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Most in-demand subjects for international schools?

PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:11 pm
by lyoko
Hello! I'm currently in the process of teaching English overseas but I eventually would like to teach at an international school. I plan to get my teaching credential but I'm having trouble finding the route that fits with my skill set and experience. I have a BA in interdisciplinary studies (i.e. legal studies) and I'm wondering what subjects I can get a single subject credential in? I'm open to all subjects and I'd like to teach math/science if possible.

Also, what are the most in-demand subjects in international schools? If math or science, which specific types (i.e. Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Statistics)?

I've looked into MAT and Med, and was wondering if it was worth pursuing these?

Re: Most in-demand subjects for international schools?

PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:09 am
by Thames Pirate
Whoo, this fun can of worms!

Underwater Basket Weaving is at the top of the list according to forum searches. The topic has been covered, threads deleted, and so on.

Realistically, higher level maths and IB/AP physics are big ones in major subjects. ICT, counsellors and SPED, too. Those folks will almost always find jobs easily. Specialists are hit-or-miss, but generally can find jobs--there are fewer openings, though, so some flexibility is required (schools try to hang on to good elementary music teachers, for example).

If you want to teach science, go with physics first, then them, then bio IMO. If you want to teach maths, make sure you are credentialed for higher level.


PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:49 am
by PsyGuy
There is a very significant difference between what you can get credentialed to teach and what you may marketabley be hired to teach.
First, it is the consensus of the major contributors as well as other sources that 2 years of post credentialing experience in a K12/KS environment is the ultimately recommended pathway, consensus is a very significant outcome for the forum, its not something reached easily.
Second, you have a number of options that you have a background in. In IE there are three components of an ITs resume 1) What they can teach (credentials, qualifications, such as degrees, etc.). What they have taught (experience, exam scores, etc.) 3) Special Skills (coaching, ASAPs such as MUN, etc.) Of those experience is king. ET experience in an ES doesnt generally count for anything in IE. Still you have a background in it and youll be ina better position to spin EOL than you will nothing. Your academic background in legal studies, isnt aligned strongly with social studies (such as history) you can probably fit into social studies and not have an all white resume. The issue with social studies is that getting that two years post credentialing experience is going to be difficult, there is no shortage of social studies DTs, and you may find yourself waiting a long time to get that post credentialing experience.

Maths and science is in much more demand (well some sciences). However going an alternative skills based route to a credential will be difficult as you wont have anything (much of anything) to sell an IS on hiring you with any indication that you can actually teach or know anything about maths or science. At most youll have an exam score and maybe some type of DE teaching permit.
There are essentially three pathways to getting a credential 1) Academic; this is going back to a Uni and and completing some for of traditional studies program. 2) Skills; this is a program where you work in a KS/K12 DS in a form of apprenticeship, usually with a study component. 3) Assessment; this consists of taking a credentialing examination or completing a portfolio and demonstration to obtain a credential.
Pursuing an academic pathway will allow you to obtain a credential in whatever field you want regardless of its marketability, but Uni program are pricey in terms of coin and resources. A skills based pathway is much less expensive and allows you to use the training experience as experience, but you will essentially need an IS/DS to hire you and you arent marketable. An assessment pathway is the least expensive and least resource intensive but it makes for a very, very lite resume.

Below are the highest in demand fields, there is no underwater basket weaving, but they are extremely niche and vacancies are rare, but when they do come up there is an ultra small pool of professional candidates.
In order starting at the top, and most difficult:

