Spain is one of the most popular destinations in the world for foreign nurses, and it isn’t hard to see why. With its good working conditions, sunny beaches, and excellent healthcare system, the Iberian country is a healthcare professional’s dream. Working in Spain also gives you a chance to improve your Spanish language skills, which will serve you well in many parts of the world.

Although there are many jobs available in the Spanish healthcare system, competition is high, both from local and foreign nurses. To have the best chance of finding work, you’ll need to be smart with your applications. One tip is to take advantage of your native language. While you’ll still need to know Spanish, as a foreign nurse, you’ll find plenty of opportunities in expat communities who speak the language. This is especially true if said language is English.

Like most major European countries, Spain is very welcoming of foreign nurses. In general, the registration process is straightforward, and there are many companies that specialize in helping foreigners find work. The Spanish language is easy to learn, and most of the people you’ll meet are friendly.

This article takes you through the steps needed to become a nurse in Spain.

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Steps to Become a Nurse in Spain

1. Get a Nursing Education

The first step to becoming a nurse in Spain, or anywhere for that matter, is to study nursing. If you’re studying abroad, you’ll likely need a full three- or four-year bachelor’s degree in the field. You’ll then need to have your credential assessed by the relevant agency to be equivalent to one obtained in Spain.

The agency you’ll need to submit your diploma to depends on where you went to university. If you received your education in another EU state, you should go through the Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare. In contrast to some other European countries, a degree from another member state does not automatically qualify you to work.

If you received your degree in a third country, meaning a country outside the EU, you’ll need to have it assessed by the Ministry of Science and Innovation. If your degree has been determined to be equivalent to that of a Spanish degree, you’ll receive a document stating this. If not, you may have to take further studies in Spain.

Luckily, Spain is one of the best countries in the world to study nursing. Bachelor’s degrees generally run for four years. Students are given both general nursing education and the opportunity to specialize in the area that appeals most to them. For example, someone who wants to work with children can choose to specialize in pediatric nursing. Spain also has some of the best nursing universities in the world: the University of Barcelona, the University of Salamanca, and the University of Murcia are all fantastic choices. You’ll also want to study in the area where you plan to practice.

2. Learn Spanish

As with any other country, you’ll need to learn the local language, Spanish in this case, before you can start practicing as a nurse. Whether you work in the public or private sector, you’ll need to communicate with doctors, other nurses, and patients in Spanish under extremely stressful situations. That is why being able to speak Spanish is essential for you to become a nurse in Spain.

The lowest level of Spanish accepted by the nursing profession is B2. This means that you’ll need to speak the language on a professional level. As of now, there are three ways to demonstrate this. One is to be from a country that speaks Spanish as a native language. Another is to have conducted your education or most of your education in Spain. Most degrees there are taught in the local language. Finally, you can take the Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE), which is the official Spanish proficiency test for foreigners.

3. Register to Work as a Nurse

The nursing profession in Spain is regulated on a regional basis, which means that you’ll need to go through a local government office in the area you plan to work in. You’ll need to submit a number of documents, such as your certificate of equivalency, your DELE certificate, an ID, and more. You’ll then need to wait a period of time before receiving your license.

Note that this process will be much easier if you’re already a registered nurse in your home country. If so, you’ll also need to bring your previous nursing license so that you can have it converted into a Spanish one. Either way, obtaining a valid license is an important step to become a nurse in Spain.

4. Find a Job

The final step to working in Spain is actually finding a job. The difficulty of doing this can range from pretty easy to nearly impossible depending on where you apply, so you need to be smart about it. If you want to try your luck in the public sector, you’ll probably need to go through the local responsible government agency. Be warned, though: it’s extremely difficult for foreigners to land a job in this way.

It’s much easier for non-Spanish nationals to find employment in the private sector, where there is a massive demand for bilingual nurses. This is due to Spain’s large expat community. If your native language is English or another major language, hospitals and clinics will be lining up for your services.

Most foreign nurses who find a job in Spain do so through a recruitment agency. These are companies that specialize in pairing up nurses and hospitals. Most of these businesses also assist with the other steps on this list.


I hope you found this article on the steps to become a nurse in Spain informative and helpful. You can also find more information on different European universities and scholarship opportunities on the Europe Scholarships Page!