Most In-Demand Subjects?

I’m currently not credentialed and teaching in a small, private English-language school in China. I’ve decided to get a teaching credential so I can work in ‘real’ international schools. I’m trying to decide in which subject to become credentialed.

My question is:  What are the most in-demand subjects in international schools? If it’s math or science, which specific types, i.e. Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Statistics?

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52 Responses to Most In-Demand Subjects?

  1. Thomas Junior says:

    So! I took Science as my credential because I heard that was the “in-demand” subject. This has led to problems for me because most schools want you to have a degree in the subject you are teaching. This always puts me last on everyone’s list. Funny story is that I got hired in Abu Dhabi and the Principal never bothered to check my degree. In the UAE it is a LAW that you have a degree in the subject you teach. I still taught science but they registered me as a primary teacher. Next I got hired in Singapore which doesn’t have this law but as soon as one of the teachers found out that I didn’t have a degree in science the word got out. The parents and the students had no respect for me as a science teacher because, for some reason, they felt you need a science degree to teacher middle school. I, personally, think that in the international community it is equal opportunity for all subjects. Obviously higher level science subjects are more in demand but that’s because less people have those qualifications. Teach something you like and try to gear it towards your undergraduate degree.

    Like

  2. CLB says:

    Just a heads-up: having more credentials makes you very desirable, but then you’ll likely get hired with the expectation of teaching multiple preps. Also, only get a credential if you want to teach it. Math and science are both very desirable but I’m not sure I would teach math again at an international school. Too much parent pressure.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s shocking to me how many preps they give you in international school. I got hired at a school that wanted me to do DP Chem, MYP Science, AND MYP Math. I turned down the job because i felt that the school had no focus on education. At another school they wanted me to teach AP Chem, I asked if they even looked at my resume. I turned down the job and they offered me the highest pay level they had. Unfortunately that convinced me to say yes.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Susan says:

    Look into an ESL. ELL or TEFL degree. No matter what school you are at, they will need an some type of ESL teacher.

    Like

  4. Anonymous says:

    Getting credits. is expensive and time-consuming. So get certified in the area your degree is in. Save yourself the extra education.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ester Sasse says:

    All subjects are. Equally importany

    Like

  6. Interteach says:

    Difficult to fill positions include: chemistry, physics, advanced math, guidance counseling, college counseling, music, and specialized IB/AP subjects (Econ, Psych, Computer Science, Mandarin).

    Like

  7. Rachael says:

    As someone else has already stated, a lot of the better schools are going to want your degree to align to, if not outright match, the subject you want to teach. If I am hiring someone for a math position, I am likely going to ignore anyone with a humanities degree. The same goes for physics/chem/bio: I expect to see some form of content mastery in the form of a related major or minor. There simply are too many qualified teachers out there and too few positions open at any one time for me not to be picky.

    Keep in mind this can be a visa issue as well. I know there are some countries, like Turkey, that require you to have a related degree in the subject you will teach.

    Like

    • Crazy Eagle says:

      My degrees are in finance and math. However, I taught myself physics, and now have several years teaching IB & AP physics (I also had help learning physics from Physics-PhD friends).

      And frankly, I think that now my conceptual understanding surpasses the vast majority of physics teachers out there. I can teach up to first-year Uni level physics very well.

      Like

      • Rachael says:

        Crazy Eagle – The difference between you and someone with, say, a Journalism degree, is that you have a math-heavy background. In that case being self-taught in the sciences, especially physics, isn’t exactly a stretch.

        It’s not always black and white and there are plenty of teachers who have content mastery outside of their field. The red flag would be someone with no background in the material and who clearly just studied for the Praxis, FLDOE exams in a subject just because it was perceived as high needs. I see this most often with math and science.

        Like

        • Richard Levett says:

          Teachers who convert to Physics from Maths (or Biology) are often are not that good especially above KS4, but think they are. Those that think they are great are often the worst of the worst.

          So stick to Maths

          Like

          • Crazy Eagle says:

            Gee whiz, thanks for your advice. But since I have been teaching AP and IB physics for years now with excellent results, I think I might just stick with what works.

            Like

            • Crazy Indeed says:

              You sure are defensive when it comes to any criticism. I sure would not want to work with such an arrogant person. By your own admission you are UNQUALIFIED! Self taught is not the same as qualified via education as according to job criteria.

