Teaching ESL in Spain

Teaching ESL in Spain

Teaching English in Spain is perfect for ESL teachers seeking culture, history, warm weather, and excellent cuisine.

Living and Teaching in Spain
Spain: At a Glance
Spain: Living in Spain
Spain: Teaching ESL in Spain
Spain: Financial Snapshot

Peak ESL Hiring Season in Spain
How to Find Jobs Teaching English in Spain
English Schools in Spain

Additional ESL Resources To Help Teach English in Spain
Tips for ESL Teachers in Spain

Teaching Requirements for Canandians in Spain
Embassy and Consulate Information for Spain

Peak ESL Hiring Season in Spain

The peak hiring time for people interested in teaching English in Spain is usually September or October and again in January. Spanish schools operate on a similar schedule as their North American counterparts and most students have the summer off.

Finding a teaching job in the summer is probably harder than any other time of the year. With school being out for the season, summer camps may be an English teacher’s best summertime employment option.

Public and Private School System

The Spanish education system is provided by a hybrid of public and private schools. It is estimated that 30 percent of Spanish children attend private schools, while the others go through the public school system. Children are required to attend school from ages six to 14. Once students reach the age of 14, they are able to continue their education (depending on how good their marks are), or can receive a certificate and leave school.

The curriculum at a Spanish school is taught in the Spanish language, which can make it challenging for ESL teachers to find work. There are more jobs teaching English in private schools than there are in public schools.

Private Tutoring

Some ESL teachers find teaching private English lessons to be a better path than teaching in-school. ESL teachers often find that they can make more money teaching in a one-on-one setting than compared to a classroom environment. A large part of teaching private lessons is marketing to find prospective students. It is best to hang up posters around town, talk to other teachers, and use the Internet to advertise. It is recommended that an ESL teacher in Spain charge €10 - €25 an hour. ESL teachers under contract with an English school should verify with the supervisor that they are allowed to teach privately. This is usually outlined in an ESL teacher’s contract and breaking this rule could lead to dismissal and removal of any Spanish visas.

Live-In Positions

Another option for some English teachers in Spain is to take a live-in ESL teacher position. There are some families in Spain looking for a private English tutor to come live in their home and give one-on-one English instruction to their children outside regular school hours. Some of these positions are paid and some are volunteer jobs; both can be great ways to begin a teaching experience in Spain.

Jobs Teaching English in the Summer in Spain

With so many people applying for positions in popular peak hiring months such as September and January, people ignore the summer season. Most schools in Spain operate on a similar schedule to Canadian schools; therefore, many Spanish students do have a summer vacation. Numerous private schools teach throughout the summer months and this is a high turn over time for ESL teachers in Spain. Some schools offer additional programming in the summer months to attract students who normally use the summer as a break; this is another good way to get into an English school in Spain.


How to Find Jobs Teaching English in Spain

At one time, Spanish schools were full of Canadian and American English teachers. Now, with the amount of paperwork and red tape it takes to get work visas, these numbers have gone down quite significantly. One principle resource for Oxford Seminars' graduates is to make use of their Graduate Placement Service. All graduates of the TESOL/TESL/TEFL certification course have access to a team of Job Search Advisors who will assist teachers with finding teaching positions internationallly.

There are also other resources to help in the search for an ESL job in Spain. For teachers still living in North America, the best place to search is the internet. Using the internet offers the ability to translate listings in Spanish to English, and there are plenty of sites that offer job postings for ESL teacher positions.

In addition to checking out job search web sites ESL teachers can look for work in some of Spain's many newspapers. The following online publications are written in Spanish, but can easily be translated to English with Google Translate.


English Schools in Spain

Large International Schools for Teaching English in Spain

Many find communicating with large international schools to be an excellent avenue toward finding a job. These schools offer children a chance to have an English curriculum whilst living in a Spanish environment & culture. Please note that many international schools will require provincial teaching credentials in order to consider your application. 

Here are some examples of international schools for teaching English. Remember these schools receive a large number of applications, so when contacting them, be sure to stand out from the crowd.

