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Add a sprinkle of Mediterranean magic to your lifestyle by starting a dream career teaching English in Spain.
With its year-round blue skies, incredible art-inspired architecture and world-famous culinary delights, it’s no surprise that Spain is a highly sought-after destination for TEFLers far and wide. If you choose to up sticks and settle for a while in this European haven, you’ll benefit from a country-wide demand for English teachers, a care-free laid-back lifestyle and plenty of competitive salaries up for grabs – not to mention hundreds of jaw-dropping sites to explore on your days off. We’re talking the majestic peaks of the Pyrenees mountain range, plenty of rocky Mediterranean coastlines and masses of picture-perfect villages dotted over Spain’s vast hillsides.
Whether you’re searching for a cultural haven, a culinary adventure or a modern metropolis, Spain brings everything to the table. Fascinating historical sites, super-modern cities, endearing little backstreets and beaches stretching for miles, whatever type of TEFL destination you’re looking for, we bet you can find a version of it here. And with a family-oriented culture, midnight feasts and afternoon siestas, you’ll soon find yourself living like a local and relaxing into the Mediterranean way of life.
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No degree required
Cost of living
TEFL certificate needed
Main job types
Public & private schools
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Great news for non-degree holders – you don’t need a bachelor’s degree to enable you to teach English in Spain (hurray!). There are no visa stipulations relating to this and there are currently many thousands of English teachers working in Spain who don’t have university degrees.
However, those who do hold degrees will be offered more opportunities than those who don’t, so we’d recommend investing in a TEFL Course with a higher number of training hours such as our very own Level 5 320 Hour Diploma in TEFL. This way, you’ll give yourself a competitive edge over other non-degree holders – win!
In relation to the average teaching salary, the cost of living in Spain is quite high and it’s comparable to the majority of European countries. Many teachers take a few hours of online or one-to-one teaching work in their spare time to earn a bit of extra cash. As is the case in most countries, it’s going to be more expensive to live in the big cities like Madrid and Barcelona and cheaper in smaller towns like Salamanca and Logroño.
Accommodation costs vary from approximately £560 per month for a one-bedroom apartment outside the centre of Madrid to around £760 in the centre. Food is cheaper if you buy local produce rather than imported and the same goes for beer (Sagres, Estrella, San Miguel…). A pint of milk will set you back a cool 70p, a beer is about £1.50 and a one-way metro ticket will cost £1.30 or more.
The vast majority of TEFL jobs in Spain are in private language schools, as learning English is a popular pastime for Spanish children and adults of all ages. Working hours will be around 20-25 hours per week plus you’ll spend extra time planning lessons and creating resources. You’ll be teaching classes of roughly 12-15 students which is fewer than at public schools where you’d be teaching about 30 students per class.
If you find work at a public school, you’ll probably be working as a teaching assistant rather than running your own classes. You’ll work fewer hours – around 12-20 hours a week – but you’ll also earn less than at a private school. Public school salaries range from approximately £700-£1,050 per month whereas private will get you about £900-£1,300. However, public school contracts may have accommodation and health insurance included so you could actually be better off even though you’ll be earning a lower wage.
You’ll normally be required to have an EU passport if you’re looking for a TEFL job in Spain – but it’s possible to find work as a non-EU citizen through a government-funded or teacher training programme.
If you’ve got a United States or Canadian passport, it’s common to apply through the North American Language and Culture Assistants programme but there are numerous alternatives, such as, schemes where you study Spanish or take an in-country TEFL course to obtain a working visa.
Other than passport and visa requirements, you won’t need a degree or any particular qualifications to find a TEFL job in Spain, other than an accredited (or regulated) TEFL certificate. The absolute minimum number of hours needed is 120 but the more the better. If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, it’s even more beneficial to hold a higher number of TEFL hours to give yourself a boost on your job hunt.
The best place to look for TEFL jobs in Spain is online via TEFL jobs boards such as our sister company’s – LoveTEFL Jobs. This is by far the easiest and most popular method of finding teaching work abroad and the hiring process will normally involve emailing a written application to the employer, scheduling a Skype interview (if your application is up to scratch!) and then a potential job offer. Alternatively, you can travel to Spain and visit schools in person.
If you’re a non-EU citizen, however, your application procedure will be fixed by the scheme you’ve chosen to go through.
Term times in Spain run from September to June so you’ll probably be applying for contracts starting in September. Because the TEFL jobs market in Spain is pretty competitive, many teachers will start their applications around May/June time to give themselves plenty of time before the new term starts. If you want to apply for a position in a private school, they tend to hire all-year-round but the most popular times of year are September and January (when the second term starts).
Again, if you’re applying through a government-funded or teacher training scheme, you’ll need to adhere to the application deadlines provided – although, these are often a few months in advance of the start of term.
If you find a job at a private language school, you may be offered optional paid work in a summer camp during the holidays. If you’d rather take the summer to yourself, unfortunately you won’t get paid during your time off. Public schools, on the other hand, will pay you for all holidays, including summer, Christmas and Easter.
The obvious choices for TEFL job locations in Spain are the bigger cities like Madrid and Barcelona, and while they’re both incredible TEFL destinations, there’re plenty of smaller cities and towns that would also make amazing places to live and teach.
In southern Spain, Seville is a stunning city. With incredible Gothic architecture, plenty of arty museums and a high demand for TEFL teachers, this Andalusian capital is a great choice for culture vultures. Plus, it’s famous for flamenco dancing, with tons of venues in the buzzing Triana neighbourhood.
Situated on Spain’s east coast, Valencia is another dreamy TEFL location – and there’s lots to see and do there, too. Its mixture of modern structures and 15th-century buildings make for an eclectic experience, and it’s been named the City of Arts and Sciences so there’re lots of exhibitions and museums to explore on your days off.
If you’re after more of a bustling, busy city vibe, Madrid and Barcelona are both fun places to spend a good amount of time. Madrid offers a slightly more arty, bohemian lifestyle, whereas, Barcelona is cosmopolitan and cool. Both have tons of opportunities for TEFL teachers and both are amazing Mediterranean metropolises.
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