Deciding to take a leap and pursue teaching English abroad can be an exciting way to combine the thrill of traveling to a new country with the rewards of helping other people learn the English language. Whether you have your sights set on teaching in a populous city in China or you picture yourself taking siestas in Spain between classes, the possibilities may be endless. If you’re the adventurous type who’s looking for the experience of a lifetime, this career path may be the perfect fit for you!
It’s clear that teaching abroad can be an exhilarating prospect, but you’re probably wondering what type of education you need to pursue such a position. The good news is that in many cases all you may need to have earned is an undergraduate teaching degree. However, it’s also likely that you need to be certified by the State Board of Education (SBE) to ensure that you meet certain standards. As such, you will need to meet SBE test requirements, complete an approved program and meet background check requirements to become eligible for certification1.
There are many different potential options for individuals interested in teaching English abroad opportunities. To help get you thinking about what type of position would be right for you, below is a brief overview of some of the many teach abroad programs featured on the U.S. Department of State website.
The Peace Corps recruits teachers who are willing to volunteer at elementary, secondary, normal and vocational schools and universities. You must have some teaching experience before you apply—and all applications must be made while you’re still in the United States. Call the recruiting office at 1-800-424-8580 for more information.
The Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program allows teachers the opportunity to swap positions with other teachers overseas. To qualify, applicants must currently be teaching; must be a U.S. citizen; and must have earned three years of full-time teaching experience. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The International Educator—or TIE—is a non-profit private organization that is focused on helping international schools recruit qualified teachers from the U.S. for positions at overseas schools. TIE works with over 500 international schools around the world to help find teachers for Pre-K through 12th grade. For more information, email email@example.com.
The Department of Defense helps find teachers for military base schools overseas. If you’re interested in applying, please contact DoDDS before you arrive at you military post—if possible-because applications for overseas positions are considered in the United States.
The Department of State assists American-sponsored overseas schools through the Office of Overseas schools. These schools are non-profit, non-denominational independent schools that in many cases were created co-operatively by American citizens living overseas. The schools are private institutions and as such, they hire their own staff. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re considering teaching English abroad it’s important that you figure out for yourself whether or not it’s the right move for you. If you’re the daring type who is interested in seeing the world and learning about new cultures, than that’s a good start! To help get you thinking about whether teaching English abroad is a good fit, here are some potential benefits that you may not be aware of:
Now that we’ve covered different ways to pursue teaching positions abroad and the potential benefits of pursuing a position as a teacher overseas, it’s time to think about where you would like to go. This will obviously depend on your interests and personal preferences, so start thinking about things like what types of sights you’d like to see; which languages you’re interested in being exposed to; what your priorities are; and get on that research! To help get you started, below is a list of beautiful, culturally-rich destinations that may have a demand for English teachers:
1.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/adult-literacy-and-ged-teachers.htm#tab-4 | 2. tieonline.com/faqs.cfm#5 | 3. state.gov/m/dghr/flo/c21946.htm | 4. tieonline.com/benefits.cfm | 5. languagecorps.com/blog/five-best-places-teach-english-abroad-2015/