Spain is popular with foreign ESL teachers for many reasons including the consistently booming job market, the easy going culture, the warm climate, and the great food. Jobs can be found all year-round in many areas, but are you eligible to work there legally?
Do I need a university degree to teach English in Spain?
The simple answer is no, you do not require a degree in order to legally teach English in Spain. There are no government requirements for teachers to have any kind of academic background and the demand is so high in many areas that employers are equally unconcerned about your degree status.
What are the requirements for teaching English in Spain?
Generally speaking, schools in Spain prefer native English speakers in their classrooms as this is what most local students are looking for. However, they will not simply hire you on that basis without having completed some form of teacher training or having some previous experience. Typically, language schools in Spain will expect their job applicants to have an internationally accredited TESOL certificate on their CV/resume.
Can I get a visa to teach English in Spain?
If you have an EU passport (essentially native speakers from the UK and Ireland) you will be in a great position as you can live and work in Spain without restriction. Unfortunately, it is not as simple for other nationalities. Canadians and Australians who meet the criteria can apply for a working holiday visa that allows you to work under some set conditions. For the most up-to-date requirements of this option you should contact a Spanish embassy in your home country.
American teachers are very popular with younger generations in Spain as they often prefer the accent, however, it can be very difficult for Americans to get a work visa. Despite this, several thousand people still head to Spain from the US every year where they teach English even though they only have a standard tourist visa in their passport. Although this is technically illegal, the practice is widespread and generally without problems. If you are looking for a more legitimate way to work in Spain as a US citizen, you can apply for a student visa. This option allows you to work legally under certain restrictions while also studying Spanish.
Who are the main employers of English teachers in Spain?
By far the most common form of employment for foreign ESL teachers in Spain are private language academies. These can be found in large numbers in major cities such as Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, and Valencia. Private tutoring is also popular and this is an area that is growing considerably year on year, particularly with Americans who only have a tourist visa. Private tutoring usually takes place in the home of the student so the chances of getting in trouble with the local authorities is particularly low.