1) Expat School Nurses: Most ISs just hire local, nurses make very good coin in the profession and those in DE are pursuing retirements/pensions, finding one that is dual licensed or able to get dual license, is usually just a stroke of good fortune. Add the requisite language skills and its basically a unicorn.
2) Bilingual Expat Professional Staff: This includes Program officers, such as admissions, finance, marketing, and communications. Most ISs just have to hire locally. This also includes expat ITs in multi language such as literature and language and primary, EC ITs that can do bilingual and immersion (depending on the language and location).
3) Expat Specialized Performing and Fine Arts: At the top of the list in this category are fields like Equestrian Science and Riding. It took one IS in Japan 3 years to hire an IT for their program. These also include specialized ITs I have seen in the past for subjects such as glass blowing, Japanese dance, flower arranging, stained glass, lacquer painting, most of these though are hired on a PTE basis, and often on LH contracts.
4) Health Education Technology: These credentials are difficult to obtain often requiring a nursing license, or other such professional license.
5) Expat Aboriginal or Tribal Foreign Language: These are uncommon languages that professional educator credentials can only be obtained by a small number regulatory authorities, and are taught in only a small number of Uni. This also includes expat ITs in dual language such as literature and language and primary, EC ITs that can do bilingual and immersion (depending on the language and location).
6) Expat Specialized Vocational Education: Fields such as hospitality and tourism management are very hard to identify ITs with actual professional and teaching experience. Many ISs just have to settle for a business studies IT
7) Expat Specialized Industrial Arts: Courses like textiles and metal craft, etc. These courses are difficult to identify ITs with actual professional and teaching experience.
8) Expat Specialized Design Technology/ICT: Courses like A/V and broadcast production are difficult to identify ITs with both the classical training (theater) and the technology skills that can produce things like a television show.
9) Field Science: Its a lot easier to find a classroom physics and chemistry IT then it is an IT who can do full time field science. Most ISs just hire a Biology or ESS IT from the classroom to the field. An IT really has to have a passion and dedication to maintain a living lab 365/24/7 in addition to actual experience organizing and managing such a program. Add specialized environments such as underwater, etc and this type of position can be very difficult to fill.
10) Upper Secondary Maths: Calculus, it really comes down to finding an IT who is comfortable with not only the skill but able to transfer knowledge.

Below is the rest of the list containing the more conventional subjects. I weighted them for both demand and supply to reach a 'difficulty' ranking, with the understanding that these subjects tend to move in cycles. Starting at the top and most difficult:

**Special Education-Specialist
Foreign Language/Trilingual
Foreign Language/Bilingual
ENS-Earth Science
Global Perspectives
General Science
Business Studies
Social Studies
Family Consumer Science/Home Economics
Special Education-Generalist
**** Early Childhood
Political Science
* This assumes a University Counselor who actually knows their stuff and has the connections for all five of the US/UK/EU/CAN/AUS systems. If its just a counselor who can put together recs and knows the system they came from than see counselor below.
** This is for a specialist in SPED/SEN/LD who can wear all the hats, and can work the entire spectrum. If its just a SPED/SEN/LD IT who can do paperwork and some tutoring than see the generalist classification below.
*** I put these so low because they really belong on the Junior Leadership scale. ISs dont really need counselors its just another student management position to inflate the leadership hierarchy. Its for when the AP/VP/DP doesnt want to do the PTA or parents coffee mixer, and senior leadership wants a buffer between them and the faculty and everyone else. Librarian is a curious position because students dont really need libraries anymore, its one thing if the librarian is actually providing instruction in reading or research or technical/academic writing but if they are just watching a room with some meeting areas and some stacks of YA fiction and magazines, you dont need much of a librarian.
**** Anyone can do this who is an adult, provided the job is nothing more than babysitting and child care.
I had mixed feelings for music, I could of broken it out into music-instrumental and music-choral but there would have been a lot of curriculum specific weightings, and ultimately I just left in generalized.

An advanced degree is certainly an option, but you will likely reduce your utility, as you will be academics heavy and experience lite. An IS, especially third tier ISs, will need to provide a higher salary for the Masters but without any experience youre just a more expensive noob. Without a credential most ISs in the third tier may consider the Masters as a substitute for a credential, which makes it a pricey credential. You would be better off and have better utility getting an assessment pathway credential quickly, use that to get into an IS (despite the requirement of two years post credentialing experience) then pursuing a fast and inexpensive Masters such as UPe.

Re: Most in-demand subjects for international schools?

PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:19 am
by Thames Pirate
Who saw that coming? Copy and paste of the underwater basket weaving . . . .

Not sure what PsyGuy is saying on the 2 years thing. You can get that domestically or internationally, but obviously you will end up getting it somewhere. There is NOT consensus on getting it domestically, but we agree that in most cases you will need it in order to get into better schools. But that's it.

