Applying to to the Auxiliares Program: How to Apply to be a Language Assistant in Spain

Six years ago, I began researching a way to make it back to Spain. I was a senior at the University of Iowa, finishing a degree in journalism and “how the hell do I get abroad.” 

Fast-forwarding to the present day, I’m sitting in the sunlight basking into my apartment on the fifth floor with a café con leche. My one goal post-college was to move abroad, and thankfully the North American Language and Culture Assistants gave me a visa, a job and the ability to make Spain my hogar dulce hogar. And since it began nearly a decade ago, loads more teaching programs in Spain have begun.

Remember Mike? He wrote about his intention to start a new life in Spain through the same program, and has gladly shared his experience of tackling the application process.

Well, the application period for the Auxiliares de conversaciones extranjeros en España finally opened up. However, I felt that I was going into this application process basically blind. All I really knew is that I had to login to Profex (the application system they use), and upload documents. Everything I had read of various blogs and forums said that you should apply AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE! Basically, once someone applies they are assigned a number, and then once the application has been approved, placements in regions and schools are given out in the order of the application received. First preference being given to those who are renewing their current placements.

The website has a program manual that outlines the application process and a Profex manual that detailed each screen on Profex and how to navigate the page. Once I was actually in the process of applying, these documents were actually very helpful. I was able to begin working on the list of documents on the website which needed to be submitted for the application:

  • The main page of a U.S. or Canadian passport
  • A copy of college transcripts or college degree
  • Letter of intent or statement of purpose
  • Medical certificate (if not a U.S. citizen) – to be turned in during VISA application process
  • Letter of recommendation

Before the application period opened, I was diligently working on the collecting all the items above. The passport page was an easy photocopy, as was the copy of my college transcript. I browsed many forums and blogs, as well as the Facebook group for this year’s auxiliares to see if it mattered between the transcript or the degree. Everything I came across said that it didn’t matter as long as one was uploaded. Needless to say, I chose the transcript. The letter of intent was fairly simple, as I had to put into words why I wanted to teach in Spain. However, the only glitch with it was that it had to be 300 words, so my 750 word first draft had to be significantly reduced. Who knows if they really even read it though?

The website had a guide for how to write and submit the letter of recommendation. The letter had to come from a professor or former professor unless the applicant has been out of school for over 5 years. I contacted my former professor and faculty advisor. She was ecstatic to be writing the letter for me. I was thrilled because I had been nervous that since I could not ask her in person she may say no or put it on the back-burner and finish it later than when the application opened. My professor wrote the letter in the format they requested and mailed it in. I asked that she send me an electronic copy so I could upload it online just in case it got lost in the mail. Luckily, she obliged and I was able to upload a copy when I was applying.

On January 10th and 5:01 p.m. here in Milwaukee, WI, (00:01 a.m. in Madrid), the application period finally opened. I began logging in and creating a user account, while following the Profex manual. After I had created a username and began entering my personal information, the system started to load very slow and kept shutting me out. I attempted to login a few times and kept receiving an error message from the website. Quickly, I began searching forums to see if others were having this problem, and I found out that others had the same exact problem. It seemed as though the mad rush of applicants had overloaded their server.

I attempted to login nearly every hour, sans when I briefly slept; however, it was to no avail. The same error message popped up every time. Since it didn’t work through Friday Spain time, I figured it would be down through the weekend, which it was. Although, it did not stop me from constantly checking to see if for some reason it would work! On Monday, I was able to login and finish my application. The Profex Manual was a breeze to follow with actually having the web page up in front of me. Most of the fields that need to be filled in are personal information, college information, any teaching experience, and any study abroad experience, fairly straight forward.

