English ESL/EFL teaching in Spain

English ESL/EFL teaching in Spain

Globtrotters find Spain and its beautiful lanscapes amazing. Many elderly people consider that it's a perfect and peaceful place for retirement. However, there are different locations depending on your preferences. The life in Spain is full of holidays, dance, delicisous food, and vibrant nights. It comes as no surprise that such a place attracts many ESL teachers because the population is really into learning English. As long as the Spanish need English to trade and work worldwide, there are many appropriate workplaces with welcoming atmosphere for tutors. If you have been thinking about moving in Spain working as an ESL teacher, keep reading this article to find out how to do it.

Despite that Spain is wonderful in terms of the nature, people, climate, and food, it hardly can boast with the highest salary. So, it's better to set priorities beforehand. It's likely to make enough money to survive rather than to put money by. However, the payment has never been the key to move in Spain.

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Average salary and benefits for teaching English in Spain

As usual, salary depends on many factors such as a city, a type of institution, work experience, working hours, student's age. Obviously, such Spanish giants as Madrid and Barcelona have more to offer in comparison with small towns. An average wage an hour is €15-€30, so that working about 12 hours a week, you make about $740 a month, and $1250, working 24 hours a week. You may increase the sum in a private school making about $1450 a month. Such institutions also offer health insurance, paid holidays, some days off. Unfortunately, it's highly unlikely to have a paid housing or flight reimbursement. The good news is some big institutions provide in-house free trainings within a teaching position.


In comparison with well-known European countries, Spain is quite affordable. It doesn't relate to cosmopolitan metropolises but perfectly works in other towns. Plan your budget in advance keeping in mind startup costs.

The cost of living in Spain:

  • food is $100-200 a month;
  • transport is $50-100 per month;
  • accommodation is $200-600 depending on a city;
  • utilities are $80-150;
  • entertainment $70-250.

Spain won't make you a millionaire, however it will allow you to survive and relish the international vibe and the culture. But if you want to make a fortune, read our article about the countries with the highest salaries.

Requirements for English/ESL teaching in Spain

Spain doesn't require a lot of skills especially from EU citizens. However, if you aren't from the European Union, you will have to get a permit and a work visa to work legally. Also, it isn't enough to speak English fluently. What is more important is having an international teaching certificate. Getting CELTA, TEFL, or TESOL allows you to apply for a job with no experience and teaching lisence. Also, it's better to speak Spanish. If the huge cities can boast about the English-speaking population, small towns can't. It will complicate your teaching process if you don't understand students at all. There is a fat chance that you will be accomponied with a native Spanish speaker as an assistant. 

The common requirements for ESL teachers are:

  • bachelor's degree,
  • TEFL certification,
  • previous experience,
  • clean criminal background check,
  • English proficiency,
  • visa and work permit,
  • local health check.

It goes without saying that such details as clean criminal record and local health check are necessary when it comes to getting a work visa almost in any country. 

Teaching ESL without a degree

There isn't an accurate answer whether it's impossible to work in Spain with no degree. Technically, you must apply for a work permit before getting a visa, in fact it's rather your potential employer responsibility. The hiring company must apply for it on your behalf. So, you have to have a contract of employment. After, you will be eligible to apply for a work visa, it's called D-type visa, which allows to stay and work in the country longer than three months. Needless to say that there is no mention of a necessary degree.

On the other hand, it's pretty hard to find an employer, which is willing to hire a non-degree holder. It's not a descrimination, however the destination is so attractive and popular, so Spain became a compatitive labor market. There are many candidates, who can brag about having a degree in teaching and several international certificates. In this case non-degree holders just come to a waiting list.

Teaching English with no experience

In spite of difficulties to get a job without education, lack of teaching experience isn't a problem. As long as you can prove your competence with different credentials, you won't be unemployed. The best way to do it is to demonstrate some language certificates as CAE, CPE, EILTS, or TOEFL. And it will be better to have a teaching certification as well. Some private and even public institutions provide trainings to newcomers in teaching, so you will always be supported.

However, bear in mind that lack of experience inevitably influences your salary perspectives. You will have a chance to get trained and have international practice with Spanish students. It will embellish your resume down the road.

If you start thinking of enrolling in teaching courses to hone your skills in a couple of months, consider TEFL/TESOL certification. Such a program of both courses will make you familiar with the modern teaching techniques and learning approaches. It's not so complicated and exhausting as CELTA, and takes just several months.

Types of teaching jobs in Spain

There is a huge variety of workplaces in Spain. Depending on your credentials and qualification you may work having a pretty flexible schedule. All types of institutions offer not only different work conditions, but also goals. For example, if you aren't inclined to immitate animals and play charades, probably teaching children isn't your jam. On the contrary, working in universities you are supposed to constantly improve your qualification with some academic accomplishments. As we mentioned, some employers require ESL teacher to speak Spanish, so keep it mind when it comes to making a decision.