Take PsyGuy's list with both a grain of salt (in case his absolutely nonsense list didn't make that clear--Japanese equestrian job indeed) and a measure of patience with his bizarre acronyms.

For your purposes, get a credential in each (assuming you have the requisite knowledge/background), preferably at higher levels. Then get curriculum (IB/AP/IGCSE/A Levels) experience and you're set.


PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:28 am
by PsyGuy
I fail to see any underwater basket weaving on the above list.

@Thames Pirate and I disagree. To be more precise the two year consensus of the forum is of the major contributors. You dont have to look far to find vacancy announcements that specify two years experience as a requirement.

@Thames Pirate has a sore spot for the Japanese equestrian vacancy as she was 1) Unqualified 2) Unaware and unapproached for the position and 3) Felt that the requirements were unreasonable, not that any IS or its leadership requires @Thames Pirates approval or consultation for a vacancy.

@Thames Pirates approach is get successful , and then youll be successful.

Re: Most in-demand subjects for international schools?

PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:38 am
by Thames Pirate
Here we go with the personal attacks from someone who knows neither me nor my qualifications. You can see why this is a can of worms topic--one he uses to attack me every time because he can't stand that the rest of us called his BS.

Still not sure what the consensus is about 2 years--that you need it to find any job? Everyone knows that's not true because we all start somewhere. That you need it for a top job? As I said, that is generally true. Not sure why Psy is attacking me personally for pointing out that his statement is unclear and not sure what claim I made that he feels is wrong. But whatever.

OP--again, for your purposes, take his advice with the grain of salt that it obviously requires.


PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:51 am
by PsyGuy
@Thames Pirate

There is no BS for you to call, for something to be BS it has to not be true, this vacancy was.

I was present and contributed to the original post, you described your qualifications and claimed the position couldnt exist because the requirements were unreasonable to you.

As established by forum consensus and other sources, ITs generally require two years of post credentialing experience obtained in DE to enter IE.

Re: Most in-demand subjects for international schools?

PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:05 am
by iblibrarian
@PsyGuy I strongly disagree that students don't need libraries or librarians anymore. A library is the heart of a school and is so much more than meeting spaces and stacks of YA fiction and magazines. I am sorry if that is all your school library is to you, but mine is so much more than that.

If all you have is an assistant that watches a room and checks books in and out, you are squandering one of the biggest investments in knowledge your school has made, and you have an opportunity to capitalize on that to increase literacy in your school! Yes, a librarian should teach! That should be a job requirement--and students desperately need that support and so do teachers! Teaching students how to use the library is an essential component of a strong information literacy program and is one that is sorely needed today. Librarians are an essential partner to the classroom teacher, to support and reinforce topics of academic honesty, research methods, citations, plagiarism, digital citizenship and inspire a love of reading!

Teachers already do so much, they shouldn't have to be the school librarian too-- a robust library collection takes time to evaluate to make sure it has up to date and current materials to support the curriculum, the teachers and student's interests and it takes a lot of time and expertise that classroom teachers just don't have. Having a colleague who knows the latest K-12 literature, is matching it with your changing curriculum and standards and is continuously updating the library collection is an incredible resource.

I hope you reevaluate your current school library staffing, and if you only have an assistant manning your library, please consider hiring a professional teaching librarian with a Masters in Library Science. After a couple of years, you will be AMAZED at the changes in your school and in your students!


PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:50 am
by PsyGuy

Youre a librarian though right, based on your forum name, something like bias comes to mind.

The vast majority of collections have become digital, circulating materials arent checked out, students access the library portal from an idevice check out their materials which are downloaded and they are automatically returned at the end of the lending period. It greatly reduces costs. Material evaluation is curated by some group of individuals that the collection membership is subscribed too.

I firmly agree, Librarians should teach, but the majority of them got into being a librarian because they were literature DTs/ITs that wanted to get out of the classroom, and many of them seem to have an actual aversion to kids.

A MLS is so very much a US thing. You dont even need one in all parts of the US to get a credential, thus dont need one to work in IE.