After all that information was completed, the fun part began: selecting regional, type of city, and school preferences. For regional preferences the applicant put each group in order of preference, from 1 to 3, and then selects one region within each of those three groups. The options for regional placements are:

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

The regional preferences are followed by the type of city preferences, which allows the preferences of a rural community, medium sized community, an urban community, or no preference. Then, the school preferences consist of primera, secondaria, or no preference. Personally, I found this to be the most exciting part, as I was actually selecting where I would prefer to be located. Now, I know that I may not get placed in any of my selected preferences, which is perfectly fine with me. I was just excited to be actually submitting something that said where I would like to go and what I would like to do.

Once this part of the application is finished, Profex generates a .pdf print out. It is necessary to print this out and sign it because it needs to be mailed in to a specified regional coordinator along with a checklist that is initialed and signed.

An application becomes Inscrita once the online part is complete. When the regional coordinator receives all the documents the status is changed to Registrada. This is where my application is at this point. Admitada is the next stage, which is when all the submitted documents have been accepted. So far, no one that I know of has been placed past this stage this year.

According to everything I have read, it takes a long time to reach the next stage, Adjudicada, which is when they send the autonomous community assignment that the applicant has been placed in. You have seven days to accept or reject this placement. Assuming it’s accepted, the status becomes Aceptada. The final stage is when you receive your Carta de nombramiento, your school placements. These latter stages of the Profex application process are exciting to think about, but still seem far off for me. I’m just looking forward to being Admitada!

This whole Profex process was not actually as difficult as I had anticipated. Current auxiliaries de conversation blogs and forums were incredibly helpful and reassuring throughout the process. Unfortunately, I discovered Facebook group for those applying to teach after I applied, otherwise that would have been pretty helpful too. In the end, I wound up with number 780. While it’s not the best number in the world, I still feel as though it is respectable and feel very comfortable that I should get a placement. I’m checking my applications status every hour, if not even more frequently, and I look forward to keeping everyone updated with my thoughts about this whole process.

Hasta luego.

Got any questions for Mike or me about the program? Have you considered doing  an internationally recognized TEFL degree to help you be effective in the classroom? 

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living among pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she wrangles babies at an English Language Academy and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.

Comments

  1. Really good to hear an update from the first-year side of the ocean about the application process. We renewals here in Spain are having our own set of challenges, but at least most of us have the all-important inscrita number.

    And for reference, Castilla-La Mancha, Cataluña, and Valencia cancelled the program for the 2012-2013 school year (and presumably the next one, too); the Canaries and Navarra only accept British Council folks, and nobody knows anything about Ceuta and Melilla, the two Spanish cities on the Moroccan coast.

    Looking forward to hearing about your placement, Mike!
    Trevor Huxham recently posted..Paris: The Best Christmas PresentMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      You’re a stud, thanks for this info! I met a Brit who was in Melilla a few years ago, so it may be that they’re from the British Council, but – as with all things in Spain – es cuestión de cuándo va a cambiar!

    • Mike says:

      Thank you Trevor! As of yesterday, I am now Admitada! So now, I play the waiting game…I found out at work on my cell phone and could hardly contain myself.

  2. tobyo says:

    I’m a bit confused but maybe I missed a post. Is he in Spain now? was his application process a year ago January? Did he start a blog? I didn’t check back to my comment on the other guest post of his where I suggested he start a blog. I imagine there would be a link if he had. anyway, I would love to read it if he does start one!

    very interesting process!! I think I’ve mentioned this before (maybe not on this blog) but this is something I am considering doing at the ripe age of 60 “when” we move to Spain (7 years from now, I hope!). I’ll obviously have to review this again at that time, but I found this very interesting nonetheless :)
    tobyo recently posted..Winter beautifulMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Mike is not in Spain yet, as the program doesn’t begin untli October. Blog in the process of getting started!

    • Mike says:

      Cat addressed the part that I am not in Spain. I’m in Wisconsin, in a 5-8 inch snowstorm to be exact. My blog is currently in the works and I will be certain to update you and everyone else once it is up and running. Thanks for reading and the encouragement!

  3. for a minute I thought you wrote this and thought-
    I think uploading documents is a fairly new thing how did you manage doing this 6 years ago?! Then I realized it’s a post from Mike.

