Auxiliares de Conversacion 101

auxiliares de conversacion
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Okay, so I’ve mentioned the Auxiliar Program on this blog before, but never in complete detail. Since the application is officially opening in a few days I figured this is a good time to lay out the dirty deets. Here are the answers to the most basic questions about the program!

What is an auxiliar?



“Auxiliares” are Language/Culture Assistants from North America. They are English or French speakers placed in a public/language schools throughout Spain by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports . Actual teaching subjects and grade levels vary, but English (or French) is always the auxiliar’s main focus. By technical requirements, an auxiliar is merely a supplemental resource to the classroom, but there have been many exceptions. Some auxiliares describe being underutilized while others describe being overworked. Each auxiliar experience is completely unique, and that’s a very important thing to understand if you’re interested in this program.

What are the requirements?

Are you from the United States or Canada? Do you have a bachelor’s degree (or will you have one by start date of the program)? Is English or French your first language? Are you physically and mentally healthy enough to pass a medical evaluation? Are you under the age of 60 (or 35 for Madrid)?

If your answers are all YES, then you are a qualified candidate, love! If you’re going to apply, do so quickly! This program isn’t particularly competitive, it’s all about first come first serve. That’s right, 10 years of Spanish classes, TESL certifications, and prior Spanish residency won’t have any bearing if you wait until the last minute to apply. So get to it!

Where do auxiliares work/live?

Reigons of SpainThe regional education authorities will assign an auxiliar 1 or 2 schools to work in.  Applicants have no choice in what school they receive, but they are able to select the regions of Spain they wish to work in. There are 3 groups of Spanish regions which you order by preference, selecting one region from each group as priority. Applicants also get to select city types (rural/medium/urban), and  of course, the grade level they want to work with (primary/secondary). However, it’s important to know that none of this is guaranteed. The earlier you apply, the more likely you are to receive your exact placement preferences.

Group A: Asturias, Cueta y Melilla, Extremadura, La Rioja, Navarra, País Vasco

Group B: Aragón, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Cataluña, Galicia, Islas Canarias

Group C: Andalucía, Castilla y León, Islas Baleares, Madrid, Murcia, Valencia

For sake of clarity, your admitted regional placement simply means that the school is going to be SOMEWHERE in that region. It’s not until weeks, sometimes months afterwards that you receive the actual address of the school you will be teaching in – aka the carta de nombramiento. You may want to hold off on apartment/piso hunting until then. I hear transportation can get very tricky.

How much does the program cost?

This program is ABSOLUTELY 100% FREE and you should NEVER pay any fees for application or registration (unless applying to the program with CIEE, which charges about $2,000 for extra resources and assistance along the way). All individual expenses, e.g. travel documents, transportation, housing, meals, and etc. are the responsibility of the auxiliar.

How do auxiliares make money?

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First of all, auxiliares are issued student visas to live and work in Spain for a full academic year, typically October – June. Through the program, auxiliares work a whopping 12 hour week and make 700‎€ a month – except in Madrid, where they work a 16 hour week for 1200‎€ a month. This income is tax-exempt and is paid on varying schedules depending on the school and region in which you are placed. Many auxiliares say that the payment is enough to live on, but suggest offering private English lessons to make money on the side.

It’s very important to know that certain regions in this program are infamous for extremely late payments. I’m talking not receiving a penny for three months at a time. If that’s a serious issue for you (it is for me) I’d do some blog research for reoccurring region names to make sure you don’t select (or accept) placement in a problematic area, or you can look for a different program to teach in Spain with.

How do I apply?

Well, the application period for 2016 opens January 12th (5:59 pm EST) and closes on April 30th, 2016. If you are interested, I suggest you thoroughly read this document and gather your materials as soon as possible. It is lengthy, so be ready to take notes. There are plenty of other resources, such as guidelines, application samples, and etc. for applications on the home site.


Will you apply this year?

¡Buena suerte!

Bonne chance!

Good luck!


About Lauren Victoria 93 Articles
Lauren is a Chicago native and budget traveler obsessed with foreign languages, neuropsychology, dancing, and applesauce. She recently quit her full-time job in social services to be a human English dictionary in Madrid, Spain.
  • Bri_Soul_Dope

    Thank you so much for this post. I submitted my application last night. The application was sooo confusing…but Google translate came through in the clutch lol. I was disappointed that I had to chose between Andalucia and Madrid. I originally wanted to chose Andalucia as my top choice and Madrid as my second. 🙁 My inscitra number is not exactly low but not too high. I hope everything works out for the both of us. Good luck and I’ll stay tuned to see how it goes!

    • So glad you got your application submitted! I would have loved to pick both Andalusia and Madrid, too. I just hope I get one of my preferences because I submitted my application earlier today and my inscrita is already #1185 ?

  • Christine

    Just a tip, bring with you enough money to cover at the very least 2 months whether you are in a region that is known to pay on time or not. You will not receive your first paycheck until November (you start in October) and you will need money for rent deposits, daily living expenses, etc…
    Good luck, I know it will be one of the best experiences.

    • Thanks! I’m scraping all my pennies together as much as I can!

  • I also applied to the program this year and the application manual definitely had a few holes…but I’m super excited to finally get the process started after so much planning. Where did you choose for your first choice? I chose Madrid.

    • My choices were Madrid, Pais Vasco, then Aragon. Good luck to you!

  • doris obat

    Hello. I love your blog and I would also like to teach English in Spain but I’m from Africa and this program is restricted to only US and Canada citizens, do you know any other program that accept people from other places apart from the US?

    • Thanks for reading! I’m not sure, but I can do some research!