Finding teaching jobs in Barcelona

There is a lot of space for people to teach English as a second language in many countries. Depending on the country you choose, your job search process can look different. For example, in most Asian countries you can job search and get hired before you even arrive in the country. Some countries have government programs that will place you in a job. When finding teaching jobs in Spain, unless you are using a government program, the job search process looks much like what we are used to doing in America. You scour the internet for positions, apply and show up for an interview; or you go door to door with your resume in hand. 

Looking for a job when you have just relocated to a new country (especially one where you don’t speak their native language) can be a daunting task and produce quite a bit of anxiety. Being that I have chosen to start my teaching abroad journey in the city of Barcelona, I will share some tips I have gained. 

I am living in Spain on a student visa which allows me to work 20 hours or less per week. 

Work documentation

One of the requirements when you get to Spain is to obtain an appointment to get your Número de Identidada de Extranjera (NIE), which is printed on your visa activated and obtain a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjera (TIE). A NIE is your identity number (indicating that you’re residing in Spain legally) and your TIE is the actual identification card with your NIE and your picture on it. Getting a NIE appointment is one of the most tedious tasks you will face when you first get to Spain, especially if you are in a big city like Madrid or Barcelona. Most people actually pay an agency to obtain that appointment for you, while others try everyday to get an appointment. Your NIE/TIE is your Spanish identity and so it is one of the requirements to get a job here.

Most people will not start looking for a job until they have gone to their NIE appointment (this can take months to get), however it is not a secret to anyone here in Spain that appointments are hard to come by. So here is my tip: do not wait until after you have gone to your appointment to start looking for a job. Once you have made your appointment, start looking! Some employers will tell you to come back once you have gotten your NIE approved, however most will hire you based on the fact that you have an pending appointment. Also, it is important to know that some schools will not hire you if your work papers are related to a student visa. They usually make this clear in their ad, but if it is not, be sure to clarify with them. 

Where can you work?

You can either find work with an academy or a language school and obtain a work contract, where the employer takes care of all tax requirements, or you can apply as an autonomo where you are a freelancer, and you manage all taxes. You can get help from a hired tax professional (Gestor). Although there are benefits to both situations, I have found that getting a work contract seems to be an easier and less expensive route than being autonomo, however this is a personal preference and you should do all your research to make the right decision for you.

In addition to the academies and language schools, there are opportunities for private students and for In-company classes. You can find private students that will have you come to their home or meet in suitable locations like quiet coffee shops for their lessons. In-company classes are mainly for business English. Companies will hire teachers for their employees that need to improve their english for work purposes. 

I will mention here also, there are many people who don’t go with the legal options and freelance under the table without being registered. Some people also do both. If you take the risk of doing that, you can work for as many hours as you want but you have to be careful. And let’s be clear… I do not support this. 

So how do we find these jobs?

As mentioned before, you can go door to door looking for jobs with your resume/ CV in hand. Some places will either take your resume that way or direct you to their website to apply. The other ways of finding a job is the good old internet search. Here are the most popular sites I have found to have the most job listings: – academies, language schools and in-company – schools and private students – academies, language schools and in-company –  schools, in-company and private classes 

Facebook groups! Join any and all Facebook groups that have to do with teaching English in Spain. Due to the fact that a lot of people that teach English as a second language tend to move around frequently; there is a high turnover of teachers. In these Facebook groups, in addition to some schools posting their openings here, people will post jobs that they are leaving and looking for replacements for. I personally obtained my first job this way. Some of the Facebook groups that I recommend to find teaching jobs in Spain are:

  • Barcelona Expats – International BCN
  • Barcelona TEFL Teachers Association (BTTA)
  • English Teachers in Spain
  • TEFL teachers in Spain

Quick tips to consider when looking for a job:

  1. Hiring season is either January or August/September. Harder to get jobs/private students during the summer months as most leave for vacation.
  2. Consider Summer – Not all schools will run through summer. Consider if you want to have a job in the summer (most people take this time to travel) because this will mean trying to find a job that offers a summer program (Casals), or looking for one when the time comes. Also, remember in Spain that come August EVERYONE is on vacation, so plan your income with that in mind.
  3. The pay – The pay range for schools, generally, can stretch from 12 – 20 euros/hour. Keep in mind that if you take a job paying 12 euros an hour you are helping to set the standard for what teachers are paid, and 12 euro/ hour is just not sufficient for anyone. I would say set your standards closer to the 20 euros than the 12 euros. In-company classes, they generally pay a bit more, starting at 15 euros per hour. When going the route of private students, you can choose your own rate. 
  4. Multiple jobs – If you don’t find a school that will give you a full 20 hour a week schedule, don’t worry, this leaves room for private students or online teaching to fill your schedule. 
  5. Resources – If you are just starting out teaching, don’t be nervous, there are quite a bit of online resources available to help with lesson planning. Most schools give books and guidelines for lessons. In addition to using the Facebook groups for finding a job, they are also a great resource for lesson ideas. 
  6. Talk to people – I am sure you will start meeting people as soon as you get to Spain. Tell everyone that you are looking for a job. You never know who might have some suggestions or even a job available!

We aren’t saving a bunch here

With this information, please know that it is definitely possible to live well in Barcelona teaching English as a second language, unfortunately it isn’t the cheapest city you could live in so saving money might be out of the question, but you can definitely break even and enjoy the Spanish lifestyle. 

I hope that my tips have provided some insight on how to find teaching jobs in Spain.

Have you been teaching English as a second language in Spain? Any additional tips you have for me and my readers, I welcome them. If you found my tips helpful I would love to hear about it. 

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4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Wooow in this time of quarentine its hard to get a job thanks for the links da u give us 🤗 its a good post!!!

  2. This is valuable information for anyone looking to relocate to sunny Spain. I’ve been living here for 3 years now and I can confirm that things are as you said. The wages that the language schools offer vary from region to region, whether you are native or not and qualifications. I do agree that you shouldn’t settle for the lowest wage as it will bring the rates down for everybody. Great post!

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