With the U.S. economy on the skids, unemployed professionals have started looking “outside the box” for employment. If you’ve lost a job to the economy, what better time than now to leave the U.S. and teach overseas? The question is, Do you need a teaching credential to secure an international teaching job?The good news is this: A teaching credential is not necessarily a prerequisite for international teaching jobs. Science and mathematics positions, for example, are difficult for schools to fill with qualified teachers. If you have had a career related to mathematics, such as engineering or construction, your skills would lend themselves easily to teaching math. In the same manner, a background in science research and nursing may translate well to teaching biology and other science classes. Computer techs, authors, artists, musicians, and athletes with substantial history of success in these areas also have much to offer the students at any school. The question to ask yourself is: “What ‘real-world’ experience and proven accomplishments do I have to offer schools?”
It could be that you have a degree in a field you never pursued as a career. For example, remember that Music Composition degree you earned when you were 22, a degree you earned right before you faced the reality that a ‘real world’ income could only be made from a second degree, which you then earned at 23? Don’t disqualify yourself from a rejuvenation of your passion for Music, and consider teaching this skill, based on your background, degree, and hobbies. Maybe you run marathons or have coached the Little League for years? If so, you have the ‘real-world’ experience to coach and motivate young people in schools around the world. Do you have extensive experience in volunteering? All schools are looking for staff to motivate students to reach out into their communities, often adding Community Service hours to their graduation requirements.
Be sure to consider every skill in which you have experience. Did you abandoned your degree in 18th Century English Literature to work in the more viable field of Public Relations? A school may ask you to teach Literature while enlisting your much-needed advise on helping the school become more visible in the community. Are you the go-to person in your large corporation for all things computer-related? Most schools would love to have you teach a computer-skills class, or install you in an advisory position for the school’s network of intra- and internet computer needs. In other words, any skill which you can bring to a school–enhancing the image, tightening the procedures, enlightening the student body, enriching the staff and administration, making the school more profitable–will make you a fantastic candidate. Highlighting your ‘real-world’ experience and education, no matter how seemingly unrelated, shows you are a whole, viable candidate, a person who has much to offer a school and its students.
However….Be prepared for the fact some countries, and some schools do require teachers from abroad to be credentialed in the area they will be teaching. The reasoning could go something like this: Schools should hire host-country nationals, if possible, rather than importing foreigners like you and me. I believe this is the exception and not the norm, but do be prepared for this logic because no matter how extensive your job experience or how in-demand your subject of expertise may be, labor laws may prevent a school from hiring you.
School Directors not only look for documentation, but also for individuals who will be a “good fit” for their school needs. Certainly experience in the classroom and a teaching credential offer the competitive edge to any candidate. But, if you have a degree and/or professional background in a field that lends itself well to international teaching, then by all means give it your best shot. Add itall to your resume!
If you have something to share on this topic visit our Discussion Board: “Are Credentials Necessary to Teach Internationally?” This is the place to share information about schools and recruiters that welcome non-credentialed, professionally qualified applicants. We’d like to hear your story of successfully obtaining a teaching job, based on your ‘real world’ expertise. Teachers Keeping Each Other Informed is what International Schools Review is all about. Go to Discussion Board