How do you become an international school teacher?

When I first decided to leave the public school system in NYC and try this international teaching thing, I had no idea what I was going into. I didn’t know anyone else that had been an international school teacher. I just ended up researching international schools and stumbled upon two organizations that help place teachers in international schools. Now, I’m in my 4 years of teaching abroad, and plan on doing it for at least 2 more years.

How do you find an international school teaching job?

1. Sign up with an international school recruiting company.

I would highly recommend Search Associates or International Schools Service (ISS). A lot of the accredited and reputable international schools uses either or both of these companies. Both companies have multiple job fairs throughout the year in the US, Asia, Australia, and Europe that teachers can go to. Also, they have extensive online database that they put your profile in that many international schools look at to recruit. There is a fee when you sign up, but it is worth it. I would recommend Search Associates, because I’ve used that and had good success with finding jobs. Also, you will need confidential administrator recommendations and also parent recommendations for teaching positions.

If you’re interested in only Christian schools, there is Network of International Christian Schools.

2. Contact the international school directly.

If you have a particular country and/or school in mind, you can always contact them directly.  If you go their website, you can often find contact information for employment. Many of them may ask you to submit a cover letter and resume to the school directly. Some schools even have a separate online application. Do your research!

A lot of the more competitive schools do recommend you go to a job fair that is sponsored by either Search or ISS, however it’s not required. They like to meet candidates in person for an interview. Remember, that the hiring time line for international schools is a lot earlier than schools in America. Many schools know what openings they will have by December/January. So you should start contacting schools as early as November if you are really interested.

3. Be open! 

If it is your first time trying to find a job internationally, you need to be open. If you don’t have the international school experience, you will be at a slight disadvantage with another candidate with the same experience and international school experience. If you are set on one country and/or  particular school, your choices will obviously be very limited.

Be open to different schools and countries. Think about what are your priorities and the opportunities available at the school and country. Part of the joys of teaching internationally is getting to experience a different culture, country and school. Don’t limit yourself!

If you have any other questions about teaching internationally and finding a good school, please leave a comment! We will definitely be writing more follow up posts about  this topic.

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*UPDATE*

As we have continued to receive many questions concerning more details about how to become an international school teacher, we decided to write a FAQ post for you. Please refer to this post, FAQs About Becoming an International School Teacher, and see if we have already answered your question!