Guide to government teaching jobs abroad
Although there are many different programs and ways to teach abroad, opting for a government teaching job may be the most credible and prestigious route to take! In addition, many countries have cultural exchange programs that make it easy to teach overseas and put a well-known school onto your resume.
So, what is a government teaching program? Most government teaching programs are exactly as they sound: you teach for the government through a partnership between the U.S. and another country. This partnership makes it easier for teachers to secure a teaching position abroad, as you’ll bypass having to send your resume to education departments around the world.
Interested in teaching English with a government teaching job abroad? We’ve got you covered! Keep reading to learn more about the types of teaching jobs, average salaries and benefits, and how to get a government teaching job abroad!
Average salary and benefits for government teaching jobs abroad
Your salary will depend strongly on the type of government teaching program you go into and the location you choose to live/teach in. An average government teaching job abroad pays $2,500-$2,900 USD per month but can vary widely.
For example, volunteer programs will have lower salaries (often called stipends) but could still be considered locally affluent depending on where you live. Furthermore, if your teaching job provides housing, that usually means your salary or stipend will be lower (as in the case of the Peace Corps or the English Opens Doors program).
However, If you're interested in working in a remote location where schools are scarce or considering teaching local languages at schools that do not have fluent English-speaking teachers already, you may be able to secure higher pay in your contract with the local government.
Common benefits included for teachers
Many federal, state, and local governments offer their employees a range of benefits. The benefit packages for teachers typically include:
- Health, travel, life, dental, vision, and disability insurance
- Retirement plans
- Paid holidays and sick days
- Paid maternity and paternity leave
- Teacher training and professional development
- Housing benefits
- Tax benefits
Read more: How Much Money Can You Save Teaching Abroad?
Popular destinations for government teaching jobs abroad
While there are many opportunities for teachers to teach abroad and make money, not all of them are created equal. The best government teaching jobs abroad pay much more than their counterparts in other countries. They also tend to be less competitive and more stable, as well as having fewer job requirements and better benefits.
Popular destinations for government teaching jobs abroad include France, Spain, Japan, Chile, South Korea, and Colombia. Each country offers its own unique benefits for expatriates who want to teach English abroad.
Asia government teaching jobs
In Asia, you can get a government teaching job abroad through several government-sponsored programs. For example, there's the Japanese Exchange and Teaching program (JET program) in Japan, which requires basic proficiency in Japanese. A first-year teaching salary starts at $35,000. Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) are responsible for classes ranging from elementary to high school and teaching classes and extracurricular activities. Unfortunately, housing is not provided through the program.
In South Korea, there are programs like GEPIK, EPIK, and SMOE. With EPIK, teachers will teach 22 hours a week for an entire year. You also have the opportunity to renew, and you’ll be taking home roughly $2,000 per month.
Europe government teaching jobs
Although, at one point, Georgia had a government-sponsored program for teachers, the main two programs in Europe are the North American Language and Cultural Assistants in Spain and TAPIF: Teaching Assistant Program in France.
Spain's program is an assistant teaching position, which means that you won’t have your classroom or be replacing an English language teacher. Instead, you’ll be supporting and enhancing an already existing class. You’ll be provided with national health insurance and a monthly stipend of roughly $950 - $1,075. Housing is not provided through the program and a knowledge of Spanish is required.
Similar to the North American Language and Cultural Assistants program in Spain, TAPIF is a program that places participants in assistant positions throughout France. Again, you’ll be provided with national health insurance and a monthly stipend of roughly $950 - $1075, and knowledge of French is required. This program is generally only open to university students and recent college graduates.
Latin America government teaching jobs
In Latin America, the Colombian and Chilean governments both sponsor teachers to come to teach abroad in their countries.
In Chile, the English Opens Doors Program is much shorter in duration than most others; however, that allows for more flexibility when it comes to choosing when you’d like to go! You’ll work with a Chilean teacher to lead 25 hours of classroom teaching time, extracurriculars, and stay with a host family. In addition, you’ll receive health insurance and a $115 per month stipend.
The Colombian program is pretty similar but one of the newest government-sponsored programs on this list.
How to get a government teaching job abroad
Where to find government teaching jobs
- Fulbright U.S. Student Program: Prestigious and competitive program backed by the U.S. government. Specifically, in teaching grant programs (there are many other programs to choose from), you can teach English as an assistant in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North and sub-Saharan Africa, and the Western Hemisphere.
- Peace Corps: 27-month-long volunteer program, where teachers commit to two full years of teaching, in addition to three months of intensive training. You’ll be paid a monthly stipend, as well as receive a $7,425 (pre-tax) resettlement allowance at the end of your service.
- English Language Programs - U.S. State Department: Places teachers with a graduate degree in English language teaching or a related field in various teaching placements around the world, based on skills and need. For more info, look at the State Department's page on ELPrograms.
When to apply to government teaching jobs
You may want to check with the specific program you’re interested in for specific dates, as each country’s relationship with the U.S. is different, and therefore, the amount of time it takes to apply for a visa will be different. But, generally speaking, you’ll want to start thinking about applying a year before you want to leave.
Qualifications needed for government teaching jobs
You'll need to have a teaching certificate, like a TEFL or TESOL, and a degree in education in many cases. But some programs, like EPIK, allow you to teach as long as you have a four-year degree in any subject. Some countries will also require you to have experience teaching in your home country before issuing you a work visa.
Your passport must be valid for at least six months after your departure date from the country, and it must have at least one blank visa page available for stamping and at least two other blank pages available for entry stamps later on. You will also need to provide proof of legal status in the US or Canada if you are applying from there.
You'll likely need to pass background checks, including fingerprinting and police checks that can take up to six months before receiving clearance from the hiring organization's government ties back home.
The most important qualification for any government teaching job abroad is your willingness to work hard. This means that you must be able to remain organized, efficient, and patient while working long hours at the job site. It also means being open-minded enough to adapt to new surroundings, cultures, and people. Additionally, you must have a positive attitude about life in general because you will be working long hours and living with other teachers who are just starting as well!
Work visas for government teaching jobs
If you want to live and work legally in another country, you need to apply and receive a work visa. All government teaching programs will either help you out or do most of the paperwork for you. They'll also sponsor you for a work visa (just one of many perks of teaching abroad through one of these programs).
However, you may still have to do a bit of work yourself. Just be sure to check with your specific program to see what they need you to do and make sure you have all the necessary paperwork when you apply!
What’s it like to live & teach English with a government teaching job abroad
Many government programs available are language “assistants,” which means you’ll be teaching, but you might not have to assume all the responsibilities of a host country's national teacher. Many assistant teachers only work between 12 to 16 hours per week, not including time for preparation or extracurriculars. You’ll often also be paired with another teacher who you’ll work closely with throughout the year.
In other programs, such as Peace Corps, you’ll be the only teacher, but you’ll have support from friends and mentors in the Peace Corps staff and the staff at your school. You’ll also likely only be working between 12 and 20 hours per week, leaving plenty of time to explore your new host country!
Ready to find your dream government teaching job abroad?
Start researching and comparing teaching programs here at Go Overseas in the Teaching Programs in government teaching jobs abroad section below.
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