If you find yourself asking “Do I want to teach English in Barcelona?”, the more appropriate question really should be, why would anyone not want a job teaching English there?!
Wedged between the mountains and the sea, the ancient Catalonian capital is home to some of the best-known tourist sites in the country – from the wonders of the Sagrada Família to strolling along Las Ramblas and getting lost amongst the maze of streets in the Gothic Quarter. Expect a laid-back pace of life, with afternoon siestas, late dinners and an even later nightlife!
The old town might be where the majority of the top tourist sights can be found but there’s so much more to Barcelona. From stretches of sandy beach to museums on the hilltop of Montjuïc and the nearby mountain monastery of Montserrat, Barcelona has something for everyone – whether you’re a sun-worshipper, an art-lover or an outdoor enthusiast.
Barcelona: An overview
If you’re considering a move to teach English in Spain, few locations can offer as many opportunities as Barcelona. There’s a huge demand for teachers in the city, with a wide range of teaching jobs for all experience levels.
Most TEFL teachers in the city will work at either a private language academy or at a public school – the latter through an English teaching programme such as Meddeas or NALCAP. Others choose to teach privately, which comes with its own set of challenges and rewards.
Teach abroad salaries can be lucrative, especially for private tutors, but for the most part, a monthly wage will cover all of your essentials and leave just enough to enjoy a little bit of what this incredible city has to offer.
EU citizens are in luck, as they find a teaching job in Barcelona without a visa. Non-EU citizens which, since Brexit, now includes Brits will need to ensure they can get the correct work visa before they start working in Barcelona.
Overall, teaching English in Barcelona can be a hugely rewarding experience for first-time TEFL teachers and experienced teachers alike. Better start brushing on your lengua española skills now!
Explore further the opportunity to teach English in Madrid
Requirements for teaching English in Barcelona
Wondering what you’ll need to become an ESL teacher in Barcelona? The good news is that you technically don’t need anything to get started! Spain is one of the most popular countries to find a teaching job for this exact reason – but just because you don’t legally need any qualifications, doesn’t mean that schools, employers or English teaching programmes won’t ask for their own set of requirements.
One of the most commonly required qualifications for teaching English in Spain is a TEFL certification. Most schools will ask for their teachers to have completed TEFL courses with a minimum of 120 hours. Others may stipulate that a TEFL certification must include practical classroom time.
Some employers (and some English teaching programmes) might require a bachelor’s degree as well as a TEFL certification. This doesn’t usually need to be in a related field, although it can help in securing a better-paying job if your degree is in education or teaching.
Many schools in Barcelona are happy to employ new TEFL teachers who might not have any prior teaching experience, especially language academies where the turnover of teachers can be quite high. This isn’t usually the case for international schools in the city, which will often require their teachers to have a teaching qualification from their home country and at least two years of previous experience as a minimum.
One of the biggest requirements for teaching English in Barcelona is having the correct work visa. If you’re an EU citizen, you don’t need to worry about this as you’re eligible to work visa-free in Spain. For non-EU citizens, finding a job with visa sponsorship can sometimes prove quite challenging, which is why English-teaching programmes that help with the visa process are a popular route to teaching English in the country.
Salary & cost of living in Barcelona
Now that you know what you’ll need to teach English in Barcelona, you might be wondering exactly how much you can make as an English teacher…and how much it will cost to live there. The good news is, while they might not be the highest in Europe, salaries for teaching English in Barcelona tend to be enough to allow teachers to enjoy the best that the city has to offer, as well as leaving a little for travel in the holidays.
Teaching salaries differ greatly between jobs and schools, and can be hard to generalise – especially for those who also work as private tutors – but a basic full-time monthly salary should be somewhere in the region of €1,200 – €1,500 (£1,053 – £1,317 / $1,300 – $1,623).
This can go up to around €1,800 (£1,580 / $1,950) per month at some of the more well-known schools, while positions on the outskirts of the city might pay a little less at around €700 to €1,000 (£614 – £878 / $758 – $1,083).
If you’re planning to work at a private language academy that pays by the hour, you can expect to make around €15 to €20 (£13.16 – £17.55 / $16.24 – $21.67) an hour. Meanwhile, private tutors can charge anything from €25 up to about €50 (£22 – £44 / $27 – $54) depending on their experience.
