Teaching in Spain is a profession which many people have considered in the past and many people will consider in the future. Due to the fact that Spain attracts more than its fair share of expats from around the world, the majority of which are English-speaking, has opened up a massive market for expat teachers looking to teach in Spain in particular.
The Spanish expat community
As we touched on above, the expat community in Spain is enormous and appears to be growing year-on-year. While the vast majority of expats are English-speaking, or looking to speak English, there are also other languages which are proving popular amongst the expat community. However, obtaining the relatively high paid teaching positions in Spain is not as easy as you may think and you need a various qualifications and expertise, although it is worth remembering that teaching in Spain comes in many forms and different areas of the market are looking for different qualifications and experience.
Do you need qualifications to teach in Spain?
The truth is that without formal teaching qualifications you may well be able to obtain informal work from the Spanish teaching community but ultimately this is likely to be very badly paid and you would not necessarily want to mix with the institutions which would take on somebody without formal qualifications. In order to progress a long-term career teaching in Spain it is vital that you have the relevant qualifications and relevant experience.
Qualifications needed to teach in Spain
In simple terms, the more qualifications and experience which will have in teaching, whether this be English, Spanish or any other language spoken in Spain, the more chance you will have of building a long-term career in the country. While qualifications such as CELTA (certificate in English language teaching to adults) and TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) are mentioned on the thread there is some debate as to the real value of these particular qualifications against good old-fashioned state school or private school teaching experience.
It is worth remembering, as pointed out on the thread, that just because you may be fluent in English, Spanish or any other language, it does not mean that you can necessarily teach that language to others!
What options are open for those looking to teach in Spain?
There are a number of options available for those with teaching experience in Spain which include:-
Spanish state education system
While a number of expat children may well be enrolled in international schools this is not the case for all expat children as many may not be able to afford the relatively high fees. As a consequence, it should be possible to obtain teaching positions in the Spanish state education system although if you’re moving to Spain predominantly to teach then you should, at the very least, have a basic understanding of Spanish. It will obviously be helpful to have various teaching qualifications with CELTA (certificate in English language teaching to adults) and TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) often mentioned.
Ultimately the International School market is the pinnacle of the Spanish education system with regards to income and career prospects. However, it is also the most difficult to break into because expats are paying significant amounts of money per year to have their children taught by the cream of the Spanish teaching profession which includes expat teachers. Therefore if you do not have significant experience in your homeland, a good grasp of English, a basic understanding of Spanish and the relevant qualifications from your home teaching authorities then in effect you are wasting your time.
Teaching from home
As you might expect, there is great demand for home tutors in the vast array of countries which attract expats from around the world. Spain is no different although you will be fighting in a market which is very tough and can be difficult to make a good living from. However, it can offer a stopgap for expats who have moved to Spain with teaching experience and are perhaps struggling to find work in the short to medium term. There is also the chance to take on telephone tutorials, which are mentioned in the expat forum Spanish section, and these can be very lucrative if you are able to arrange a solid flow of telephone tutorials classes.
If you have a knowledge of Spanish, English or any other language, it is highly likely that you will be fairly sought after by expats in Spain – or even Spanish nationals looking to translate various documents into different languages. As ever, the rates of pay will vary wildly across the country depending upon the competition in your area and the standard of translation which you can offer.
What income can you expect from teaching in Spain?
There is a thread on the expat forum which covers in great detail how wildly the potential income from the teaching profession varies across Spain. It will vary from sector to sector, such as international schools, state schools and home study and it will also vary from area to area. If you’re looking to move to Spain and make use of your teaching experience and teaching qualifications then you need to do your homework regarding what income is available in and around your chosen destination and compare this to the standard of living you would expect to experience.
While there are many opportunities for those looking at teaching in Spain you need to appreciate that this is a very competitive, yet very big market, and those with the greatest experience and most qualifications will ultimately “bag the top jobs”. That’s not to say it is not possible to earn a decent living teaching in Spain but the less qualifications and the less experience you have the more difficult it may be to arrange long-term teaching related income.
Even though the more popular expat language in Spain has to be English, there are other opportunities in other foreign languages. The Spanish teaching market is enormous and ultimately only the cream of the world wide teaching profession descending on to Spain will grab the top jobs which offer high levels of security and relatively high incomes.