Thanks to its many attractions such as a warm climate, relaxed lifestyle, top-class beaches, and world famous cuisine, Spain always draws a large number of foreign EFL teachers. For many teachers it also offers the perfect opportunity to practice their own Spanish language skills while living in an iconic city such as Madrid or Barcelona. If you are considering Spain as your teaching destination, take a look at the following tips.
What do I need to teach English in Spain?
One of the big attractions of Spain as a teaching destination is that the only real requirement is a TEFL certificate. These days you will almost certainly need one if you want to secure a well paid job with a reputable employer. In fact, many employers will simply reject your application if it doesn’t have an internationally recognised TEFL qualification attached to it.
How do I apply for TEFL jobs in Spain?
One popular option is to apply to a government recruitment scheme known as the Cultural Ambassadors Program, from within your own country. This program places foreign teachers into local schools, although the number of places are limited and the competition is always very strong. In reality, the majority of teachers actually head off to Spain first and then actively start looking for work on arrival. This straightforward approach involves flying to your chosen location and then contacting as many potential employers as possible, armed with your CV/resume and a cover letter. On the face of it this approach can seem a little daunting, but there is little to worry about as it is common practice and a high demand means that success is all but guaranteed for anyone who is well prepared and determined.
When should I apply for TEFL jobs in Spain?
To ensure you have the widest choice of job options you should time your arrival in Spain to coincide with the main hiring season that starts around mid-September. At this time of year there should be plenty of vacant positions available for the upcoming school year in most major areas. January is also a good time to arrive as there is a smaller recruitment window at the start of the year.
Where should I look for TEFL jobs in Spain?
Spain is a big country by European standards, however, the majority of TEFL related jobs are found in a small number of big cities. The capital city, Madrid, is home to the largest number of potential jobs, and Barcelona is not far behind in second place. Outside of these two main options there are also a good number of potential opportunities in cities such as Bilbao, Valencia, Seville, and Granada.
What about visas and work permits?
Anyone with an EU passport is in a strong position as they can live and work in Spain without any restrictions. In contrast, non-EU citizens will find that securing a legal work visa can be quite a difficult process which means that a large number of people simply work with nothing more than a basic tourist visa in their passport. Despite being technically illegal, this practice is common all over Spain and it is rarely a problem for foreign teachers. If you would rather keep everything fully legal, you might want to apply for a student visa that allows you to work up to 20 hours a week. To qualify for this option you will need to enrol on a government approved training course, typically a Spanish language course.
What are the start up costs for teaching English in Spain?
As it is common practice to head to Spain without having a job waiting for you, you will need to have enough money available to see you through to your first payday. As demand is very high most teachers are able to find a job within a couple of weeks, but you should still budget for around four to six weeks of living expenses to be safe. This translates to somewhere in the region of $2,000 to $3,000 US, depending on your lifestyle.
How do I find a good TEFL job in Spain?
The most successful approach is to apply for as many jobs as you can find in your chosen area. To locate potential employers you can utilize local publications such as the Madrid Blue Pages, the Yellow Pages, English and Spanish language newspapers, and online teaching forums. If you want to make the best impression possible it is vital that you have a professional looking CV/resume and cover letter. It might also be a good idea to have a Spanish language version of these that you can leave with schools and language centers. One other good idea is to invest in a local SIM card so you can provide employers with a local contact number to reach you on. Although it should go without saying, it is also important to present yourself in a smart and professional manner when meeting employers as this can be the difference between success and failure right from the start.