Teaching abroad: how to use your education degree to start a career overseas

Australian teachers are highly sought-after abroad. Here’s three ways to use your degree to start a career overseas.
Elise Tornos
Team GradAustralia
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Given their important social and cultural role, as well as the tasks for which they are responsible, it’s no surprise that Australian teachers belong to a well-regulated profession. Fortunately, the stringency of Australian educational standards means that our teachers are held in high regard abroad, where they frequently secure positions in primary schools, secondary schools, and tertiary institutions.

There are numerous benefits to teaching overseas—you get to earn money (and often save more than you would at home) while immersing yourself in a foreign culture and gaining valuable exposure to unfamiliar teaching methodologies. Teaching abroad can also be a great way to affect social change, whether you work in a ramshackle school in a lesser developed area of the world or seek to provide education to minority groups that haven’t traditionally received it. Whatever your goals, we’ve brought together three ways that you might use your degree to travel abroad.

 

Plan A: School systems that recognise Australian teaching degrees

The rigorousness training that precedes the accreditation of Australian teachers means that, by default, they can submit competitive applications in many foreign jurisdictions where, as is more common abroad, teachers must simply possess a Bachelor’s degree in their field of expertise.

For example, in Ireland, teachers are required to possess a three-year degree in a relevant discipline (such as English, maths, science, or languages). While the rules change from state to state in America, they too generally follow a similar model, with teaching accreditations awarded to Bachelor Degree holders who submit their credentials to the governing educational body.

Australia also has reciprocal arrangements with the school systems of Canada and the United Kingdom. To apply for positions in these countries, you will require an accredited degree as well as a notarized letter of professional standing from your state’s education department.

 

Plan B: Teaching English abroad

Trivia question: which country has the second highest number of English speakers (after the United States)? The answer is India, followed by Pakistan, Nigeria, and the Philippines. With English now the undisputed language of international business and politics, English proficiency is highly sought after across the globe—and so are qualified English teachers.

There are two main ways to apply for English teaching positions abroad. First, there are several countries that have well-known government-sponsored programs designed to attract native speakers of English. These include the JET program (Japan), EPIK (Korea), Auxiliares de Conversación (Spain), TAPIF (France), and English Open Doors (Chile).

Second, there are many private teaching academies that may offer more control over your hours and place of employment. It’s not unusual for such businesses to require teachers to possess an English-teaching qualification (such as a TEFL diploma).

 

Plan C: Teaching for social change as a volunteer

Teachers can make a huge impact in communities that, for various socioeconomic and cultural reasons, mightn’t have well-established education systems. The easiest way to find volunteer teaching programs is to solicit the services of an independent organisation, such as Projects Abroad or GVI, both of which aim to fill teaching positions in lesser developed countries.

Be aware that accommodation and remuneration varies widely in this space, with many teachers receiving a small stipend to cover basic expenses and living in simple, remote lodgings. Still, if you’re adventurous and ready to see the world, this is a great way to use your skills in locations as varied as Costa Rica, rural China, sub-saharan Africa, and southeast Asia.

 

Conclusion

Whether you’d like to teach chemistry in Spain or share your love of English in Nepal, you’re sure to find a teaching position abroad that makes the most of your skills while providing an exciting cultural experience. If this is something you’re potentially interested in, you’ll find that a quick Google search reveals numerous agencies committed to finding you a suitable role. Safe travels!