ESL class at school

Language schools

If you are not into teaching kids and teenagers, probably language schools will make you interested. There are many of them in Spain. Despite the fact that payment isn't the highest and doesn't differ from an average salary across the country, there are other advantages. There are so many students of different ages, so you have a chance to focus on those requests you are good at. Furthermore, flexible schedule allows you to work in several language schools at once. TEFL/TESOL certification is a necessity to prove your competence to teach people and make lesson plans.

Private schools

It's difficult to predict what Spanish private schools will require. They have no the only list of must-have things, so it may complicate the application process a bit. As long as private institutes offer different benefits such as higher salary, paid leave, holidays, and some days off, you have to make a good lasting impression on a potential employer. Teaching lisence or international certification is mandotary to prove the competence. You will be provided with lesson plans, materials, and assessment tests. Private schools preffer candidates speaking Spanish and having previous experience in teaching. 

Public Schools

Public institutes require candidates to get a teaching credential in Spain passing some state exams. It allows English speakers to be language assistants in primary and secondary schools in Spain. Down the road, you will have a chance to teach pupils on your own having conversational sessions. Such a position doesn't require tutors to have teaching certificates, however otherwise, it's highly unlikely to have a high salary.

There isn't much work to do, but you must be patient and posititve to teach children. Public institutes always provide necessary materials such as textbooks and a syllabuse. Working hours are in the morning, and sometimes you will have to take a part in some extracurricular activities. 

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International schools

As long as most students of international schools in Spain are bilingual, you aren't required to speak Spanish. In comparison with public schools an average class size is smaller, so it won't be a mess at the lesson. A wage is higher. Usually, the atmosphere is relaxed rather than under pressure. So, the main goal of an ESL teacher is to provide the most comfortable environment to speak English. You will be given all necessary materials, however there is always a possibility to diversify lessons with your own ideas.


Spain is full of decent universities offering bachelor's and master's degrees in many subjects. That is why it's so important to fit the bill. You must be qualified enough having a master's degree in linguistics or teaching to start a career at university. They also have a lot of to offer, paid leave, national holidays, vacation, and health insurance. Be sure you can impress a potential employer with your academic achievements.

Spain government English teaching programs

The Education Ministry of Spain has conducted some programs for rookies in teaching. Fluent English speakers with no teaching background can apply for a progarm to take an international work experience working in Spanish public schools. You may become a teacher's assistant to observe a typical English lesson at primary or secondary school. Thanks to the government of Spain, there are many programs where you can give it a shot as an English teacher.

There are some popular programs.

Government Program Program Fee Expected Salary Working Hours Requirements
Conversa Spain €1,400-€1,650 €875-€1,000 16 hours a week. Clean criminal background check, a bachelor's degree, a native English speaker, 20 years old.
Meddeas €1,000, refundable deposit €300-€900 20-25 hours a week. University graduate within last 4 years, a native English, French, German speaker, clean criminal record.
BEDA €175 €870-€1,100 20-24 hours a week. A native English speaker, 20 years old with a degree.
USETAM €150 will be returned at the end of the program €900-€1,300 18-25 hours a week. A native English speaker with a degree and clean criminal background check.

Obviously, there are some requirements to fit the bill and become a preferred candidate. For instance, in order to apply for NALCAP, you must provide following documents:

  • a copy of your US passport;
  • a copy of your diploma and transciption;
  • a signed statement of purpose;
  • a recommendation letter.

If you are interested, you can find more information on appropriate website of NALCAP.

Teaching English/ESL Online in Spain

Having your own classes with Spanish speakers allows you to save time on commuting and have a flexible schedule. Moreover, you may focus on specific purposes of your students and work with those goals you like. Depending on your qualification you can teach Business English, exam preparation, or General. There are different ways of online teaching English in Spain. You may advertise yourself on some popular websites such as Lingo Bongo and Tus Classes Particulares. This way will help if you are ready to work on your own. In this case you won't be supported by school or given a curriculum and textbooks.

Online learning English

On the other hand, there are some platforms, which can shoulder responsibilities for your advertising. Working on them, you always have traffic of students, stable income, flexible working hours, and community of colleagues.

Cambly offers conversational classes with students worldwide. Education and previous experience aren't required, but a candidate must be a native English speaker from such countries as Canada, the UK, the USA, South Africa, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand. You may set your own schedule making about $10 an hour. There is no minimum of working hours. Also, Cambly provides guides about teaching Business English to newcomers.

Verbling has strict requirements in comparison with Cambly. You must be experienced native speaker, or a non-native speaker with C2 level and TEFL certification. However, the pros is that you set your own rate for a lesson, where 15% of it goes to Verbling as a commission fee. It's a chance to work either full or part-time. Most students in Verbling are adults.

iTalki is a well-known platform with an opportunity to make a good lasting impression on potential students. Making a video introduction you may explain your way of teaching and tell some intriguing details about yourself. You must be either a native English speaker or C2 level holder. TEFL certification can replace a lack of experience and teaching lisence. Setting your own price you may control your monthly income paying iTalki 15% commission fee for each lesson except trials.