    Seems uploading docs is a fairly new thing, which makes more sense!
    Or maybe I just have deleted the nightmare process of Profex from my brain!
    Lauren @ roamingtheworld recently posted..Jet-lag, a hostel stay and an unexpected friendshipMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      When Profex was introduced, it was the biggest pain in the culo and always crashed. I even went to the MEC office in Seville, saw the papers stacked up, and wondered what the point of doing it electronically was – they printed out every application anyway!

  4. gabi says:

    i think it s great that you are teaching people how. so many people talk about do this or that but few tell you step by step how… great. one day we might too!
    gabi recently posted..The Time I Almost Died In Las Vegas- The Nomadic Family Budget World Travel BlogMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      I’m a proponent of the program, though it has its pitfalls! I never expected to like teaching, and this program gives you all of the good sides of it without the meetings, dealing with parents and admins, etc.!

  5. Larissa says:

    Great info, Cat. I look forward to passing this on to those I know who are considering taking similar steps :)
    Larissa recently posted..Free things to do in FlorenceMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Thanks, Larissa! I found it to be a springboard for getting abroad, and it’s provided me with a career I have never considered. I’m more than willing to be in touch, too!

  6. Mike says:

    To everyone and anyone who is curious, my status was updated to Admitada! So now, I am simply waiting until the they find me a regional placement. There is a rumor out there that they will be doing a round of early placements some time in February; however, that is a rumor. If it’s not true, then I am expecting a regional placement around April or May. I will keep everyone updated if anything happens! Thank you all!

  7. Micki says:

    Very thorough and helpful! I wish I’d had something like this to help me through when I was in my early 20′s and completely at a loss of how to get a job overseas :)
    Micki recently posted..Six Quick Steps to Nailing the Cheapest FlightMy Profile

  8. I wish this were available for Filipino citizens. I would love to get a job in Spain! Ohhh, such a romantic country! (And language of course. A lot of our words have Spanish roots.)
    Aleah | SolitaryWanderer.com recently posted..The Most Romantic Places in EuropeMy Profile

  9. Christine says:

    This was one of the best decisions of my life. At 40 something, a lot of people thought I was crazy to ask for a year leave from a well paying job not knowing if they would take me back (and ready to quit if not) to become an auxillar. I’m back stateside now but the experience will remain one of the best years of my life and Malaga my second home.

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      I applaud you! It can be scary stepping away when you’ve got a lot more established in America, I think! Many thanks for your input, Christine.

  10. Whenever I try to speak in Spanish I found very tough language to speak properly, but I’m still confident to learn Spanish soon. Your mentioned each suggestion about how to apply to me a language assistant in Spain is quite effective and educative. I’m very glad to find such suggestions, to learn Spanish perfectly mentioned suggestion will be effective for me. Thanks a lot. :)
    Ericcson James recently posted..Tips for the Golfing TouristMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Spanish is a language that is much harder than it sounds! So many words and idioms. In my experience, moving here has made all of the difference, along with the willingness to learn. Suerte!

  11. Bruce Jones says:

    For anyone looking to get their TEFL certification to be a trained English teacher for Spain or elsewhere, take a look at International TEFL Academy http://www.InternationalTEFLAcademy.com as they train over 1,200 new teachers a year and provide lifetime job guidance assistance to teach around the world. They are an American based company and one of the largest TEFL school in the world.

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      I got a TEFL certificate before coming abroad, and it was great training. I went into the classroom with a better idea of what to expect and how to plan a dynamic class. Thanks for the tip, Bruce!

  12. kaitkat says:

    What about works visas, etc? Does being given a placement also mean you’re given a work visa? I did a TOEFL course in Barcelona a while back and was offered a job by the school at the end … a job that was quickly revoked when they realized I didn’t have a work permit and they had a policy of not applying for any. I was on a tourist visa while I was there, not even a student visa because they wouldn’t secure those, either.

