Teaching English in Spain

Reputable schools

There are around 6,000 private language schools in Spain, but only about 5 percent are registered.  If you don’t want your salary to arrive in a “brown paper” envelope at the end of each month (if it arrives at all), do your best to ensure the school is a reputable school.  Some of the people running schools don’t know anything about teaching but will place very high demands on their teachers to be everything to everyone, so it is always best to work for a registered school.


The days when simply being a native speaker of English was enough to get you a TEFL job are long gone. Nowadays you almost always need to be trained and qualified.  Good schools in Spain will now ask for teachers to be a native speaker of English, have a university degree and possess some kind of English teaching qualification. Ideally, they will also want you to have some experience and to speak some Spanish.


Most Spanish contracts involve working 24 to 26 contact or teaching hours a week. The actual contract will, however, be for 34 hours a week. The extra time will be given over to preparation, marking, exam marking, parent meetings and training. So if you sign on to 30 hours a week, you won’t have much of a life.  25 hours is the maximum workload recommended for a new teacher.


Most good schools in Spain will offer a monthly salary of around €1,200 to €1,350 a month before tax.  That’s for about 25 contact hours per week.  Madrid and Barcelona are quite different. The vast majority of people in those cities are working as freelancers and getting paid an hourly wage. Many of these people will be travelling around and giving in-company classes and perhaps working for two or three different schools.

Consider jobs outside of Madrid and Barcelona

Some people who think about teaching in Spain end up in Madrid or Barcelona just because they’ve heard of these places.  Choosing to live in a small place can have its advantages. Small schools can offer a lot more support. If you need resources, you can go straight to the source and cut out the middle man.  There’s also the satisfaction that comes with getting off the beaten track and immersing yourself in Spanish culture. You might find a Spain you never knew existed.

Apply early

The academic year at most of Spain’s private language schools runs from late September through to the end of June the following year. But don’t get caught napping. Many schools are already advertising for the 2014–2015 school year.   May and June are the right time to start applying for jobs.  But if you want to boost your chances, start sending out those resumes now.


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