Jobs are not guaranteed. Much of your success will depend on your willingness to teach at any one of many possible locations, your subject area, and the strength of your file. Roughly 70% of the candidates who are registered will eventually secure a job. About 50% of those individuals will do so through attending one or more job fairs. The remaining 50% will secure positions by using the database and connecting with schools.
Once your profile is active, it is your responsibility to search the database for openings and contact schools directly. You will receive daily emails informing you of openings when schools post them (which means that the system is searching for positions that match your preferences and notifying you immediately). You are the best person to know if a school might be of interest to you, so research the position well. Your Associate, or their team, will always be available to answer any questions you may have about a school and to support you in your job search. Similarly, recruiters will be searching the database to look for candidates that fit their hiring needs and may contact you directly to ask if you are interested.
Search Associates does NOT assign candidates to schools. Our purpose is to connect candidates and international schools through an online database, job fairs and the collective and individual contacts of our Senior Associates. As a candidate, your profile will be available to schools searching to fill a position(s), and similarly you as a candidate will be able to view a school profile, search for vacancies and contact schools. Candidates and recruiters also connect at our job fairs. However, all job offers depend on the strength of your file, your confidential references, your ability to interview, and your flexibility as to the type of school and location you find attractive.
Yes! There is always a need for outstanding counselors with primary or secondary school experience. Typically, an international school will have one counselor per division: elementary, middle and high school. A larger school may well have more than one counselor, particularly at the high School level. In this case, a school may well require experience in college counseling in addition to academic and personal counseling.
In some countries, schools will hire school psychologists. If you are a school psychologist with good experience, and would feel comfortable in the counseling role, you should definitely consider applying.
Not in general. Although a few English language schools are starting to join Search Associates, we work almost entirely with 'mainstream' international schools which have English as their main language of instruction (for example, those schools serving children in the age range of 3-19 and teaching those subjects usually found in schools in the developed English-speaking countries). Most international schools do have some ESL/EFL specialist teachers, but candidates for these positions normally have prior teaching experience in similar 'mainstream' schools, whether home-country or international.
If you are targeting one school, one city, or one country (with very few schools), you might try your luck in contacting them directly before applying with Search Associates. However, a benefit of registering with us is that you won’t have to ask your referees to submit letters of reference to more than one school (as they will be in our database), and you will probably save yourself time as well. Also, if the school is a member of Search Associates, your file is likely to rise to the top of hundreds of random emails the school receives from candidates because your file will be readily accessible through Search Associates and we are well respected in the international education community. That being said, it will be extremely difficult to find a position with such a narrow search and most Associates will encourage you to be more flexible.
While over 100 schools in Europe are registered with us, they represent only 15% of our total member schools. Many teachers considering working abroad think first of Europe, so the positions are very competitive. There is also difficulty for non-EU (European Union) citizens to obtain visas/work permits. Therefore, we encourage you to keep yourself open to other areas of the world in order to increase your chances of securing a position abroad. Unless there are truly compelling reasons for a self-imposed geographic restriction, it is unlikely that Search Associates will accept a candidate with a "one-country," or even a "one-region," restriction.
We strongly encourage teaching couples to apply with Search Associates as schools generally prefer to hire couples (although some factors such as number of dependent children, teaching preferences and flexibility may affect a teaching couples ability to be competitive.) Both members of the teaching couple would be required to complete a separate application with Search Associates as well as our pre-screening requirements. In other words, we would require each part of the "team" to have a complete and separate profile with Search Associates prior to being accepted as candidates. Once accepted, both profiles will be electronically "linked" together by our system so that recruiters viewing the profile of either half of the couple will have direct and immediate access to the other person.
(Please Note: By Search Associates Policy, teaching couples are only Activated as a couple, when both files are completed. One half of a teaching couple is not Activated until the other half of the couple has also completed his or her file.)
Schools can search the database for candidates and their profiles, which include the information contained in the online application, the biographical notes, and the confidential references.
Candidates who contact schools should always identify themselves as Search candidates, so that schools can then view their profiles in the Search Associates database. Candidates should also contact any schools listing openings of interest, and always keep the Associate in the loop about developments.
Search Associates is a highly developed network rather than a centralized company. Each individual Associate operates independently, working with his or her candidates and in some cases, running one or more fairs. Nonetheless, there is a high degree of cooperation and communication among all the Associates working as a team to assist Search candidates.