  • The American School of Barcelona

    Since 1962, this non-profit school has been teaching Spanish children from pre-kindergarten to Grade 12. The American School of Barcelona centres their lessons on the American public school curriculum with some local Spanish culture added.

    Most of the school's staff come from outside of Spain and they do employ ESL teachers under contracts. The school is located in Esplugues, a small town on the outskirts of Barcelona. http://www.a-s-b.com/

  • International College Spain

    The International College Spain is an English school for children from the ages of 3 to 18. Lessons are primarily taught in English with Spanish and French taught as second languages. The student population at the International College Spain is very diverse, with students coming from all around the world. The teaching staff is almost equally diverse, with teachers coming from 25 different nations including Canada. www.nordangliaeducation.com/


Additional ESL Resources to Help Teach English in Spain

The internet is a great source of information for any type of research, including working as an English teacher in Spain. The best way to find information is to read about the experiences others have had teaching in Spain.

Please note that these are merely examples of the resources available and they may not suit individual teaching needs.


Tips for ESL Teachers in Spain

  • Learn as much Spanish as possible before moving to Spain and write out some Spanish cheat sheets or commonly used phrases.
  • Save up some money before leaving, for travel, rent, and other living expenses. Talk to a financial/banking advisor about how personal finances can be managed while away.
  • Remember, adapters will have to be purchased for any electronic device brought to Spain. If it's not really needed, leave it at home.


Teaching Requirements for Canadians in Spain

Canadians, Americans and other non-EU citizens may find the experience of getting through the necessary red tape to work in Spain quite time consuming. Since 2006, citizens of the European Union have been allowed to work in Spain with little paperwork. For those ESL teachers from outside the EU, teaching English in Spain is a much harder task, as they will need to get a Spanish work permit and a visa.

Work Permit

The first thing needed to start working in Spain is a Spanish work permit. A work permit is actually a lot different than a visa. The work permit is a government-issued document which gives Spanish companies permission to hire a citizen from outside the EU. The Delegación Provincial del Ministerio, de Trabajo (Ministry of Labour) will base their decision on the candidates experience and by determining if the position applied for could be equally filled by a Spaniard or an EU citizen. The company must prove that there are no suitable candidates from Spain and the European Union to fill the job as well as the applicant can. It is common for citizens of Latin American nations to get extra consideration during this application process.

It is suggested that future English teachers in Spain contact a lawyer if possible and get some help with the work permit application process.

There are different types of Spanish work permits depending on what the applicant's needs are. They are broken into two main groups: permits for people moving to Spain to work at a job (like ESL teachers), and foreigners moving to Spain to be self-employed (perhaps a full-time English tutor).


  • Type A Spanish Work Permit - These permits are for people interested in working mostly seasonal or contract work. The maximum time spent in Spain with this permit is nine months.
  • Type B Initial Work Permit - Issued to people interested in working in one particular field or in one defined area. These permits will allot its user a one-year stay in Spain.
  • Type B Renewed Work Permit - When a Type B permit ends, the foreign resident can apply for an extension called a Type B Renewed Work Permit. The extension can last up to two years.
  • Type C Work Permit - Once a Type B permit has expired, the foreigner could be eligible for a Type C Work Permit. This extension allows the person to work in any profession throughout Spain.


  • Type D Initial Work Permit - The foreign worker must work in one profession for a maximum of one year. The permit can have a geographical limitation that only allows the person to work in one area.
  • Type D Renewed Work Permit - In most cases, this extension of a Type D Initial Work Permit allows the worker to do any job they want. It is possible that the person may have restrictions concerning what kind of work they do and where they can live. This permit lasts for a maximum of two years.
  • Type E Permit - Once the Type D Renewed Work Permit expires, the person has the option of applying for a Type E Permit. This permit allows its holder the opportunity to work any job they desire in any location. This permit can last up to three years.


How to get a Spanish Visa?

