The Spanish Ministry of Education Culture and Sport (MECD) supports numerous programs that offer teachers placements in partner country public schools, Spanish government schools abroad, and European schools in order to facilitate cultural exchange between countries. One such program is the Profesores Visitantes (PPVV) that began in 1986 as an exchange program between Spain and the State of California in the United States and is now the largest overseas program sponsored by the Ministry. The program currently facilitates exchanges for primary and secondary teachers with 35 U.S. states and the District of Colombia, as well as Canada and Germany.  In 2012-13, more than 1,000 Spanish teachers worked in public schools through this program. Visiting teachers may instruct any grade or subject for which they are qualified, from primary Pre to high school mathematics and science. Though most visiting teachers instruct in English, some also staff International Spanish Academies (ISAs), bilingual programs collaboratively developed between the Ministry and partner governments, where they teach in both English and Spanish.

Spanish teachers working in the United States enter on a three year J-1 visa, which is designated for cross-cultural and educational exchange opportunities. Teachers are directly employed by the school in which they work, and as such their working conditions follow the local collective bargaining agreement where there is one. They can belong to a union and be represented should a grievance arise. Teachers who have completed the civil service exams in Spain are guaranteed employment in the area where they previously taught when they return. Re-entry provisions are reassuring not only to teachers, but equally to school administrators who appreciate faculty with international experience and have been pleased with teachers’ performance after having returned. 

Acceptance into the Profesores Visitantes program is competitive. Applicants are required to have a minimum of three years teaching experience and English language proficiency. The Ministry pre-selects the most qualified candidates from the pool of applicants who are then matched with the profile of teachers being sought. In the final phase, hiring representatives from the host site conduct interviews with candidates in Spain. In past years approximately 1,500 teachers applied annually but for 2013-14 the pool of applicants has grown to 8,000 (according to an interview conducted in May 2013 for the study “Getting Teacher migration and mobility right” with Rosa Rodriguez, Director of international programmes, MECD). The sudden rise in interest can be partially attributed to the economic crisis in Spain that has frozen educator pay for the past three years and pushed many into layoffs. Nonetheless, the demand for Spanish teachers in the US has remained consistently between 300-400 teachers annually. Unfortunately the program has not placed teachers in Germany in 2013-14.


Ministerio de Educación, Cultura, y Deporte.

Statistics by type of program. La Accíon Educativa en el Exterior, 2002-13. Madrid: Gobernio de España.