How to find a job in an international school as an expat – that will be today’s topic.
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Over the years, teaching abroad has become more and more popular and many see it as an opportunity to work and travel, gaining the chance to immerse themselves in new cultures and experiences. Needless to mention the attractive salaries and a greater work-life balance compared to teaching in many other countries.
However, studying abroad can be a daunting prospect and raises all sorts of questions, such as “What kind of experience do I need?” to: “Do I have the right to teach abroad?”
Learning about the kind of training and experience people need to get a teaching job abroad can be confusing for those exploring the idea. Some are sure that you need a degree, while others assume at least two years of professional teaching experience is enough, but which one is more correct? We’ve compiled a list of what you need to become a teacher abroad to help you decide if this career path is right for you. And of course we will figure out the main process of making that to become a reality.
What qualifications for teaching abroad are required?
Unfortunately, there is no exact answer to this question, but we will try to explain it. Among many different opportunities to teach abroad in an international school, the requirements, qualifications and experience may be different which will depend on a number of factors. Regardless of what subject you plan to teach, where you want to teach, and the school’s curriculum, each has a role to play in the study abroad requirements.
Not to mention the different rules and regulations in the country, which could mean that some places have stricter rules for hiring teachers than others. For example, almost all schools in Abu Dhabi require proof of at least two years of teaching experience or equivalent as part of the recruitment process. Therefore, it is always a good idea to conduct extensive study on study abroad qualifications or certifications required for study abroad before making any decision.
Despite the fact that there are no specified standards and templates for the qualified teaching positions abroad, usually international schools often seek to hire teachers with a bachelor’s degree or higher (master’s degree) in their professional area. If you would like to teach abroad any of the main subjects of the curriculum, such as English, mathematics and science, it is advisable that you have a degree in your subject.
However, it should be noted that this is not always the case and most often depends on the subject. Obtaining a degree is not always necessary, as it is quite possible to apply to teach English abroad without a degree.
However, it is always worth doing some research on the country in which you want to teach, as the criteria for teaching can change over time. So, before you decide that you want to teach abroad, such as in China, find out if you are eligible to work in China. While you may be able to teach in your home country, many are mistaken in believing that they have qualifications around the world, but in reality some qualifications may not meet the requirements of international school teachers.
Also, contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to speak another language when teaching abroad, and in some positions you may not even need professional teaching experience. While it is possible to find work teaching English as a foreign language without any experience or qualifications, most language schools require a degree – in any subject – and a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate.
A TEFL certificate can be found inexpensively online, but many recommend investing in a 120-hour TEFL course, such as the Celta (Certificate of English Teaching to Speakers of Other Languages) qualification, which is offered by over 300 centers around the world.
Anyways there are some typical requirements that you have to show. Ideally, you should have a Bachelor’s degree related to your subject of instruction, as well as teacher training for the appropriate age groups you are teaching. These include the following, based on where you are from:
- Bachelor’s degree
- Master’s degree
- Teaching license
- Teaching experience
- A degree specific to your field, if not English, then a degree in history if you plan on teaching social studies
- Administrative certification (when applying for a job as a school administrator)
Where you should start from?
Once you understand what position you are interested in, what qualifications you need and whether teaching abroad is right for you, it’s time to start the process of finding a suitable job. While it may seem mixed and complicated process, the following steps will help you prepare for this possible new career.
1. Decide whether to apply for the job through the special program, through a recruiter, or on your own.
After making sure you are ready, you will need to consider whether you want to find a job on your own or partner with a larger organization. Prestigious volunteer programs can be helpful as they will guide your placement, expenses, life situation and provide any support you may need.
If you decide you would like to find a job on your own, be aware that you may not have the same support as in more formal organizations or recruiters. For this reason, you must be prepared to have enough savings in the event of an emergency, as well as be able to provide your own accommodation, insurance and travel expenses. However, the big part of international schools are ready to provide with assistance in the mentioned areas.
2. Select a country where you want to teach. Choosing the country you want to teach in can be the most fun and interesting part of the process, about what we will talk later!
Maybe you dream of exploring Honk Kong after spending a week there or learn to speak Chinese while teaching your students English in China, or being friends with other teachers in Germany for example.
You can travel to the United Arab Emirates and receive a very high salary at a private school based on your teaching experience, or apply for a teaching job at a military base in Italy. The further choice you’ll make may mostly depend on the amount of wages and of course the cost of living in your chosen country, especially if you are ready and would like to simply immerse yourself in the language and culture of that country.