After receiving a work permit, ESL teachers are one step closer to teaching English in Spain. However, they will still need to get a Spanish visa. ESL teachers need to decide what Spanish visa is the most suitable. There are basically three types of visas in Spain: a transit visa, a temporary stay visa, and a residence visa.

  • Transit Visa - This Spanish visa is meant for people who are just passing through. The Transit Visa is given to foreigners passing through the ports and airports of Spain. When holding this visa, travellers can spend up to five days in Spanish territory.
  • Temporary Stay Visa - This visa is meant for people interested in staying for more than a vacation in Spain. This visa will last for up to three months. The temporary stay visa comes in three different forms: visas for groups having a short stay, diplomatic or prominent person visas, and visas for studying in a Spanish school.
  • Residence Visa - Most teachers coming to Spain to teach English are interested in gaining a Spanish Residence Visa. This visa expires after one year and can be renewed for an additional two years. If the person still wants to remain in Spain after a total of three years, they can apply for a Permanent Residence Visa. Having a Permanent Residence Visa means that its holders can renew the visa an endless amount of times. Residents must renew this visa every five years.

Items to Submit with Work Visa Application

  • An application signed by the future employer.
  • Seven professional passport-size photos.
  • A photocopy of both a valid passport and the actual passport.
  • Official notice of a job being offered, it must be signed and stamped by the employer.
  • An original copy of an official company fiscal identity document.
  • Original official company social security inscription and documents TC-1 and TC-2 (provided by the ESL school).
  • Certified originals from the Tesoreria General de la Seguridad Social and the Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria that state the company the applicant will be working for have paid all their taxes and social security payments.
  • Official certification that the job was opened to Spaniards to apply for, that the position was advertised in the official Provincial Unemployment Office, and no citizen of Spain or the EU was suitable.
  • A description of what the company does and why a Canadian is the best fit for the job.
  • Originals and photocopies of degree transcripts/certifications and credentials, along with the official seal of convalidation of the Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture in Madrid.
  • Certificate of health and a criminal background check.

Final Steps for Getting a Work Visa in Spain

After filling out the Spanish Work Visa application, ESL teachers should travel to the closest Spanish Consulate office (look at the list below) and make an appointment. All of the applicant's paperwork will be processed during this appointment. Make sure that all documentation is available for the appointment. After completing this process, there will be a few months of waiting before an applicant is informed of the status of their application. If the work visa is approved, it will need to be picked up in person at the Spanish consulate's office that the ESL teacher originally applied at.


Embassy and Consulate Information for Spain

Canadian Embassy and Consulates Offices in Spain

The Embassy of Canada in Madrid
Torre Espacio, Paseo de la Castellanna 259D
28046 Madrid, Spain
City: Madrid
Phone: 34 91 382 8400
Fax: 34 91 382 8490
Email: mdrid@international.gc.ca
Website: http://www.espana.gc.ca/

Consulate of Canada - Trade Office in Barcelona
Plaça de Catalunya, 9, 1º, 2ª
08002 Barcelona, Spain
City: Barcelona
Phone: 34 932 703 614
Fax: 34 933 170 541
Email: bclna@international.gc.ca
Website: http://www.espana.gc.ca/

Consulate of Canada in Malaga
Plaza de la Malagueta, 2, 1º
29016 Malaga, Spain
City: Malaga
Phone: 34 952 223 346
Fax: 34 952 229 533
Email: cancon@microcad.es


American Embassy and Consulates Offices in Spain

American Embassy in Madrid
Consular Section
c/ Serrano, 75
28006, Madrid
City: Madrid
Phone: 34 91 587 2200
Fax: 34 91 587 2303
Email: amemb@embusa.es  
Website: http://madrid.usembassy.gov/

American Consulate in Barcelona
Paseo Reina Elisenda de Montcada, 23
08034 Barcelona
City: Barcelona
Phone: 34 93 280 22 27
Fax: 34 93 280 61 75
Email: Consularbarcel@state.gov  
Website: http://barcelona.usconsulate.gov/