              Like

            • Crazy Eagle says:

              Qualified: adjective
              having the qualities, accomplishments, etc., that fit a person for some function, office, or the like.

              I would say subject knowledge & skill, plus years of teaching with good results, meets the above dictionary definition.

              I’m not arrogant, just making the point that a degree in a subject is not necessary in order to teach the subject well. Please stop over-reacting.

              Like

            • Gemma says:

              Most good British schools will require a degree in subject area plus teaching qualification. They will not consider you otherwise.

              Like

            • Crazy Eagle says:

              thanks Gemma. But I do not intend to work for any British Schools. I am not British.

              Like

      • Pete Ska says:

        This is a bold statement. How do you know that your “conceptual understanding surpasses” mine? I have a PhD in Atomic Physics.
        What about experience in experimental Physics?
        Finally, how is it relevant to the posted topic?

        Like

        • Crazy Eagle says:

          Pete,

          I never said that my conceptual understanding surpasses yours. I do not know you, and so cannot make that claim. My point was that it is not necessary to have a degree in physics in order to teach physics.

          Like

          • Richard Levett says:

            Nonsense in reality.

            Like

          • Keep Watching YouTube says:

            I have a degree in Econ and have been teaching Econ for over a decade and still have much to learn. I have met soooo many young teachers who have been “self taught” from YoutTube, Crach Course, Khan Academy, and Summer PD. Every one of them is weak and arrogant. There is a big different between concept vs. application. I have no doubt you have an understanding of the concepts but to proclaim that you could teach at the university level is just a case of entitled narcissism.

            Like

            • Crazy Eagle says:

              Pete wrote: “I have no doubt you have an understanding of the concepts but to proclaim that you could teach at the university level is just a case of entitled narcissism.”

              Wow, I must have really struck a chord with this guy!

              Pete, FYI, I have already been teaching university-level AP courses for years. These courses are the equivalent of first year non-calculus physics courses. We use Cutnell & Johnson text, used very often at universities. We cover everything covered in a 1st-year non-calculus course.

              And I have no doubt that I would struggle to teach a second-year university physics course. OK? So let’s cool it.

              Like

          • Pete Ska says:

            Pete wrote: “I have no doubt you have an understanding of the concepts but to proclaim that you could teach at the university level is just a case of entitled narcissism.”

            DID I? WHERE?

            I have posted ONE comment (with, to some extent, tongue in cheek) on your original entry.
            I would be obliged if you clarify this issue!

            “OK? So let’s cool it.”

            Then I may post my REAL thoughts.

            Like

            • Crazy Eagle says:

              Sorry Pete, if that comment was not from you. Someone is really over-reacting. I – perhaps mistakenly – thought it was the same person all along. If so, apologies.

              Like

            • Crazy Eagle says:

              Yes, sorry, it was someone called Keep Watching Youtube. Sorry Pete.

              Like

      • Niranjan says:

        There is something called “PASSION”. Most probably you have passion for Physics, that’s how you were able to self teach yourself a subject like Physics.

        Like

      • Pete Ska says:

        Personally, I have no problems with “self-taught” professionals. What it means, is that some people have learned and mastered some field of “knowledge” without external assistance. One learns and masters certain skills, inevitably, on his/her own. No doubts here. A teacher only facilitates the process – that’s all, but the effort is personal. A teacher may help you to find examples, processes, sources, even shortcuts – in a nutshell may prevent rediscovering a wheel, or quadrature of the circle, but at the end of the day it’s you who does the work of learning and mastering the subject.
        As far as Physics being taught by Mathematicians. I was a Head of Science for 16 years in a High School in Toronto. As I have mentioned I have a PhD in experimental Physics. I spent years teaching first and second year Physics labs, before I became a high school teacher.
        I’ve seen Math teachers teaching Physics. It was their attitude in teaching Physics that was problematic – theoretical, rather than experimental. They were all very proficient in problem solving – no doubts – but their approach was inevitably theoretical, due to the lack of experience in experimental Physics. This was deadly, particularly in lower grades. They were missing the skills of simple demos, simple activities illustrating a given topic etc.
        Luckily, most of them did not object my help in reforming their approach.
        But they also quickly discovered, that teaching Physics is far more demanding than teaching Math – preparing all these labs, demos, grading lab reports etc. Not many of them decided to continue teaching Physics! 😉
        PS Some comments are far too aggressively personal – especially for the teachers’ forum! 😉
        PS2 Have some comments been already removed? :-O

