Growing Demand for English Teachers in Spain

Despite the crisis, there are certain professions that are gaining relevance on the national scene in Spain. In this case, we are referring specifically to those who want to work as teachers in schools and educational institutions, teaching English.


English language teachers are some of the most in-demand in different educational institutions, mainly private ones. Language academies, private and state-subsidised schools are some of the educational centres that have seen the greatest concentration of offers in recent years.

Upon entering the website of the Spanish State Public Employment Service and doing a search on job offers in schools, we have noticed that since April of this year, the number of vacancies in different private institutions has grown, and these are mainly aimed at English language teachers.

The educational companies we are referring to have a presence in different autonomous communities, although Madrid, Andalusia and Castilla-La Mancha are perhaps the regions that stand out the most in this respect. In some cases, applicants only had to send their CVs to academies and with this simple step, they were already part of the call for applications.


We must say that although the number of vacancies available for English language teachers has grown, the truth is that so far there has not been a massive call for this kind of teacher. In fact, what we have seen is an increase in job opportunities for this group. 

Most of the available vacancies required between one and two teachers to teach in schools on a regular basis, so many of these vacancies may have gone unnoticed, as they do not meet the high demand for employment among Spanish teachers, but we believe that this represents an interesting precedent to at least have concrete hope that something can be improved.

Private English classes are in fashion, not only to pass this subject in the course at school but also to reinforce what has been learnt in class and even as a complement to training. The need to know English to thrive in higher education and work makes this language one of the most popular private classes. 


Low Level of English in Spain 

According to the EF EPI 2020 report, Spain ranks 34th in the world, with a total score of 537 points. The EF Education First English Proficiency Index assesses English language proficiency among adults and ranks non-English speaking countries and regions according to the results obtained.

Young people in Spain still lag behind their European neighbours such as Portugal, Greece and Italy. The size, economic level and strength of the Castilian language are influencing the low dominance of the Spanish language.

Most Spaniards, both young and old have a low level of English. Surveys compiled by Eurostat and a new report by language teaching company Education First rank the country at the bottom of Europe. 

The poor position is partly explained by structural reasons: Spain’s relatively large size and relatively modest GDP per capita in a continental context, coupled with the fact that it has a strong global language, Spanish, are factors that experts say always work against foreign language learning.

The data, however, sends out other worrying signals: unlike other countries, Spain has barely improved in the last decade. And its population aged 25-34 has lagged far behind the level achieved by young people in countries whose general population had similar knowledge rates to Spain’s 10 years ago, such as Portugal, Greece and Italy.


Why Do the Spanish Struggle so Much with English?

Spanish Is the 4th Most Spoken Language

According to the Cervantes Institute report, Spanish is the fourth most powerful language in the world. A global language is spoken, with varying degrees of proficiency, by 580 million people. 

The stronger a language is, the worse its native speakers are at speaking a second language. It is as simple as that. In fact, with Spanish, you can go to more and more places without even switching to English.

The French, Italians and Russians have similar problems, while the Dutch, Greeks and Danes don’t have so many problems with English because their mother tongue is not so widely spoken. Being a Spanish speaker is great because it opens doors, but yes, apparently it also has a dark side. 


The Spanish Don’t Watch Films in Original Version

As a consequence of being a powerful language, Spain benefits from a large publishing, audiovisual, translation and dubbing industry. This is something that doesn’t exist in other countries, where people are naturally forced to watch more films and television in the original version with subtitles, for example.


They Tend to Holiday in Spain

From the Basque Country to Andalusia and from Galicia to Barcelona, the Spanish have all kinds of landscapes and holiday plans here. They can go on holidays without having to utter a single word of English, nor do they need to leave Spain to find world-class ski slopes or paradisiacal beaches.

Skiing in Andorra


What Are the Requirements for Teaching English in Spain?

The good news if you want to teach English in Spain is that you don’t need to have a degree. However, you will need more than just the ability to speak English to a high standard. The main requirements for teaching English in Spain are:

  • A recognised teaching certificate: TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language), CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) and TESOL (Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages) is the main certificates. 
  • The cost and length of courses depend on the course you take, where you study and who you enrol with. It is possible to take some courses online to save time and money. However, it’s preferable to get a certificate from a reputable academy if you want to get the best job.
  • The right visa and work permit: if you have an EU passport, you will not need a permit to teach English in Spain. However, most non-EU nationals will need a work visa for any type of employment.
  • Knowledge of Spanish is useful: far fewer people speak fluent English in Spain than in northern European countries. You will probably be fine in larger cities but will struggle in rural or quieter areas if you cannot speak Spanish. Being able to speak the local language will also make it easier to find and apply for jobs.

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