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Getting a placement will get you a student visa, as work visas are a long, excruciating process, not to mention expensive. You can get a student visa in other ways, such as studying at a language school, doing a masters, etc. This is why I promote the Auxiliar program: you get all of the necessary paperwork and health insurance, plus a letter stating you’re being paid by the government to prove you have sufficient funds. It will also be a test in your patience and a good into to spanish bureacrazy!

  13. Mike says:

    Hi everyone! This is Mike (author of the above post). I wanted to let you know that I got my blog up and running. If you’d like to follow my journey of teaching in Spain please feel free to follow it. Thank you!
    Mike recently posted..Deciding to Teach AbroadMy Profile

  14. Bebe says:

    buenas acabo de enterarme de tu blog y la verdad es que me parece super bueno no sabia de mas personas interesadas en estos temas, aqui tienes un nuevo lector que seguira visitandote quincenalmente.

  15. Sylvia says:

    Hi, just wonder if the program has a need for older teachers, like me in their 50′s?
    Also, how many hours a week do you teach? How much is the pay? Do they have locations in
    other countries? Must you be fluent in Spanish?
    thanks.

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Hi Sylvia, Thanks for commenting. I do remember seeing older teachers my first year, and my fellow assistant was in his early 40s. If you’ve been a teacher in the past, you will likely consider the job a BIG step down, but it’s a good way to earn some money while living in Spain. In Seville, I taught 12 hours a week for 700 euros a month, plus health insurance, and fluency in Spanish isn’t at all required. There is a similar program in France and I believe one in Italy now, too. Email me if you’ve got further questions!

  16. Melanie says:

    Thank you for this super helpful post!!
    I have a question about the letter of recommendation. I see that they prefer if a professor wrote it, but do you have any idea if that’s necessary? I have been teaching in Korea for the past 9 months, and feel it would be more appropriate if I have my work supervisor write the letter. She could comment on my teaching skills etc.

    Also.. when submitting the application I see that it’s ridiculously important to submit as quickly as possible.. Does this include the documents that need to be uploaded? Or just the fill in the blank portion?

    Thanks again for your help :)

    • Cat Gaa says:

      Hi, Melanie! Sorry for the late reply. Yes, I think a reference from someone with whom you’ve worked is completely appropriate. Many assistants come directly from university, hence why they say professors. The program is competitive, but it’s really a numbers game more so than a question of whether or not you’re qualified!

      EVERYTHING needs to be filled out – documents, profex, personal details. This post, as well as the manual that will be available closer to the application opening date, should help you 100%.

      Good luck!

  17. Claire says:

    Hi! I’m from Melbourne Australia, I’m looking at applying for January 2015-June 2015 to teach.
    It’s great hearing some good feedback about applying- obviously it’s a lot to do but many many people are saying it’s been terrible!
    I was wondering, it’s fantastic you’re now “admitada” to the program- may I ask how long it was from when you applied to when you heard you got in? Gracias! :)

    • Cat Gaa says:

      Hi Claire! Thanks for visiting. The North American program usually opens in December/January, and it seems like people began to get placed in May or June, or even later! In 2007 when I applied, there was no online platform, so I had to wait for the mail! I found out six weeks after the applications closed.

      I’d talk to your consulate about teaching just half the year, as most positions are October-May. I’m no longer an assistant!

      • Claire says:

        Thank you so much for that! That’s such a long time to wait, I guess I’d just have to go ahead with booking other travel plans and hope i get it!
        Oh through my university we were allowed to accept a 6 month position, so we could get back for our 2nd university semester which is great! Thank you again!

      • Cat Gaa says:

        Ah, that’s great!! I’d imagine wait times are significantly less because I’m North American, and there are far more positions for us. Plus, you’re not applying at a time where everyone else is. Good luck – and keep me posted!

