Teach English in Spain

As Europe’s TEFL hotspot, sunny Spain is a great destination for newbie and experienced TEFL teachers alike!

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Sun, sand and excitable Spanish students… what's not to love about teaching English in Spain? From the bright lights of Barcelona and Madrid, to the beauty of the Balearic Islands, living and working in Spain is the kind of teach abroad destination dreams are made of.

Spain is often listed as the number one TEFL destination in Europe, and a top location when it comes to teaching English right across the globe. There are several reasons why so many English teachers jet off to Spain, and it’s not all down to sunshine and sangria (although the great lifestyle does help too!).

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Teaching English in Spain at a Glance

Whether you're experienced or inexperienced, there's plenty of demand for TEFL teachers in Spain. Naturally, the better qualified/experienced you are, the more likely you are to land top teaching jobs - and bear in mind that the most professional private schools can afford to be picky.

With Spain being so popular to teach English, expect high-paying teaching jobs to have fierce competition. However, there are so many TEFL jobs in Spain that even if you don’t score one of these top positions, you can still earn enough to get by and enjoy the Spanish lifestyle.

Here are a few of the essentials things to know if you're considering teaching English in Spain:

  • The most popular locations for English teachers in Spain are Madrid, Granada, Zaragoza, Seville, Barcelona, Malaga and Majorca. However, don't discount smaller cities, towns and rural schools, where a job teaching English might be both less competitive and offer a more authentic teaching English abroad experience.
  • The basic monthly salary for full-time teaching jobs is likely to be in the region of €1,200 – €1,500 (£1,053 – £1,317 / $1,300 – $1,623). Some positions, which are less than full-time or in locations with lower salaries, might offer contracts from €700 to €1,000 (£614 – £878 / $758 – $1,083), and others go as high as €1,800 (£1,580 / $1,950) per month. Teaching jobs paid by the hour, you’re likely to make €15 to €20 (£13.16 – £17.55 / $16.24 – $21.67), though hourly rates of under €15 aren’t uncommon. For private classes, €25 up to about €50 (£22 – £44 / $27 – $54) is realistic for the most sought-after teachers.
  • There's no legal requirement for a bachelor's degree to land a teaching job in Spain, but some schools and employers may express a preference for those who have one. However, if you do happen to have a college degree or academic background in education or teaching, you'll probably find yourself in high demand.
  • A TEFL certification isn't an official requirement to teach in Spain but most employers will only offer teaching jobs to those who have completed at least a basic TEFL course. For shorter contracts (2 weeks – 3 months) working in summer camps, a 20- or 30-hour classroom course would be sufficient. However, if you’re hoping to teach English long-term, a TEFL course of at least 120 hours is recommended.
  • If you don't have any previous teaching experience, don't worry - you can still teach in Spain. There are plenty of opportunities in the country for first-time teachers, especially those with a TEFL certificate showing they have the skills and knowledge to teach students.
  • There are no set age limits to teach in Spain. Summer camp employers usually have age restrictions, but long-term roles in language centres, schools, etc., there tends to be no age bias.
  • While it's not impossible to find teaching jobs as a non-native English speaker, there can be preference for native English teachers. You'll often need to prove your fluency and will almost always require a TEFL certification.
  • There are so many different teaching opportunities in Spain. From working as a cultural assistant to teaching at a private language academy to short summer placements at camps, it's easy to find teaching jobs. There are also a number of teaching English in Spain programmes available, including The Meddeas programme and NALCA programme.
  • The Spanish school year begins in September and runs until late December. The second term starts in early January until early April, with the final term beginning in late April and running to mid-June. Peak hiring times are usually late August/early September, but some private schools hire year-round.
  • The Spanish language (also called Castilian) is spoken by more than 70% of the population. English is the most widely spoken second language, but just 28% of people claim to have any fluency, meaning that learning a little of the Spanish language can go a long way to making daily life easier for ESL teachers in Spain.

Check the most popular countries to teach English abroad.

Requirements for teaching English in Spain

Technically, there are no set requirements to teach English in Spain. However, the reality is something quite different! What you'll need to land a teaching job in Spain will usually depend on two main factors; where you want to teach and what kind of visa you'll need to legally work in the country. For some schools, a bachelor's degree, previous experience and/or a teaching qualification will be required. For others, a TEFL certification will suffice.

No matter where you teach, an interest in the Spanish language and culture will go a long way to helping impress potential employers. Read on to find out more about exactly what you'll need to teach English in Spain.

Teaching in Spain with no degree

It's entirely possible to teach English in Spain without a degree. While having a degree might be a requirement to teach in certain schools, the demand for English teachers in Spain is so high that it's likely you'll be able to find a job without one.

