What are your teaching qualifications worth in Spain?

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“We want a native teacher with a CELTA with 3 years experience to work for pennies in our industrial park academy.”

“We want a native or non native teacher,no experience necessary to work in the centre of a great city with full sponsorship for CELTA.”

An exaggeration perhaps but there is no doubt that the adverts for teaching jobs in Spain are at times baffling.

At times I wonder if people know what they are looking for and what they really want. From interviews with tests in them to simply knowing someone so you land that assistant director job with little experience. It really all feels up in the air and when I see auxiliares charging 15 Euros an hour for private classes the term ‘farce’ comes to mind too.

The system in Spain is far from perfect and, in fact, borders on broken with schools changing the curriculum almost every year and churning out students with no confidence or interest in the language; to the afore mentioned auxiliares plying their wares in academies and private classes without a shred of teaching experience, just arrogance and swagger to get them by.

And the battle over native vs non-native still rages despite the fact that it is the under-qualified that we should be uniting against.

Rant over… For now. But i want to list the most common teaching certificates you find in Spain and with anecdotes and intrigue I wish to inform you of what they are worth in Spain and then you can choose whether you need them or not.

The first certificate I want to cover is the CELTA. Does it really help you in Spain? What salary can you get? What types of jobs can you find?

CELTA

The typical qualification that many bring to Spain and also one of the most valued, within reason.

There is no doubt that the CELTA is a valuable teaching experience and offers you a lot of techniques that will be helpful in the class, but it is important to note that in Spain you will be working with children let’s not say young learners let’s be honest..kids with all their problems and development issues their energy and levels. The CELTA did not prepare me for that nor did it prepare me for private classes and other one on ones. But overall it will help you and that is that.(I would like to see in the comments your opinions on the CELTA and whether it was useful)

However, this certificate should give you access to many jobs where no experience is required but getting your foot in the door in Spain is not always as easy as you think.

Many academies only offer jobs to people with experience, despite the job being no different to what a NQ CELTAteacher could do, which brings to mind the adage of waiters wanted 18-25 with 10 years experience. I kind of get it. Experience means you are a better teacher…. Right?…

Despite being qualified it is still not always as straight forward as you think to get that position in Spain: if for example the place you want to go is popular, you will really be up against it as competition can be fierce.

By all means go for your dream place but a little exploration of Galicia or maybe some other lost mystical region might just give you the experience you need to move into a perfect job in the future if you are in this for the long hall.

Salary

The salary for a CELTA qualified position can vary depending on hours and location but a typical 25hr contract can net you from 1050 to 1400 Euros post tax. Some offer more for more years experience but I’ve been doing this 3 years and never had an increase.

The salaries for CELTA qualified teachers are now under the spotlight however, as one post I recently saw demonstrates, it is now becoming harder to attract experienced teachers for this entry level wage as going private with 2 to 3 years experience could net you 1500 to 2000 Euros given time and connections. Furthermore, a person with a fresh Celta in hand will still have a BA and is deserved of more than a basic teaching salary and that is not even mentioning the non native or local teachers who are taken for a ride, with academies paying as little as 8 Euros an hour to a Spaniard with the same qualifications.

Underlining all this is the fact that you will find yourself rubbing shoulders with and working alongside non qualified people. In my first post CELTA position only 2 out of 5 teachers at my academy had a CELTA yet we were still being paid and worked the same.

The turnover during the year was far higher amongst the non qualified but that is the peril of walking into a classroom with absolutely nothing to back you up.

Another case is that if there aren’t enough teachers in town this causes the worth of a CELTA to fall significantly. People are hired for being English and auxiliares are hired for reasons beyond me.

It was these experiences that gave me the idea for writing about what the CELTA is worth as at first I saw it as vital if I wanted to work in Spain. However if you only want to teach for a year or two and don’t care about doing a decent job then a CELTA isn’t necessary and you can just go to Spain and look around.

Disillusioned would be a term that comes to mind when I think about the worth of a CELTA in Spain. The experience from the course is vital in my opinion but for many others it is superfluous and frivolous and you may as well just come to Spain use and abuse the already broken system and enjoy yourself. I’ve heard countless times from many colleagues that they didn’t get the CELTA, what does it even do and I quote ‘I just wing it’.

To conclude, the experience gained from the CELTA course is very important for overall teaching progression and can easily land you a job in Spain however for private classes I must say that the general public don’t know what it is and are more fixated on natives than anything else.

Academies on the surface want them but many hire people without them and at a hefty price tag for the non committed amongst us it may seem completely pointless but for the dedicated teachers who want to do a good job and take things seriously it will help you and it certainly helps if you find a decent academy and want to climb the ranks.

I am in the process of asking DELTA teachers what they think their qualification is work in Spain and what it can do to help your prospects. So stay tuned….

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Author: Teaching in Spain

Two teachers who like to write about travelling, and you guessed it, teaching. One of us is from England and one of us from Greece. If you like what we write then subscribe and enjoy!

4 thoughts on “What are your teaching qualifications worth in Spain?”

  1. I’m interested in knowing what’s the value of a US based public school teacher with ten years experience and a MA in TEFL/TESL.

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    1. I’d say you could get whatever job you want in Spain to be quite frank. You are native with experience and a masters. Tick tick and tick. If you go for your delta you could get an assistant director job however without one and just with a masters you probably could too. However, you may have to take a big pay cut if you work in spain. They don’t pay much regardless of experience. If you were to go private then you could make more money but you would have to set it all up and manage it. Best of luck!

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  2. Just wondering, what are the prospects of a non-native English speaker from the Philippines with AB Linguistics & Literature, with MA units, and with 3-1/2 years of teaching experience?

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    1. Hey! Well there is nothing to lose in trying. Your qualifications are great you might need a CELTA or some other well recognised teaching qualification in Europe. We are both European ourselves so we are not 100% sure on visa requirements. I know that only big academies/schools can be bothered with the visa issues and always prefer EU nationals… which is unfair tbh. Give it a shot, don’t give up and good luck!

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