When you think about living in Spain, what do you imagine? Sitting in a picturesque city square, a glass of wine in hand? Lounging on a sunny beach? Savoring the most authentic paella? All of this, and more, is possible as a teacher in Valencia.
Valencia is the third-biggest city in Spain, but it is considerably cheaper and less crowded than Madrid and Barcelona. This gives it a great balance: big enough to be fun and exciting, but not so big that you’re dealing with extortionate rents and hordes of tourists. It is, in short, an incredibly livable city.
You’ll find mind-blowing architecture, impressive parks and gardens, top-notch local culture, one of the best food scenes in the country, extensive urban beaches, and a lively, diverse nightlife. It’s perhaps Spain’s best-kept secret, hidden in plain sight.
Photo credits: @williamcarletti.
The demand for English teachers is extremely high in Spain, especially in big cities like Valencia. English is increasingly seen as a must-have to be competitive in the workforce, which means a rise in teaching positions in language academies and schools.
School Teaching Opportunities:
There are several programs dedicated to placing native English speakers as teaching assistants in Spanish schools, such as the state-sponsored North American Language and Culture Assistants program and the Meddeas program.
Many TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) programs also offer help with finding a placement once you have completed your qualification. You can usually select a preferred city or region, although your ideal placement is obviously not guaranteed.
Valencia is home to a handful of fully English-speaking private schools. This type of school tends to pay well, but they usually require a full teaching qualification as well as relevant experience. These schools provide the only opportunity to teach other subjects in English.
Tutoring & Private Teaching Opportunities:
This is where most of the teaching opportunities are in Valencia. Most jobs focus on teaching children, but many also involve teaching adults, especially those preparing for formal English qualifications like the Cambridge or First Certificate exams.
The most reliable tutoring jobs are the ones in language academies, which give you regular hours and pay. However, you can also go the private tutor route. This involves promoting yourself and finding your own clients, but it can also earn you more (€12-18 per hour as opposed to €11-14). Many people do both.
Levels of Education You Can Teach At in Valencia:
You can essentially find yourself teaching at any level in Valencia. Your options usually depend on your qualifications: those with a basic TEFL qualification will often be restricted to teaching beginner levels, while those with teaching degrees and experience could teach anything from High School English to university courses.
It is completely possible to get a job teaching in Valencia before you get there. However, it's easier to hear about opportunities and to make an impression if you are already on the ground. As long as you’re proactive, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks for you to find a teaching job in Valencia once you’re there.
When & Where To Look For Jobs:
Language academies tend to hire around August/September or January, so have your resume ready by then. Schools usually start hiring around January for the following academic year.
If you are working with a specific program, you will have extensive support applying. Otherwise, you will have to look for jobs online. If you're already in town, showing up in person will probably yield better results.
Qualifications Teachers Usually Need in Valencia:
For many jobs, all you need is a TEFL qualification from a reputable institution. Some jobs ask for more advanced certifications like CELTA. If you don’t have a TEFL qualification, you can get one on the ground in Valencia, which will give you a leg up when it comes to looking for jobs. Alternatively, some programs allow English speakers without qualifications to apply.
People with teaching degrees and teaching experience will find it easier to be hired in schools, especially English-speaking private schools, and can expect a higher salary.
Most jobs will involve an interview, either in person or online. This is usually just to confirm your English level and qualifications. Dress smart, and make sure to focus on the reasons why you want to specifically work in Valencia or within that given organization.
Don’t worry about your Spanish level -- the interviews will almost always be carried out in English.
Valencia is an easy place to love. It’s not particularly expensive, so you can live fairly comfortably on a part-time salary, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the beach and the local culture. As with everywhere in Spain, you’ll find the locals are friendly, although it helps to brush up on your Spanish.
On average, teachers earn about €1,100-1,200 (about $1,400 - $1,550) per month for 20 hours of work a week. It is possible to live on this, but many people complement this with extra private tutoring hours. For example, if you managed to get 10 tutoring hours a week, you could make an extra €500 a month.
Cost of Living in Valencia:
For a big, cosmopolitan city on the Mediterranean, Valencia is a pretty affordable place to live. Food is cheap, as is going out. A room in a shared apartment can cost as little as €150 a month, with €250 being the average. If you want to live alone, it is possible to find a studio for about €400 a month.
Visas & Sponsorship:
EU citizens can easily work in Spain without a visa. It is significantly more complicated for anyone else.
Although thousands of Americans work in Spain under the radar, this is not necessarily recommended. That's why specific teaching programs are a great option. Not only do they take care of a lot of the admin, but they will ensure you get the proper visas to work legally in the country.
Teacher Work Culture in Valencia:
In most cases, you will be a part-time teacher or teaching assistant, which means you’ll benefit from a great work-life balance. You’ll find your Spanish coworkers to be welcoming and friendly, although there might be a language barrier. Don’t worry though: there’s an extensive community of expat teachers to reach out to when you’re feeling homesick.
Classroom Etiquette in Valencia:
Spain has a considerably more relaxed approach to teacher-student interactions. Students call teachers by their first name, and the classroom atmosphere tends to be pretty casual. This can be a bit disorientating for foreign teachers at first, but you’ll soon find the lower barriers allow you to form closer bonds with your students.
View the latest teaching job postings on our job board.
Is it safe to live in Spain?
Spain is a very safe country. But, just like the rest of Europe, Spain is notorious for pickpockets. It's important to not carry your passport around and always keep an eye on your phone!
How much money do you make teaching English in Spain?
As a Language and Culture Assistant teaching in public schools in Spain, you can generally earn €700 per month (€1000+ in Madrid). Teaching in private academies and language schools you can earn between €15 - €20 per hour, equaling about €1,500-€2,000 per month if you work full time. You can earn upwards of €20 per hour if you tutor privately.
Can you teach English in Spain without knowing Spanish?
You don't need to speak any Spanish to teach in Spain. Native English-speaking teachers are encouraged to speak only English in most language schools and academies. While it's helpful to know Spanish when dealing with the Spanish government or for the visa process, it is not necessary for your day-to-day teaching job.