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How to teach English in Spain

Written By
By Munira Maricar
Travel Writer
Apart from reduced costs, traveling during off-peak times allows you to avoid crowds in famous tourist hotspots.

Imagine embarking on a journey where you blend professional growth with cultural exploration – you can do just that by teaching English in Spain! This opportunity is perfect for those eager to explore a new culture while sharing their knowledge of the English language. 

The path to becoming an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher in this dynamic country is filled with unique challenges and requirements. It involves grasping the nuances of the local education system, ranging from the Spanish government’s teaching initiatives to the precise qualifications required for teaching English in Spain. 

This guide is your comprehensive starting point for a fulfilling teaching experience in the heart of Spain.

Why Teach English in Spain?

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Spain’s commitment to bilingual education and the global importance of English has created a vibrant market for English teachers. Educational institutions, language academies, and businesses across the country, from Valencia to Seville, are constantly in search of qualified English educators. The demand for English teachers in Spain ranges from summer programs to long-term positions in Spanish universities, offering a variety of opportunities whether you’re looking to teach English in Spain over the summer or as a long-term career.

Do I Need to Know Spanish to Teach English in Spain?

Stock Alhambra in Spain

While knowing Spanish is not usually a prerequisite for teaching English in Spain, having a grasp of the language can enhance your overall experience both professionally and personally. It’s recommended to learn at least basic Spanish to navigate daily life more comfortably and enrich your cultural experience. But don’t worry since some of our recommended programs include Spanish lessons for participants. 

Some English teaching positions, especially in smaller towns or rural areas, might benefit from basic Spanish knowledge, as English proficiency among the general population may be lower.

Qualifications and Certifications


Securing a teaching position typically requires a Bachelor’s degree, and obtaining a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification can significantly enhance your job prospects. Why not get certified to teach English while you’re in Spain?

  • TEFL / TESOL Course in Barcelona: An accredited, intensive 4-week TEFL TESOL certification program located in Barcelona’s Eixample district, close to La Sagrada Familia. The course demands around 8 hours of class time daily, and class size is limited to 12 to ensure quality instruction, with facilities offering internet, lounge, and computer lab access. The curriculum covers practical and theoretical aspects of teaching English, including live practice teaching. Assistance is offered for accommodation during the course and job placements upon graduation.
  • Hybrid TEFL / TESOL Course in Madrid: This 4-week course combines 65 hours of online pre-arrival coursework with 70 hours of in-person training in Madrid, focusing on providing practical classroom experience through live teaching practice. The course is located in central Madrid, with modern amenities and small class sizes for a personalized learning environment. 


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Navigating the visa process is a crucial element of your teaching journey in Spain. While EU citizens can work in Spain without a visa, non-EU nationals typically require a work visa. However, getting a work visa usually requires a job sponsor, and many private language schools don’t want to deal with that due to its complexity and cost. 

Student Visa to teach English in Spain

Instead, many non-EU teachers opt for a student visa, which allows them to live, study, and work part-time in Spain. For a student visa, you need to apply through the Spanish consulate in your home country, providing relevant documents including 

  • proof of financial means
  • health insurance
  • a clean criminal record
  • an acceptance letter from a recognized academy in Spain​​

Check out the Madrid Student Visa Program from the International TEFL Academy. This program lets you take Spanish classes part-time for a whole year and get a Student Visa at the same time. You’ll also get personalized help with finding a teaching job right in Madrid.

If you’re thinking about going to Barcelona instead, there are similar Barcelona Student Visa options

Working Holiday Visa to teach English in Spain

A working holiday visa allows participants with citizenship from Australia, Canada, and New Zealand to work, and sometimes study, in Spain. However, there are rules like age limits (usually 18 to 30 or 35), and you need to show you have enough money to support yourself.

To learn more and start applying, it’s a good idea to talk to the Spanish consulate in your country.

Spain Government Programs

If you’re a citizen of a North American country, several programs by the Spanish government will allow you to teach English in Spain. You can explore the options here

What can I expect from a teaching English salary in Spain?


English teachers in Spain can expect to earn on average between €1,000 to €2,220 a month. While this range may not seem extravagant, it’s important to consider that the cost of living in Spain, especially outside the major urban centers, can be quite reasonable. This means that a teaching salary in Spain can certainly provide a comfortable lifestyle, depending on your living arrangements and personal expenses.

Your earnings as an English teacher in Spain will vary based on several factors, including:

  • Location: Salaries tend to be higher in larger cities such as Madrid and Barcelona compared to smaller towns or rural areas. The cost of living also varies significantly with the location, with major cities generally being more expensive. Additionally, teaching private English lessons can supplement income significantly, especially in urban areas where rates can range from €20 to €22 per hour or more.
  • Type of Institution: Public schools, private language schools, international schools, and universities each have their own pay scales. Generally, private language schools and international schools offer higher salaries, reflecting the demand for high-quality English instruction and the institutions’ private funding. Salaries in these settings can range from €1,500 to €2,000 per month, depending on the number of teaching hours.
  • Working Hours: The number of hours you work can also impact your earnings. Some positions may be part-time, especially in public schools, requiring 20 to 25 hours per week, while full-time positions at private schools may require more hours. Additionally, private tutoring or giving lessons in the evenings or weekends can provide supplementary income.
  • Experience and Qualifications: As with many professions, a teacher’s qualifications and experience can influence earnings. Higher educational qualifications, recognized TEFL certification and extensive teaching experience can lead to higher salaries.

Gain experience for English Teaching in Spain

Volunteer opportunities in Spain with IVHQ

Institutions may offer higher wages to teachers who bring specialized skills, such as experience in teaching business English or preparing students for international exams. You will also have an advantage if you can show demonstrable past teaching experience. Here’s how you can get teaching experience while you’re in Spain:

  • Try a Teaching in Spain Internship!
    • An exciting option for those interested in teaching and helping young people is Intern HQ’s Education Internships in Valencia
    • These internships are a great way to gain teaching-related experience by helping out in a classroom, working directly with students, or supporting organizations that help young people between the ages of five to 18.
    • The internships can be at private schools or non-profit organizations (NGOs) and last from 2 to 24 weeks. They provide a full experience, including accommodation and meals.
  • Volunteer with Young People in Spain
    • Participate in IVHQ’s Youth Support project in Barcelona, aiding disadvantaged youth in schools and after-school centers.
    • Engage in activities such as homework help, teaching English, and mentoring, contributing to personal development and life skills.
    • Open to volunteers aged 18+, with opportunities ranging from 2 to 12 weeks including optional Spanish lessons.

If you’re not yet in Spain, you can try volunteering teaching opportunities worldwide through the following providers: 

Spain Awaits!

Volunteer Forever - Volunteer and Intern in Spain

Teaching English in Spain presents a unique blend of professional opportunities and cultural immersion. Whether you’re exploring short-term summer teaching programs, seeking long-term career advancement, or participating in government-sponsored initiatives, the possibilities are extensive. By fully understanding the qualifications, navigating the job market with confidence, and embracing Spain’s rich cultural fabric, you’re setting the stage for a truly enriching teaching journey. Begin your adventure today and unlock a world of opportunities in this vibrant and welcoming country.