        Like

        • mbkirova says:

          Thanks that you said this. I took an art college degree in the 80’s, with an emphasis on cultural analysis in many areas, and I did some graduate level academic work while there- I was told so. i then became an international journalist with a focus on culture, the arts, social issues etc, but hen the bottom fell out of the market, I turned to teaching the first year university composition sequence in American universities abroad. I rocked at it. I am currently teaching AP Lit in Asia and rocking that. But when I go to look for jobs, I run up against the ”no teaching license’ and ‘much match primary degree’ factor. It is a pity so many schools cannot be imaginative or even look at CVs beyond the box-tick ‘papers’. Recruitment companies make this even worse.

          Like

    • Carol says:

      Yes! Even though I have a master’s degree in English, I could not get a job in Turkey because my bachelor’s is in journalism. Degrees MUST match.

      Like

  8. A school admin says says:

    As someone who sees the resumes and does the interviewing and hiring I can tell you that physics and calculus are the two hardest to find positions out there. Other sciences like biology and chemistry are also hard. Why? Maybe 9/10 people you have apply to your school for those jobs aren’t people you would want working in your school, whereas for humanities and English positions it is more like 5/10 are good/bad, so a much higher ratio, and therefore I think harder to get a job if you are teaching those subjects.

    Like

    • David says:

      This is so true along with AP/IBDP Math teachers

      Like

    • Veteran Teacher says:

      “9/10 people you have apply to your school for those jobs aren’t people you would want working in your school.”

      What does that even mean? In my entire teaching career with hundreds of different teachers, there have only been a handful who weren’t legitimately good people who knew a fair amount about their subject and tried to do their best. If you think this way about 9/10 of your applicants, the problem is you, not them. I understand that different admin might prefer different teaching styles and personalities or curricular experiences, but this isn’t a job that attracts sociopaths and bad types of people. The worst case scenario is usually someone who lacks social/workplace intelligence or is overly idiosyncratic, and even these people who may not fit well in the school as a whole can often make connections with the students that more traditional, “better” teachers cannot.

      Like

  9. Profits over People says:

    The hilarious thing is that your qualifications often come second anyways. I have a social studies credential and was tasked with teacher middle school math my first year abroad because… reasons….
    The last time I was in a middle school math classroom was when I myself was in middle school. Just get certified in anything. Some school will pick you up so long as you have a passport and a pulse.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      This is true but, most likely, you won’t be working at a higher level school. All the schools I have worked at were sloppy and didn’t pay attention to details. When they were finally faced with the mistakes they made(like making an English teacher a Math teacher) they always throw the teacher under the bus. When a parent in the UAE found out I had a Sociology degree and not Science she went and complained to the Principal. I got pulled in the office and reprimanded for not informing them of this. The funny thing is that I never applied for the job! They found my profile on Search Assoc. and contacted ME for an interview!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Profits Over People says:

        Profits Over People indeed! I was hired to originally teach high school Social Studies and ended up teaching Middle School Math. Upon arrival in country, I was told they had found another high school teacher and my contract was retroactively changed without my knowledge. When math scores slipped I was blamed. It’s a total mine field and so long as the cash keeps flowing in, the teachers are the disposable commodity in the international circuit. Shameful business practices and make no mistake, ALL international schools are businesses.

        Like

  10. Jon Cristofer Miller says:

    The least expensive way to get a legitimate online credential is through ABCTE, which started as part of the No Child Left Behind. It is valid in at least 15 American states. [My daughter went that route; it is rigorous.] Second, check into the NCLB exams themselves, to show competency in one or more fields. [I took six subject matter exams, and passed five, including three not in my degree fields, but were either in related fields or areas of intense interest.] Next, teaching English at a “language” school is NOT the same as doing so at a “regular” school. The pay at the latter is significantly higher.
    Enjoy!