However, particularly if you don’t have a degree, you will certainly need TEFL certification from an accredited provider. You'll also usually need to be an English speaker from a native country, or at least be fluent in English with the documentation to back it up. You might find it harder to secure a teaching job in the most popular locations - like Madrid and Barcelona - so it's worth considering less competitive destinations. But, if you have your heart set on teaching in the big cities, you might want to think about adding an Advanced TEFL course. This can help your CV stand out against other candidates and give you the extra skills for specific teaching jobs, including teaching young learners and teaching Business English to young professionals.

Country Avg. monthly salary Degree required Start of term Teaching experience Housing & flights included Suitable for non-native English speakers Age restrictions
Teach in Spain £614 - £1,317
($758 - $1,623)
Preferred September No No Yes None

Salary and cost of living in Spain

While it's true that you probably won’t become a millionaire if you teach English in Spain, even teachers earning at the lower end of the pay scale will make enough to enjoy what this vibrant country has to offer.

But money isn’t the only thing that attracts teachers to Spain's sunny shores. This is a bustling, beautiful country, with a fascinating culture, delicious cuisine and relaxed lifestyle that TEFL teachers love. Read on to find out how much you can expect to make, and spend, living and working in Spain.

How much do English teachers earn in Spain?

The average monthly salary for a TEFL teacher in Spain is likely to be in the range of €1,200 – €1,500 (£1,053 – £1,317 / $1,300 – $1,623). Part-time teachers or those in lower-salary locations may receive offers closer to the €700 to €1,000 (£614 – £878 / $758 – $1,083) range. Meanwhile, those with experience or a relevant degree could be offered as high as €1,800 (£1,580 / $1,950) per month. Hourly rates are usually between €15 to €20 (£13.16 – £17.55 / $16.24 – $21.67), while a private tutor can expect to start at €25 up to about €50 (£22 – £44 / $27 – $54).

There’s so much work available that it’s unlikely you’ll ever be stuck for classes to teach – and the demand for EFL teachers just keeps growing. Many teachers working in schools and as language assistants subsidise their income by tutoring on the side, which can give your income a big boost. Working as an online TEFL teacher can also be a great way to make extra money at times that suit you.

How much does it cost to live in Spain?

Even on lower wages, you can earn enough to enjoy a good quality of life and experience what Spain has to offer. The cost of living in cities such as Madrid and Barcelona will be higher than elsewhere in the country, but your salary will be reflective of this.

By living like a local (avoiding imported food and goods, tourist areas, etc) you’ll find that your money stretches further. Most teachers share accommodation with other teachers or expats to cut down on costs. It’s uncommon for employers in Spain to offer accommodation or a monthly stipend as part of your contract (unless it’s a summer school) but they may offer assistance in finding affordable housing near your school.

English teaching jobs in Spain

Wondering what it'll be like to teach in Spain? If you’ve taught in other countries before, such as Japan where the kids are quiet, shy and reserved, you might relish the opportunity to teach some fun-loving, chatty, boisterous Spanish students. However, remember there are ups and downs with all types of learners! Many teachers find it hard to stop their students from reverting to Spanish in the classroom, while young students can require a firm hand.

The work-life balance in Spain is good but be prepared for some unsociable hours. Depending on where you are in the country, the siesta in the middle of the day can mean that your working schedule is split up with both early mornings and evenings.

Types of teaching jobs in Spain

There are plenty of teaching jobs to be found year-round for teachers in Spain, from working as a language assistant or a private tutor to teaching at elementary and secondary schools. 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.

Let's take a look at the main types of teaching jobs available in Spain in more detail below:

Check out the latest TEFL Jobs in Spain

Public schools

Teachers working at public schools, whether that's preschools, elementary or secondary schools, will usually do so through a programme or government scheme. Each of these programmes has its own set of requirements - for example, some only allow citizens of specific countries to apply - which we look at in greater detail later on in this post.

Language schools

Working at a private school or language academy in Spain is a great option for those who have a TEFL qualification or background in education. They're usually well-paid, and have generous holidays and benefits. As the class teacher, you'll often be in charge of your own lesson plans and classroom management, which means a little previous experience and some basic Spanish can help!

International schools

Do you have a degree in education, a teaching license in your home country or previous experience as a teacher? A job at one of Spain's international schools could be for you. While it's not impossible to get a job working at an international school without an EU passport, they do tend to hire from within the European Union.

Language assistant

From either America or Canada? You may be able to find work as a Language or Cultural Assistant through the “continuing education” grant provided by the Spanish Ministry of Education. There are up to 2000 places available, with teachers placed at K-12 schools. You'll receive a living stipend and will usually have up to three days off per week to explore Spain.