American Consulate in Palma de Mallorca
US Consular Agency Palma de Mallorca
Porto Pi, 8, 9D
07015 - Palma, Islas Baleares, Spain
City: Palma de Mallorca
Phone: 971 40 37 07
Fax: 971 40 39 71
Email: pmagency@telefonica.net

Australian Embassy and Consulates Offices in Spain

Australian Embassy
Embassy of Australia in the Kingdom of Spain
Torre Espacio
Paseo de la Castellana, 259D, Power 24
28046 Madrid
City: Madrid
Phone: 34 91 353 6600
Fax: 34 91 353 6692
Email: madrid.embassy@dfat.gov.au
Website: www.spain.embassy.gov.au/


British Embassy and Consulates Offices in Spain

British Embassy & Consulate General
Torre Espacio
Paseo de la Castellana 259D
28046 Madrid
City: Madrid
Phone: 34 91 714 6300
Fax: 34 91 714 6301
Website: http://ukinspain.fco.gov.uk/en/

British Consulate in Alicante
Plaza de Calvo Sotelo, 1, 2º
Apdo. de Correos 564
03001 Alicante
Phone: 34 91 334 2194
Fax: 34 96 514 0528
Email: Alicante.Consulate@fco.gov.uk

British Consulate-General in Barcelona
Edificio Torre de Barcelona
Avenida Diagonal, 477, 13º
08036 Barcelona
Phone: 34 93 334 2194
Fax: 34 93 366 6221
Email: Barcelona.Consulate@fco.gov.uk

British Consulate-General in Bilbao
Alameda de Urquijo, 2, 8º
48008 Bilbao
By appointment only
Phone: 34 91 334 2194
Fax: 34 94 416 7632
Email: Bilbao.Consulate@fco.gov.uk

British Vice-Consulate in Ibiza
Avenida Isidoro Macabich, 45-1º
Apartado 307
07800 Ibiza
Phone: 34 97 334 2194
Fax: 34 97 130 1972
Email: Ibiza.Consulate@fco.gov.uk

British Consulate in Málaga
Edificio Eurocom, Bloque Sur
Calle Mauricio Moro Pareto 2-2°
29006 Málaga
City: Málaga
Phone: 34 913 342 194 
Fax: 34 95 235 92 11
Email: Malaga.Consulate@fco.gov.uk

British Consulate in Palma de Mallorca
Convent dels Caputxins Nº4
Edificio Orisba B, 4D
07002 Palma de Mallorca
Phone: 34 913 342 194
Fax: 34 97 171 7520
Email: Palma.Consulate@fco.gov.uk

British Consulate in Tenerife
Consulado Británico
Plaza Weyler, 8, 1º
38003 Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Phone: 34 91 334 2194
Fax: 34 922 28 99 03
Email: Tenerife.Consulate@fco.gov.uk


British Consulate in Las Palmas (Gran Canaria)
Consulado Británico
Edificio Cataluña
C/ Luís Morote, 6, 3º
35007 Las Palmas
Phone: 34 928 26 25 08/34 928 26 26 58
Fax: 34 928 26 77 74
Email: LasPalmas.Consulate@fco.gov.uk

Irish Embassy and Consulates Offices in Spain
Irish Embassy in Madrid
Embassy of Ireland
Ireland House
Paseo de la Castellana 46-4
28046 Madrid
Phone: 34 91 436 4093
Fax: 34 91 435 1677
Website: http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=33978

Irish Honourary Consulate General in Alicante
Honourary Consul of Ireland
Ctra. De Madrid, Km 4   
03007 Alicante
Phone: 34 965 107 485
Fax: 34 965 113 51
Email: consulado@eurobanan.com
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 1:45 pm

Irish Honourary Consulate General in Barcelona
Honourary Consul of Ireland
Gran Via Carlos III, 94
08028 Barcelona
Phone: 34 93 491 5021
Fax: 34 93 490 09 86
Email: cons.irl@webcat.es
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

