Spanish Teacher Career Information

There are almost 30 million Spanish speakers in the US and the need for Spanish language skills is on the increase, so there is always a need for a trained Spanish teacher.

Becoming a Spanish Teacher

Spanish teachers in public school in the United States are trained and certified teachers, which means that the teacher has an undergraduate degree, usually in education, with a specialization in Spanish and language acquisition, as well as teacher certification. Some states will require that the teacher has a graduate degree.

Other Spanish teachers are teachers who were trained abroad and who now have certification to teach in the United States. Some teachers have undergraduate degrees in Spanish, but have taken teacher certification training so they can teach in schools, so it is possible to become a certified Spanish teacher without an education degree, though this is not the easiest route and job opportunities for these teachers can vary from state to state.

Job Opportunities

K-12 schools probably offer the most opportunities for trained and certified Spanish teachers. A Spanish teacher would spend a portion of their day teaching classes, preparing and administering testing materials, working in the language lab on computers and with language acquisition software, as well as designing class plans and materials for the following lessons. Spanish teachers will interact with colleagues and parents in regards to student education. There is also an opportunity to tutor K-12 students in Spanish language skills. The salary for these teachers is the same as other teachers, with a national average of $48,000 per year.

Adult education is another area for Spanish language teachers. Tourists and travelers will need to learn Spanish to help them with their travels in Spanish speaking countries, so there are opportunities to teach in community centers and adult learning centers, such as community colleges. K-12 teachers who work in classrooms with many Spanish speakers, or social workers who deal with Spanish speaking clients will also pursue training in Spanish. In addition some trades people and supervisors will also take classes in Spanish so they can provide directions to their work crews in both English and Spanish. Many unions will hire Spanish teachers so they can interact with their Spanish speaking members, or to teach Spanish classes to union members. These Spanish teachers may not be certified teachers, though they are usually native or fluent Spanish speakers, and there is a definite preference to hire certified teachers for this adult education role. If you can specialize in Spanish speaking skills, such as Spanish for tourists, business, social services, or on the job site, you may be able to create a career as an adult educator in Spanish.

Spanish teachers also work on a contract basis for law enforcement, the government and some corporations to provide Spanish speaking skills to their workers. This type of work is an outgrowth of adult education, so many of these teachers are certified teachers or have advanced degrees in Spanish. This is also a good job for a person who is entrepreneurial and who is willing to pursue government or public service contracts for teaching. These types of jobs are not always as secure as employment with a K-12 school, but they mean interaction with adults only and no interaction with parents and school boards, a preference of some educators.

There are many opportunities for Spanish teachers and some teachers will mix their careers teaching part-time K-12 or tutoring with part-time teaching of adults.