Everything you need to know about being an English language assistant in Spain! Is it right for you?
Auxiliares de Conversación Extranjeros en España
A Quick Overview of The Job
The Spanish Ministry of Education hires young people from North America to be English language assistants in the classrooms in Spain.
American or Canadian Citizen Native (or bilingual) speaker of English Junior or Senior in university (or completed Bachelor’s degree)
Intermediate Spanish skills (however, there is no test to prove your level of Spanish)
NOTE: You do not need a TEFL certificate or any formal language training. Having a TEFL certificate is helpful for getting a second job as teacher in a private language academy or English summer camp, but it is not required for this program.
You will work about 12 hours a week.
Typically you will work 4 days a week, and most schools will ask you whether you want Monday or Friday off (although some schools do give Tuesdays or Wednesdays off). If you are assigned to 2 schools, you usually work 2 days a week in each school.
Your 12 hours will be spent assisting Spanish teachers in one or more of the following:
- English classes
- Bilingual classes such as history, physical education, art, music, math, science, etc.
- Teacher preparation time
- Teacher/Department meetings
In the classroom you typically do things like:
- Review and correct pronunciation
- Read things aloud
- Talk about your culture
- Prepare an activity for the class
- Stand there while the teacher yells at the kids in Spanish for 10 minutes
October 01 – May 31 (8 months)
- €700 per month (about US$1000 per month)
- Health Insurance
You get paid at the end of every month, so November 01 should be your first payday. If you arrive later than October 01 (because of visa delays or getting a late assignment), it’s not a big deal and you will simply be paid for the days you work.
NOTE: I have heard that there has been a lot of problems with late payments in the past years (such as auxiliars not getting paid until late December). However, I have also heard that any problems are slowly being fixed and should be better by the time you’re over there. But to be on the safe side and feel comfortable, I would suggest having a safety-net of money in your bank account.
How to Apply
If you have everything on the checklist above, and the job sounds pretty amazing to you, then apply to work in Spain!
FAIR WARNING: the application process (and even afterwards) is a true headache – it’s a true test of dedication and determination. Here’s a general timeline (in Spanish)
After you’ve submitted everything via PROFEX, you must simply wait until you hear that you were accepted. You will hear this great news via your email (or by signing back into PROFEX and noticing that you’re status has changed).
After You Are Accepted
As soon as you hear that you’ve been accepted, jump for joy for a little while, and then immediately accept the position via PROFEX. You MUST do this sooner than 5 days or else the position will be given to someone else. So if you go on vacation and haven’t heard yet, be sure to have a way to check your email every day!
After You Have Accepted
The paperwork isn’t over. You need to now get your Spanish visa. The visa you’ll be applying for is NOT a Work Visa, but rather a Student Visa. The Student Visa allows people “studying” to work up to 16 hours per week (however, you will only work 12 in this program).
OK, so how do you get your visa? Check with your regional consulate – some you need to go in, in person, while others you can just mail everything (with your passport) and they will mail you your visa inside your passport…
Once You’re In Spain
More paperwork once you’ve made it there – read about it here.