How to Become a Spanish Teacher in 5 Steps

Research what it takes to become a Spanish teacher. learn about education requirements, licensure, job duties and job outlook, to find out if this is career is right for you. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Spanish Teacher?

A teacher who instructs students in the Spanish language is a Spanish teacher. Typically, the students do not speak fluent Spanish. The teacher uses curriculum guidelines to prepare lesson plans for their students, teaches classes, prepares tests and assignments that are completed by students and uses the students' work to evaluate their progress. Spanish teachers must have a high level of proficiency in Spanish and usually are required to have a degree in Spanish. They must also have a teaching license to teach in public schools.

Degree Required Bachelor's Degree
Field of Study Spanish
Spanish Education
Key Responsibilities Develop lesson plans
Teach vocabulary
Instruct students on Hispanic history and culture
Assess student progress
Certification State certification required
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% (middle school teachers)*
6% (high school teachers)*
Median Salary (2015) $55,860 (middle school teachers)*
$57,200 (high school teachers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Spanish Teacher Do?

Spanish teachers are specialized in teaching a foreign language to students. You'll develop lesson plans, evaluate students' learning potential, assess oral performances and test students on vocabulary. Instruction may also cover Hispanic cultures, people, countries and history.

Step 1: Research Spanish Teacher Job Outlook

As a Spanish teacher, you'll likely work in a middle school or high school. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that between 2014-2024 middle school and secondary teacher employment would increase by six percent (www.bls.gov). Foreign language teachers are often in high demand, so your job prospects should be better than those for teachers of other subjects.

Step 2: Complete a Bachelor's Degree Program

The BLS states that most states accept bachelor's degrees for teacher credentialing. You'll want to choose a program that is heavy in both Spanish and education courses. Some programs are specifically aimed for students who want to become Spanish teachers. Typically, you'll want a degree that focuses in education and instruction. You can then minor in Spanish linguistics or continue your education with a Spanish specialization. Some states require master's degrees for licensure, so this might be a chance to study Spanish education while gaining practice in the classroom. In general, you'll want to consider a degree accredited by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).

Step 3: Immerse Yourself

You'll have two opportunities for you to immerse yourself in this career: studying abroad in a Spanish-speaking country and completing a student teaching practicum. Many Spanish teacher preparation programs encourage studying abroad. This way you'll spend an entire semester immersed in the language and culture. You can also learn a lot of the culture's history, which often ties in to its language evolution, by spending time in another country. By throwing yourself into a foreign culture, you'll be forced to practice and learn the language, making you more fluent in Spanish.

Many states require student teaching practicums as an eligibility requirement for teaching credentials. Working in the classroom under a licensed teacher allows you to work with real students. This way, you can learn from mistakes and develop problem-solving skills first-hand.

Step 4: Obtain a Teaching License

The BLS reports that all public school teachers must be licensed. Typically, you're eligible to obtain a teaching license once you have earned a bachelor's degree and completed a training program. You may need to complete a competency test to prove you're proficient enough in Spanish to teach it. Some states offer preliminary credentials to those who teach a foreign language, because of foreign language teacher shortages. This license allows you to earn essential student teaching hours or complete education requirements for permanent licensure.

Step 5: Seek Additional Certification

Another option you may want to consider is voluntary national certification. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) offers 25 certifications for teachers and counselors, including one certification for foreign language teachers (www.nbpts.org). This certification is good for ten years and can be renewed.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

The basic work that middle and high school teachers do is the same; they prepare lesson plans, teach classes, use tests and assignments to assess student performance and report grades. Teachers who perform similar tasks to Spanish teachers include math, English, history, art, music and physical education teachers. Career and technical education teachers also perform these same duties. They teach tech and vocational programs. Postsecondary teachers may also specialize in teaching Spanish. They perform similar tasks to middle and high school teachers, but teach at the college level and usually need a master's or doctoral degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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