As you’ve orientated on the dos important points that are: the subject of teaching, your qualifications, you can start thinking about which country is the best option for you by regularly checking the available job ads. Allowing yourself to remain open to many opportunities will increase your chances of success. You may not find a job in the first country on your list, but the one you find may be better than you ever imagined!
3. After finding out the country you are interested to teach start preparing your resume. Writing a resume can be a daunting task for anyone, especially if you are applying abroad. The first step is to find out the expected format.
The main difference between these formats is length and detail – resumes are very concise documents with a short education and employment history. On the other hand, resumes can be multiple pages and detail your previous education, job, skills, and accomplishments. If you are unsure which format to use, contact the organization you are applying to and ask which format they prefer.
Regardless of the format, here are some universal tips for writing a teacher resume:
- Make sure to check the grammar and spelling errors, to leave a professional impression
- Use a professional format – most text editors provide the template for free, or you can purchase the template online from special websites
- Make sure your resume is easy to read and easy to track
- Check your reviews to make sure you have the most up-to-date contact information – you might even ask them to write a letter of recommendation to make your app even stronger
- Link your resume / resume to the specific job you are applying for: highlight the work experience, awards and skills that relate to a specific description of the job you are applying for, and make sure your accomplishments stand out
- Include a professional photo of yourself (many job postings ask for this), however avoid using too many other graphics as they can be distracting and may not format correctly after being sent to potential employers
4. Apply for a teaching job. Once you’ve reviewed all of the potential school websites and reviewed the current job postings, it’s time to begin the application process. Even if the school has no vacancies, you can always contact them to see if there are any vacancies and ask if you can send them your resume in case they have new vacancies. You never know what kind of opportunities are there hidden.
Applying for multiple positions that you are applying for will increase your chances of finding a job. However, consider the importance of only accepting interviews at schools that meet the criteria you are looking for and are clear about their salary expectations. Be sure to check your applications and don’t be discouraged if you don’t find anything right away. As with any job search, this can take time and patience. In the meantime, you can always strengthen your application with the right certifications, experience, and additional education-related knowledge and skills.
Sometimes you may not be chosen for the level or level that you need and for which you are applying. Flexibility and open-mindedness will lead to greater success in the application process and during your training.
Which countries pay the highest salaries for studying abroad?
It is true that teachers abroad probably made this career choice for more than just money. The benefits and personal growth gained from teaching different subjects and mostly English as a foreign language far exceed the salary for most, however finding a financially stable and rewarding experience is also important when looking for a job as a teacher abroad.
Remember that being a teacher abroad will never make you a billionaire, but it can bring you a reasonable salary – one that even allows you to put money in your savings account and get a rich experience. For a teacher abroad, it is quite reasonable and possible to receive a decent salary – in the countries with the highest salaries, it can range from $ 2,000 to $ 6,000 per month – depending on the country, city, school, experience, and qualifications.
It can be also reasonable to keep in ind that higher salaries are not considered as the only thing affecting a financially profitable teaching job abroad. You have to keep in mind the local cost of living and benefits of the country, which will allow to determine how much you can save while teaching in a foreign country. Many jobs will offer benefits beyond what you can expect, including living, food, and travel costs.
While some countries and regions still pay very little (for example, teachers in Thailand or Central America), other countries, especially teachers in the Middle East and Asia, compensate English teachers with surprisingly high salaries. The highest-paid ESL teaching positions can often be found in these parts of the world.
The UAE – 3,000-6,000 dollars per month
If true, the highest-paid teachers in the world can be found in the UAE’s most powerful cities: Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Salary for teachers in the United Arab Emirates can vary from $ 3,000 to $ 6,000 (AED 12,000 to 22,000) per month, depending on the qualifications and experience of the teacher.
However, as in most countries in the Middle East, the requirements are tough and for most professions, teachers must be certified to teach in their home countries, or at least have teaching experience for several years. In addition, while highly qualified teachers can earn salaries of around or even potentially above $ 6,000 per month, the average teacher earns much closer to $ 4,500.
Along with high salaries, ESL teachers can look forward to an extensive package of benefits in the UAE, including housing allowance, relocation allowance, flight home, and government health care. Plus, your salary will most likely not be taxed! When all this is combined, saving on teacher salaries is very achievable here.
