Getting a teaching job abroad

Working overseas can be a wonderful experience, and an Australian teaching degree can open doors to many international employment opportunities. However, before you rush out and buy a plane ticket, make sure you’ve done your research. Australians looking for teaching jobs overseas should know where the jobs are, and exactly what employers are looking for.

Hays is one of the world’s leading specialist recruitment agencies, operating in 33 countries and recruiting for more than 20 different industries, including education. We spoke to Alex Jones, the company’s Regional Director, to learn more about the requirements of teaching abroad and how Aussie teachers can use their degrees internationally.

What type of teaching jobs can Australian qualified teachers expect to find overseas?

According to Jones, “Australian teachers can get jobs in international schools in most countries, as well as government schools in countries such as the UK, United Arab Emirates and Singapore. There are jobs for all levels and types of teachers, from early childhood and primary, to secondary classroom teachers, as well as head teachers and principals.”

In which countries are Australian teachers in high demand?

The good news is there are many destination options for Australian teachers looking to work abroad. “In Asia – China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia [like to employ Australian education professionals],” says Jones.

“In the Middle East look at Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Egypt; these are the countries that cater best to expats. And the highest demand is from the UK, because of a shortage of local British teachers.”

This teacher shortage in the UK (thought to be due to a decline in the birth rate in the late ’90s, a corresponding decrease in graduate numbers today, and British teachers looking for their own overseas experience), is good news for Aussie teachers who are currently oversupplied and looking for teaching jobs around the world.

How can teachers find teaching jobs overseas?

For qualified Australian teachers, Jones recommends they approach a specialist recruitment agency, rather than overseas education institutions directly. “While individual schools sometimes have direct recruitment drives, more often they’ll recruit through one of the many teaching agencies that deal with international employment,” he explains.

Hays’ education division recruits Australians for overseas teaching jobs, and there are many other agencies that can help teachers looking to work abroad. For example:

  • Point To Point Education is an Australian company that recruits teachers for UK and international schools.
  • Canadian-based Teach Away places teachers, including those from Australia, in public and private schools worldwide.
  • Agencies TIC Recruitment (based in the UK) and Teachanywhere recruits teachers for international schools around the world.
  • Additionally, the UK Government’s Department for Education website has information for prospective overseas applicants.

Which educational institutions favour hiring Australians?

Jones says British, US and Australian international schools are good bets for Australian teachers. In addition, there are lots of opportunities in government schools in the UK and the United Arab Emirates – the UAE’s rapidly growing school-age population has led to a shortage of local teachers.

What sort of verifications are you likely to need before heading abroad?

“Most schools will require verification of your teaching registration and degree or qualifications,” says Jones. “Some countries, like Singapore, will assess your qualifications too.”

“Fortunately, since international schools are privately operated, most will recognise Australian teaching qualifications. However, some schools or countries will want work experience on top of a degree (or require it for visa purposes).”

For example, schools in the UK recruit Australian graduate teachers straight out of university, while teachers wanting to work in the United Arab Emirates must have at least two to three years’ experience.

Other things likely to be required include a valid work visa and a criminal background check. You may also be required to produce a working with children’s check, depending on the country you choose to work in.

Before heading overseas, demonstrate your credentials to international education recruiters by verifying your career and personal information through CVCheck.

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