How To Teach In The USA?
In this guide, we will explore the possibilities of getting teaching jobs abroad in the USA. We will also look at the prospects to teach in The USA via the government’s teacher exchange programs.
The opportunities to teach in the USA which is one of the most sought after best countries to teach English for English teachers can be found in volunteer positions, language schools as well as public and private schools. It is easy to find volunteer opportunities in US cities. Public administration departments, for example libraries, run English speaking courses for immigrants or adults.
Volunteer positions are advertised online and in public spaces. It makes sense to apply for the volunteer opportunities available in your city because it will help open doors for you in the future in the US education sector. Since most volunteer positions are not paid (though some do provide a stipend), you can explore the world of online teaching.
There are several platforms that provide English language online classrooms to Americans. This might seem rather strange, but when you consider that there are a huge number of immigrants coming into the country every year, this demand for professional English language instructors is understandable
Similarly, if you plan to teach in The USA as an English teacher, check out the language schools. The experience of teaching in language schools is interesting and stimulating. You will have to cater to a diverse student population ranging from young teens to adults. Their level of English skills may also differ, adding to the challenges you face in the classroom. The experience of teaching in a language school will help hone your teaching skills!
You can also explore opportunities to teach in The USA via the government’s exchange programs. The US Department of Education identifies subjects and locations within the country where there is a shortage of teachers. Professionals from other parts of the world who fulfil the certification requirements for teachers in the US are eligible to apply. Of course, this facility is not just for English teachers. If you are keen to teach in the USA, you may look at the possibility of teaching other subjects too.
How & When To Apply For Jobs To Teach In The USA
If you want to teach in The USA, it cannot be a spur of the moment decision. Foreign teachers can apply for jobs only if they have the right kind of visa that allows them to work in the country. You will need to plan your US stint at least a year in advance. It is a good idea to seek information and advice from sources like the US Network for Information Education.
Run by the United States government with private/public participation, the website will give you a host of information on the US education system, accreditations, recognized institutes and much more. The local US consulates and embassies in your home country can also provide information on the possibilities open to you under various government exchange programs.
Post your arrival in the country, if the first step in your ‘teach in The USA’ campaign is to try for volunteer opportunities, you can apply anytime. Positions are available throughout the year. It might be more productive to make personal visits with your CV stating your experience and interest in the project.
Do remember that volunteer positions are also much in demand in the US and you will face considerable competition. If you are looking for personal tutoring opportunities, again you should be able to find them all through the year. Of course, September is the best time to circulate your CV among your network of contacts. This is when schools reopen for the new academic year in the US.
Most parents are on the lookout for tutors at this time. Being on the ground and tapping various sources (online, personal and professional) will help you lock in teaching positions for the rest of the academic year.
If you are looking for opportunities to teach in The USA’s public and private school system, you must start your job search at least a year in advance. A good place to begin is at the school job fairs conducted by the local administration of your district.
You will meet representatives from various schools and get the chance to hand over your CV. You can also apply online to various school boards. A longer route to achieving your dream to teach in The USA is by registering to become a substitute teacher. The credentials required for a substitute teacher are more relaxed. So, if you lack all the requirements for a teacher’s position in the US, this is a good way to earn an income while working towards getting the certifications required for a permanent post.
Once you begin as a substitute teacher and build your reputation, it become easier to get a permanent job with a school in the area.
If you are open to teaching other subjects too, the teacher exchange programs run by the US government will help fulfil your dream to teach in The USA. It gives foreign teachers the chance to teach in the USA’s accredited primary and secondary schools. The programs are aimed at helping the exchange teachers sharpen their professional skills and enrich their knowledge about US culture and values.
The Qualifications You Need To Teach In The USA
The credentials to teach in The USA are different in different states. However, some of the common qualifications required for K-12 teachers include:
- Completion of a 4-year Bachelor’s degree
- Completion of accredited teacher preparation program
- If you want to teach in secondary schools, you must have a designated number of credentials in the specific subject areas
- You must have the teacher certification or teaching license of the state where you plan to relocate
- You must pass tests to demonstrate your proficiency in reading, writing, and mathematics.
