New Credential, No Experience…What’s My Chances?


Dear ISR, I just finished my credential program & I’m ready to head into the International Schools job market. The thing is, I don’t have teaching experience, except student teaching. I’ve discovered most recruiters require 2 years of experience. I started my credential program with the idea of living abroad & don’t want to spend 2 years in America developing a work history, especially now.

I’ve lived outside the USA for extended periods & feel comfortable taking a job anyplace in the world. I don’t need to make much money — I have no dependents & no financial responsibilities. My question is, Do you think I can get an overseas teaching job? If so, how should I go about it? Any advice would be very much appreciated.

Best Wishes,

Ready to go!

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21 Responses to New Credential, No Experience…What’s My Chances?

  1. Avery Thornton says:

    I left the country right after I got my credential. I immediately got a job in Korea and worked there for three years, then moved to Dubai and have been here for the past three. They desperately need teachers especially native speakers all over. You will have absolutely no problem finding a position. \contact schools directly too. Don’t just go through recruiters.


  2. Anonymous says:

    I would be very careful about working in china without experience, you need by law 4 years experience to get a Z visa, otherwise, you are playing with fire in fireworks factory


  3. Anon says:

    Get some real experience by teaching in your home country first. Inexperienced teachers – unless closely mentored and supervised – are short changing students!


  4. Anonymous says:

    The trick is to find any school that will be willing to hire you, work there for two years, and then be prepared for much smoother sailing.

    I was finishing my master’s in math education when I began to apply to teach abroad, and similar to you my only teaching experience was student teaching and the 2 years I taught at a community college.

    Despite being a certified math teacher with a master’s and some experience, I kept being told that I didn’t have enough of the correct experience (since the students I taught were too old), or that I didn’t have any IB experience.

    Ultimately, I was forced to “put in my dues”, spending 2 years at a truly awful school. However, after those two years were up, I was receiving multiple interview requests, and landed a gig at a great school that I plan to spend at least 5 years at, if not more.


  5. 18 years teaching says:

    A lot of international schools look for interns. They pay interns half the salary of a teacher which is good for the school’s budget. I recently heard 2 recruitment pigs saying, “Interns are young, hot and buy 1 get 1 free” That comment made me so angry but anyhow the short answer is yes you can. However I think most people do need to crash and burn for 2 years in their home country first to start to work out the bugs in teaching style, behavior management, etc. There is usually no mentoring overseas for new teachers. That 1st teaching job is so critical to your overall success. Plus internationally is a small world. We all know each other within just 2 degrees which means if you have less than optimal performance as a new teacher that reputation could haunt you for years and prevent you from having a great career internationally. Also international teaching is like the wild west! No safeguards for you or your rights. No second chances. They can fire you for no good reason at all. And believe me inexperienced teachers make so many mistakes in their first few years of teaching. We all did, I did and so will you. Best to wait the 2 years and then go to a great international school! Just my opinion.


  6. Jon Cristofer Miller says:

    It seems to me that you are undervaluing yourself, so the obvious question is why would anyone want to hire you? You have degrees, training, and a commitment to education. Your experience in living abroad is an asset. Perhaps your language skills are other assets, to help you engage less well-prepared students.
    When I taught in China, there was a wide range of experience, as measured in years. It did not necessarily match competency. One of the most talented teachers was a young Irish woman, from a strong teacher training program, but with no full-time experience.

    Later, a new Director actively pushed for less experienced teachers to cut costs. It was a fine school, and paid well.
    Others wanting to teach abroad – often with neither teacher training nor degrees – were hired to teach “English” at language schools, at a half to a third the pay of credentialed teachers at international high schools.

    Many of the earlier responders have made a big deal about which schools you should accept [or reject]… many with the advice to work out your term as an intern at a “good” school. Let me differ: teaching experience is just that. Going half way seems to me to be both defeatist and nor really serving your need for real classroom experience, unless you have defined the “right” school . My advice is to make the best deal you can, and go for the experience.

    Indeed, someone quite close to me accompanied her teacher husband to China, not really knowing what she would do there. Within days, she was recruited to teach English at a very prestigious Chinese high school… without an American teaching credential. I encouraged her to study for the ABCTE credential [originally part of President George W Bush’s NCLB program]. She took those studies seriously, passed the exams, and received her credential .

    She and her husband taught for three years, and then moved outside of China to another international school with better conditions. Now, they are about to move again, with another upward move in facilities and compensation.

