There are teachers who dared to dream, hustled for an overseas teaching job, and are making good money compared to their counterparts in Africa.
So if the opportunity to live abroad, travel regularly, and make money at the same time as a teacher sounds like a fantasy, you are not alone.
However, you must know that this is not easy. It requires a lot of sacrifice and preparation.
The most important part of applying for a job as a teacher abroad is making sure you have the right qualifications.
Some of the universal qualifications one needs include:
i) TEFL/TESL/TESOL Certification (if one wants to teach English)
If you are planning on teaching English, you will need to be a native English speaker or be able to demonstrate fluency in English.
ii) Language fluency.
If you are planning to teach in a public school abroad, you may be required to be fluent in the local language used in the country of interest.
Beyond these qualifications and depending on the job one is applying for, you might also need any of the following:
Degree specific to your field, if not English, i.e. a History degree if you plan to teach social studies, etc.
Administrative Certification (if applying for a job as a school administrator)
Teaching in a public school abroad often means that you will be required to speak the local language.
The salary will vary depending on the school itself and its location. You could teach at a public school in Spain in the English department and make around $990-$1,100 per month or teach in a public School in South Korea and make salary of about $1,790 – $2,400 per month, depending on your qualifications.
If you are looking for a program that will require little to no knowledge of the local language, a private school could be your best choice. There are many different types of private school settings, such as an international school, a religious or faith-based school, or even a military school.
Many international schools look for qualified, native English speakers (or those fluent in English) to teach grades from Pre-K through High School. The schools are typically fully immersive, meaning you may not need to have any knowledge of the local language in order to teach in that country.
Private international schools pay a stipend for living expenses or provide housing as well as airfare from your home country, paid vacation, insurance, and even low-cost or free education for any dependents. This depends on the type of school. Your income will also be subject to local taxes.
In regions such as the Middle East or Asia, an International school teacher is likely to make the most money, about $2,000 – $6,000 per month.
In some areas of Europe like Switzerland, the pay may be higher such as an average of $7,500 per month. However, the cost of living is significantly higher, as well as the tax rate, making you to take-home much less pay.
In Central or South America, the pay is often much lower, around $400 – $1,000 a month but the cost of living is also lower, meaning one can save a lot more of their salary.
How to get a teaching job abroad
Once you understand the type of position you want, the qualifications you need, and whether or not teaching abroad is right for you, consider the below process of finding the teaching job.
1. Apply through a Program, Recruiter, or Independently
Think about whether to find a job on your own, or partner with a larger organization. Partnering with prestigious volunteer programs like Fulbright and the Peace Corps can guide your placement, expenses, living situation, and provide any support that you may need.
Volunteer Solutions offer placements in 26 different countries, and iSpiice offer placements that combine education and social programs in India.
If you decide to apply on your own, be prepared to have enough savings if any emergency arises, and the ability to secure your own housing, insurance, and cover flight costs. Some international schools, however, provide assistance in these areas.
Take a look at the job openings on the school websites of the places you are interested in, find a list of benefits as well as their application requirements.
2. Choose a country to teach in
Your decision should be based on the salary, cost of living and security status in a particular country.
3. Prepare your Resume/CV
The first step is to know the format that is expected. In North America, standard resumes are used, whereas in Europe, CVs are used while in Australia, both are use.
The main difference between the two formats is the length and detail. Resumes are very concise documents with an abbreviated education and employment history (usually only bullet points are used) while CVs can be multiple pages long, and go into great detail about your prior education, employment, skills, and achievements.
If you are unsure which format to use, contact the organization you are applying to and ask for more information.
4. Apply for the job and wait for the response
After going through the vacant positions, apply if you are qualified. Even if a school does not have any openings, try to reach out to them to see if there are any vacancies, ask if you can send them your resume just in case they have any future openings.
Remember, applying for multiple positions that you are qualified for will increase your chances of finding a job.
Before considering to apply for an overseas teaching job, you must be intellectually, emotionally, and financially prepared and be ready to feel the loneliness of being far away from home.