Our offices are wherever an Associate happens to be with a laptop! Our real offices do look like real offices though, and Search Associates has an Executive Management Committee which manages the company. Members of the EMC are Jessica Magagna and David Cope. Should you have questions about our organization, feel free to contact our Executive Manager, Melinda Williams, or any of our Senior Associates who are close to where you are currently living.
Teachers in specialist fields have the best chances of success due to a smaller teacher supply in relation to the number of jobs. Specialist areas include: music, art, library, early childhood, science and mathematics, and advanced level teachers (such as IB Diploma, AP, GCE A-Level). Specialists do have an advantage over English and ESL teachers, fields in which the supply is large, but schools are always looking for outstanding teachers in all areas.
In order to be considered for membership with Search Associates you will need to complete all of our pre-screening requirements before we can activate your profile in our database and extend you an invitation to a job fair: Once all below requirements are completed, your Associate will thoroughly review your file to see if you qualify to become a registered candidate.
No. Search Associates will not ask candidates to pay any registration fee until you have been notified that you have been accepted as a Search member candidate. We do not feel comfortable accepting any fees unless we feel we can help you! Having said that, once you have been accepted, you will need to submit your registration fee prior to your account being activated.
There is no guarantee we will accept you as a candidate once you complete our pre-screening requirements. Acceptance will be based on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, your teaching preferences, your flexibility, certification, education background, strength of confidential references, number of dependents, and more. Once your Associate has thoroughly reviewed your complete file, he/she will notify you as soon as possible.
If your original Associate is no longer with Search Associates, you should register with the Senior Associate working in the area in which you currently reside. If there is no Associate assigned to your geographical area, you can choose the Associate who organizes the fair you wish to attend. However, before completing a new online application form, you should first try to access your previous account by clicking on "retrieve username/password" found on the login section on the home page, and follow the instructions from there.
Much of this will depend on how long it takes you to complete the application (some candidates complete it all at once and others take days or even weeks.) It will also depend on how quickly your referees complete the online confidential references. The application can be completed at your leisure as you can save changes at any time and go back and continue your work. If you choose to complete the application all at once, it should not take more than 30 minutes as long as you have all of the information you need readily available. The longest part of the process is waiting for your referees to complete the online confidential references. Some referees complete the forms quickly, but others take much longer. On average, it may take a few weeks but can certainly be done sooner. If you are interested in attending one of the earlier job fairs, we encourage you to start the process well before the start date of the fair.
As much or as little contact as you require. While most candidates are comfortable with the electronic registration process and independently using the database to connect with schools to secure jobs, some candidates communicate frequently with their Associates (via email, Skype, telephone, and sometimes in person) throughout the process. We are always here to support you and are just an email or phone call away. In addition, we do our best to respond to your communication by the end of the following business day if not sooner! We are never far from our laptops, no matter where we are.
Registering with the original Associate is the standard company practice. Your original Associate has your paper file and might have established a professional relationship with you. However, our priority is to provide quality service. Should you have compelling reasons to switch to another Associate, please discuss this with your original Associate, who can transfer your file if everyone is in agreement.
Vacancies occur throughout the year, and it is possible to secure a position at any time. However, to have an opportunity to apply for the greatest number of positions that are suitable for you, you should try to follow this schedule:
August: Complete your application and be accepted for registration a full year before you would begin employment at most international schools. For example, if you are looking for a position for the 2013 - 2014 school year, you should start the registration process roughly in August 2012.
September: Use the Search website to familiarize yourself with the database and to start receiving email notifications as jobs become available. Contact your Associate to request an invitation to one of our job fairs. Attendance at fairs is by invitation only.
October: Be sure your CV/résumé is both up-to-date and professional. You will need to give recruiters a copy if/when you attend a job fair. While a portfolio is optional, some candidates bring one to a fair, and many are now placing a link to online portfolios in their email messages. Again, this is not something you must have, but could if you have the time and the technical ability to do so!
November: Keep contacting schools of interest. Prepare to attend one of our job fairs that is appropriate for you, based on your Associate's advice. Continue to communicate with schools!
Moving Forward: Think of the job search as a process that will probably take months, not as a single event, like a fair or interview. Perseverance and flexibility will lead to a position that is right for you.
Head of school candidates may register with Search Associates. However, if you are only looking for a head of school position, it is not necessary to become a registered active candidate. We would encourage you to view head of schools openings on the Leadership Vacancies page of our web site. These positions are open to all candidates whether fully registered with Search Associates or not. Click on the school, and you can view details about the position and the application procedure.