Irish Honourary Consulate General in Bilbao
Honourary Consul of Ireland
Avda. Madariaga, 1 - 2º Dep. 10
48014 Bilbao
City: Bilbao
Phone: 34 93 423 0414
Fax: 34 93 423 049 14
Email: rcaira@icasv-bilbao.com
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 1:30 pm


Irish Honourary Consulate General in La Coruña
Honorary Consul of Ireland
Anton Martin Shipping S.L.
C/Alta del Puerto
Edificio "Los Sauces"
15401 El Ferrol
City: La Coruña
Phone: 34 981 351 480
Fax: 34 981 357 983
Email: tomasanton@antonmartin.com  
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

Irish Honourary Consulate General in Las Palmas
Honorary Consul General of Ireland
León y Castillo 195-1ºdcha
35004 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
City: Las Palmas
Phone: 34 928 29 77 28
Fax: 34 928 29 64 12
Email:  consuladoiralanda@step.es
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

Irish Honourary Consulate General in Lanzarote
Honourary Vice Consul of Ireland,
C/Ginés de Castro Alvarez 12, 3B,
35500 Arrecife Lanzarote
Phone: 34 928 815 262
Fax: 34 928 802 200
Email:  irlanda@consuladolanzarote.com
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm

Irish Honourary Consulate General in Malaga
Honourary Consul of Ireland
Galerias Santa Monica Avenida Los Boliches, 15
29640 Fuengirola, Malaga
Phone: 34 952 475 108
Fax: 34 952 466 783
Email: bufete@josemiguel.e.felefonica.net
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 1:30 pm

Irish Honourary Consulate General in Palma de Mallorca
Honourary Consul of Ireland
San Miguel 68 A-7º/8º
07002 Palma de Mallorca
City: Mallorca
Phone: 34 971 722 504 
Fax: 34 971 718 229
Email: nicole@marrero-henning.com
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Irish Honourary Consulate General in Sevilla
Honourary Consul of Ireland,
Avda. de Jerez, 46,
Expolocal - local 8,
41012 Sevilla
City: Sevilla
Phone: 34 954 690 689
Fax: 34 954 689 112
Email: irishconsulate@telefonica.net
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 1:30 pm

Irish Honourary Consulate General in Tenerife
Honourary Consul General of Ireland,
Calle San Francisco nº 9, 1º dcha
38002 Santa Cruz de Tenerife
City: Tenerife
Phone: 34 922 245 671
Fax: 34 922 245 671
Email: irish.consul@gmail.com
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

New Zealand's Embassy and Consulates Offices in Spain

New Zealand Embassy in Spain
New Zealand Embassy
Pinar 7, 3rd floor
28006, Madrid
City: Madrid
Phone: 34 915 230 226
Fax: 34 915 230 171
Email: embnuevazelanda@telefonica.net
Website: http://www.nzembassy.com/spain


New Zealand Honourary Consulate in Barcelona
Travesera de Gracia, 64, 2nd floor
08006 Barcelona
Phone: 34 932 090 399
Fax: 34 932 020 890

Embassy and Consulate Information Outside Spain

Spanish Embassy and Consulates Offices in Canada

Embassy of Spain in Ottawa
Embassy of Spain in Ottawa
74 Stanley Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario
K1M 1P4
City: Ottawa
Phone: 613 747 2252
Fax: 613 744 1143
Email: emb.ottawa@mae.es  
Website: http://www.exteriores.gob.es/Embajadas/OTTAWA/en/Pages/inicio.aspx

Consulate general offices are located in major cities and offer full services including consular services. Honourary consulates offer a limited range of services including consular services. 

Spanish Embassy in the United States of America

Spanish Embassy in Washington DC
2375 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
City: Washington, D.C.
Phone: 1 202 452 0100 and 1 202 728 2340
Fax: 1 202 833 5670
Email: emb.washington@maec.es
Website: http://www.exteriores.gob.es/Embajadas/WASHINGTON/en/Pages/inicio2.aspx

Consulate general offices are located in major cities and offer full services including consular services. Honourary consulates offer a limited range of services including consular services. 



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