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International Job Guide

Types of international schools

Here's a break-down of the various types of international schools offering teaching jobs overseas.

Independent International Schools: The Best Opportunity to Teach Abroad

There are approximately 400 American, British and other international schools in this world-wide network. Some may be operated by a single corporation. Others are sponsored by the United Nations and their affiliated agencies. Some are religious or proprietary schools with boarding facilities. The majority of these schools are private, non-profit institutions with considerable parental involvement in their governance. All offer instruction in the English language and there are usually American-trained teachers represented on the faculty.

With the exception of corporation-affiliated schools located in hardship settings, where salaries and benefits are often extremely generous, most schools tend to pay staff teaching abroad sufficient to provide both an opportunity for saving and a reasonable standard of living in the host country. Books, computers, science equipment, and other resources vary widely among these schools.

Department of Defense Dependents Schools: Teaching Jobs Overseas

The U.S. Department of Defense operates around 200 elementary and secondary schools located primarily in NATO countries, usually on American military bases in Europe, Great Britain, the Mediterranean area, Japan, Korea, The Philippines, Cuba, Panama, Canada and other Atlantic region locations. Teachers and administrators for DoDDS schools are hired in the United States and candidates must have American training and certification.

Once hired to teach abroad in a DoDDS school, you will be a U.S. government employee and most likely represented by a union. Your students will be the children of military and civilian personnel working on the base. Salaries are very competitive with those in the U.S. and the benefits are excellent. As federal employees, DoDDS teachers teaching overseas pay all federal and social security taxes required of citizens living within the United States.

U.S. Department of State Affiliated Schools For Teaching Overseas

There are nearly 200 American overseas schools recognized by the U.S. State Department's Office of Overseas Schools. Located in many of the world's capital cities, most were established to serve the families of American citizens working abroad and offer a great option for teaching overseas.

Over the years, rapidly changing political and economic factors in many countries have had a strong impact on teaching abroad in these schools. Many are now educating children from many different countries. Several studies indicate that in the last ten years the typical American overseas school has experienced a drop in its American population from two thirds of the student body down to one-half or one-third of the total student enrollment. Thus, teaching overseas often means teaching international students.

Hiring requirements, salaries and benefits for teaching overseas in these schools vary considerably. Indeed, the schools themselves are extremely varied. Some have a student population of 3,000; others run an academic program with fewer than ten students. Some are located in countries with very difficult living conditions, others can be found in locales described as “paradise”. Some schools provide their international teaching staff free housing, a car for personal use, tax-free salaries, and a bonus upon completion of the contract. Others may offer only a subsistence salary and basic travel costs.

Keep in mind that Americans are generally entitled to a $70,000 exclusion of taxable income if they teach abroad for at least 11 months of the year. However, many European countries levy local income taxes on teachers teaching overseas immediately or after one, two or three years of residence. Even if your income for teaching abroad is excluded from tax, Americans who teach abroad must still file a U.S. tax return. Whether British or American, you should check the tax situation for teaching overseas concerning the country you will be teaching in and not make any assumptions.

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