    So… take a deep breath, look seriously at both your hard and soft skills, and redefine yourself. Then, resume your search, and – yes – take a chance!

    PS I liked the sites TES and


  7. Beth says:

    I am my second international school I have seen brand new, freshly graduated teachers at both. In Qatar, they were hired as interns and teacher assistants for the first year, and here in Thailand at my current school brand new teachers in charge of their own classroom were hired. Neither school is tier 1, but they are not shameless either, as many reviews on ISR can attest to.

    All new teachers that I know were hired at the Queen’s College fair in Canada (sorry if I got the name incorrect, it’s what I recall).

    I say just go for it!


  8. Leona Greenlaw says:

    Here’s the deal: in order to become an educational asset to a good school, you don’t just need a piece of paper that says you have taught somewhere for two year. You may think that’s what you need, but if, in fact, you want to go into international teaching as a career, you don’t just need two years of experience to get hired; you NEED–and should WANT–not just the piece of paper with the numbers on it, but the actual EXPERIENCE! And not just any ol’ experience, but the BEST experience you can find! Without it, you are going to take forever learning how to be a top-notch teacher. So–find a way you can spend the next two years learning from the best teachers in your field–either by being an intern, or by getting an assistant job for a teacher in your field. What you ideally want is to be working with a team of experienced teachers, from whom you will learn far more than you could ever learn in a college ed degree program. And why would you not want to get this experience sooner, rather than later?


  9. Anonymous says:

    If you don’t need much money, try to get a job as an intern. Some of the bigger, top-tier schools hire interns.


  10. Anon says:

    Oh there are plenty of unaccredited international schools in countries such as China and Myanmar that will happily hire you – with or without credentials. Of course, it is a shame for the students who lose out but hey.. you’ll get ‘experience.’ Any decent international school will insist on a minimum requirement of two years full-time teaching experience – usually more. Try getting some experience in your home country first.


  11. ElleDubs says:

    Perhaps start out in the UK. That’s how I started my teaching career despite having been trained in Canada. My jobs were in State-run schools and the conditions aren’t great, but most international schools who see that you’ve had experience teaching GCSE or A-Levels (if you’re a secondary school teacher) will be happy to hire you. And when you think about it, the experience is international.


    • This is very good advice. The work in the UK is hard, but the experience teaching British system will be a big boost to your career. If you look for a school outside of London, you’ll even be able to make ends meet.


  12. Any international school that would hire you with no experience, you probably wouldn’t want to work for. It’s a kind of Catch-22, but it makes sense. A school that values its educational product and delivers quality won’t risk it on unproven, inexperienced people. If you want to have a good international teaching experience, suck it up and delay your gratification, get some experience and credible references at home no matter how inconvenient, and then you can get into the international school mainstream where you will have great colleagues, administrators, and professional development.

    There is a substantial subculture of so-called international schools out there that preys on naive, desperate, inexperienced and/or substandard teachers and subjects them to contract breaches, financial fraud, incompetent administrators, illegal work conditions, etc., just so they can have American teachers to parade in front of their parents. I’m sorry to say it but you sound like one of those teachers. Shortcuts are tempting, but you will regret taking them.


  13. well travelled says:

    You would probably be able to get a job but how happy would you be? Good international schools are hard work and you are normally expected to hit he ground running because the person before you might have left unexpectedly. Frankly a really good school is unlikely to hire you and I would rather spend two years in the states than be treated like a skivvy in some second or third rate school overseas.Believe me I have been there.


  14. me back home says:

    I would recommend that you contact schools and try to set up a skype interview. Depending on what you teach they may be willing to take a chance on you. For example: math, science are in high demand.


  15. Robert 14 says:

    It certainly is possible to secure a position without the two years. However, the school is unlikely to be a top tier school and it would certainly be advised to do some background research into any that offer you a position. Not all schools treat staff with the respect that they deserve.


  16. Becca goess says:

    Look into being an intern! It was the best decision I could have made, and it led to a full time position. Many schools have internship programs that you can look into.


  17. Also Been There says:

    Apply to Edison International Academy in Qatar. FAR from a good school or job, but they hire ANYONE… With or without credentials and/or experience. Really-


    • Water Carrier says:

      Or try Access International Academy in Ningbo – they always have vacancies, inexperience or non native English speakers welcome!.


  18. brian meegan says:

    You should be able to find a job somewhere, as there are loads of jobs worldwide. You may not be invited to certain teaching fairs, as they have minimum levels of experience. But more and more jobs are posted online, so start looking!


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