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      No online credential is legitimate. Don’t make me laugh

      Like

      • Anon says:

        I completed a two-year graduate program in teaching my subject area at a reputable public university. Unfortunately my state at the time did not recognize graduate programs for initial certification, so I enrolled in a Texas online alternative certification program. Honestly it was a really poor program I would not recommend to teachers without previous experience or education in teaching. But in my case it was simply a fast, affordable formality ($2500) which also arranged student teaching in the school of my choice. After one semester I was fully licensed, and I am now able to add endorsements in almost any subject through exam alone. It did not impact my ability to get a job in a fine international school.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Anonymous says:

          That’s a false equivalency though. I have no doubt that your graduate program in TEACHING made you well prepared for becoming an educator. It’s the individuals who get a BA or BS and then decide to teach abroad and land the two month online credential from nonsense programs that have no classroom management or supervision. They just pay $3k and are then certified. Of course, very few states recognize these snake oil sales people but weak directors and desperate schools will welcome them with open arms. No youtube video will prepare you like student teaching in the inner city. End of discussion

          Like

      • Anonymous says:

        This is whats wrong with education right here. We do everything online already, I mean even this debate is going on over the internet.

        Like

    • Anonymous says:

      I just emailed ABCTE to find out which states consider the scores valid and in their response they said that they did not have that information.

      Like

  11. Pete Ska says:

    I would think Science and Math IB, especially at a higher level. However, considering other responses so far – perhaps ANY good specialist is in high demand.

    Like

  12. Tom Majchrowitz says:

    I chose Science because it was an “in demand” subject in California. A came to find out that in the International scene it is no more in demand than other subjects. What I did discover is that most schools want you to have a degree in the subject you are teaching, this I did not have. International schools are private and they need to do marketing, telling parents that their Physics teacher has a degree in Sociology is not a good selling point. The UAE won’t hire secondary teachers unless you have a degree in the subject you are teaching, it’s the law. I also faced major backlash in some of the schools that did hire me. Parents, children, AND other teachers found it strange that I was teaching Science. The odd thing is that I wanted to teach Social Studies, which I have a degree for but didn’t have a license. I now have my Social Studies license but somehow still got hired as a Science teacher.

    Like

  13. Teacher says:

    Elementary is great because there are always tons of jobs. However, there are lots of elementary teachers as well, so tough competition. If you are a male elementary teacher, you are a bit of a unicorn and have an advantage.

    You are right about math and science. IB Math and Physics are always in demand. Also Chem. Bio a bit less so.

    Then there are the specialist positions, like music, art, IT, design, counseling. There are far fewer positions (for example, sometimes only 1 position in a whole school, so you have to wait for an opening), but there are also fewer candidates. I am in this category.

    Ultimately, you should go after the subject that interests you. You would also be wise to get multiple certifications. This will expand your options and make you more valuable.

    Like

  14. Got the T shirt says:

    I taught music K-12 in 6 different international schools over a period of 20 years. Never had a problem finding a school that interested me. In fact, there were always notes in my recruiting mail box inviting me for an interview. When I graduated college with a master’s in music, family and friends asked what in the hell I planned to do with that “useless” degree. Surprise, surprise. While they slaved away in the States I was having one great adventure after the next and saving loads of money. If you’re a specialist with a degree in the field you will be teaching, you will be in demand.

    Like

  15. Anonymous says:

    I just went to Search Associates fair in Bangkok and managed to get 10 interviews. Not bad for an elementary school teacher.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re so awesome. How can I be like “you”. Seriously, your post, Luke mine has absolutely nothing to do with the subject. Lol.

      Like

    • sciteach says:

      It really depends on the year, location and experience you have. For example – I’m a Science/Math teacher and have been to a large fair like Bangkok/London and have come away with slim pickings. I’ve been to a smaller fair like Melbourne and been swamped by schools who would not talk to me at the other fairs.

      I’ve found in general that Physics and HL Math are often the most difficult to fill when it comes to good quality staff. MYP design is also starting to get a bit more difficult to fill along with good quality special needs teachers with a background with EAL students to boot.

      If you have international experience a lot of problems like “which is the most in demand” becomes much less important. This is especially true when you have strong confidential references from multiple schools on places such as Search.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Personally, I think Chem and subject specialists (music, art, film + drama) are hardest to come by. Trying to get someone with curriculum experience is the more challenging bit, for example maths + IB DP experience.

      Whoever said PASSION is right. We want teachers who LOVE their subject. And more importantly teachers who interact, have awesome interpersonal skills and like making fun interactive lessons.

      Liked by 1 person

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