The land of tapas, flamenco, and siestas, Spain has a rich history deeply intertwined with the many cultures of its people. Spain’s different regions, Basque country, Catalonia, and Andalusia, might as well be their own countries; the distinct languages, food, and customs of each region make the chance to teach in Spain a dream for adventurers and explorers. Spain is one of the world’s most popular locations to earn a TEFL certification abroad, and there is a high demand for native English speakers who want to teach in Spain.
The most popular locations for TESOL programs in Spain are in the nation’s biggest cities: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Sevilla. When choosing a certification program, it is important to make sure that it is an accredited TEFL program that entails at least 120 hours of courses as well as practice teaching. Before committing to a program, it’s important to speak with the program provider, learn more about the program, and assess the legitimacy of the classes, teaching style, and certification requirements. Most importantly, all TEFL certification programs should provide job-finding and networking assistance after completion of the program. TEFL programs in Spain that award Cambridge CELTA (Certificate in Language Teaching to Adults) certifications are the most widely recognized and accepted.
Madrid has the largest TEFL job market, and is a good place to take a certification course and search for jobs. Home to the famous Prado Museum, the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor (Madrid’s famous main square), and thousands of bars, cafes, clubs, and restaurants, such as El Museo de Jamon (Museum of Ham), this lively city always has something going on.
Valencia, Barcelona, and Seville are located in three different regions of the country. Valencia is famous for its delicious paella (rice dish) and Las Fallas, a traditional festival held for Saint Joseph in which giant statues are burnt. Barcelona, a city full of beaches and Gaudi’s distinct architectural style (displayed through the cathedral La Sagrada Familia), actually speaks another language called Catalan. Seville has one of the most impressive cathedrals in Spain, world famous Flamenco shows, and widely growing bitter oranges used for jam and marmalade. Each of these cities has a large number of TESOL programs and TEFL jobs available.
Courses & Programs
Programs can offer online TEFL courses or instruction provided in a classroom setting. Traditional in-class courses usually consist of 120 hours or more of workshops, tutorials, group work, and four to six hours of practice teaching. Online courses, on the other hand, are much more independent with less hands-on experience. Online TEFL courses available in Spain may have teacher observation through online videos, which still require students to partake in four to six hours of teacher practice in an ESL learning environment.
At the end of coursework, participants must take a TEFL certification exam and pass in order to become TEFL certified to teach in Spain. A bachelors degree is usually required to participate in programs which offer TEFL certification abroad, and participants must be native or fluent speakers of the English language.
Salary & Costs
Certification programs typically cost anywhere from $900 to $2,500 USD, and average salaries for those who teach in Spain range from $900 to $2,000 USD each month. Teachers in smaller cities tend to earn a lower salary, while teaching opportunities in Madrid, or other big cities, pay higher.
Most TEFL teachers in Spain have roommates and pay around $300 to $500 USD for accommodation. The cost of living in Spain is relatively low, normal groceries such as bread, milk, fruit, and vegetables are actually inexpensive compared to the United States. Additionally, olive oil, a product widely used throughout Spain, is extremely cheap in comparison to many other places; you can buy a five liter bottle of olive oil for just under $20.
Clothes, shoes, souvenirs, and restaurants tend to be a bit more pricey than groceries and rent, but overall, it isn’t impossible to live off of a TEFL teacher’s salary. Teachers often do private English tutoring as well to supplement their regular pay.
Accommodation & Visas
Though some TEFL programs don’t offer housing, many programs offer housing assistance to help students find accommodation. There are some programs that have pre-planned housing options for an additional fee, but most teachers opt to stay in a shared apartment or flat.
Some non-EU citizen TEFL program participants come to Spain on a tourist visa that is valid for 90 days. After finding a job, students may apply for a Spanish work visa in order to teach in Spain; work visas are necessary to legally teach English in Spain. That being said, many non-EU citizens are paid under the table because it can be difficult to obtain a visa from Spanish employers. There are some program providers that will supply their participants with student visas. International TEFL Academy, for example, is paired with an accredited language school in Spain that allows participants to obtain a student visa. This ensures that participants can legally teach in Spain for one year.
Benefits & Challenges
The TEFL job market in Spain is one of the biggest in Western Europe - there are jobs in almost every city in Spain, making it a great place to participate in a TEFL certification or TESOL program. With job finding assistance and networking, it’s almost guaranteed that participants will find a job in Spain. Some programs even boast 100% job placement. One thing that TEFL teachers in Spain should be aware of is that only a small portion of Spanish citizens speak English, so it can be difficult to get by without at least a basic knowledge of Spanish.