It is important to know that administrative positions are very competitive, in particular, head of school positions. In addition, many job openings have early deadlines ranging from October-December, so it is important to begin your search as early as possible.
Jobs are posted on the Leadership Vacancies section of our website that are open to both registered and non-registered administrators, as are head of school searches. Please click on the particular school for details about the opening and the application procedure.
Additional administrative postings that are available only to candidates who are fully registered and active in our database are also available. Prospective candidates wishing to attend one of our job fairs need to be fully registered in order to receive an invitation.
It is important to know that administrative positions are very competitive. Many job openings often have early deadlines ranging from October-December, so it is vital to begin your search as early as possible.
We charge a modest database user fee/registration fee of $225.00 (Exception: UK Office and Intern Candidates) for administrators and teachers (which include counselors and librarians),and there are no registration fees for intern candidates. Search Associate's candidates appreciate the low fees in comparison to those of other organizations, especially as this fee covers a period of three years (or until a candidate accepts an offer in an international school, whether obtained through Search Associates or other means, whichever comes first).
This registration fee also includes attendance at one of our job fairs. (Several other companies charge a "registration" fee, but charge extra to attend a job fair and or charge a non-refundable fee for simply "processing" your application.) Many of our candidates have assured us the fee is small, considering the comprehensive list of benefits candidates can access, once an application is accepted and activated.
With the exception of our UK-based office, candidate fees are payable directly to your Associate's office. Each Associate will accept payment in various ways so you should check with your Associate to see how they will accept payments. NOTE: Search Associates does not accept or invoice for our registration fee until after the candidate has completed all steps of our pre-screening requirements and has been accepted as a Search member candidate. We do not feel comfortable accepting any fees from candidates until we are sure we can help them!
Services provided by Search Associates are very different from companies that supply a list of openings and expect candidates to contact schools or send a CV/resume. We pride ourselves on our personalized attention to candidates.
While many schools do use a variety of recruitment services, most like the ease of access to a Search Associate candidate’s entire profile, including confidential references. Neither schools nor candidates have to take extra steps to collect more information and documents. Recruiters routinely tell us that the information they are able to access from our organization is far more useful than the information they might get from other agencies. They also know that an applicant identifying himself/herself as a Search Associates candidate is a professional of high calibre.
While some recruitment firms charge approximately the same amount, their fee covers only one year of service and applicants may pay an substantial amount more to attend a job fair. Search membership is good for three years, or until a candidate secures a job, whichever comes first. In addition, Search Associates waives the fee for the first fair, and only charges $75 for each additional fair. We try to keep costs low, and feedback from candidates is overwhelmingly that the small financial investment is worth the benefits.
International schools vary in their requirements, and the country in which a school is located may have specific requirements to establish eligibility for a work-visa and approval by the relevant government ministry. It is essential for a candidate to have at least a B.A., a B.Sc., or B.Ed. degree, and certification/qualification from a major English-speaking country is preferred for classroom teachers by at least 60% of the schools we work with.
Degree qualifications and at least two years (sometimes more) of full-time teaching experience in a suitable 'mainstream' school (primary/elementary and/or secondary) are often quoted as minimum requirements. Some schools will accept newly qualified candidates as well as interns. A Master's degree is valued for teachers and administrators, and some schools look favorably at doctorates for Head of School positions. Intern candidates normally have none of the foregoing qualifications, except that they are usually about to earn a Bachelor's degree before starting their internship.
Not in general. We do offer assistance to intern candidates, administrators (senior management), as well as other non-teaching members of a school's academic staff, such as librarians and counselors. Sometimes we are able to help a school-experienced business manager find a new international-school position, and spouses of our registered candidates have found positions such as laboratory technician, teacher assistant, or school secretary/PA. Only qualified teachers, administrators, and recent graduates seeking intern roles can register as Search Associates candidates.
Due in part to host country VISA restrictions, about 60% of the schools currently registered with us require a recognized teaching certification/qualification that authorizes you to teach in government primary and/or secondary schools in your home country. You may be able to secure employment with these schools contingent upon getting a recognized qualification before your employment starts, or shortly after your employment begins. If you have successful classroom teaching experience and can show that you are definitely enrolled in a course leading to a recognized qualification, this will help your chance of employment.
No, English is the main language of instruction, but most people who travel overseas enjoy taking language courses so that they can feel more comfortable moving around independently. Some schools with a large population of host country national students may give preference to candidates who have a working knowledge of the language.
International experience can be a preferred qualification for some schools, but is not necessary to be a competitive candidate.
