More Than Just Teaching English–Become An International Teacher In 8 Easy Steps!

Are You Ready To Become An International Teacher!?!

Are you a certified teacher in the United States or Canada with a Bachelor’s degree or higher?

Are you ready to choose a life of adventure, multiculturalism, and travel over the mundane suburban routine that you currently have?

Are you ready to choose flexibility and creativity in the classroom over the stifling constraints of data and test scores?

Are you ready to choose a better salary, benefits, and healthcare plan over your large deductibles, high taxes, and low wages?

Are you ready to make the best decision of your life???

Join us and choose to start your International Teacher’s life!


Step 1

Join a global recruitment service.

There are two big ones that are popular among the International education community.

 I used International School Services (ISS), but many others use Search Associates.

The fees range between $195 (ISS) and $225 (Search) for their services.  Although this seems like a large sum of money, they are the two biggest shows in town.  Both companies offer many services and are well known in the International teacher circuit.  Fast forward to step 6 if you still think it isn’t worth it!

Or, you can try your luck with some of these options:  TIE Online, Teacher Horizons, TES, or the US Department of State Office of Overseas Schools.


Step 2

Create a profile and submit your application.

Then, upload your documents–transcripts, recommendation letters, your resume, certification(s) portfolio of work, and a philosophy of education statement. When I uploaded these documents 4 years ago on ISS’s site, it was quite user-friendly and only took a few minutes (after gathering all the required information).

Step 3

Research potential schools using their databases. 

ISS makes this quite easy. Their map allows users to zoom in on different regions and use various filters (i.e. region, subject, etc.)  to help you find the perfect fit. You will find each school’s stats, contact information, and current job openings.

Some International Schools To Choose From

I think you should do your own research as well (Google is your best friend) to help gather information about potential schools.  You can try joining FB groups (such as “International school educators”) or look at sites such as International Schools Review.


Step 4

Decide where you would like to teach.

Europe? Asia? South America, like me? Figure out what type of school you would like to work in. Large? Small? Religious affiliation? Big city living?  Or do you prefer the ease of “compound” life (i.e. Saudi Arabia)?

The “International Job Guide” will help you make an informed decision along with this “cost of living comparison” tool.

I would highly suggest being flexible and not just picking one or two countries. There are 100’s of schools to choose from that range from the Andes mountains, to the deserts of the Middle East, to huge cities in Asia.  Be willing to explore some amazing corners of the world that might not be that familiar to you currently


Step 5

Attend a Job fair or an iFair. 

Job fairs usually run from November-March in places such as Atlanta, NY, Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago. I would suggest making contacts BEFORE you go with as many schools as possible. I was offered a job at the American Overseas School of Rome before the job fair officially begun.  The early bird gets the worm!

Step 6

Select the school of your dreams! 

Sign on the dotted line for your initial two-year contract. Most schools have you sign a new contract for each subsequent year.

This could be a very realistic situation for you at a top-tier International School:

Earn between $60,000- $100,000, with an additional  5%-10% of your salary put into a retirement account, free housing or a large housing stipend, free (or close to free) healthcare, a relocation bonus of $5,000+, a shipping allowance of around $2,000, a free roundtrip flight home each year, and free world-class education for your children.

Bottom line is that at some school’s you can save a small fortune!

Step 7

Get ready to live abroad.

Your new school will help you through acquiring a work visa  (discussed in a future post), background check, and medical tests.  Many schools have a  wonderful “onboarding” process that will help hold your hand through this process. 

Many teachers will start learning the native language before leaving home. However, almost all International schools’ classes are taught in English. 

 Here are some great resources you can use to learn a new language:

Duolingo     Babbel     Memrise    Fluent U    italki     Open Culture    Verbling    Bussu


Step 8

Enjoy the best adventure of your life!


6 thoughts on “More Than Just Teaching English–Become An International Teacher In 8 Easy Steps!

  • September 6, 2018 at 7:39 am

    Very informative! Thank you for laying out all the steps. My husband is a retired teacher. About 6-7 years ago, he was looking to teach overseas but could not find any information on how to get started. We ended up just stay in USA and we both just retired early in May 2018. We now live an expat life in Granada Spain.
    I just forwarded your site to my sons and his friends. My son and his GF just started teaching English in Japan this month. One of his college roommates also just started teaching in Texas. I think they will find your site very useful with new perspectives!

    • September 7, 2018 at 8:28 am

      Thank you very much for your kind words. I am happy to hear that your son and his friends might benefit from our site. Please have them email me at if they have any specific questions. Have a great day!

  • September 7, 2018 at 4:44 am

    How does one become a “certified teacher” in the US? Is this an extra college degree?

    What if you don’t have any teaching experience but want to live abroad and your fluent English seems like your best bet at making this happen?

    is this difficult to pursue?

    • September 7, 2018 at 8:34 am

      There are definitely schools out there that are looking for English teachers. However, if you want to go the route that I have gone (big International school, I would suggest looking into an alternative certification program. Many States have teacher certifications available through alternative measures (not the traditional 4 years of Undergrad, followed by student-teaching, etc.). I would look at your State’s Department of Education website to see what is available (it’s also possible to get certified in a different State).
      Also, there are programs such as “Teach for America’ or “The New York City Teaching Fellows” that offer “career changers’ an alternate path to become a teacher. I actually received my teacher’s certificate through the NYCTF programs (free Masters degree too!).
      Email me at if you have any other questions.

  • January 20, 2019 at 6:50 am

    What information do you provide in your teaching portfolio? My husband and I were hired right out of college, and we have been in the same district for 11 years. We haven’t had to provide a portfolio before, and I’m wondering what we would need to include. Student work? Teacher evaluations? Thank you for any insight!

  • April 28, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Have you found many opportunities for one’s kids to attend the same school where one is teaching? I have four kids–ages 10 down to 2–and would love to take them on an adventure like this. Thank you!


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