Teaching abroad for Newly Qualified Teachers

Teaching Internationally as a Newly Qualified Teacher

….. for those with fewer than 2 years of experience


Every year thousands of teachers make the decision to go abroad soon after their teacher training. Sometimes it’s the culmination of a lifelong dream to teach overseas and sometimes it’s to find a full time teaching job when you cannot get one at home.

Whatever the reason, if you have fewer than 2 years of post-qualification teaching experience,  Edvectus can help you pick a suitable school that will provide a solid foundation for your future international teaching career. Please read on for our advice and tips on making your first job a success.

Where can I teach?

Most teachers want to teach the subjects and levels they are trained and qualified to teach, and Edvectus believes that this is the best career move in the long term.

Many countries require teachers to have at least 2 years of post-qualification experience in an international school setting. These include China, Malaysia, Thailand, Egypt, Singapore, Hong Kong and Oman. Indonesia requires a whopping 5 years of post-qualification experience.  Whilst a number of opportunities exist for less experienced teachers to teach English as a foreign language only in many countries worldwide, we do not recommend that newly qualified K-12 teachers take this route as most international schools do not count this experience as relevant and it won’t help your career.

In addition, many schools simply prefer teachers with more experience and as an NQT, the fewer schools that will consider you, the more competition you will face.  Because of the sheer number of schools who will hire NQTs, the vast majority of suitable opportunities for teachers who have limited experience are currently in Kuwait as well as the UAE, particularly Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Sharjah.

Advantages of Kuwait:

  • 1 year contract (9 months of teaching for 12 months of pay)
  • Flights yearly
  • Low cost of living
  • Furnished housing, tax free salaries
  • Higher salaries

Advantages of the UAE (Abu Dhabi/Sharjah)

  • 2 year contract (with a paid summer break)
  • Flights home and back every year
  • Moderate cost of living
  • Furnished housing (sometimes shared), tax free salaries

In what kind of school will I be teaching?

Local International Schools

Most schools that hire newly qualified or less experienced teachers serve host national parents who want their children to have an international education, and these kinds of schools, called Local International Schools, make up more than 70% of all international schools worldwide. Edvectus visits our client schools in the Middle East, and we regularly get feedback from teachers we place. We place newly qualified teachers only in schools we select for their ability to support our teachers and which enhance their careers.  You can expect to find other like-minded teachers with similar qualifications and experience to your own, which makes finding new friends much easier.

Local International Schools more closely reflect the local culture and teachers are advised to make full use of the Edvectus Learning Portal to access videos and documents created by our Middle East office to prepare before you go.

English Language Learners

Although all or most subjects are taught in English, Local International schools have a high proportion of English Language learners. Teaching children who are learning English requires a modified approach so we recommend that newly qualified teachers visit the Learning Portal to access tips to help you succeed.

Schools that have a more modest fee structure are usually more willing to hire new teachers, and their salaries will reflect their lower cost basis.

Typical Salaries for Newly Qualified Teachers:

– UAE:  84,000 – 96,000 AED per year (approximately US$23,000- 26,000), tax free, shared apartment with own bedroom

– Kuwait: 8,400 – 9,600 KD per year (approximately US$28,000 -31,000), tax free, single (non-shared) 1 bedroom or studio apartment

Benefits for all posts: Free furnished housing, flights yearly, local medical coverage, end of contract bonus of about ½ month per year of service.

Once you have 2 or more years of post-qualification experience teaching in an international school you can expect your salary to increase by 30 to 40% and you will have a much wider range of locations and types of schools from which to choose.


How will this help my teaching career?

For most international schools, having 2 or more years of solid, consistent teaching experience in the subject and level for which you are applying is a minimum requirement.

Getting a good foundation with a well-respected international school will enable you to master preparation, planning, reporting, assessment, classroom management and teaching English Language learners with your own class. With a solid professional grounding, newly developed cultural awareness and good references based on a consistent job and assessable results, you can expect to have your choice of new opportunities in any variety of settings.

Teachers with fewer than 2 years of post-qualification experience at the start of contract should focus on quality schools in:

  • Kuwait
  • Abu Dhabi City, UAE
  • Al Ain, UAE
  • Sharjah, UAE

Teachers with over 2 years of post-qualification experience at the start of contract should focus on quality schools in:

Almost anywhere!


How to Successfully Chart the Seas of an International Teaching Career


So you’ve slogged your way through hellish teaching placements where the status of trainee teacher is akin to wearing a massive ‘L’ plate (for non-Brits this an embarrassing sticker all learner drivers must have their car brandished with) and those more experienced and doubtless jaded shunt you at every turn. Your nerves have weathered the relentless storm of brutal observations and now the flickering light at the end of the tunnel which you have squinted at through heavy lids as a beacon of hope for the last year is in danger of being snuffed out by student debt, wages that make the work to reward ratio at the fast-food joint you worked at through college appear comparatively favourable and the ever-growing stacks of marking on the kitchen table.

The solution: go international. Of course we all know the dangers of seeking the balmy delights of sunnier climes or the adventure of an exotic destination to remedy discontent. However teaching abroad provides more than just an ex-pat oasis for knee-jerkers who have jumped shipped after a couple of bad placements. With a burgeoning new market for local international schools in many regions of the Middle East, the introduction of an IB curriculum in many more educational establishments in the West, the wholesale export of some of those very same establishments to locations such as China and the increasingly globalised perspective required of the highest-flyers in all sectors, international teaching experience really can be the fuel needed to propel your career quicker than your peers.

By carefully charting out your career as an international educator you will be able to navigate your career and steer towards bountiful new destinations like Columbus, however if you just stick a pin in the map and aim for the nearest international school that will take you, you may end up more like a half-cut Jack Sparrow festering away on some God forsaken island wondering what happened to the treasure. If you are serious about gaining valuable and career enhancing positions, it is important to do your homework and be realistic. As much as you would like that gold-plated job at that highly-esteemed international school in Hong Kong, inevitably they have the pick of a rather large bunch which includes those with years of experience under their belt. This doesn’t mean you must resign yourself to staying at home but you must identify the steps you need to take to climb a career ladder that has a slippery first rung. If you get your footing right from the beginning and keep your eyes fixed on where you want to end up you’ll have a much better chance of making sensible and rewarding career choices.

At Edvectus we work closely with each individual teacher to help them identify what they want to achieve professionally, how this balances with their personal lives and how they can successfully achieve these goals. If you play the game right you can secure that gold-plated job in your dream destination, just don’t expect to do it on your first move. The mistake often made by teachers is to view teaching overseas as a career break, rather than an opportunity to bolster their CVs, gain unique insights into teaching in a different context or a different curriculum and a chance to build a long-term international career if so desired. We are in it for the long game and are equipped with the knowledge and global contacts to support you in building a career whether you want your international teaching experience to be one stepping stone in your career path or the over-arching theme of your entire professional journey. We are your trusty navigators if you will!

So if you feel disillusioned with your native education system or simply desire the thrill and challenge of cutting your teeth in a new environment; do your research, make a plan and summon the courage that served you so well as a trainee teacher and in the words of Columbus himself “by prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.”

Bon Voyage!