Yes. The chances are very high that the school where you are hired and/or the host government will require a criminal background check from your country of passport AND a police record check from the country where you are currently teaching (if different from country of passport). You should proceed with obtaining these checks as you prepare your Search application and upload the checks on your Search profile as soon as you receive them. The vast majority of schools currently working with Search Associates require these checks because it is a recommendation from the International Task Force on Child Protection which is now being incorporated into international school accreditation agencies' standards and indicators. Host governments increasingly require these checks to issue visas and work permits to any foreign hire professional wishing to work in their country.
Search Associates does not discriminate based on age, but candidates should be aware that schools in other countries may have age restrictions because of host country regulations governing work visas. Age limits might begin between 55 and 65 for some countries; however, many others impose no age limits at all. Each school profile will have age restrictions listed as applicable.
Schools have their "pick" from a large candidate pool. Teaching couples with few or no dependents and single candidates with no dependents tend to have a better chance of securing jobs than a teacher with a non-teaching partner (with or without dependents). The reality is that it is more challenging to secure a job with a non-teaching partner, and even more challenging if you have a non-teaching spouse and dependents. Search Associates has observed, however, that more and more schools today focus on quality, aiming foremost to get the best possible teacher.
The answer to this question depends greatly on the hiring needs of our member schools during a particular recruiting season. The number of jobs also varies according to the time of year and the field in question. For example, few jobs are available as business managers or in human resources because schools can usually find personnel for these departments in the host city/country. The number of jobs in each field is generally like a bell curve, low in September and October, building to a peak in December, January, February and March, and then tapering back down during the spring and summer.
The typical contract for teachers is two years. Intern contracts are usually for one year. The school's investment is high, both in financial expense and time, in bringing a teacher overseas. Schools need professional staff who are fully focused on the school and the students. A two-year commitment is reasonable and goes by quickly. Occasionally, a school might be willing to sign a teacher for a year or less (for example, if the teacher is finishing the year for another teacher); however, two years is the norm.
Each of our job fairs is unique, so some are better suited for certain types of candidates than others. Your Associate can help you to choose the right fair(s) to match your profile and your own personal career plans.
Attendance at a fair is by invitation only. Once you are an active candidate, you qualify to receive an invitation to one of our fairs. Visit our "job fairs" to review the schedule for the upcoming recruiting season. You must always request an invitation to a fair from your Associate, either from your candidate dashboard or by contacting your Associate directly. Fairs have limited space and fill up quickly, so we encourage you to start the registration process to become an active candidate as early as possible, and well in advance of the date of the fair you wish to attend.
Search Associates needs to satisfy the needs of both the candidates and the schools. Unless a candidate is legitimate, meaning they are well-qualified and flexible regarding location, it is not in anyone’s best interest to take a space at a fair and deny one to another qualified candidate willing to go almost anywhere. It’s best to be open and flexible to the many hundreds of gems of schools located around the world.
Do not accept a job offer unless you want it and are committed to going. Search Associates and the school will hold you to your word. In some cases, a decision might have to be made during the fair. However, if any school pressures you to sign immediately, and you do not feel quite right about it, you should request a couple of days to think it over. Some recruiters know that the best strategy is to give candidates time to carefully consider the offer, and they do not pressure the candidate at all. On the other hand, recruiters need to set deadlines. They cannot afford to lose a different candidate if you delay too long. Candidates are carefully advised about this issue at the start of the fair and Associates will be on hand during the fair to support you.
Although Search Associates will do our best to extend you an invitation to your job fair of choice, we cannot guarantee that this will happen. For example, early fairs attract highly experienced teaching couples and singles without dependents. An inexperienced teacher in a subject with an abundance of teachers (for example English, Social Studies, ESL) who has a non-teaching partner and a child would most likely have a difficult time even getting an interview, and would have a better chance of securing a job at a later fair. In addition, some fairs might be overbooked or already have too many candidates in your subject area. In the best interest of the candidate, the Associate will always recommend a fair in which the candidate has a better chance of securing an interview.
About 60% of Search Associates candidates secure jobs by attending a job fair and some 40% secure positions through their use of the database to connect with schools. Thus, it is not essential that you attend a fair, but certainly recommended. The early fairs are generally more useful to strong, experienced teaching couples and singles without dependents. Candidates with less experience and those with non-teaching partners and multiple dependents tend to do better at later fairs.
