By Paige Lee
1. NOT a requirement – Four-year college degree!
First, let’s start with what you don’t need to teach English in Spain, a completed 4-year college degree. Demand for English language education among Spaniards is robust and a native English speaker is the ideal educator for the world’s 2nd language. Therefore, it’s common for language schools or families looking to hire tutors based on the fact that they are a native speaker with a TEFL certification and not to prioritize a 4-year degree. Great news for the 1/4 of ITA’s certified teachers looking to live abroad without having completed their 4-year degree!
2. A TEFL certification.
However, being a native English speaker alone does not qualify just anyone to take charge of a Spaniard’s future with the English language. Nearly all language schools and private families require their English teachers to hold a legitimate (accredited) TEFL certification so that they know what training and skills a prospective English teacher possess.
3. Understanding of the visa laws and common practices.
Having the legal right to work in Spain looks different for a variety of passport holders. While EU citizens typically will automatically have legal working status, Canadians and Australians may want to consider applying for a Working Holiday Visa.
American English teachers (with their highly prized American accents) are in high demand in Spain, but will not typically be provided with the legal right to work in Spain (a work visa). Therefore, a clear majority of American English teachers are working under the table and being paid in cash in order to live as an English teacher in Spain, sometimes for years at a time! If you’re curious about what this looks like, make sure to read the ITA alumni firsthand accounts through their Q&As and articles on the Spain country and teaching profile.
There is a minority of American teachers in Spain working on a student visa, for which they are taking Spanish classes to be eligible. Read more about that approach to working in Spain here.
4. Understanding of the types of English teaching jobs that are available.
The English teaching industry in Spain is undergoing a cultural revolution! In the country’s most popular cities, Madrid and Barcelona, attendance at English language academies is slowly declining. As the Spanish middle class grows stronger after the recession, many families are opting to hire a private tutor to work one-on-one with their language learner. While many teachers envision themselves in a classroom setting, the reality of teaching in Spain these days (especially for Americans) is that most of the opportunity is working in private tutoring sessions. ITA has hundreds of TEFL Alumni who are currently teaching or have previously taught in Spain in this style. Here are two helpful testimonials of working as a private tutor in Spain’s two most popular markets:
5. Savings for start-up costs.
Finally, as Spain is an incredibly popular destination, start-up costs and monthly cost of living are going to be something you’ll want to plan for to prepare for your arrival. Interviewing for work in a language school or establishing yourself as a private tutor almost always happens in the first two weeks after arrival. After that, you should expect another four weeks to pass before you earn your first paycheck or until your schedule is comfortably filled with private tutoring clients.
Therefore, we recommend you plan to bring enough funds to cover your first 6 weeks of living in Spain. In USD, this amount should be somewhere between $2,300 and $3,000 for 6 weeks. In Euro, this amount should be somewhere between €2,050 and €2,750. To learn more generally about financial planning for teaching abroad, check out What are Basic Start-Up Costs for Teaching English Abroad?
Bonus Hot Tip!
Last, but not least, to make sure you are prepared to teach English in Spain you should plan to speak to an ITA Admissions Advisor! Reaching your goal of teaching English in Spain will require planning and research. ITA’s Advisors are experts in the nuanced details of teaching English in an incredible country like Spain, so they’re here to make sure your questions and concerns are addressed.
Want to Learn More about Teaching English in Spain & Europe?
Request a free brochure or call 773-634-9900 to speak with an expert advisor about all aspects of teaching English in Spain and Europe, including TEFL certification, the hiring process, salaries, visas and more.
- Teaching English in Spain - Country Profile
- Ambassador Fact Sheet: Barcelona, Spain
- Visas & Jobs: A Quick Guide to Teaching English in Barcelona for Americans
- What You Need to Know Before Moving to Spain to Teach English (The Ultimate Super Cheat Sheet)
About the Author: Paige Lee
Born on a snowy Rocky Mountain-side but raised in the Chicago suburbs, Paige has lived and worked in Shanghai, China where she taught English and explored the Asian continent, as well as the "Land Down Under" in Australia.