Most foreign countries have educational requirements based on the kind of school that hires you. If you are teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) then it may be enough to simply be fluent in English or to have a TEFL certificate. But if you want to teach in an international school that provides compulsory education with all/most subjects taught in English, then the requirements are likely to be as strict or stricter than what is required to teach in a state school in your home country. Minimum requirements are usually fluency in English (for English speaking schools), as well as a Bachelors degree and a teaching qualification such as a PGCE, Bachelors or Masters in Education, Qualified Teacher status, Teacher registration or full Teacher Certification.
It's important to know that every foreign country sets their own requirements, which are different to each other and can ...and do... change with time.
If you are teaching TEFL, you will likely be teaching local children or adults who want to learn English. If you are teaching in an international school, you may be teaching expatriate children or host national children whose (usually wealthy) parents are happy to pay for a private school education. This latter option is very popular in some countries. Within the international school sector about 70-80% of schools serve mainly the host national population, so the chances of you teaching only British or American children in a British or American school in a foreign country are actually pretty slim.
TEFL contracts can range from 3 months to 2 years and start at different times in the year. Often TEFL contracts require you to teach evenings and weekends and you may teach a range of children and adults, year-round.
International school contracts are 1-3 years, but most typically 2 years and you teach full time, regular school hours, such as 7:30-3pm with extra time for meetings or after-school activities. The school term depends on the country but about 80% run from September to June, with a smaller number that run from January to December or April to March.
This strongly depends on the kind of job and the individual school in which you are working. TEFL contracts are usually lower paying with fewer benefits than international school contracts, and TEFL contracts can range from voluntary to US$3000 a month. Flights are sometimes but not usually reimbursed and housing is normally not provided.
International school contracts vary widely as well but usually provide a flight and housing benefit. Salaries usually range from US$2000 a month to upwards of $5000 a month.
It's important when deciding on a job to consider the whole package- tax rates, housing and flight benefits, and cost of living can make a huge difference to your take home pay!
TEFL jobs can be found in almost every non-English speaking country around the world. Saudi Arabia and China are particularly keen for TEFL teachers right now.
International school jobs can also be found in most non-English speaking countries and the countries that have the highest number of international schools are China and the United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah).
This is really difficult for a first-timer as there are so many different kinds of jobs and so many different countries and requirements. Working with a reputable recruitment agency can help you decide more quickly where you can go and what is the right kind of environment for you. At Edvectus, for instance, our consultants are mostly ex-teachers with international experience, so we are in a great position to help.
Doing your research is the most important job of any prospective international teacher. This is why Edvectus provides a free online Learning Portal to our candidates packed with hundreds of videos, websites and documents to help prospective international school teachers know more before they go.