If you plan to teach in The USA under the government’s teacher exchange program, you must meet the following additional criteria:
- Meet the qualifications for teaching in primary or secondary schools in your country
- Be working as a teacher in your country at the time of application
- If the above is not applicable, you need to have at least two years of full-time teaching experience within the past eight years
- If you do not meet criteria 2 & 3, you should have completed an advanced degree within a window of 12 months prior to the date of application.
- Have a minimum of two years (24 months) of teaching or related professional experience
- Be of good reputation and character
- Possess sufficient proficiency in the English language.
How To Get A Visa To Teach In The USA
The first step is to obtain a visa from the US embassy in your home country. The US has a teacher’s visa, known as the J-1 visa, which is granted if you apply under the teacher exchange program. Below is a step-by-step explainer of the J-1 visa process:
- You can apply for a visa only after you have received an employment offer to teach in The USA from a primary or secondary school.
- You must get a sponsor for your visa. The US State Department has a list of designated sponsors for the J-1 visa.
- Your sponsor will provide you with a DS-2019 form.
- The form has details that need to be filled by both you and your sponsor. It provides information about your employment. Certain fields of information have to be filled in by your sponsor.
- Once the form is complete, submit it to the US embassy or consulate in your home country along with an application fee. The DS-2019 only gets you an interview appointment with the embassy/consulate. The decision to grant a J-1 visa lies with the officials at the embassy.
- The embassy interview can be probing and detailed. Normally, you will be asked questions about your credentials, teaching experience and personal background.
The Salary & Working Environment You Can Expect If You Teach In The USA
To teach in The USA can be a career defining move. Professionally, you get to work in an education environment that has produced some of the best minds/personalities in the world. From thinkers to innovators, from business icons to sports stars, the USA has trailblazers in nearly every field. It is exciting to work within a system that has the ability to help every student realize his/her potential.
Classrooms in US schools can be very informal. Facilities are excellent. Most class rooms will have around 25-26 students. Teachers normally work an average of 50 hours a week. This includes classroom activities as well as other school related activities like grading papers, bus duty and supervising extra-curricular activities.
One of the highlights of your decision to teach in The USA will be the multi-cultural work environment. The US is the land of the immigrants. The synergies of different races and ethnicities have created a rich culture. Your teaching stint in the US will be a rewarding one in terms of life experiences and memories.
Teachers are not highly paid in the US. Your salary will depend on the state where you are located and the grade that you are teaching. There is also a difference in the salaries between private and public-school teachers. The national average income for teachers who have just joined the profession is $38,600 per annum, while for experienced teachers it is $58,950.
Some Quick FAQ's On Teaching English In The USA
Yes a foreigner or non-citizen of the US can teach in the USA. You will need the relevant visa with the ability to work and reside in the US. It is easier to secure the right documentation with international schools as they have experience bringing foreign nationals to the USA to teach English and other subjects.
The qualifications you need to teach in the USA as a foreigner are:
- Bachelors degree in Education or a degree in the subject you will be qualified to teach.
- Your qualifications will be required to be verified on their equivalency to a US degree
- Sponsored by the state in America of which you want to teach
A teacher in America can make on average $60,000. If you are a newly qualified teacher then the starting salary is about $38,000. The above is the average salary you can make in America, there is potential to earn more based on your qualifications and experience
The Cost Of Living & Savings If You Teach In The USA
The US is a vast country and the cost of living varies widely. The most expensive cities are Los Angeles, Boston, New York and San Francisco. Living in these cities on a teacher’s salary is, of course, doable. But you may have to compromise on the quality of life in terms of accommodation, travelling and entertainment. The smaller cities like Tucson, Oklahoma City or Cincinnati have lower costs of living. Life in small-town USA is much more economical, in terms of rents and other monthly outflows. Any analysis of the cost of living in the US must take into account the variations across regions and cities.
