Non-TEFL programs for teaching abroad

By Annie Rose Stathes, edited by Valeri Boyle
Published November 4, 2013

When considering teaching abroad, many people consider teaching English as a foreign language. However, other opportunities, such as teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM subjects, or working in regular colleges, universities, and other institutions, are increasingly popular. This article provides an overview of some alternative options for teaching abroad.

Teach Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics

In the U.S., numerous agencies are pumping money into STEM-field education, especially for women and people of color. This trend has stretched beyond U.S. borders, and many countries and international organizations are interested in providing citizens and customers with access to STEM-field training. If you’re trained in STEM subjects or are majoring in one of the STEM fields, consider teaching abroad. Many STEM students and professionals find teaching work in government entities, private corporations, or NGOs. 

Teach Art

Some organizations in other countries, especially international colleges, universities, and arts institutes, look for western-trained dancers and artists to contribute to their programs. While international colleges, universities, and arts institutes typically have an abundance of professionals who teach local and regional dances and arts, many lack professionals who can teach international or western arts and dances. If you study the arts, consider taking your unique skills to another country to teach abroad.

Teach a Variety of Subjects

Numerous international schools throughout the world offer curricula in dual-language formats. Such schools need professionals who are fluent in English to teach a variety of subjects from math to literature to social studies. If you want to teach abroad, but don’t want to teach English, consider teaching another subject at an international dual-language school.

Teach Social or Job Skills

Different countries have different needs, and sometimes teachers can help fill them. Teachers can teach abroad, for example, in health education, community development, agricultural development, or construction. Teachers can also teach basic writing, computing, or other job skills. If you possess a variety of basic but necessary skills, consider looking for jobs in countries that need those skill-sets. 

What You Need to Teach Abroad

While some schools require teachers to have particular education, training, and certification, others do not. Discuss with the organizations with which you want to work what documentation you need in order to work with them.

Annie Rose Stathes is a Colorado-based writer, teacher and political scientist. Her background is in international affairs and she holds a Master of Arts degree in Political Science.