This is a very important question to ask when looking into teaching abroad because there is a lot of conflicting and biased information out there. Some websites that say you need a certain certification are usually trying to sell that course. Another reason for the conflicting information is that necessary qualifications change depending on which country you want to teach in.
You may come across information about teaching abroad that states you need a degree in education, a licence to teach, and two years’ experience. This is very misleading, as most of the time you will not need all three of these. Usually you need some form of qualification OR experience but, that being said, there are opportunities for almost everyone.
If you don’t have two years teaching experience, you will need to search for job placements through advertisements instead of through job fairs. One of the criteria for attending job fairs is having two years teaching experience. Without this, however, it is still more than possible to find attractive teaching positions.
If you hold a Bachelor’s degree and a Teach English as a Foreign Language Certificate (TEFL) you will be able to teach in an ESL position in most schools. You don’t necessarily have to have your degree in a subject matter relating to teaching – you just need to hold a degree in order to qualify for a working visa. Having your TEFL certification can help you to teach ESL in international schools, and it is quite easy to get your TEFL certificate. It normally takes between 2-4 weeks of full-time study to complete and you have the option of either distance or part-time study as well.
Even if you have no teaching experience and qualifications, there are still opportunities available to you. You can look into one of the many non-government organisations that sponsor or offer internships teaching in different countries. Many of these are non-paying, but will offer you free room and board, as well as great international experiences. Many of these placements also tend to take place in lower economic areas and third world countries where they are in need of the most educational help. As a result, these types of teaching experiences are extremely rewarding.
As far as age is concerned, there are lots of opportunities for both new and more mature teachers. Age may be an issue in some countries because of visa requirements, but usually international schools find more mature teachers attractive because they are seen as being more stable. That being said, many schools operate on a salary scale that makes less experienced teachers financially attractive.
The best bet to finding out what type of credentials you need to teach abroad is to first decide which country you want to teach in, and then find out the requirements for that specific country. As the credentials differ so much from place to place, this is probably the least confusing course of action to take. Overall though, it is probably best to have a Bachelor’s degree as well as TEFL certification, as these two credentials will open the most doors for you abroad.
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