Cost of living
As one of the top tourist destinations in Europe, it should come as little surprise that the cost of living in Barcelona can be quite high. This is especially true for accommodation in the centre of the city. This is why many teachers will live in shared accommodation in quieter neighbourhoods and commute to work in the city centre. Although one of the most expensive cities in Spain, in comparison to other European countries, like France and Germany, the cost of daily essentials such as food and transport isn’t as high, especially if you live like a local and avoid the tourist traps around the Gothic Quarter.
Like almost all destinations, how much you will have left over at the end of the month – whether you’re hoping to go home with some savings or travel during the school holidays – will depend on what kind of lifestyle you choose to live in Barcelona.
English teaching jobs in Barcelona
Barcelona is one of the top places for TEFL jobs in Spain, making it a popular location for both new and experienced teachers alike. While the competition for the top teaching jobs in the city can be high, the demand for English teachers is large enough that there should always be a job for those looking to find work.
Teaching jobs in Barcelona tend to fall into three categories: English teaching programmes at public schools, private language schools or academies, and private tutoring. While there are other jobs available, including teaching at an international school, teaching young learners at summer camps and teaching university students, these three main types of jobs are the most common in Barcelona.
If you want to work with Spanish students at preschool, elementary or secondary school level, you’ll usually have to do this through an English teaching programme. These are covered in greater detail further on in this post but the main programmes will usually require a degree and an interest in the Spanish language/culture as minimum requirements.
English teaching programmes in Barcelona
English teaching programmes are a common route to TEFL in Barcelona. There are many different types of English teaching programmes in Spain, with both government-run programmes and private programmes available, such as Meddeas and NALCAP.
English teaching programmes in Barcelona are particularly popular with recent graduates or new TEFL teachers. Most will help you to find a good placement, offer a guaranteed monthly stipend and accommodation and provide ongoing support – which can take a large part of the stress away for those who want to live & teach abroad for the first time.
These types of programmes are also popular with those who are not EU citizens as it offers an easy route to a visa for Spain. For example, The North American Language and Culture Assistants Program (NALCAP) – run by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sport – provides placements for teachers from the United States and Canada.
What you’ll need to apply will vary between programmes but being a recent graduate, having a TEFL or some teaching experience and knowing a little Spanish (or showing that you are interested in learning) are common requirements.
Read on to find out more about one of the biggest English teaching programmes in Spain.
One of the most popular ways to find teaching English jobs in Barcelona and throughout the rest of Spain is through the Meddeas programme. You’ll work as a Language Assistant at a Spanish private school for one year, with a decent monthly income, health insurance and ongoing support from the Meddeas team.
Placements are available at more than 200 schools across Spain, working around 20-25 hours per week, in return for a monthly stipend of around €930 to €1,162. You’ll usually have the option of staying with a local volunteer host family or arranging private accommodation. One of the most popular things about the Meddeas programme is that unlike many other teach abroad programmes, it’s completely fee-free.
To be eligible for Meddeas you’ll need to:
- Be a native-level English speaker
- Have a University degree from the last four years
- Enjoy working with children and young people
- Have plenty of energy and patience
- Have an interest in the Spanish language and culture
- Pass a criminal background check
While previous teaching experience isn’t a set requirement, having some prior experience can go a long way to helping secure a place through Meddeas, which can be quite competitive.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How much do English teachers make in Barcelona?
Salaries will vary depending on what kind of school you work for and whether offer private lessons in your free time but in general, English teachers in Barcelona can expect to make in the region of €1,200 – €1,500 (£1,053 – £1,317 / $1,300 – $1,623) per month.
Q. Is there a demand for English teachers in Barcelona?
Yes, the demand for English teachers in Barcelona, and Spain generally, is very high! There are always schools and academies looking for native English speakers (or those with near-native fluency) making Barcelona one of the top locations for TEFL jobs in Europe.
Q. Is it hard to get a TEFL job in Barcelona?
With such a high demand for TEFL teachers, finding a job in Barcelona isn’t usually too hard. However, it is easier for EU citizens to find work than those from non-EU countries who need to make sure they are on the correct visa for working in the country.
Q. What qualifications do you need to teach English in Barcelona?
While there aren’t technically any set requirements, you’ll usually need a TEFL certificate and a bachelor’s degree to teach English in Barcelona. Having a little Spanish can help too! It is possible to find work without these, but your job options will be limited.