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Spanish Language Teacher Career Info

Mar 19, 2019

Learn the education, training, and licensing requirements to become a Spanish teacher. Find out the average salary for teachers in all levels of education, as well as the job outlook, and explore some alternative career options.

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Career Definition for Spanish Language Teacher

The duties of a Spanish language teacher include creating lesson plans, preparing classroom activities, organizing teaching materials, evaluating student performance, maintaining classroom records, meeting with parents, teachers and other professionals, and participating in campus events. Additional research and organizational or supervisory duties, such as overseeing the school's Spanish club, may also be required of a Spanish language teacher.

Ultimately, it is the goal of a Spanish language teacher to use a variety of teaching tools for the purpose of teaching students to read, write, and speak Spanish. A Spanish language teacher may be expected to teach at many different levels of proficiency, so fluency in Spanish is necessary.

Education Bachelor's or graduate degree in Spanish and appropriate certification
Job Duties Create lesson plans, prepare classroom activities, meet with parents
Median Salary (2017) $59,170 (all secondary school teachers) or $57,720 (all middle school teachers)
Job Growth (2016-2026) 8% (all secondary and middle school teachers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Typically, a bachelor's degree in Spanish and certification to teach are necessary for Spanish language teaching. These two requirements, as well as a semester of student teaching, are usually completed simultaneously in an undergraduate program. Teaching Spanish at a college or university typically requires a master's degree, although a teaching credential may not be.

Licensing Requirements

While all states require licensing to teach in public schools, it may not be needed to teach in a private school. Licensure requirements vary by state and may require certification in a specific grade level or subject. Maintaining a teaching license typically requires completing continuing education courses.

Required Skills

A Spanish language teacher may also be responsible for educating his or her students on the culture and history of countries that speak Spanish, so an overall interest in these topics is important. In addition, all teachers need strong organizational skills, patience, and enthusiasm for their subject. Because Spanish language teachers may need to hold conferences with parents, administrators or other professionals, good communication skills are a must.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected job opportunities for secondary school teachers to grow by 8% from 2016 to 2026. The BLS also reported the median annual salary for secondary school teachers, except special education and vocational instructors, was about $59,170 as of May 2017. Middle school teachers had a median salary of approximately $57,720 per year in 2017 and could expect job growth of 8%, about as fast as the average for all occupations, from 2016 to 2026.

Alternative Career Options

Other career options in this field include:

Interpreter or Translator

Those versed in more than one language, such as Spanish and English, may choose to work as interpreters or translators. Interpreters and translators use their language skills to convert the words of one language into another. Interpreters do this with spoken words, while translators do this with written materials. While education requirements vary, all interpreters and translators must be fluent in two languages - the one they are translating from and the language they are translating to.

The BLS expects jobs in this field to grow at a much-faster-than-average pace of 18% from 2016 to 2026. The median salary for interpreters and translators was $47,190 in 2017, according to the BLS.

Instructional Coordinators

Those interested in ensuring that the Spanish language curriculum is adequate may decide to work as curriculum specialists in the language department of a school. These workers provide teacher training, stay abreast of teaching standards, and work with teachers to implement the curriculum. Like Spanish teachers, instructional coordinators need a teaching license. Coordinators also need to complete a master's degree in curriculum development and design.

In 2017, the BLS reported that the median salary for instructional coordinators was $63,750. This career is expected to grow at a rate of 11% from 2016 to 2026, according to the BLS.

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