Teach English

teaching english, tefl, spain

Note: Here is a more up-to-date post on teaching English in Granada.

When I was doing my CELTA back in 2008, I could never have guessed that I’d end up teaching English in Spain for 5 years as a result. The quality of life that comes with TEFL (at least in Granada) is fantastic, and I’ve had 5 very happy years here.

Okay, perhaps its not the most lucrative of job opportunities, but whether you’re in it for the long run or just for a brief spell, there probably isn’t a better way to immerse yourself in a new culture while earning a steady income.

I taught 20 hours of English to a variety of levels and ages per week, didn’t start work until the afternoon and was paid a decent wage at the end of each month. I had a great social life, spent with friends both in and out of work – allowing me the opportunity to speak in both English and Spanish on a regular basis. I can even nip up to the Sierra Nevada to feed my snowboarding addiction at least two or three times a month, without worrying too much about the cost!

sierra nevada ski resort, granada, spain

Sierra Nevada Ski-resort

Don’t get me wrong – by no means does the job come without responsibilities: consistent high-quality planning, assessments of students’ work and technical expertise are but a few standard requirements. However, it does allow for a relatively stress-free and leisurely lifestyle that seems increasingly uncommon in the UK these days.

Teaching English in Spain also means you get to live abroad, learn another language and make new friends. While the promise of that now hangs in the balance following Brexit (the mere mention of which makes me grimace), no major changes to British residents’ rights are expected to take place within in the next couple of years. And it’s likely that there will be an agreeable compromise made between the UK and Spain given how invested Brits already are in this country. If you’re not British and hold an EU passport (and you can speak good enough English to teach it), then good for you!

torre de la vela, watchtower, alhambra, granada, spain

Torre de la Vela (Watchtower), Alhambra Palace, Granada

Becoming a qualified English teacher

In order to get a job teaching English in Spain you’ll need a qualification behind you. The best and most widely recognised are the Cambridge CELTA (Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults) and Trinity TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). These courses last for about four weeks (intensive) or six months (part-time) and are offered all over the world for a fee within the region of £1100. That might seem expensive but keep in mind that a higher fee generally reflects a higher standard of quality training.

However, there are plenty of cheaper and shorter online courses to choose from. These will give you a broad idea of ELT theories and techniques but often do not include actual teaching practice. For this reason, a great deal of Language Schools in Spain only take on teachers with either the CELTA or TESOL.

There is one centre in Granada that offers the 4-week CELTA course, and many more throughout Andalucía. However, due to the tough competition for TEFL jobs in Spain, schools are usually swamped with applications – hence the need for a more personal touch and a healthy dose of lateral thinking.

teaching kids English in Spain

Teaching kids English in Granada, Spain

Finding a job teaching English in Spain

As for availability of work, there are masses of language schools to choose from in Andalucía; here in Granada new academies are popping up all the time, due to the high demand for exam preparation courses. There is even more work in Seville, where some schools even offer the possibility of employment following completion of a CELTA course in their own teacher-training academies. A great way to start the job hunt is browsing current job postings on tefl.com, to see where you could start your adventure.

So, whether you’re a student who has fallen in love with Spain and would love a reason to come back, or just a regular somebody looking for a change of scene, TEFL can provide you with the means to teach and learn simultaneously. It can relieve the pressures and stress of working in the UK. It can take you just about anywhere you want to go in the world. It brought me to Spain, where I’ve since lived (mostly) and made a home. Best decision ever.

More on Teaching English in Spain:


  • Reply Untitled Adventure March 16, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Hello! I’m an American who’s been teaching EFL for the past three years (two years in Korea and just finishing up one in Bangladesh). I am CELTA-certified. Here’s my question: How realistic is it for Americans (no EU passport) to find legal work? I’ve been wanting to teach in Spain for quite some time, but every time I look into it, I get discouraged by the limitations of my citizenship. Any leads, tips or insight you have would be SO greatly appreciated.

    • Reply Josh March 17, 2013 at 10:59 pm

      Hi, thanks for dropping by my blog. In my time here, I must admit that it has always seemed rather difficult for Americans to find work teaching – mainly due to the fact that visas tend to be so short-lived. I do have a couple of American friends teaching out here though. One of them works for a very reliable school but may have been exempt from normal visa restrictions as he served in the US army base near Cadiz for about 20 years. The other gets paid cash in hand and is now living here illegally. She gets paid well though. It’s just stuff like social security and claiming dole during the summer that se misses out on.

      I just realised that none of that was particularly helpful. I’ll ask around! 😉

      • Reply Untitled Adventure March 18, 2013 at 6:37 am

        Haha! Thank you for the information. I know it’s possible to work illegally, and I know it’s fairly prevalent, but I want to be free to travel across borders without fear of being deported … or worse! If you find out anything more, please share! Thanks again!

