Applying to international schools jobs

Written by BFIS Staff

When looking for a job as a teacher, it is important to be clear about the type of educational center you want to develop your professional career. Among the infinite options available to you (public, subsidized, or private centers, bilingual centers, secular or religious centers, etc.), international schools are an interesting option to consider.

Is is not the purpose of this article to define what an International school is, here below you will find a link to another text analyzing exactly that topic. Let’s say that, generally speaking, international schools are educational centers that follow the curricula of their countries of origin and in which classes are taught in the official language of their country. These schools are accredited by different organizations from the country of origin and by the host country’s government. For example, in Spain, all schools must be authorized by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports and the Education Department of the Autonomous Community where the school is located.

Although international schools were created to provide the children of foreigners with the education they would receive in their country of origin, these schools are currently open to all students. Moreover, in many international schools, especially in the Middle East and Asia, the student body now is mainly local.  

Check the school’s professional development opportunities

Before applying for a job at an international school, check the school’s websites and learn about the professional development opportunities the school offers to its faculty. Professional development is very important for teachers to improve their teaching skills, stay up-to-date about the latest teaching methods and technologies and advance their careers. 

Some of the common professional opportunities that international schools offer to their teaching body includes:

  • Workshops and conferences
  • Mentoring and Coaching
  • Collaborative Learning Time
  • Online courses and webinars
  • Professional learning communities or cohorts
  • In house training 

Qualifications and Requirements

The requirements for teacher applications to international schools can vary depending on the school, the country, and the specific teaching position. However, here are some general requirements that most international schools will look for: 

  • Education and certification: Most international schools require teachers to have a Bachelor’s  degree in Education or a related field. In addition teachers must be certified to teach in their home country or state. Sometimes they must have a university or masters degree that proves that they are specialists in a specific subject. 
  • Language proficiency: Many international schools required to be fluent in their language of instruction. For example, if the school teaches in English, teachers should have an excellent command of English, both spoken and written.
  • Previous teaching experience. International schools typically prefer teachers with several years of experience, especially in an international environment. Experience teaching in the specific subject area or grade level is also highly recommended. 
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills. Teachers must be able to communicate effectively with students, colleagues, and parents. Strong interpersonal skills are essential for building positive relationships with students and colleagues. 
  • Cultural adaptability: International schools look for teachers who can adapt to new cultures and work  well in diverse environments. Teachers must be able to communicate effectively with students, colleagues, and parents from different cultural backgrounds.

Application Process

International schools are private schools in which, although they are accredited by international organizations and recognized by the Public Administration, the school is managed by a private individual, a foundation or any other legal entity.

This means that international schools operate as private companies or foundations. The application process can vary depending on the specific school and position you are applying for. You also need to take into account that in many countries, employment conditions are determined by the collective bargaining agreement (CBA)  that governs the education sector. It is important to note that while the CBA sets minimum standards for employment, the school may choose to offer more generous terms and conditions of employment to attract and retain talent. 

Most international schools have a list of job opportunities  on their website, including job descriptions, qualifications, requirements and application process for each  specific job offer. Some may use recruitment platforms specialized in the education sector such as Schrole. These platforms help schools reach a wider pool of qualified candidates and streamline the recruitment process. Candidates can create profiles on the platform and search for job openings that match their skills and qualifications. They can also apply to multiple jobs with a single application, making the process more efficient. 

Work Permits

Once you are offered the job, many international schools will assist foreign employees with the work permit process, so be sure to discuss this with the school during your interview. The process may vary depending on the country and sometimes it can be complex and time consuming. It is important to start the process well in advance of your planned start date.

At BFIS you will have an HR team that will help you to process your work permit and social security number, your NIE (Spanish identification number for foreigners), public health card, as well as help you to process the opening of a bank  account, and settling in in general. 

Preparing for interviews: Tips and recommendations

Preparing for an interview in an international school can be similar to preparing for an interview in any other school or organization, but there may be some additional factors to consider. Here are some tips to help you prepare: 

  1. Research the school: Before the interview, research the school’s mission, values, curriculum, and any other relevant information you can find. This will show that you are interested in the school and have taken the time to learn about it.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the local culture: If the school is located in a foreign country, familiarize yourself with the local culture and customs. This will help you demonstrate your ability to adapt and be culturally sensitive.
  3. Review your qualifications: Review your qualifications and be prepared to explain how your experience and skills make you a good fit for the position.
  4. Practice your answers: Practice answering common interview questions, and be prepared to give examples of your past experience that demonstrate your ability to handle challenging situations.
  5. Consider language proficiency: If the school operates in a language that is not your first language, be prepared to demonstrate your proficiency in that language. Although many international school do not require to be proficient in the language of the host country.
  6. Dress appropriately: Dress appropriately for the interview, taking into account the culture and customs of the school and location.
  7. Be prepared to ask questions: Prepare some questions to ask the interviewer about the school, the position, and the culture (check our artible about Questions to Ask when Applying for a Job at an International School).
  8. Demonstrate your passion for teaching: Show your enthusiasm for teaching and your commitment to providing high-quality education to students.

Resume and Cover Letter

Before moving on to the interview, the resume and cover letter should be attractive to the person conducting the selection process at the international school. To do this, follow these tips:

  • Opt for a straightforward, simple, and clear resume and cover letter.
  • Do not devote much space to those academic backgrounds that have nothing to do with the job you are applying for.
  • Inform about your professional experience. Highlight your teaching experience in international environments.
  • Make sure that the cover letter and resume do not extend beyond two pages.
  • If possible, it is advisable to include reference letters.
  • Emphasize any courses, seminars, volunteer work, or other activities you have undertaken related to teaching.
  • List the languages you are fluent in, including the language of instruction and the official languages of the country where the international school you are applying to is located.

Foto de Markus Winkler en Unsplash

Background and Reference Checks

In Spain, teachers and other professionals working with children must submit a criminal record certificate stating that they are not on the sex offender registry.

When beginning a recruitment process at an international school, the recruiter may ask the job applicant for a criminal record check.

On the other hand, schools often check the references candidates provide during the selection process, so, include those that can speak highly of you and never include references that are nor real or are from friends and relatives.


International schools are undoubtedly a great career opportunity for teachers who want a different kind of work experience and enjoy teaching and living in different countries. International schools typically offer a unique teaching experience and a chance to work with students and colleagues from diverse backgrounds and cultures, great professional development, and the opportunity to experience a new culture, to learn or master a different language and to travel to unknown places.

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