Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions. We have your answers.

We will do everything to help you find that dream job. Just remember, ISS is not a placement agency so your job search is under your control. Ultimately your success depends on a variety of ever-changing factors, such as how open-minded you are, how many positions are available in your content area, how strong your references are, how well you interview, etc. Fortunately, you will also have a two year membership, which offers you great flexibility.

Yes, administrative candidates must establish a professional file with ISS to apply for Head of School, principal or other administrator positions listed with ISS to receive access to and notifications from our system. Schools will post jobs in our system and notifications will be sent out. If you are applying for a specific search being conducted by the ISS Administrative team, then administrators can create a file for that specific job. Each job notification for searches contracted by ISS will contain a code used to bypass the fee. Again, this is for creating a file specific to a search. Candidates who have created a file with ISS for a specific search can upgrade to an ISS candidate, for full access to the system, at any time. Contact the Ed Staffing Team if you wish to do this.

No. Most international schools use English as their language of instruction. Each school self-reports their language of instruction which you can easily find within the ISS-Schrole Advantage database.

Successful candidates often have:

  • Open mindedness in where you will accept a position
  • Excellent references and a polished portfolio
  • A Bachelor's degree or above
  • Valid certification for your desired position
  • 2+ years of experience in a K-12 school
  • Proof of continued professional development
  • Enthusiasm for participating in the life of the school

These attributes are not all needed for you to obtain an international school position, but having many of them will set you up for success.

Couples who are unmarried may find it challenging to find placement in some regions. Some schools are located in conservative communities, and some countries actually deny visas to those traveling as an unmarried couple. As many schools provide housing, they must abide by the laws within their host country with regards to shared housing.

As you complete your online application, you will be asked for the names and emails of at least three supervisors. These supervisors will receive an email with a link to our confidential evaluation form when you submit your application. The reference form should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. While three confidential references are required to create your file with ISS, we encourage you to list more than the minimum in order to best support your candidacy.

Successful candidates often have:

  • Open mindedness in where you will accept a position
  • Excellent references and a polished portfolio
  • A Bachelor's degree or above
  • Valid certification for your desired position
  • 2+ years of experience in a K-12 school
  • Proof of continued professional development
  • Enthusiasm for participating in the life of the school

These attributes are not all needed for you to obtain an international school position, but having many of them will set you up for success.

You will be asked for the names of at least three administrative supervisors as well as their email addresses in the application form. Our system emails a reference request as soon as you submit your application, so it is a good idea to give your supervisors a heads up!

ISS does not discriminate based on sexual orientation. However, international schools are subject to the laws of the country in which they are located, and some which have laws regarding open same-sex relationships. We encourage you to investigate the legal environment of your prospective host country prior to accepting an offer of employment.

No. However, it may be strongly preferred for some high level positions. An advanced degree (i.e., Masters level) in educational leadership/administration is necessary.

Depending on what part of the globe you are considering, medical services might not be of the same standard or availability as in the United States, Canada, UK, or Australia. Members should not put themselves in a situation that might compromise their health if they know a condition exists. A rigorous health screening is usually required as a condition for visa approval. It is important to be forthright about any health condition that may affect your offer of employment.

Some schools and/or countries will require administrative certification from an educational authority, i.e. a state, a province or national ministry. ISS does not necessarily require this type of certification. However, non-certified administrative candidates should be aware that some positions may require administrative certification due to visa restrictions.

Life overseas is not for everyone and ultimately, this is a question that you have to answer. If you are a passionate educator who wants to make a difference in the lives of children, plus are interested in other cultures and countries, seek adventure, thrive in challenging situations, are flexible and adaptable to change, and have a natural curiosity about the world, becoming an overseas educator may be a great career choice for you. Visit the Overseas Experience where you can hear from people who are living this lifestyle.

Anytime! Applications are accepted year-round, but international schools typically begin recruiting for positions one year in advance. A new recruiting season starts September 1st. Most hiring usually happens during the fall and winter months, with the months of October through February being the peak hiring period. This is also the time when we host our International Recruitment Conferences (IRCs) / Job Fairs, where many international schools fill positions.