Private tutoring

Want to experience authentic Spanish life with a local family? Be in control of your own schedule? Or simply boost your salary with some after-school private classes? Private tutoring in Spain is a popular option for many TEFL teachers.

Many first-time teachers choose to live with a host family in Spain, where they offer in-house English lessons in return for free housing and a living stipend. This is a great way to gain some experience, with the added bonus of really getting to know your students.

In comparison, there are a lot of English teachers who offer private tutoring on top of their full-time or part-time jobs at private language schools or international schools. This can be a great way to increase your monthly income, especially if you're a new teacher on the lower end of the pay scale.

Check out the latest TEFL Jobs in Spain

TEFL Jobs in Spain

Teaching English in Madrid

Do you want to teach English in Madrid? Good choice! Spain's capital city is packed with things to see and do (and eat!) in your time off from work. There's a medieval centre to explore, with a maze of shops, bars and restaurants hidden down historic alleys. Or discover the city's world-class museums, art galleries and exhibitions. At night, Madrid comes alive with late-night cocktail spots and open-until-sunrise clubs. If relaxing in nature is more your thing, the city is within easy reach of the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range - an ideal spot for hiking enthusiasts.

As such a popular, exciting destination, the best jobs in Madrid can be competitive. But with such a high demand for English teachers in the city, even those without experience shouldn't find it difficult to secure a job. Wages in Madrid will be higher than those in smaller cities and on the islands but remember, the cost of living will be higher too. You're also unlikely to receive free accommodation with your job in Madrid but accommodation is generally easy to find, and affordable place on a teacher's salary. If you're hoping to save money, you can always flat-share with another teacher or friend from Madrid's large expat community.

While living in fast-paced Madrid has countless upsides, it's smart to consider the downsides before you move too. Traffic can be intense, with frequent traffic jams in the city centre. Pollution can be an issue too, although the closer you get to Monte de El Pardo forest - 'the lungs of Madrid' - the better the air quality.

Explore the opportunity to teach English in Madrid

English teaching programmes in Spain

One of the most common ways to teach English in Spain is through a teaching programme. These vary between providers but are usually open to recent graduates and will provide housing (either private accommodation or living with a host family) a monthly stipend, healthcare, training and paid holidays.

Do an online search for "teach English programmes Spain" and you'll be inundated with results. Try to look for a long-established provider with good teacher testimonials.

One of the biggest and most-recommended providers is Meddeas. Unlike some others, their Language Assistant programmes are fee-free, with a generous monthly living grant and great ongoing training and support. They place teachers at more than 200 schools across Spain, with options for both private housing and accommodation with host families. You can find out more about the Meddeas programmes.

TEFL Org teacher story

Want to know what it's really like to teach English in Spain? Hear it straight from one of our TEFL Org graduates - Harriet - who found a job through Meddeas near Bilbao:

"My first year teaching English as a foreign language took me to the North of Spain. I graduated from Cardiff University in the Summer of 2015 and, after a summer of being an activity leader for a language school in Devon, I headed to live in the small town of Mungia, just outside of Bilbao. I found a job on The TEFL Org website with a company called Meddeas.

During my first year, 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 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.”

You can find out what our other TEFL graduates have to say by reading more student stories.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. How much does an English teacher make in Spain? 

    A teacher in Spain can expect to make in the region of €1,200 – €1,500 (£1,053 – £1,317 / $1,300 – $1,623) per month in a full-time position. However, depending on experience and location, this could be as low as €700 to €1,000 (£614 – £878 / $758 – $1,083) or as high as €1,800 (£1,580 / $1,950) per month. Teachers offering private lessons will usually charge between €25 to €50 (£22 – £44 / $27 – $54) an hour.

  • Q. When is the best time to apply for jobs in Spain?

    The Spanish school year begins in September and finishes in mid-June, with the peak hiring months of August and September.

  • Q. Are English teachers in demand in Spain?

    Yes! Spain’s TEFL market is almost unrivalled in Europe and there is a huge demand for English teachers across the country. With so many students hoping to learn English, even new TEFL teachers will find it easy to secure work in Spain.

  • Q. Do you need a degree to TEFL in Spain?

    In short, no, you don't need a degree to become a TEFL teacher in Spain. In reality, it's down to each individual school or employer as to whether they require their teachers to have a degree.

  • Q. Do you need to speak Spanish to teach in Spain?

    There's no hard and fast rule stating you need to speak Spanish in order to teach English in Spain. However, schools will usually look for teachers who, at the very least, show an interest in learning the lingo!