One of the questions we get asked most frequently is “How did you find an international teaching job”?
There are many factors to keep in mind when looking for an international teaching job. Namely, what level you want to teach at, where you want to live, and if you look at private or public education. These will help you determine where to start.
Certified Teacher vs English Teacher
If you are not a certified teacher in your home country, there is the opportunity to teach English. Asia has a huge market for English teachers, specifically South Korea, Japan, and China. Dave’s ESL Cafe is a great place to look. For South Korea, there is a government program called Epik! As far as certifications go, you will need a TEFL certificate and a bachelor’s degree in any field.
You can then decide between public education and private lessons. Everyone has a different experience, but from everyone I have spoken to, public is the way Togo. There is guaranteed hours and vacation time. Again, do your research!Daniel and I were offered a job in a Hag won (private English school) in South Korea before we accepted our jobs in Qatar. I do not have experience personally, so I will not tell you what to do!
If Asia is not your desired location, there are opportunities to teach English around the world, including Europe. Asia is a common location to teach due to the pay and availability.
If you are a certified teacher, you can still teach English internationally.However, this may be looked down upon, as it does not count for years of experience in some schools!
Where to Teach
Determining where you would like to teach is an important step as well. There are some regions of the world that have more perks than others: higher pay, and housing accommodations to name two common ones. The Middle East and Asia both have a huge market for international teachers at this time. However, there are international schools all over the world!
Even within the Middle East every country is different. Do not choose a job just for the pay!! You will be living there for 2-3 years. You need to make sure the culture is a good fit for your lifestyle. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are right next to each other, but the cultures are very different. Countries with a higher expat population will have a different cultural feel.
You still need to look at the cost of living. For example, I wanted to teach in the UAE. Qatar and the UAE have a similar pay schedule. This year, Dubai began charging expats in professional jobs taxes, something that they had not done before. That means that if we had taken jobs in UAE, we may have made less than we did in the United States. DO YOUR RESEARCH!
My experience is only here in the Middle East, but there are private schools with locations worldwide. Most international teachers do not stay in one place forever. If you do not see a job available in your ideal location, you can always gain experience somewhere else until your “dream job” is available.
Public vs Private vs Non Profit
It is known to educators that there can be a big difference in a school dependent on how the schools receive their funding. This may be different in every region. Public schools in the Middle East or Europe are not that same as Canada or the United States. We taught in low income public schools in Arizona and are now at a private school for expat families and Qatari natives. Our school is very different because it is a different population. Each have their pros and cons. If you have a preference for public or private, you may adjust your search settings to help you find your ideal school.
Where to Find Openings
There are agencies dedicated to recruiting international teachers. Some are paid services, while others are free. We used Teach away, which is a free service. On Teach away, you create a profile that Teach away agents and school recruiters can view. You can apply for jobs by yourself, but Teach away agents will also recommend jobs that you may be a good fit for. Daniel and I only had 1 ½ years of experience, while most schools require two years’ experience. Our agent recommended the school we are at now, as they did not require two years of experience.
There are also international job fairs worldwide. Teach away partners with International School Services (a top-rated paid recruitment agency) for an international job fair. This fair has schools from all over the globe come to recruit teachers. The schools have various prestige levels and salaries, but you are almost guaranteed a job.
Finally, you can apply directly with the school. This is the most challenging, as you have to find each school and hope they see your resume. Many schools use agencies so they do not have to look at individual resumes. It is not impossible to be hired this way, but it is much more difficult.