Planning ahead is key! Candidates who apply or renew their membership in the summer and early fall have the benefit of getting “ahead of the game” by making sure their profile is polished and ready to go when a new recruiting season begins. Keep in mind that waiting for confidential references or collecting other documents can take time. If you apply early, you will be among the first candidates that recruiters will view when September 1st comes along.

Generally, the school that hires you will also sponsor your spouse/partner and your family. However, the school is not responsible for obtaining a work permit for your spouse/partner. There are some schools that are unable to consider candidates with non-teaching spouses due to visa restrictions.

Some international schools may be reluctant to hire educators with dependents left behind, as they are concerned about the candidate’s commitment to the contract.

A Partner Statement is strongly encouraged if you have a non-teaching spouse/dependent. In this statement, your spouse can share his/her background, explain what he/she will do with his/her time while you are employed by the school, or address why he/she will not accompany you.

International experience is often preferred, but not required. It is more important that you have at least two years of experience in a leadership role.

The amount you pay in taxes, if any, depends on your school. We recommend consulting with a financial planner or specialist regarding tax and financial planning.

  • Head of School/Director/Superintendent
  • Assistant Head of School/Director/Superintendent
  • School Principal/Division Head
  • Assistant Principal
  • Dean of Students
  • Academic Dean
  • Director of Admissions
  • Director of Development
  • Director of Instructional Technology
  • Curriculum Director
  • Business Manager

Your dream job is out there! Every year, schools recruit through ISS to fill thousands of vacancies. Jobs are available across the globe, from East Asia/Pacific to South Asia to Latin America. Positions available range from kindergarten to high school physics.

Schools post jobs and candidates apply year round. However, international schools typically begin recruiting one full year in advance, and many start seeking new administrators as early as May or June before the next recruiting season even begins. We encourage you to start the application process as soon as you know you will be seeking an international position in school leadership.

The Opportunities/Jobs

If you are seeking an opportunity to impact young lives and travel abroad, becoming a global educator may be the path for you. You will discover a wealth of incredible opportunities to make a world of difference within international school communities. The number of teaching and administrative positions has almost tripled in the past ten years and is expected to continue grow exponentially.


Enjoy incredible opportunities to explore the world and experience places that you have only dreamed of, often right at your new job’s doorstep. What more is there to say? Maybe just, “Bon Voyage!”

Schools and Classroom Experience

You’ll help foster a vibrant student life unique to each community, country, and culture. International schools often have very high academic standards, small class sizes, and very motivated students ready to learn and grow. Schools vary greatly, from urban to rural settings, large university-type campuses to remote locations surrounded by nature. Across the spectrum, schools will be new, purpose-built, and technologically advanced.


Salaries paid at international schools vary greatly based on factors such as region, location, and school type. When considering an offer, it is important to take into account the entire package. Due to the many perks offered by international schools such as a housing allowances, tax benefits and lower cost of living, your savings potential is usually higher, giving you more financial freedom. Many international teachers save a large percentage of their salary while traveling the world and enjoying a great lifestyle! ISS provides its members with detailed salary and benefit reports for each opening.


Each school has a unique package, and benefits vary per region, country, school type, and a variety of other factors. Generally, international schools offer their expatriate employees an employment package that, along with the base salary, may include health, life and dental insurance, baggage or shipping allowance, relocation allowance, free housing or a housing allowance, flights home, contract completion bonuses, contract renewal bonuses, sick leave, and retirement plans. ISS members have access to detailed salary and benefit info as provided by each school.

Yes, you will need a passport to travel internationally. Be sure to start the process early -- passport processing time can vary! For more information and to apply for, or renew, your passport, be sure to visit your country’s passport issuing organization.

Search Committees develop a profile of the candidate who can deliver the style of leadership the school needs at the particular period of time when the search is conducted. Although many similar qualifications and characteristics are common amongst many schools, the leadership style, skill set and qualifications for each position are different. These committees seek candidates who will lead their school to closer to their strategic plan or vision. Some schools may be interested in a specific skill set, such as experience with construction, curriculum, finances, marketing or development/advancement. Candidates whose skill set, qualifications and experience match those desired are selected as finalists, and will be brought to the school for final interviews.

Most countries require expatriates to have a visa. The process will depend on the country where you will be working. Nearly all international schools will assist you with this process!