Often candidates are surprised to find that international schools, though private, require teacher certification, and in most cases, from an English speaking country. Search Associates President Jessica Magagna says,
"Currently, out of the 629 active schools on the Search Associates website, only 173 of these schools would consider hiring an experienced teacher without teaching certification."
Many interns and beginning teachers hope to find a way to earn professional certification without heading home to spend time in a program. Search Associates is happy to suggest some information about program options compiled with the help of several of our associates, as well as recommendations from Neil Dilk, Head of the American International School of Rotterdam, which he recently provided to the Academy for International School Heads (AISH) after conducting a survey.
For United States Credentials: Post-Graduate Teacher Certification
The College of New Jersey (offsitegrad.tcnj.edu), located in Ewing, NJ, U.S.A. was highly recommended by AISH. It grants NJ Certification of Eligibility with Advanced Standing and TCNJ certification for U.S. citizens. For non-U.S. citizens, it awards a Certificate of Qualification and TCNJ certification, both recognized by international schools. The program certifies for both elementary and secondary levels- and educational leadership. ESL certification is offered at one site in Mallorca. The $2,000 - $3,000 course involves June and July residential sessions at selected sites, such as Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Johannesburg, Lisbon, and Mallorca. Additionally, teachers must complete three courses and fall or spring student teaching. Completion of a third summer session earns a Master of Education degree.
George Mason University Fast Train Program (fasttrain.gmu.edu) based in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S.A., offers Virginia certification in elementary, ESL and Special Education in addition to International Baccalaureate qualifications. Costing $500 per credit hour, two, five-week summer sessions on-site provide three intensive courses. During the school year, online work is completed along with fall and spring classroom teaching practice. A third summer session and online graduate certification programs are required to earn a Master of Education degree.
TeacherReady from the University of West Florida (www.teacherready.com) offers a five-year, renewable Florida certificate for U.S. citizens with a Social Security number. The nine-month program costs $4,800, not including incidentals and $500 for the Florida testing/certification fees. The coursework involves online learning and teaching practice overseen by a mentor teacher approved by the program. The student teacher must pass three tests on-site and in-state for certification.
Teach-Now (www.teach-now.com) awards D.C. certification. Costing $9,000, the nine-month program comprises six months of online learning and three months of student teaching overseen by a mentor in an approved partner school. The program begins with a new cohort monthly.
For United Kingdom/International Post-Graduate Teacher Certification
Far and above all other recommendations stands the University of Sunderland (www.sunderland.ac.uk), which runs for one year and costs £6,000. The program offers online learning for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) for either primary or secondary credentials. For the duration of the course, the teacher is assigned a personal academic tutor. The course comprises four academic modules and two six-week blocks of practice teaching under a mentor in the school where the teacher is employed.
The University of Nottingham (www.nottingham.ac.uk), offering a Post Graduate Certificate of Education International Program, was Number Three on the survey. This one-year program involves brief face-to-face time at its beginning followed by sixteen weeks of teaching practice in tandem with online studies. Important to note: there are nine international locations where this program is offered. The fees, varying by location, approximate £3,000.
Keele University (www.keele.ac.uk) was also highly endorsed for Post-Graduate Certification (international) for both elementary and secondary levels. The one-year program, which costs £4,500 for teachers with two or more years of experience and £6,000 for inexperienced teachers, comprises three Masters-level modules completed online and a twelve to eighteen-week teaching practice. Important to note: Keele University has a fully-fledged operation in Thailand.
The European Council of Schools (www.internationalteachercertificate.com), also known as ECIS or CIE, was the second-most promoted program, offering the International Teacher Certificate (ITC), recognized in both international schools and AdvancED schools. This certification may lead to IB qualification; however, it is important to note that not all U.S. or U.K. schools will recognize it. Costing £1,800 for ECIS member schools and £2,100 for non-members, the fourteen-month program consists of 240 hours of online work during the year and two, three-day programs during two summers at varying locations: Atlanta, Cambridge, or Istanbul. Credential candidates prepare a portfolio, participate in the ITC Discussion Forum, and conduct individual research and inquiry. In the end, the portfolio is assessed by Cambridge International Examination.
Head of School Neal Dilk is quick to caution those seeking certification:
"Each program [should] be properly investigated. Interns need to know to what extent a particular program may or may not provide them with employment opportunities outside of an individual international school. There are a number of programs available that will provide teacher training, and while the individual may receive appropriate learning opportunities, many of the programs will not necessarily issue a teaching certificate that will legally allow them to teach in the country where the training program was administered."
For more information about professional development, please visit our "Graduate Programs" link under "Candidates" on our website as well as our "Resources" link. Whatever program you choose (and there are others out there not mentioned above), it is important to research the program thoroughly to make sure it meets your personal and professional needs.