Where to find ESL/EFL jobs in Spain?

Now, when you know essential information on how to start teaching English as a foreign language in Spain, probably you wonder where to find a job. Thanks to the Internet, all institutions are searching ESL teachers online. So, it's better to look through some popular websites rather than applying for on the spot. Some resources allow you to choose work conditions, a place, and other factors before making a choice. Depending on you preferences you will get a variety of schools that match you.

Website How it works
TeachAway Sign up to send your CV and resume to employers on the website.
ESL Employment Picking a country and institution you may send your email adress to a potential employer.
Total ESL It suggests picking a country and submitting a form with necessary information about a candidate.
Indeed.com Searching English teaching jobs, you may look through many offers around the world.
Go Overseas A well-known recourse with a variety of offers from different countries.

Online searching will save your time and help to guess the most common requirements.

The best places to teach English in Spain

When it comes to making a choice where to settle down, there are many attractive places in Spain. All of them are marvelous in terms of the nature, friendly people, and gergeous sunsets. It is getting more difficult to call the shots weighting all pros and cons up. If you aren't into rush and fast-paced life, probably you should opt for some small towns such as Andalusia and Catalonia. Obviously, there isn't fierce competition among ESL teachers, because of low payment. However, if you want to be immersed in the original culture and feel Spanish vibe, give it shot.

It goes without saying that megapolises have a lot of to offer to English teachers. There are necessary facilities, entertainment, and vibrant night-life, in other words, everything that youth needs. There are three main destinations in Spain.


Madrid offers a huge variety of job opportunities. Depending on your preference and qualification you can opt for teaching children or adults. It is located in the middle of Spain and allows to travel to nearby places with ease. As long as you are in Madrid, your schedule is full of adventurous plans. There are always people, who are ready to support your vibe. Friendly people are got used to foreigners, so you won't feel alone or abandoned. Needless to say that an average salary in Madrid is higher in comparison with small towns. So, there is always a way to make money and live well.

Barcelona takes the second place in terms of population and job offers. It is the capital of Catalonia, and many people from the European Union claim that it's even easier to settle down here rather than in Madrid. The weather is perfect all the time, so each day suggests swimming in a beautiful ocean and taking a sunbath on white sand beaches.

Seville is something in the middle. It isn't so big, it isn't either small, there isn't scarcity of anything you need to have a good interesting life. The vibe is relaxed and laid-back, so there is a good chance to wind down after a hard day sipping a coctail in a local bar. It isn't a fancy place, so you won't spend a fortune on exorbitant clothes. Everything you need is here.

Make a list of priorities, which seem important and essential to you.

Common tips

Immersing in another culture, you may feel lost for the first time. Don't be afraid, because the Spanish are pretty friedly and laid-back. We have prepared some valuable notes just in case.

If you are nervous about being an ESL teacher in Spain, you may start with a position of teacher's assistant. Firstly, it will help you to get used to the atmosphere in a typical Spanish school. Secondly, you will enhance your comprehension of Spanish.

Keep in mind that students have a break from the middle of July till the middle of September. It's better to expect it and be ready to save some money in advance.

You will have to putting up with some local nuances and culture features. For example, some shops and other facilities usually close for a short time during «siesta». The Spanish are curious, so there is nothing wrong if some people are staring at you. You will likely meet some families, where adult children in their 30s still live with their parents.

In comparison with other cultures, especially Asian, you will notice some interesting details in Spanish students behavior. They are talkative and curious having attention to take a part in an event. Stick to the informal way of communication. Also, it's not necessary to dress up and wear smart suits at work, casual style is appropriate.


Teaching English in Spain isn't so complicated as it seems to be at the first glance. Now, when you have our guide, you better understand how to find a decent job, apply for a work visa, fit the bill, teach online, and where to settle down. The only common thing for almost all issues is teaching certification. When it comes to searching a job, having an interview, making money, and even obtaining a visa, international certification plays one of the most important roles.

Enrol now

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Teach English! It is the best way to earn money.
Travel, work online, get a job abroad, or be
an EFL and ESL teacher in your country.
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Having TEFL/TESOL certificate, you may work legally in Spain having a choice, whether you want to work with children or adults. Online TEFL/TESOL course will provide you with valuable knowledge about teaching people of different ages, making lesson plance, and searching materials. At the end of the course you will be issued with accredited certification, which is recognized by employers around the world. Furthermore, there is a top-notch support, which may help you to get a job abroad after finishing the course. You may become a qualified ESL teacher in several months. Check the link to enroll in online TEFL/TESOL course at a nice discount.

We hope you found this article useful and valuable. If you have some questions, leave them below, we are always glad to help.

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