With slightly more relaxed job requirements than some of its neighbors, Spain is a great destination to start teaching abroad. Armed with a TEFL certificate, you'll find good paying jobs and experience Spanish life and work culture first-hand.
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Private Language Academies/Schools
Language schools can be found in all major cities (even smaller ones) and are one of the safest places to start searching for a job.
International House and The British Council are the main players in big cities and offer secure, well-paid, and well-supported positions. You’ll usually need a bit of experience (usually over two years) to get your foot in the door at these, but once in you’re career is pretty much taken care of.
The Spanish government runs a program called the North American Language and Culture Assistants exchange program, which places teaching assistants in public schools throughout Spain.
Teachers are given a monthly stipend of 700 euros and typically teach 15 to 20 hours a week. While it's not an absolute requirement, it's generally recommended that teachers in this program have a strong command of the Spanish language.
Read one teacher's experiences teaching in Spain with the North American Language and Culture Assistants program.
Another option is to simply show up in Spain and begin searching for people to give private lessons to. This requires a lot of time and patience, not to mention a physical space (like an apartment) to give classes in!
Advertise on local sites like Gumtree or Craigslist, put flyers up on notice boards (hugely popular in Spain) and head to the local universities to advertise your services. Word of warning: Many workers in Spain have their classes subsidized by their employer and require an invoice for a class.
Working in a private capacity makes this inherently difficult, as you need to register with the government. Having said that, you’re bound to find a few students who simply want conversational practice in most of the larger cities.
Private lessons range from 14-25 euros an hour, depending on experience.
Finding A Job
When and Where to Look for Jobs:
There are plenty of opportunities to teach English in Spain, from large culturally-steeped cities like Madrid and Valencia, to smaller cities like Asturias or Andalucía. Spain, for both the newly qualified or veteran TEFL teacher, is an amazing place to live and work. Finding a job in this part of the world is pretty straightforward, too!
Due to Spain’s high demand for English learning, it’s not surprising that there are language schools, private academies and locally funded education programs throughout the country. The first step in going about finding a teaching job in Spain is to consider what kind of experience you want.
If you want a totally immersive experience (with the view to learning Spanish quickly) start looking at the smaller academies or language schools in lesser-known regions like Asturias, Extremadura, and Galicia. You’ll still be able to find well-paying jobs in these places.
If you want more of a cosmopolitan vibe and plenty to do when you're not teaching, places like Madrid, Seville, Valencia and Barcelona are good places to look for a teaching job. While the costs of living in these places are higher, the opportunities are vast.
Tips for Finding a Job:
Perhaps the best way to find a really good TEFL job in Spain is to take your time and plan accordingly. Start the search months in advance of the peak hiring season in September/October and get researching, networking and asking lots of questions.
You might also want to visit Spain before you commit to a move. Seeing it on the ground, assessing cities and towns in person and being able to walk into a school before taking up a job there makes searching and finding a decent position that much easier.
Want to do this? Make sure you’ve got enough savings to tide you over while you look. 1,000 Euros should be sufficient enough cover for a month in a major city, and even longer in more rural areas.
Committing to anything over the Internet, Skype or email is not without risk. Avoid formal contracts with unknown employers if you can.
Teaching English in Spain has received a bit of a bad rap over the years, with teachers complaining about working conditions and profit-hungry schools and academies. Wherever you work, however, bear in mind these types of schools rely on profit -- and happy students -- to stay afloat. Unfortunately for you, you’re simply another cog in the wheel.