The two most popular destinations in the UAE are Dubai and Abu Dhabi. These world-class cities are the epitome of cosmopolitanism. If you live here, you will have a selection of the best restaurants, beaches, nightlife, and cultural events. In addition, the cost of living is quoted in the UAE. less than in the USA.
Japan – 2,500-5,000 dollars per month
The cuisine, snow-capped mountains, spring cherry blossoms, steaming bowls of noodles, and friendly people made teaching in Japan very attractive. And it doesn’t hurt that salaries in Japan range from $ 2,500 to $ 5,000 (250,000-540,000 yen) per month, depending on your certifications and teaching experience. Some jobs even offer additional bonuses such as help with housing and free airline tickets to the right candidate.
No previous teaching experience is required, although it can be difficult to find a job without it as the labor market in Japan is extremely competitive. Most less experienced teachers choose to participate in the JET program, but be sure to consider alternatives. For example, ESL teachers participating in the JET program can earn an average monthly salary of $ 2,600 (280,000 yen).
Japan has a high cost of living compared to the United States, which should be considered when evaluating potential destinations for teaching English overseas. A person living in Japan must expect to pay at least $ 1,500 a month, which makes housing subsidized programs highly desirable.
Hong Kong – 3,000-6,500 dollars per month
Actually, the salaries for teachers in Hong Kong tend to be relatively high, especially for ESL teachers, ranging from $ 3,000 to $ 6,500 per month (HK $ 23,000-50,000), but you should consider the fact that the cost of living in Honk Kong is incredibly high.
Hong Kong is in the list of top-10 most expensive cities in the world, about what we have a separate article, so if you choose to teach here, keep in mind that a significant part of your salary will go for renting and incidental expenses. However, high salaries should allow you to live and even save money, especially if you have a small budget.
The teaching requirements in Hong Kong are enough strict, commensurate with the salary. You will need an advanced degree, 2+ years of teaching experience, and most likely a TEFL certificate.
Saudi Arabia – 3,000-4,000 dollars per month
If this dry, desert country sounds like a fair compromise in favor of a high salary for an English as a foreign language teacher, Saudi Arabia might be the place for you. Saudi Arabia has an edge over some other countries in the Middle East because many jobs do not require teacher certification.
Experience is always rewarding and TEFL certifications are usually required, but salaries in Saudi Arabia typically range from $ 3,000 to $ 4,000 (SAR 11,000-15,000) per month. For example, ESL teachers in Saudi Arabia can also look forward to extensive benefits, often including accommodation, airfare, and medical care.
In Saudi Arabia, the cost of living is significantly lower than in the United States, so an ESL teacher’s salary can make a big difference. The generous salary range offers significant savings opportunities.
Tips for teaching in an international school
For the teachers who are planning to move and start their career in a foreign country, we have prepared a few necessary tips, which we hope will help you.
First of all make sure you are eligible to teach at an international school. Typically, schools require applicants to have a valid pedagogical certificate and a bachelor’s degree in their subject area. They will definitely ask to show the document that proves that you have at least two years of full-time teaching experience.
Secondly, track new opportunities. As a rule, schools that are looking for teachers, begin filling their winter recruitment fairs in early fall. Although schools will not know what vacancies they have for the next school year until January, it would be a good idea to complete your application by mid-October. Usually, in late fall, contact schools directly with a short cover letter and resume. Don’t expect a larger response than “thank you” but it would be great to include know your name and information in their files as a “pending” teacher.
Do your own research. Find out as much as you can about the schools you are interested in by reading about them online. Almost all overseas schools have extensive websites that provide valuable information about the school and the school community.
Visit a job fair. These mass conferences have a special role, but they are the best way for candidates to meet face to face with administrators. Very few international schools will hire a foreign teacher for the first time without a preliminary interview. So be attentive to not miss the moment.
Bring your professionally written resume with a photo. Overseas administrators see dozens of candidates applying for the same position during each of the three or four conferences they attend, so attaching a face to a name can be very helpful. And also writing an impressive and gram marly correct CV will be a big plus.
Be flexible. If you immerse yourself in the process thinking that you will only be satisfied if you find a job as an advanced English teacher in a foreign country, chances are you will be disappointed. By all means, focus on the region or continent, but do not discount other possibilities.
Never lose your hope. Even if you get a negative reply, do not lose the hope to one day become a teacher in a foreign country. Continue your researches, prepare a good CV, and apply for that dream job.