English ESL/EFL teaching in Spain

English ESL/EFL teaching in Spain

Globtrotters find Spain and its beautiful landscapes 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.

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.

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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 Prociency,
  • 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.

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. 

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.

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