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Can A British Teacher Teach In America?

Updated: Sep 18, 2022

Many British and foreign teachers are eager to teach in the United States, as America is one of the most popular destinations for foreign teachers. The US Department of Education welcomes international teachers to explore teaching positions in US schools and share their unique perspectives and knowledge with US students.

If you’re a teacher in the UK and want to get a teaching job in the US, we have some excellent news for you. You can certainly come to the US and teach in accredited primary schools, secondary schools, and high schools. While there are a few ways to get a teaching job in America, the J-1 teacher exchange program is probably the best option you can take advantage of.

This post will explain how British and other non-US residents can quickly get a teaching job using cultural exchange programs. Let’s get started!

Teaching opportunities in America

The ongoing Covid pandemic has further deepened America’s teacher shortage in crucial subject areas. A dramatic increase in resignations and retirements creates a gap that needs to be filled. British teachers passionate about seeking broad professional experience should explore the opportunity to help the US schools address the teacher shortage.

However, as a British teacher, you need to meet specific rules and requirements for teacher certification. It is undoubtedly an advantageous experience to come to the US from a foreign country and become a certified teacher. Understandably, it’s a time-consuming process to find the right job and visa. So, it’s advisable to start planning and begin the process at least one year before you plan to visit the US.

Define your ‘why’ first

The most crucial part of the process is to learn everything about teaching visas for foreign teachers and their requirements. Most importantly, you need to define your ‘why’. Why do you want to teach in the US?

How will a teaching job in the US help you meet your financial goals? Is your prime objective to explore a different culture? Are you looking to serve as a teacher in the US for a short period of time?

Be sure to answer these questions before you start the application process. Besides, you need to get the right teacher visa that meets your requirements.

The education system in the United States is administered at a local level. Each state has its own rules and criteria. So, it's essential to do some homework and decide where you want to work in the US. The average earnings of teachers also vary from state to state.

Related: How much do you get paid teaching in the United States?

General certification requirements for teachers in the US

As we mentioned earlier, each state comes with its own requirements. However, the following are some general certification requirements that you need to meet to become a k-12 teacher in the states:

  • You must have a Bachelor's degree, or your degree must be equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in the US.

  • You must complete the accredited teacher preparation program.

  • You need to meet specific requirements if you want to teach in secondary school.

  • You must pass state teacher certification exams and tests to demonstrate your proficiency in reading and writing.

If you don’t meet these requirements, you could still be eligible if you’re willing to do some additional work. Some evaluation services can help you determine whether or not your qualifications as a teacher satisfy the predefined criteria of the state you want to serve. You can easily find information on the internet to learn more about the US educational system.

How cultural exchange programs for teachers can help

If you’re actively seeking a teaching job in the US, you probably have heard about the cultural exchange program that allows international educators to pursue a teaching position in the US. The purpose of cultural exchange programs is to foster relationships between people of different nationalities. The J-1 visa teacher program is just one example of those programs.

As a British national, you have the opportunity to get a J-1 teacher visa and teach in US schools for a specific time period. Let’s briefly explain what a J-1 teacher visa is, its application process, qualification, and benefits.

1. What is the J-1 teacher visa program?

It is a category of J-1 visa which involves multiple educational exchange programs. When you successfully obtain the J-1 visa, you can teach in an accredited school for up to 3 years. The J-1 teacher program is undoubtedly an incredible opportunity for both US students and foreign teachers to interact and explore each other's cultures.

2. Qualifications for a teacher visa

First of all, you must be a qualified, credentialed primary or secondary teacher in the UK to apply for the J-1 visa. Here is what else you need to qualify for a teacher visa:

  • You must possess 3 years of teaching experience in your home country.

  • You must meet all the requirements set by the state in which you want to teach.

  • Your only objective is to seek a full-time teaching position in a US school.

  • You must be fluent in English to communicate with US students without any language-related barriers.

3. An overview of the process

One of the goals of foreign teachers teaching in the US is to get themselves familiarised with the prevalent teaching methods in the US so they can resume teaching in their home country with a new perspective. For the J-1 teacher, the visa application process involves a number of steps and documents. Read the following blog posts to get a detailed overview of the applying steps of a J-1 visa for teachers.

Related: What Are The Applying Steps Of a J-1 Visa For Teachers?

Foreign teachers are entitled to only teach in the institution they list on their DS-2019 form. Which means they can’t switch jobs or institutes. Here are four main steps you need to go through to get a J-1 visa:

  • Get accepted by a designated J-1 visa sponsorship organisation.

  • Submit a Form DS-2019, also called “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status”.

  • Pay the application fees, including a SEVIS 1-901 and Nonimmigrant Visa Application Processing Fee.

  • Attend the interview at your local US embassy or consulate to get the final approval.

Why you should teach in the US

Teaching in a unique and broadly developed educational system is a valuable work experience that will help you build an incredible career as a teacher. J-1 teacher visa program offers a chance to help you build new skills in a unique working environment. Foreign teachers feel comfortable teaching a diverse population of US students. Exposure to a new culture, teaching methods, and ideas will give your career the boost you need to accelerate your growth.

Frequently asked questions

1. Can a British teacher teach in America?

Yes, a British teacher can teach in America provided they have the right qualifications. Suppose you are a citizen of the United Kingdom. In that case, you should get a PGCE after finishing your degree, work as a teacher for a few years, and then either get hired by a British school in America or an American International School or join one of the programmes that arrange for British teachers to go on exchange to the United States.

2. Can an English person teach in America?

Yes, you can teach a subject including English in America. A large community of foreign teachers reside, study, and teach in the US. Public and private schools, as well as higher education and adult education, offer English teaching opportunities. Note: You'll usually need a degree and teaching license to teach in a public school or government-funded institution (for example, a public university).

3. Are English teachers in demand in the US?

The demand for English teachers in the US is enormous. Several international schools in the United States would be able to hire foreign teachers who would be granted a visa.

4. Is a UK teaching degree valid in the US?

It really depends on what kind of degree you have and in which state you’re planning to find a teaching position.

5. Can I move to America as a teacher?

J-1 teacher visa allows you to serve as a qualified teacher in the US for up to 3 years. However, there are possibilities to move to America and pursue a teaching career permanently. Eventually, your employer can convert the visa into a permanent residence (aka a Green Card).

6. Does America need teachers?

Yes, America's full-time school teacher shortage is real, large, and growing. Having this teaching experience on your CV will also facilitate your return to the UK if it doesn't work out and you want to come back sooner than you anticipated.

7. How much is the salary of a teacher in the USA?

It’s almost impossible to come up with a one-size-fits-all answer. Read our article to get an idea of teachers' average salaries in the USA.

8. Can I teach English in the USA with TEFL?

Yes, you can teach English in the USA with your TEFL certification. Several states offer temporary teaching assignments for foreign educators, including foreign language and/or culture classes.

Final thoughts

Are you ready to teach in America and expand your teaching skills? Start your journey to find the proper teaching position in the US right is a perfect platform for foreign teachers to connect with employers hiring foreign teachers. All you need to do is sign up and create a profile, and potential employers will be able to see your profile.

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