House rentals are prohibitively high in cities like San Francisco and New York. But if we take the national average, rent will account for around 34 percent of your monthly outflow. The rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can be as high as $1,300. If you go house hunting outside the city center, you may be able to get a similar sized apartment for $1000. The utilities bill per month can go up to an exorbitant $150. This will include heating and cooling costs, electricity, water and garbage collection. Surprisingly, phone costs and internet facilities do not come cheap in the world’s most developed country. Your mobile phone and internet bill per month could total as much as $70.
Accessibility to public transport will depend on your location. If you are in New York, then you can use the excellent subway system. But in other cities, you will be lost without a car. A monthly pass in the public transport system is normally around $75. Taxis charge up to $2 per kilometer. If you live in an area without a public transport system, buying a car could set you back by $20,000. Gasoline is reasonably priced at $.0.75.
Americans love eating out! Given the range of restaurants in terms of prices, ambience and cuisines, it is probable that you will spend several weekends exploring the eating joints in your area. A lunch in an inexpensive restaurant can set you back by $15. The bill for a dinner with a friend in a midrange restaurant can be as high as $60. You can add an additional $10 to the bill if you order a beer or coffee to go with your meal.
Grocery stores and well-stocked aisles in supermarkets will delight those who love to cook at home. The produce – fruit and vegetable – is incredible in its variety and quality. Specialty stores sell ingredients from across the globe to help you cook a gourmet meal at home. Here is a price list for groceries in the US.
When you teach in The USA, it is unlikely that you will be able to add substantially to your savings account. However, you will have a quality of life that perhaps ranks among the best in the world.
Places To See And Things To Do Whilst You Teach In The USA
From the electric buzz of its great cities to the quiet peace of its stunning countryside, from the sunny beaches on its coasts to the vast icy expanse in the north, the United States is blessed in terms of the beauty and diversity of its landscape.
Covering a massive area of 9,826 square kilometers, you have many places to see and things to do before your stint in the country is over. Travelling in the US is not cheap. However, with a bit of planning and research, you should be able to budget your exploration of the US with the salary you earn as a teacher.
The list of attractions in the US is almost inexhaustible, but here are some parameters to plan your travels in the country.
The Great Cities Of The US:
The excitement of New York, the pretty hills of San Francisco, the magnificent modern architecture of Chicago – the US has some of the most iconic cities in the world. Depending on your location, do plan a visit to at least one of these great cities. We assure you, a stroll down Manhattan in New York, a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco or gazing up at the imposing Willis Tower in Chicago will give you plenty of memories to hold on to over the years.
The Great Natural Wonders of US:
Given that the US is one of the largest countries of the world, it is not surprising that it is home to some of the world’s great natural wonders. The Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon, the Niagara Falls on the border of US & Canada, the Mammoth Cave designated as the world’s largest cave system are just some of the spectacular destinations that you can add to your bucket list.
Great Monuments in the US:
Blessed with a rich history, which includes both periods of terrible strife and great peace, prosperity and depression, the historical monuments in the US have many a tale to tell. The most well-known symbol of America is of course, the Statue of Liberty. Mount Rushmore, the Capitol, the White House – the list of must-see buildings in the US can be bewildering. A bit of research will help you shortlist the best ones close to your location.
International Teachers Experience Teaching English In The USA On YouTube
Teach In The USA: Our Final Thoughts
If you are looking at prospects to work abroad, one of the most ambitious and audacious goals is to seek opportunities to teach in The USA. No, we are not exaggerating here! Considering that it is an English-speaking country, it does seem ambitious to try and breach the very competitive job market for English language teachers. It is also audacious because to live and work in one of the most developed countries in the world is perhaps a dream for millions of people.
However with that said the pros of teaching in the US far outweigh the cons. As we stated earlier, the only downside is that you may not be able to bolster your savings. So, if you do get a chance to teach in the US, grab it with both hands!