Spain has long been one of the top destinations in Europe for teaching English abroad. Thousands of teachers from all over the world head to Spain every year drawn by the promise of a relaxed lifestyle, a beautiful coastline dotted with sandy beaches, and the opportunity to learn Spanish while living in a modern, international city such as Madrid or Barcelona. If Spain is your number one choice, take a look at the following tips that could help you on your way.
Table of Contents
If you are serious about living and working as an ESL teacher in Spain, the first thing you will need to do is complete a TEFL certification course. Without a TEFL certificate you will find it difficult to secure a well paid teaching job anywhere in the country.
Thanks to a government recruitment program it is possible for a relatively small number of teachers to secure a job in Spain from within their own country. However, the vast majority of teaching jobs are filled locally by interviewing face-to-face. For the best chance of success you should simply jump on a plane to your city of choice and immediately start applying for vacant positions. The thought of heading overseas without a job waiting for you might be a little scary, but don't be put off as the high demand for teachers means you are virtually guaranteed a position if you are well prepared and determined to succeed.
In order to take advantage of the main hiring season, you should plan to be in Spain by mid-September. At this time of year there are thousands of vacant positions waiting to be filled for the upcoming school year. Early January sees the beginning of the secondary hiring season that lasts throughout the month.
Although Spain is a large country, the vast majority of teaching jobs are located in a handful of big cities. The largest number of jobs can be found in Madrid where the peak hiring season is early October. Other major cities such as Barcelona and Bilbao are also home to significant job markets.
As Spain is a member of the EU, people from other EU nations do not require any form of visa or work permit. This is great news for citizens of the UK and Ireland in particular, as being native-English speakers who are visa free means they are highly employable. For non-EU citizens, securing a work visa can be a long and complicated process so many teachers simply stay and work on a basic tourist visa. Technically this practice is illegal, although it is common practice for thousands of teachers every year and is unlikely to cause any problems. If the thought of working ?under the table' does not appeal, then another option for non-EU citizens is to apply for a student visa. To obtain the visa you will need to sign-up for a government approved training course, typically a Spanish language course. Once you have secured the student visa you are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week.
Finding a job in Spain usually involves job hunting once you have actually arrived in the country. For this to be viable you will need enough spare cash to see you through until your first payday. On average most people should be able to secure a job within a couple of weeks so you should budget for at least four to six weeks of living expenses. This equates to between $2000 and $3000 US dollars.
Although few employers in Spain advertise and recruit from abroad, it is still worth checking online ESL job forums before you leave. Even if you cannot secure a job, you might be able to line up some interviews in advance. Once you arrive in Spain it is time to get busy contacting as many schools as possible in your chosen area. The Madrid Blue Pages is a useful reference guide for finding contact information, as are the Yellow Pages, English and Spanish language newspapers, and online searches. To enhance your chances of securing an interview, it is important that you send a professional looking CV/resume and cover letter to potential employers. It might also be an advantage if you have them translated into Spanish. Another good idea is to buy a phone or SIM card on arrival so you can provide a local contact number. Finally, always make sure you present yourself in a smart and professional manner when meeting employers, as anything less is guaranteed to ruin your chances of landing a dream job teaching English in Spain.