  18. Stephanie says:

    I am applying to the program in January. However, I noticed that you said that the letter had to be from a professor unless you have been out of college or 5+ years. I have only been out of college for a year but I am currently a certified teacher (in Arizona). I have been teaching 2nd grade. :) I was going to have my principal write my letter of recommendation. Is that allowed? Or does it have to be a professor? Any feedback would be appreciated! Thanks!! :)

    • Cat Gaa says:

      Hi Stephanie, unfortunately, I’m not the right person to ask since the requirements have changed so drastically since the year I applied (before there was PROFEX!). I’d say they barely even look at your letter since it’s in English anyway! It’s merely a formality, as many things in Spain. Suerte – and keep me posted!

  19. Mike says:

    Hi Stephanie! I think it would be fine to have your principal write your letter of recommendation. It’s just that most people cannot ask their boss to write the letter because most employers would not be comfortable knowing an employee is leaving. Here is the link to the guidelines for the letter of recommendation: https://www.mecd.gob.es/eeuu/dms/consejerias-exteriores/eeuu/auxiliaresusa/REFERENCE-LETTER-GUIDELINES.pdf
    Mike recently posted..25 Things to Do While I’m 25My Profile

  20. Lindsey says:

    Hi – I also have a letter of rec question. I graduated from college more than 10 years ago, but have since completed grad school – about 3 years ago. Does anyone have a sense as to whether I have to have a former professor write the letter? I will have someone who is a professor write the letter, but he’s actually one of my supervisors and I didn’t know him as a student.

    Thank you!

    • Cat Gaa says:

      Hi Lindsey, I think I may have just replied to you on Facebook, but I’d definitely say your former professor is more than legit. After all, this is an academic position, and you’ve been out of school for a while. Go for it, and good luck!

    • Mike says:

      I completely agree with Cat. I’d imagine that you will be perfectly fine with that letter of recommendation.
      Mike recently posted..25 Things to Do While I’m 25My Profile

  21. Hana says:

    Hi there!

    I’m applying right now and I had a question for you. I just finished the PROFEX part of the application and have printed and signed my PDF and checklist, but I’m not sure where to mail this. The PROFEX guide says “to your Regional Educational Advisor,” but I’m not sure where to find that information. I’ve found educational advisors once you’ve already received an assignment, but don’t I need to mail these documents to be accepted?

    Thank you!

    • Cat Gaa says:

      Hi Hana! Seeing as you go to Beloit, I’m assuming you’re from the Midwest. You’ll have to send your information here:
      Mr. Francisco Barba Morán
      Education Office – Consulate of Spain 358 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1404
      New York, NY, 10001
      Email: francisco.barba@mecd.es

      If that’s not the case, the educational contacts are on page 9 of the 2014-15 Application PDF. Suerte!

      • gokukicksbutt says:

        Hey,
        I think this is a similar question! :)
        But how long before your application is officially “registrada” (they’ve received your paper work)??

      • Cat Gaa says:

        Hi there! Your documents won’t be registrados for a good six weeks or so, and you won’t hear back about a position until May. When you are accepted, you’ll be assigned a region (Galicia, Madrid, etc.) and then you have five days to accept. I got my actual school placement in late June, which is entirely up to the comunidad autónoma and not the Ministry of Education. Suerte!

  22. Elizabeth says:

    Hi! Thanks for sharing all the info! But what were some of the forums/websites you used that helped you through the application process? And I hope I’m not too late!

  23. Claire says:

    Hi again!
    I have completed everything on profex (I think *fingers and toes crossed*!) so I am ‘inscrita’ and have a number… Does that mean I’m in the system? And now all I do is wait? There’s now options for ‘online registration’ or printing out a PDF and I’m so confused!

