Spanish School year begins in September until late December. The second terms start in early January until early April. The final term begins late April, running to mid June.
  • Currency: Euro €
  • Language: Spanish
  • Teaching programmes: The Meddeas programme seeks teachers to teach EFL to Spanish students between 2-18 years old
  • Age restrictions: Summer camp employers usually have an age restriction, but within long-term roles in language centres, schools, etc., there tends to be no age bias.
  • Previous teaching experience: This is not essential and there are plenty of opportunities for first-time teachers in Spain

Barcelona


Living Costs

  • Accommodation: £530 to £1,147. Most accommodation comes furnished
  • Utilities: £86 to £115 per month
  • Health insurance: Once you get your social security number, it will give you access to all social security services and healthcare in Spain. This is generally paid for by your employer
  • Monthly transport pass: £42
  • Basic dinner out for two: £28
  • Cappuccino in expat area: £2.05
  • A beer in a pub: £2.30
  • 1 litre of milk: £0.77
  • 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £1.47

You might not get rich teaching English in Spain, but money isn’t what attracts teachers to this vibrant country. You can earn enough to enjoy a good quality of life and experience what Spain has to offer, and it’s unlikely you’ll ever be stuck for work due to the sheer demand for EFL teachers. Many teachers working in schools and language assistants subsidise their income by tutoring on the side, which can give your income a big boost.

The cost of living in cities such as Madrid and Barcelona will be higher than elsewhere in the country, but your salary/amount you can charge for tutoring will be reflective of this. It’s uncommon for employers in Spain to offer accommodation as part of your contract (unless it’s a summer school) but they may be able to offer assistance and advice. Most teachers share accommodation with other teachers or expats.

Spanish food on a table


Finding a Job

Ten years ago, Spain was hit by a financial crisis that resulted in sky-high unemployment rates. While sections of the Spanish economy collapsed, the demand for English tuition spiked as Spaniards sought to re-enter education to boost their employability. This has resulted in a demand for EFL teachers that is unparalleled across the rest of Europe.

There’s plenty of work in Spain to be found year-round for teachers in language schools, state schools, private tutoring, and at summer camps. Many teachers working for schools will also tutor alongside this, on average making around 10 to 25 euros an hour depending on location and experience.

You don’t need a degree to teach English in Spain but having one makes it much easier to pick up work. If you’re from outside the EU it’s very difficult to legally work teaching English in Spain, as employers can only sponsor a visa if an EU citizen can’t fill the position. An option for non-EU citizens is to enter the country on a student visa, which allows you to work for a limited number of hours per week. For more information, see our post about how to TEFL in Europe as a non-EU citizen.

We always have TEFL jobs in Spain over on our Jobs Centre and you can also find positions on other jobs boards such as Lingo Bongo, Tus Clases ParticularesTEFL.com, Jobs in Japan, Dave’s ESL Café, and ESL base.

A great option for first-time teachers looking for more support in their first role is to work as a Language Assistant. Meddeas place assistants in over 200 schools across Spain where you work between 20-25 hours per week for a monthly grant of €930-1,162.

A spanish town


Student Stories from Spain

After working as an au pair and tutoring English for a year in Madrid, Megan decided to work within the public school system as a language assistant. She told us all about the application process and what’s really involved in the job, as well as private tutoring on the side.

“Private classes were abundant and easy to find online via Lingobongo.com, tusclasesparticulares.com, or the bounty of Facebook groups for English teachers in Madrid. You could charge anywhere between 15 – 25 euro per hour, and have your pick of ages and types of lessons (business English, conversation, play dates, exam preparation…) to choose from. This extra pocket money meant we all had plenty to spend on Saturday night cañas in Malasaña, treat ourselves at El Rastro on Sundays, and weekend getaways on those all-important puentes and school holidays – which, by the way, are all paid. During my time in Madrid I got to visit Toledo, Segovia, Granada, Brussels, Bruges, and Amsterdam all during the school year, and in the Summer break I interrailed through Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece. Madrid itself is a fantastic city that prides itself on its world-class nightlife, blue skies, and that kind of famous football club… So even when you were staying in town for the weekend, you were never short of things to do.”

Harriet started her TEFL adventure in Spain where she worked in the North of the country in the small town of Mungia, just outside of Bilbao. The job involved teaching learners of a wide range of ages and abilities, which can be a bit daunting for a first-time teacher but it was a great opportunity to really test her teaching abilities!

“During my first year of teaching I taught all types of English to soooo many different ages – it was crazy. But good crazy. I taught English conversation skills to teens in the secondary school, played games and sang songs with younger children in ‘fun, after-school English class’, and even participated in baking and playtime with little ones at home. The experience really pushed the boundaries of my confidence and teaching abilities and I often found myself doing activities that I truly hadn’t anticipated myself doing. I played the guitar and sang Christmas songs with my students to nursery school children; I invigilated exams; I went on a week’s residential trip to the mountains and even I ended up half-directing an end-of-year performance.”

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9 thoughts on “Teaching English in Spain: Country Guide

  1. I’m taking my course TEFL course, ‘140 hours study time’ along side my nursing job in March 2016. I’m saving now to relocate to Spain, from the UK and to live there permanently. I’m also making steps to learn Spanish, to eliminate any barriers above all else been determined to succeed to my new career choice.

    However my concerns are employability for when all is complete, and will I get support from this course to find my feet. I’m 35years young and following a dream I’ve had for several year’s!

    Any advice from anyone who has or is making their journey now, to live the same dreams as me would be really appriecated..

    Thank you Paula

  2. Hola, my name is Galina , I’m pretty much interested, I’m a lecturer at French college , I’ve been tutoring for 10 years , got the master diploma, I would be glad to be connected, thanks beforehand

  3. Hi all, looking for teaching jobs in Malaga or the north even, been teaching 23 years young adults and kids any advice here.

  4. Hi guys, have applied for loads of teaching jobs by email and not had to much response, they dont know what they are missing yes… ( i have my own trumpet ) I have Degrees 23 years in teaching , am i over qualified or doi i need to just give up with Spain of which i love so muchley

  5. One year ago, I decided to make a bold life decision and go to Spain to teach abroad through the TEMadrid Teach in Spain program. Other than one semester in England as an undergrad, I had never done anything like this before. TEFL Madrid helped me through the arduous task of getting a visa, and helped me get settled in. Their orientation process was fun and informative. I made friends for life. I also received my tefl accreditation. I stayed a second year in Spain. I even contributed back by working as an orientation leader for the next generation of Auxiliares.

    http://tefl-madrid.com/

  6. One year ago, I decided to make a bold life decision and go to Spain to teach abroad through the TEMadrid Teach in Spain program. Other than one semester in England as an undergrad, I had never done anything like this before. TEFL Madrid helped me through the arduous task of getting a visa, and helped me get settled in. Their orientation process was fun and informative. I made friends for life. I also received my tefl accreditation. I stayed a second year in Spain. I even contributed back by working as an orientation leader for the next generation of Auxiliares.

    http://tefl-madrid.com/

  7. Being Spanish myself, I wonder if I can get the TEFL certification to teach English in Spain or other country. Does anyone have any info regarding this?
    Thanks a lot

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