SPAIN. Congratulations! You have made the big decision to move abroad, perhaps you even took a TEFL course, but now it is time to apply for a teaching job. The options can be overwhelming when searching for a teaching job in Spain. Among your possibilities are private language academies, public high schools, one-to-one private lessons, and summer camps. Each alternative has different prerequisites, average monthly salaries, and visa requirements.
Teaching Options in Spain: Advantages and Disadvantages of Common Teaching Jobs
Language academies are privately owned language schools that may offer instruction in other languages in addition to English.
- Consistent weekly schedule
- Potential for job contract & benefits
- Access to support staff and resources
- Possibility of summer work or an afternoon schedule
- Variety of ages and levels
- Small class size
- May provide help with visa
- Quality of academies greatly vary
- Classes are not always back to back
- Many academies pay teachers under the table and do not provide the proper contract
Average Monthly Salary: The salaries in private academies in Madrid range from 900€ to 2,000€ per month for a full teaching schedule of 25 classroom hours per week.
Public Schools (Language Assistant)
Working as a classroom teacher in a Spanish public school takes years of preparation, fluency in Spanish, and all potential teachers must pass an official teaching exam before being given a placement. Due to the difficulty, most foreigners who want to teach English in a Spanish public school choose the easier route as a Conversation Assistant. A Conversation Assistant helps the classroom teacher with their classes and may also teach classes of their own.
- Most programs offer a 9 month contract with private health insurance
- Consistent weekly schedule
- May provide help with visa (although it is usually a student visa)
- Part time positions
- Programs have been canceled in various communities for 2012-2013
- Large class sizes
- No possibility of summer work
Average Monthly Salary: 1000€ per month (16 hour/week schedule) in Madrid and 700€ per month (12 hour/week schedule) in the rest of Spain.
There are many private schools throughout Spain. To work as a classroom teacher in a private Spanish school you will need a teaching degree, but you will not need to pass the official Spanish Teaching Exam.
- Potential to work as the classroom teacher
- Possibility of a teaching contract with benefits
- Usually smaller class sizes than public schools
- May be able to assist with visas
- No potential for summer work
- Generally lower pay than an academy
Average Monthly Salary: 900€ to 1,400€ per month for a full teaching schedule of 25 classroom hours per week.
One-To-One Private Tutoring
Many teachers choose to supplement their teaching schedules with private classes and some even deicide to become freelancers and work full time giving private lessons.
- You are your own boss
- Potential to charge a high hourly rate
- Time lost traveling class to class
- Difficult to make a schedule with back to back classes
- You must provide materials
- You are responsible for your visa and/or freelancer status in Spain
- Students prefer to pay by class, meaning you don’t get paid when there is a holiday or a cancellation
Average Hourly Rate: In Madrid teachers charge between 15€ and 40€ per hour for private English classes.
English focused summer camps are common throughout Spain in the months of July and August for elementary school and high school students. There are day camp options as well as many reputable sleep-away camps.
- One of the only teaching opportunities available in summer
- Change of scenery (camps are often in beautiful locations in the mountains or by the beach)
- The job may include travel & food allowances
- Reputation for overworking and underpaying teachers
- Most camps pay teachers under the table
- Intensive schedules in isolated places
- Teachers may have to share rooms and/or have counselor responsibilities in addition to teaching
Average Monthly Salary: 900€ to 2,000€ per 1 month with food and transport usually included.
Some English academies hire staff to travel to different businesses and give in-company classes.
- Much more conversation focused English can be fun and relevant for the teacher
- Higher hourly rate
- Very early (6:00-9:00 a.m.) and very late (7:00-10:00 p.m.) schedules
- You may be much younger than your students
- It can be difficult to teach adult beginners
- Depending on the business, you may not be familiar with target vocabulary
Average Hourly Rate: In Madrid most companies offer their teachers between 18€ and 30€ per hour for in-company classes.
Visa requirements vary depending on your country of origin. Non EU residents will need a working visa, or, in special cases, a student visa will suffice.
For EU members:
EU members do not need a visa to work in Spain. You will, however, have to apply for a Spanish residency permit.
Non-EU (US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand):
It is very difficult, although possible, that a Spanish company will sponsor your work visa to teach in Spain. Many Non-EU citizens arrive in Spain on a student visa by taking language courses or university classes and they teach English on the side (as the student visa allows people to work up to 20 hours a week). Many North Americans choose to participate in the Spanish Ministry of Education’s Language Assistant Program where they receive a student visa as well.
As you can see, Spain has many different options for teaching English. Make sure to think realistically about the age group and level of English you would like to teach and also about whether you would prefer a morning or an evening schedule. No matter where you decide to teach, the most important things are having a fair contract with your employer and providing quality instruction to your students.