How to Teach English in Spain

Teaching English is a great way to finance a long visit to Spain. English is a popular second language, and that has created a high demand for native speakers. You won’t get rich teaching English, but you can find a good location in Spain, use the income to cover your living expenses, and then use that as a base to thoroughly explore the entire country or venture farther afield in Europe. If you need accommodation, youcan find it here: Apartments in Javea


  1. Get a TEFL/TESOL certificate. Reputable Spanish schools will expect your certificate to be from a Certificate in Teaching English Language to Adults (CELTA) program, or the equivalent. CELTA is a Cambridge University-based standard for teaching English, which demands 120 course hours, including several of hands-on, in-classroom training. Having this high level of training will help you get employed.
  2. Now that you have an English-teaching certificate, you can go looking for work. Some programs, especially those that in the U.S., offer placement programs that may find you a job in Spain. However, you should do your homework and collect contact information for every English-teaching school you can find in the areas of Spain where want to live. Contact them directly about employment. This improves your odds of finding a job and teaching English in Spain.
  3. Apply for a short-term work, or Cuenta Propia, visa. You cannot legally be paid with just a tourist visa, but a school that pays you under the table will offer little money. The type of visa you want technically makes you a self-employed freelancer in Spain. Offering you a standard contract and regular work visa under the law means you would be eligible for full social protections, and this is uncommon for starting teachers. You will need your criminal record, a notarized declaration that you are disease-free and in good health, and a statement of employment from your school. You may be required to return to the United States to apply for the visa, depending on the circumstances.

Ironically, you will find it easier to get a CELTA certificate in Spain than in the United States. There are few programs in the U.S. that offer CELTA or CELTA-equivalent training, but many programs in Europe do. International House Spain, for example, has facilities in such popular places as Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and Cordoba. There are also private institutions that offer these courses. You will also be able to interview for jobs in person if you are already there getting your certificate, which is a big plus.

Most schools in Spain do not bother with helping prospective teachers get a visa, and therefore have a policy of only hiring EU citizens or those who already are legal residents and have their own work permits. If you are not from an EU country or are a resident alien, there is nothing you can do to get around this in the short term except to focus your initial job hunting efforts on schools that have some kind of American connection. These schools typically want to hire American teachers. An example is the American Language Academy, and in Spain there are several others.

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