    • Reply Josh March 25, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      Hey. Jess of holayessica just wrote this post. I think it might be useful to you!


    • Reply Melanie Murrish February 10, 2014 at 10:46 am

      Untitled Adventure, you need to take a look at Cat Gaa’s blog http://www.sunshineandsiestas.com

      Hi Josh, do you think it is possible to TEFL and support a family while in Spain? Liking the new Cheeky Jaunt blog too!

      • Reply Josh February 17, 2014 at 10:39 pm

        Hi Melanie, to answer your question honestly, supporting a family on a TEFL wage would be very tough. The average wage is around €1000 per month, and rent for 3-4 person family probably around €650 a month. A higher-paid position like director of studies might reap better rewards…

        Pleased you like the new blog!

        • Reply Melanie Murrish February 18, 2014 at 5:47 am

          Thanks Josh-honesty is the best policy; wouldn’t be a bad second income though!

  • Reply IELTS Singapore April 27, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Wow. I first started teaching ESL in Bogota in 2003 I now teach IELTS. I’ve gotten my CELTA and have taught in various parts of the world but SPAIN. I took Spanish in University and it’s a dream for me to go there and teach. But I realize many “celebrity” ESL authors are there too. Must be difficult to get a job there!

    Barcelona! Argh. That’s where I wanna go and teach! Haha.

    • Reply Josh May 2, 2013 at 12:16 pm

      Not too difficult to be honest! If you’re suitably qualified and have an EU passport then anywhere will take you on! Barcelona would be excellent, though I couldn’t recommend Granada or Seville highly enough 😉

  • Reply Amina February 24, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Hey there! Glad I came across your blog! I am considering taking the CELTA as I would love to teach English overseas.. Because of the price tag, I want to make sure it will get me a job opportunity. I’ve been hearing though that even with this certification, if you don’t have a 4 year degree, it will be very hard to find work .. What have you heard on this ? Thank you 🙂

  • Reply Kelley O'Reilly May 23, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Hi Josh,

    I’m an American interested in teaching English in Spain. Did you go through a certain program to find a teaching job, or did you just come across one after receiving your certifications? I’m having a hard time deciding on which program would be the best to go with- I plan on staying for about a year or two. Any information would help, thanks!

    P.S. I studied abroad in Granada for 6 months two years ago. Definitely the most charming place I’ve ever been to! You are lucky to be there.

    • Reply Josh May 26, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      Hi Kelley. I qualified as an English teacher before coming to Spain. I found my job online at . Though if you’re American, you’re best bet is going through the Auxiliar de Conversación Program. You can read up on it here.

  • Reply Morvarid May 26, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    thanks for your awesome blog, it really helped me

  • Reply Sam June 17, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Great blog mate. I have been working in South Korea teaching English for the last 4 years. I intend to do a CELTA course in Spain in November, to increase my job prospects. I would like to find some work in Spain after i complete the course. How are the job prospects around December time in Granada? Also have you heard any reviews on the quality of the CELTA course offered by The Institute of Modern Languages in Granada? I know International House do a good one in Sevilla, I was wondering if potential employers hold an International House CELTA in any higher regard than that of smaller companies.

    • Reply Josh June 18, 2014 at 11:46 am

      I will email you a reply Sam 😉

      • Reply Sam June 18, 2014 at 11:47 am

        Cheers fella

  • Reply Karen June 29, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    I am a qualified primary school teacher and I have just completed a year working in a primary school in Spain. I am currently undertaking a TEFL course online with the view to looking for work as an English teacher in Granada next September. My TEFL course is not CELTA and I am wondering if this will make it more difficult when looking for work or should the fact that I am a qualified teacher be enough? 🙂

  • Reply Muhammad Usman Hassan September 28, 2014 at 6:20 am

    Teaching English is tough job but i have learning skills you can easily do that, there are very popular sites like Coursera who teach basic English language to Spanish people and Spanish to English People.

  • Reply Omar Mouji December 3, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    I’m a student in Granada, but I have no CELTA qualification, but I’ve been in an English School and American School for the past 19 years, and I prefer to say that English is my first language, I was wondering if due to the fact that I’ve been in English/American schools, would I have to take CELTA?
    And if so, like is a job found easily, or does it take years?
    And lastly, since I finish uni at 2:30 everyday of the week, are the working hours of teaching going to be a challenge for me?
    Thank you

    • Reply Josh December 5, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      Hi Omar

      There are plenty of academies here in Granada that take teachers without a CELTA, although teachers with CELTAs are preferable as it proves they have learned using the EFL-favoured communicative methodology. I’d just ask around at different schools and see what they say. There are CELTA training academies in Granada if you do decide to go for one. Regarding hours, most private academies run classes from 3pm onwards, since kids finish school around that time. However the bigger institutions like CL and IML run classes all day long. You can check them out online 😉

      • Reply Omar Mouji December 5, 2014 at 8:53 pm

        Thank you Josh

  • Reply rob June 18, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    Hi Josh,

    I am currently doing a TEFL course and want to go to Granada mid September. Will I find it tough finding a job teaching English there? You say CELTA and TESOL are the most favored?

