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Disclaimer & Policy

Primary and Secondary Levels

Obtaining an overseas teaching appointment is not easy, nor are most jobs permanent. You will encounter all of the requirements and obstacles to landing a position that occur inside the U.S., plus the additional barriers that must be overcome to obtain permission to work in a foreign country and to master its language and culture. Be prepared to discover that:

  • Competition is stiff;
  • Single, childless young adults are often preferred over married family members;
  • Your U.S. degree(s) and license(s) — which should be active — may not satisfy host country requirements without additional preparation and examinations;
  • You may be restricted to certain subjects such as English due to market demands and local policies;
  • There may be complex and often cumbersome issues involving such things as benefits, pension rights, taxes, and residency; and
  • Your overseas experience may or may not be useful in obtaining employment upon returning to the United States.

Despite these obstacles, teaching abroad can be a very exciting, challenging, and positive experience, one that hundreds of professionals like you have already enjoyed. Persistence, realism, and preparation are the keys to success.

Volunteering as a Teacher

The largest temporary volunteer program employing teachers overseas remains the U.S. Peace Corps. Peace Corps volunteers, who may be of any age and experience level, are selected and trained for 2-year assignments in host countries. In addition, there are similar volunteer programs run by many U.S. religious and charitable organizations.

Teaching in U.S. Territories and Possessions

Information on the requirements and opportunities for teaching in some of the U.S. overseas territories and possessions is provided by the U.S. Department of State.

Teaching in Department of Defense Schools Abroad

The U.S. Department of Defense Office of Dependent Schools provides information on teaching and administrative opportunities in DOD Dependent Schools, as well as links to individual schools and district offices.

Teaching in International Schools

Information on teaching opportunities and links to recruiting organizations is provided by the U.S. Department of State. The links include organizations recruiting administrators as well as teachers.

The U.S. government does not recommend or endorse any recruiting or placement service.

International Schools Services (ISS) provides information and links concerning many overseas schools, and also provides information on searching for overseas teaching and administrative positions.

A number of international schools, many offering American-style programs, have organized associations that can provide information on teaching opportunities. These include:

Association of American Schools in South America

European Council of Independent Schools

Mediterranean Association of International Schools

Near East/South Asia Council of Independent Schools

Teaching in National Education Systems

Only national and local authorities can provide authoritative guidance on the possibility of employment in local schools and other educational settings that are operated and regulated as part of a foreign country's public education system. You should contact the appropriate embassy or consulate and national ministry or education authority, as well as education officials in the locality where you may be expecting to reside and seek work.

Teacher Exchange Programs

A few exchange programs exist that provide opportunities for professional educators to participate in brief study visits and short-term assignments in cooperation with a host country or countries. Some of these include:

American Council for International Studies (ACIS)

Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program

English Teaching Exchange

U.S. Government Teacher Exchange Programs Information