Most people think about teaching English as a Second Language when they consider teaching abroad. However, expatriate teaching opportunities are just as wide and varied as teaching opportunities in the U.S. Expat educational organizations typically hire teachers from elementary through graduate school to teach in a variety of disciplines.
Such positions may be volunteer or paid, depending on the country and/or organization. Some teaching abroad positions are for short-term, temporary periods. Others may be for one to three-year contract terms or longer. So if you are interested in teaching abroad, check out the ways you can join the expat teaching community in this post.
English as a Second Language
Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) is by far one of the most popular ways of becoming an expat teacher. Some of the better-paying ESL roles typically require a bachelor’s degree in English, Education, ESL, or a related discipline and ESL certification. However, some educational institutes also hire bachelor’s degree holders of various disciplines who also have some type of ESL certification. Also, other companies will hire candidates with or without a bachelor’s degree and no ESL certification. Education and credentials vary by country and organization.
As with most other expat teaching opportunities, it is best for candidates to have a degree, certification, and experience in ESL. These qualifications will usually get you in the door faster and allow you to negotiate higher pay. At a minimum, you should have a bachelor’s degree, even if you don’t have experience in ESL.
However, you can get experience in certain countries while working on your certification as well. In fact, some employers will train you in ESL and reimburse the cost of the certification test. Once you have considerable experience, it will be easier for you to get better-paying. Or at least to acquire desirable teaching opportunities in other regions that require a bachelor’s degree for ESL teaching jobs.
Expat teachers are highly sought after in public schools in many countries. Several countries hire such teachers at every grade level in almost every discipline. The student population at public schools generally includes local and immigrant students. This means that they may not be fluent in English or be familiar with western culture, especially in the early years.
Working as an expat teacher in public schools typically requires a bachelor’s degree in education and a teaching license/certification. In essence, you will usually need the same qualifications required to teach in your home country. Again, more stringent requirements generally equate to better pay, benefits, and living conditions. So my advice is to be as prepared as possible.
It is also important to note that sometimes teaching credentials from specific countries are only accepted in certain expat teaching environments. This usually includes credentials from westernized nations such as the U.S., Canada, many European countries, Australia, and South Africa. So read all the details before applying to expat teaching jobs to see if it is the right fit.
Expat teachers are usually the bulk of the teaching population in private, international schools. These schools often cater to children of diplomats and other expat workers who are in the country. In some regions, a growing number of local children are also enrolling in international schools. Thus, the student population in these schools will typically be multicultural and very diverse.
Top-level teaching qualifications and experience are highly encouraged to get jobs in these schools. While a bachelor’s degree and a teaching license are usually the minimum qualifications, master’s degrees are often preferred. At any rate, it is virtually impossible to find teaching positions at international schools that do not minimally require a bachelor’s degree and teacher certification.
College and University
There is also space for college and university educators in the expat teaching arena. Many public, private, and international colleges and universities often seek expat faculty members. Qualifications for teaching posts in this area typically require a master’s degree and work and teaching experience.
Education and work experience alone is usually not enough to get full-time teaching gigs in colleges and universities. Hiring managers at post-secondary education institutes typically want a significant amount of teaching experience on your curriculum vitae as well. They want to know that you are capable of teaching in your chosen profession. This applies even if you have a significant amount of industry experience. Typically three to five years of full-time teaching experience or a combination of full and/or part-time teaching experience is required at this level.
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