Teaching English in Spain

This may be a discouraging but realistic perspective on TEFL/TESOL English teaching in Spain.

Posted by Casi Cielo

If you're thinking of teaching English in Spain, read these articles first, adventure later.

Teaching English in Spain can be hazardous to your health. If you’re expecting open arms and a fabulous lifestyle on the Mediterranean or la mesita, then think again. Although Spain has one of the least foreign language speaking populations in the EU (only the UK, Ireland and Greece are further behind) and according to the EU, only 18% of Spaniards speak English with a “conversational ability”, there remain plenty of barriers to cross; teachers from non-EU countries are often said to be among the most effective teachers but find it nearly impossible to find work in a language school, making teachers from the UK in high demand, despite qualifications (of course many of them are excellent teachers). The English teaching market won’t find itself saturated any time soon and Spain will likely remain behind due to this lack of opportunity.

This may be a discouraging but realistic perspective on TEFL/TESOL English teaching in Spain, but this series of articles will be specifically targeted to the non-EU expat heading out for an English teaching position in Spain. Through the cynicism and resentment (having been an English teacher in Spain), I’ll try to provide what help, lessons learnt and resources found as I’ve managed to collect during my time teaching to ensure your experience, or at least your decision whether or not to teach in Spain, is easier.

Then again, if you’re just out for the adventure of *wow* teaching English in Spain *how romantic*, move along, and get with the adventuring already!

The Teaching English in Spain Series

See the following articles in our series of five to teach english in Spain. Non-EU teachers, pay attention to The To Do List for Teaching in Spain, Teach Private Classes and Teaching in the Black.

  1. Teach English in Spain: Teaching TEFL/TESOL, TEFL Courses - Our first part of five articles providing information about teaching English in Spain. Discussion of TEFL, TESOL, certificates, TEFL school accreditation, and what to expect from your TEFL course.
  2. Teach English in Spain: The To Do List For Becoming a Teacher - Our second part of five articles providing information on teaching English in Spain. Discussion of the items you’ll need to do before you leave and in the first few months you’re here.
  3. Teach English in Spain: Teach In the Black - Part 3 of our 5 article series on teaching English in Spain. Information on teaching “in the black”, meaning illegally, with or without papers/visa, and under the radar of the Spanish tax and immigration system.
  4. Teach English in Spain: Teach Private Classes - Part 4 of 5 articles covering specific information on teaching private English classes in Spain. See our sample English teaching poster.
  5. Teach English in Spain: Teaching at Summer Camps - Part 5 of 5 articles about teaching English in Spain. Summer camps provide some of the best opportunities for English teachers during the summer months. Here we provide information on the whats, hows and whys of English summer camps for teachers in Spain.


Last updated 03 01 2013

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Baltimore said:

Firstly, your articles are very helpful. Thanks for posting them.

After pretty extensive research on teaching English in Spain it would seem that paying a company to do the leg work for you is the most efficient way of doing it. CIEE, the only one of it's kind I could find, takes care of temporary housing issues, helps with visa issues, and most importantly finds you a job in Andalucia. All of this for a small fee of course which ranges from 800- 3000 dollars depending on what package deal you get. They say that there is a 700 Euro monthly stipend included for the year abroad.

While the money isn't great is this program a good option?
Has anyone had or does anyone know someone who has had experience with this kind of service?

Are there comparable services offered for placement in Norther Spain (in Barcelona, for instance)?

LeighSanders's avatar LeighSanders said:

I'm a self-employed English teacher in Spain (been here 9 years) and have never heard of a similar service in Barcelona. Interesting concept though - I'll look into it, as I'm currently working on research for my book about TEFL in Spain. If I dig up anything, I'll be sure to let you know 😊

joseantoniojimenez1985 said:

Hello everyone!

We are recruiting interns (no fees for candidates or anything related) to do internships teaching English for native speakers.
This program includes 500?/month remuneration, health insurance and Spanish course, so if someone is interested, you can send me an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)!


Jon said:


Regarding the Petition.
Why should non-EU citizens get a 1 year visa? We all know who we are talking about here..N.Americans (+ possibly Ozzies). As an EU Citizen, I VEHEMENTLY object to all these people coming over here teaching whilst I have to jump through hoops to get into their country. I am not a xenophobe, I would love it if everyone could travel freely but while it remains one-sided, I want you OUT!

Thank you!

aarikafloyd said:


I taught English as a "cultural and language assistant" in Andalucia last year. I applied online and it is a "first come, first serve" type of application process. Through this program I taught English in a grade school where I was placed, not much choosing where I could be. It was also a 700 euro/month stipend. I knew people in places all around Spain, including Barcelona, Madrid, Granada, and Sevilla. My program also had no cost to apply, and after you are accepted, you do all the planning (flight, visa, housing arrangements). They have a program manual that helps with these processes, especially applying for the visa, and other resources for when you get to Spain. A few friends found jobs in order to stay in Spain longer after the program ended, one of which found an English teaching job after he spent two years doing this program. Overall it was a great experience and now the reason I'm getting a degree in a TESOL program to go back and teach.

Thank you!

Stacey Zumo said:


Do not do that program with CIEE. The Spanish government offers the exact same program (700 Euro stipend and all) with no charge (although, the visa fee for Americans is around $140).

Info can be found here:


It is open to all regions of Spain, and you can preference your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices for region (but not city). Keep in mind that this is a teaching assistant ship, not an actual teaching job. Only open to American and Canadian citizens with Spanish knowledge.

Thank you!

andreac said:


aarikafloyd what was the name of your program? Don't leave us hanging! 😊

Thank you!


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