This varies from fair to fair. The range is between about 30% and 60%. However, these percentages can be misleading. Subject and grade level greatly affect a candidate's chances. For example, a high percentage of physics or mathematics teachers might be placed (low number of candidates, large number of jobs), but English or ESL teachers tend to be more numerous so their placement rate could be lower, with only those who interview extremely well getting hired quickly. Teaching couples and singles without dependents tend to have a higher rate of placement than other candidates. Candidates limiting their search to one geographical area only reduce their chances significantly.
Intern positions are available for graduating seniors and recent college graduates who wish to spend an academic year working in an international school. Intern candidates may have teaching certification/qualifications and some teaching experience, but are not required to do so. Internships are paid positions with the same benefits given to teaching candidates, such as housing, round trip airfare, and more. If you would like more information regarding intern positions, and/or whether you would qualify as an intern candidate, please contact our Intern Coordinator, Diana Kerry.
Few, if any, schools will hire administrators unless they have completed a BA or BS degree or its equivalent.
Most school recruiters are looking for administrators who are currently doing what they will be expected to do overseas. Administrative positions are extremely competitive. The more administrative experience you have in the area you are seeking, the more competitive you will be.
Candidates who are willing only to go to Europe, for example, greatly diminish their chances of securing a position. Candidates willing to go almost anywhere greatly improve their chances of securing a position.
If you do not meet all or some of these qualifications, we discourage you from applying as we think it will be difficult for you to secure an administrative position.
Intern positions are available for graduating seniors and recent college graduates who wish to spend an academic year working in an international school. Intern candidates may have teaching certification/qualifications and some teaching experience, one year or less, but most successful interns do not have such a background. Internships are paid positions (lower salaries than teachers) and usually have the same benefits given to teaching candidates, such as health insurance, round trip airfare and more.
This could be through camp counseling, tutoring, teaching assistant and so forth. Although this is not mandatory, it will enhance your competitiveness.
Candidates who are willing only to go to Europe, for example, greatly diminish their chances of securing a position. Candidates willing to go almost anywhere greatly improve their chances of securing a position
If you would like more information regarding intern positions, and/or whether you would be eligible to apply for intern positions, please contact our Intern Coordinator, Diana Kerry.
Few, if any, schools will hire teachers unless they have completed a BA or BS degree or its equivalent.
Most school recruiters are looking for teachers or administrators who are currently doing what they will be expected to do overseas. Some schools may waive (or possibly waive) the experience component, particularly in scarce subject areas, so long as the applicant has completed student teaching and is credentialed. Still, the more experienced a candidate is, the more competitive they will be.
Approximately 60% of schools we work with state they will not hire a candidate without a teaching credential. Much of this is the result of host country restrictions in obtaining a VISA/working permit. While not all schools require a valid teaching credential, many do; thus, having a teaching credential will enhance your competitiveness.
If you do not meet all or some of these qualifications, you are more than welcome to contact a Senior Associate for more information or contact our Executive Administrative Assistant, Melinda Williams.
Almost all schools will hire teaching couples and single teachers without dependents. However, international schools incur exceptional expenses, such as airfares, shipping, relocation and, in most cases, housing provisions, when hiring personnel from abroad; therefore, the more dependents a teacher has, the more expensive the teacher becomes.
Generally, teaching couples with more than two dependents will find significantly fewer options, and beyond that, the odds of success diminish rapidly. Single teachers with a dependent child will find that budget considerations may make it more difficult to obtain an offer from most schools. Therefore, you may find that schools which interest you greatly will not consider your candidacy. Teaching candidates who have a "non-teaching spouse" and no dependents should be relatively competitive in most parts of the world. However, there are some schools which will not hire this category of teacher. If you have a "non-teaching spouse" and one or more dependents, your job search will be very challenging, and you may find fewer options available to you.
Search Associates does not discriminate based on age. However, we work with schools in almost 140 countries, and each country has its own laws and regulations concerning residence visas and work permits. As best we can determine, around 30% of the countries do not impose an age limit for issuing visas/work permits. Among those countries that do impose restrictions, the age is generally 65. The most common location for age limits is in the Arabian Gulf, where the restriction is 59 years of age. Once you have access to our database, you can easily see each school profile and determine whether or not schools have an age restriction based on the countries in which they are located.
We hope we have provided you with enough information to feel comfortable moving onward to complete your online application. However, please feel free to contact a Senior Associate in your area or our Executive Administrative Assistant, Melinda Williams, if you have any questions or need additional information.
Back to Top
Did You Know…?
Senior Associate Robert Barlas is the author of the Teaching Overseas Handbook.