Are you qualified to teach overseas? Find out!
Teaching overseas can be a fantastic way of having an expat experience while advancing your career at the same time. But many people are put off applying for positions with international schools, thinking that they aren’t qualified enough or won’t be considered if they don’t speak a foreign language.
Don’t be deterred! Here we take a quick look at what teaching abroad entails.
Do I need to speak a foreign language?
When it comes to teaching overseas one of the most commonly asked questions is “Do I need to speak a foreign language?” Well the simple answer is no. For many international schools the ability to speak a foreign language is seen more as a bonus qualification than an essential requirement. Native English speakers are highly sought after in international schools worldwide as the vast majority of lessons are conducted in English, so as long as you’re proficient in that particular language you should be okay! However, if you hope to teach at a small, local school you will probably need the ability to speak and write in the language of your host nation fluently.
What qualifications do I need?
Well if you’re hoping to get a position with an international school the typical minimum requirement is a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject area. For example, if you’re hoping to teach English to secondary school age children you should have a Bachelor’s degree in a closely related humanities subject.
If you intend to teach children of primary school age you will need to hold a degree in education, child development or similarly related subject.
If you intend to teach English as a Foreign Language you will need a TEFL or equivalent qualification.
Teachers from the US may need to be certified in their subject and grade level, different states follow different certification guidelines so contact your state’s Department of Education for up-to-date information.
What kind of experience do I need?
Some people believe that very little experience is required in order to teach overseas, making it a good option for beginning a teaching career, but that really isn’t the case. In order to be considered for a position with an international school you must have a minimum of two years teaching experience, typically accrued in your own country. The level of experience required may be higher at particularly popular or acclaimed international schools.
Is there much scope for further travel once I’ve taught abroad?
A great thing about teaching in an international school is that it makes you a desirable candidate for positions within other international schools. Having already proven once that you adjust well to foreign surroundings and are capable of dealing with the challenges associated with teaching in such a unique environment, you’ll find getting positions in other international schools from across the globe far easier.