Frequently Asked Questions
You have questions. We have answers.
Am I guaranteed to get a job?
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. We will do everything to help you find your dream job. Just remember, we are not a placement agency, so your job search is under your control.
Do I need to speak another language?
No. Most international schools use English as their language of instruction. Each school self-reports their language of instruction and languages taught which you can easily find when looking at school profiles.
How can I improve my chance of success?
Successful candidates often have:
- A Bachelor’s degree or above
- Valid credential/certification for your desired position
- 2+ years of experience in a K-12 school
- Complete candidate profile and excellent references
- A robust portfolio showcasing your accomplishments
- Proof of continued professional development
- Enthusiasm for participating in extracurricular activities and the life of the school
- Open-mindedness in where you will accept a position
- Excellent references and a polished portfolio
Not all attributes are needed to obtain an international school position but having many of them will set you up for success.
Do I need to add references?
Before your ISS candidate profile can be made active and visible to schools, you will need to add and receive at least three supervisory references from the last 5-7 years of experience including one from your current/most recent evaluator. Please use school or professional email addresses whenever possible. Your supervisors will receive an email with a link to complete a confidential reference form.
Is an advanced degree required?
No. However, it may be strongly preferred for some roles. For example, a Master’s degree may be required for school leadership positions.
Is certification required?
Most accredited schools require certification from an educational authority, i.e., a state, a province, or a national ministry of education. Candidates who do not have a teaching qualification should keep in mind that some schools require certification due to visa restrictions.
I am in a relationship, but not married. Can I become a candidate?
Yes, you can! Many schools welcome non-married couples. However, unmarried couples may find it more challenging to secure placement in some regions of the world. For example, some countries may deny visas to those traveling as unmarried couples.
I am in a same-sex relationship. How will this affect my search?
International schools are subject to the laws of the country in which they are located, and some 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.
I, or one of my family members, have a health condition. How will this affect my search?
Depending on what part of the globe you are considering, the availability and access to medical services might be different from your home country. Also, a rigorous health screening is usually required as a condition for visa approval. Therefore, it is important to be forthright about any pre-existing health condition that may affect your offer of employment.
Is teaching overseas the right decision for me?
If you are a passionate educator who wants to make a difference in the lives of children, 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. Life overseas is not for everyone and ultimately, this is a question that you must answer by doing relevant research and understanding your options.
When is a good time to set up or update my candidate profile?
Anytime! Schools post jobs and candidates apply year-round. However, international schools typically begin recruiting for positions one year in advance. A new recruiting season starts September 1st. Most hiring usually happens between October and February. Planning is key! Candidates who create or update their profiles in the summer and early fall have the benefit of getting “ahead of the game” by making sure they are active on ISS EDUrecruit 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 set up your profile early, you will be among the first candidates that recruiters will view when September 1st comes along. We encourage you to start the application process as soon as you know you will be seeking an international position.
I am a teacher, but my spouse/partner is not. Can I still apply?
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. Also, some schools are unable to consider candidates with non-teaching spouses due to visa restrictions.
Is prior international experience required?
International experience is often preferred, but not required. It is more important that you have at least two years of full-time experience in a K-12 school.
What will I have to pay in taxes?
The amount you pay in taxes will depend on several factors. We recommend consulting with a financial planner or specialist regarding tax and financial planning.
Where can I go? What can I teach?
Your dream job is out there! Schools recruit through ISS to fill thousands of vacancies. Jobs are available across the globe, from East Asia/Pacific to South Asia to Africa, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East. Positions available range from elementary school to high school and include school leadership roles.
Why should I work at an international school?
- The Opportunities: If you are seeking a position 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 to grow exponentially.
- Travel: 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 will 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, from large university-type campuses to remote locations surrounded by nature. Across the spectrum, schools will be new, purpose-built, and technologically advanced.
- Salary: 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 consider the entire package. Due to the many perks offered by international schools such as housing allowances, tax benefits, and lower costs 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!
- Benefits: 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.
Will I need a passport?
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.
Will I need a visa?
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!