    Thanks 🙂
    rob recently posted…The English Teacher’s Dilemma: Stick or Twist?My Profile

  • Reply Adam Joseph August 8, 2015 at 10:42 am

    The quality of pay and work standards at language schools have severely declined in the last few years due to increased competition amongst new language schools. As a consequence I want a more stable job here working at an Official Language School (Escuela Oficial de Idiomas).
    My degree, a Joint Honours Degree, from London, is not recognised by the Spanish Ministry of Education. The process, called “homologación”, took well over a year (maybe even two) after sending endless documentation but many of the modules I’d studied at university were not recognised here, plus I would have had to study several modules in a Spanish university to have a “grado” (degree) recognised in the Spanish system.
    I’m aware there are Spanish online universities offering Masters in Teacher Training (Master en Profesorado) which don’t require you to have an officially recognised/accredited/”homologated” degree provided you hold a degree passed in an EU country.
    Nevertheless, to work in an Official Language School after studying the Masters (currently one year) you need to study “Oposiciones” (Public Examinations) for a further year.
    NOBODY nor ANY OFFICIAL WEBSITE can give me a straight answer as to whether or not I need an officially recognised degree in Spain to do them. I’ve heard it is highly likely that even with the Master’s in Teacher Training they will still turn you away if you don’t have the officially recognised degree.

    If this is the case, I may well have to study a degree in the Spanish Open University, doing an English degree for example, for four years in order to do the Master’s and the Oposiciones and ultimately get a job in an Official Language School when one arises.

    Does anyone know anything about this situation?

  • Reply Jaime September 7, 2015 at 1:21 am

    Hi Adam!
    What I know is that you need to have a official degree to take the “oposiciones” that is, the public exam. You also need to have the CAP (2009 and before) or its equivalent now, the master course.

    About what you said of private schools, I’d like to offer you a job as a teacher so you can see working in private school can be good too!
    20 hours per week, 12€ per hour. For this whole course (and why not, the followings. I run an Academy (now 8 years old) we have 3 locations in JAEN and we are looking for a native. Anyone interested? reply!

    • Reply Adam Joseph September 15, 2015 at 11:02 am

      Thanks for the job offer Jaime but I’m based in the North West of Spain and have a kid and am staying put for now.
      With regard to the problem with the “homologación” process, I discovered that since November 2014 there has been a new process for degree holders from foreign universities where if your “homologación” application has been rejected you can apply for an “equivalencia de un grado estranjero… a un grado español”. I’m not holding my breath but if accepted or mostly accepted this will save me from studying a degree for 4 years as my degree from an English university might possibly be recognised.
      The current situation in my area is that you are expected to teach half the amount of classes to children or teenagers. My experience and patience is limited in this field which means that I am now getting knocked back from more language schools than I used to. My experience is with adults in general and I don’t feel at home with very young children.

    • Reply Emma September 30, 2016 at 6:02 pm

      Hi, I know this is a very late reply but I would be interested…

      • Reply Jaime October 5, 2016 at 8:02 pm

        hehe one year later. We were looking for a native for this course too, but we hired all we needed last week. Why don’t you try next july-august?

  • Reply Jackie @ESL Activities October 26, 2015 at 8:18 am

    Looks like you’ve had a great experience. I’ve been teaching in Korean universities for the past 10 years and have loved it, most of the time. I think teaching in Europe though is a whole different world.
    Jackie @ESL Activities recently posted…Dictogloss: ESL Listening and Speaking ActivityMy Profile

  • Reply Ian Leahy March 28, 2016 at 3:37 am

    Teaching in Spain sounds a lot more laid back than teaching in Asia. I heard many teachers only work 4 days a week too.

    In Asia most schools accept online TEFL courses. CELTA is pretty pricey and if you fail you won’t get a certificate.

    • Reply Josh April 8, 2016 at 6:33 pm

      It depends on the school you’re working for and the hours they give you! The average is about 20 teaching hours per week.

  • Reply Tasha April 6, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    Hi Josh, really interesting to hear you’re a TEFL teacher and in Granada because I’ve just finished my CELTA and really want to teach in Granada! I realise you posted this a few years ago now but was just wondering if you could give me the names of some of the good/respectable English language schools there? Thanks 🙂

    • Reply Josh April 8, 2016 at 6:39 pm

      Hey Tasha. Thanks for your comment 🙂 Have a read of this post, which should answer your questions I hope!

  • Reply Jen January 25, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Wow! Amazing pictures…it looks like you had a great experience.
    Jen recently posted…Top 10 Blog Posts on ESL SpeakingMy Profile

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