  24. Claire says:

    Oh, and how long did it take from ‘inscrita’ to ‘registrada’?? I’m so worried as I just read the above comments that the application number are up to like 3000 :(

    • Mike says:

      When I applied last year, it look 3 weeks to go from inscrita to registrada. Once you mail in the pdf and checklist, it takes them a while to go through it. It’s just a waiting game. As long as your documents were all sent in correctly, you shouldn’t have a problem though.
      Mike recently posted..25 Things to Do While I’m 25My Profile

  25. Hey! Just wanted to say your blog was mentioned in The Local :) http://www.thelocal.es/20140120/spains-auxiliares-programme

    Congrats!

    - Fellow blogger

  26. Alex says:

    Hi!

    I am waiting to receive an offer and am checking the profex site everyday. It is now late april and I have still not heard back. Should I be concerned or does it take awhile to receive an offer?

    Thanks!

    Alex

    • Cat Gaa says:

      Hey Alex, when I applied to the program, there was no PROFEX, so it’s hard for me to say when placements will get sent out. Are you admitid@? And what’s your number? It sounds like they’ve only placed up to 600 or so Americans, including repeaters, so I wouldn’t stress too much yet! I got my position in 2007 in early May, and a school placement in late June.

      Hope this helps – suerte!

    • Cat Gaa says:

      Hi Alex,
      I’ve been out of the program for a few years, so I’ll do my best to help. What’s your application number, and what stage of the game are you? Have you been admititda? Are you waiting for a regional placement, or a school placement? Feel free to email me, too!

      • Lee Burke says:

        I was just accepted to my region with number# 4450, they updated me to ‘adjudicada’ July 28, 2014. There is hope for people down on the list. ;)

        Thanks for sharing your experiences.

      • Cat Gaa says:

        That’s great to hear, Lee! Where are you headed?

      • Lee Burke says:

        Thanks!
        I just accepted Galicia…
        My dad is from Galicia and the family lives in Galicia so I was planning on doing a Master’s program at la Universidad de Santiago in Sept and wondering if I can do both. What time of day, hours a day, and days a week might work an auxiliar?
        Are auxiliar hours flexible at all?
        *Concerned that I overcommitted.*

      • Cat Gaa says:

        The hours and times of both the auxiliar program and the masters are entirely up to the schools. I did work full time at an Academy last year while doing a masters. Takes some sacrifice, but doable!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] public bilingual schools to assist teachers in English language instruction.The program has lots of proponents and plenty of critics. To break it down, the life and experience of an auxiliar in Spain [...]

  2. [...] English Applying to to the Auxiliares Program: How to Apply to be a Language Assistant in Spain The North American Language and Culture Assistants program allows Cat to make Spain her hogar dulce [...]

  3. [...] one person’s experience of the complicated experience of applying for the programme, see this post on Cat Gaa’s blog, Sunshine & Siestas.           [...]

  4. [...] You first need to go to this website to and fill out your application through the Ministry’s Profex system. Profex is awful and often shuts down or goes painfully slow. You need to have a lot of patience with this process. I recommend reading the How To Apply manual carefully before starting. You can also upload all the documents before the application process is open, which is usually in the beginning of January. You will need to upload a letter of intent, your CV, college transcripts and two recommendation letters. For more information about the application process check out the Sunshine and Siestas blog here. [...]

  5. [...] Sunshine And Siestas (By: Cat Gaa, @sunshinesiestas) [...]

  6. [...] 2014 CalendarPDF Printout Form ExampleContact Comunidades AutónomasBlogs/VideosA Texan in SpainSunshine And SiestasSpanish SaboresJimmy D.A Thing For Wor(l)dsLo que pasa …Jessica Teaches EnglishInfo for [...]

  7. [...] American Language and Culture Assistants: Sunshine and Siestas part 1, Sunshine and Siestas part 2 , The Most Comprehensive Guide to NALCA on Young Adventuress , Trevor [...]

  8. [...] that time of year again: auxiliar placements are right around the corner, and then starts the mad dash to pull together paperwork, get a visa [...]

  9. [...] aware that things close midday!    I received the email that I’d been accepted to teach English in Andalusia just a few days before graduating in May 2007. Then came the tailspin to get a visa, book flights, [...]

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