While opportunities for teaching abroad abound, there are far more of them for individuals who have been certified through specific teaching programs. Most of the opportunities are available for those qualified to teach linguistics, communications, and cultural skills.
Native English speakers who would like to start teaching abroad can increase their chances of finding jobs by completing the TEFL—Teaching English as a Foreign Language program; many countries are desperate for native English speaking teachers.
Another program, TESL, or Teaching English as a Second Language, will enable you to find employment in countries where English is the primary language, but there is a significant non-English speaking immigrant population. With both types of training, your opportunities for teaching abroad will span the globe. You will have an advantage over those without certification, because your willingness to get formal training will be an indication of your motivation when you apply for positions teaching abroad.
The Competition Is Stiff
Because there are many more applicants for positions teaching abroad than there are positions–some estimates are as high as twenty candidates for each position at the better schools–overseas applicants need to have at the least a Bachelor’s Degree and teaching credential, with a minimum of two years’ experience. Childless couples have a better chance of getting jobs than those with children; couples with children take precedence over singles without children. and single people with children have almost no likelihood of being hired.
The competition for jobs teaching abroad at the best schools means that you will need an excellent resume, and be prepared to be active in extra-curricular activities. If you have already traveled internationally or, even better, lived abroad for a while, and are bi-lingual, your chances of getting a job will improve even more. You’ll need to impress on your prospective employer your love of children.
Becoming An Ambassador
And, if you are an American interested in teaching abroad, teaching English as a second language will give you the chance to appreciate the cultures of the country in which you are teaching. But it will also expose your students to the American culture, and in that sense you will be acting as an ambassador for the US.
Depending where you are teaching abroad, you may be able to travel to nearby nations and broaden your experience even further. You will not only give your students confidence in their English-speaking abilities; you will grow in your own confidence as an international traveler.