How Much Can You Earn Teaching English in Spain?

A teacher teaching English.
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So you want to turn your Spanish vacation into a full-time job? For many, especially those without Spanish language skills, English teaching is the easiest job to get into. But what's it like working as a profesor de inglés?

What is a Typical Hourly or Monthly Wage for an English Teacher in Spain?

Hourly wages vary hugely for English teachers in Spain. Around 12 to 16 euros per hour is the average, but rates can vary from around 10 euros an hour to 25, depending on the experience required, the level of preparation for each class you're expected to do and luck.

Bear in mind that much of an English teacher's time in Madrid is taken up with preparation time and travel to the classes, which often take place at the office of your student(s). This means that a realistic limit to the number of classroom hours you can teach per week is around 20.

At the rate of 14 euros per hour, this would leave you with around 1,100€ per month, which is enough to get by on in any city in Spain. You won't be able to fly home very often, but this will allow you to live in the center of the city, eat out regularly (Spanish restaurants are cheap), go out at the weekend and even allows you to take some weekend trips to other cities in Spain.

Most teachers in Spain can get a better deal than that in their second year in the city, as they start to learn which schools pay more and as schools offer more money to loyal teachers. In many cases, you can easily reach 1,500€ per month.

The holy grail of teaching in Spain is getting 'block hours' at a language school. This means no commuting time or waiting around between classes (but you will still need to prepare your lessons). Some schools will offer less money for these classes because they are so highly sought after.  Be prepared to teach children to get these classes.

A full-time contract with a school with all classes at a single location is even better. Such contracts often come with higher work hours than the more typical business class timetable.

How Does That Compare to the Average Salary in Spain?

Wikipedia gives the averages Spanish salary as 1734€, while stressing that most people earn less than the average, not more. So you can see that an English teach earns low to average for a worker in Spain.

I Don't Have a Visa. How Will That Affect My Prospects?

There was a time when it seemed half of English teachers in Spain were Americans with no work visa, working 'under the table'. This has reduced as the Spanish economy has suffered, but it is still possible. Expect to earn less as an illegal worker.

What Are the Working Conditions?

Business classes tend to take place early in the morning, at 8am, or at lunch time (1pm). You won't find any classes between those times.

After school is when the block hours start appearing, typically from around 4pm until 10pm. This means your work day can be 14 hours long!

Vacation Time

Unfortunately, teaching in Spain only lasts from mid-September until late June. For the rest of the year, you'll be unemployed unless you're willing to work on a summer camp for kids in July and August.

Easter and Christmas also hits most teachers quite hard as few employers pay when there aren't any classes. Bear this in mind when calculating how much money you need to live as an English teacher in Spain.