Re: reply

PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:11 am
by Heliotrope
PsyGuy wrote:
> To be more precise the two year consensus of the forum is of the major contributors.
> As established by forum consensus and other sources, ITs generally require
> two years of post credentialing experience obtained in DE to enter IE.

Well, @Thames Pirate is one of the major contributors, so apparently that consensus isn't there.
The consensus is on the two years, not necessarily on the DE part. I know plenty of ITs at tier 1 schools who started in IE straight away, but at less than desirable tier 3 for-profit ISs, and these are not very hard jobs to land with zero experience.
In DE you will be supported more as a new teacher, so going the DE route makes it easier, but more than a few don't want to spend those first two years in DE and want to go abroad immediately.

I totally agree. I've taught at fair number of different schools, and at all the good ones the library and the librarians were a vital part of the school and valued as such by leadership. Librarians at my current schools go for PD as regularly as ITs, and they get adequate funding for their library.
In crappy ISs the library is merely a room with books that need dusting every now and then.

Re: Most in-demand subjects for international schools?

PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:12 am
by elemtio
To psyguy:
What would be the easiest route for someone to get a license/credential to serve as a school librarian? (Sorry to change the topic but since you mentioned this I thought you might know)...

Re: Most in-demand subjects for international schools?

PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:14 am
by Thames Pirate
We know PsyGuy posts only from "trusted sources," but since he has no clue how claims/evidence work I think it's no surprise that he would undervalue libraries.

It's not necessarily relevant to the OP, but I agree that the library is the soul of a school--and if it isn't, it should be. I've seen a thriving library die without its full-time or even part-time librarian, and I have seen kids desperate for more library time, more space, and more resources. If the school doesn't have a library or a librarian, it shows. I worked closely with our librarian on projects--we co-taught lessons, compiled resources, etc. The school's decision not to replace her after she retired hurt despite the amazing resources, the TA checking things out and managing the space, etc. Her presence and work was so under the radar that it took a direct comparison of before and after to realise what a HUGE job she had done.

Re: reply

PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:16 am
by Thames Pirate
Heliotrope wrote:

> The consensus is on the two years, not necessarily on the DE part. I know plenty of
> ITs at tier 1 schools who started in IE straight away, but at less than desirable
> tier 3 for-profit ISs, and these are not very hard jobs to land with zero experience.

My confusion was that he never even said 2 years in DE. I agree with the above.

Re: Most in-demand subjects for international schools?

PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:19 am
by Walter
Please pay no attention to the drivel that Dave has written in his list of supposed difficult to fill positions. You need to know that he has never sat on the administrator side of a table – neither in a school nor in a recruitment fair. Where he isn’t gratuitously offensive and ignorant (as in his comments about librarians or early years teachers) he’s just plain wrong. Finding high-quality teachers to work with 3 and 4-year olds can be really difficult (no, it isn’t just child care, you buffoon!), and I worry more about being sure I’ve hired the right guidance counselor than almost any other position.
Over the years, almost every position has the potential to cause trouble for recruiters. I remember one recruitment fair where there was just one authentic librarian; she was pursued down corridors by school heads. ES Music teachers can be as rare as hen’s teeth, as can teachers who really, really want to work in middle school. Sure it’s true that I’d rather be out looking for an upper ES teacher than a physics teacher, but show me the head who cares more about G11 physics than she does about G4 and I’ll show you a head who deserves to have her arse canned. And while there may be more HS English teachers at a fair than HS chemists, every school I know has more English teachers than chemistry teachers.
As for his stories about field science – maybe one school in 200 has a job that might target a person with that experience. And the only school I know that offered equestrianism is a third tier place in Japan with a lot of vowels in its name – and they didn’t really offer it. It was on their list of after-school activities that “might” happen if there was demand. Just like the school on Jeju that used to brag about its skating rink but, five years after its opening, had still not seen a vestige of ice in the basement.


PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:34 am
by PsyGuy
Not wrong. Have absolutely worked in leadership, not that @Walter knows anything he professes too.
The JP equestrian position was FTE.

The entirety of @Walters claims is that everyone is special, which is to say no one is special.
Even at 1:200 as @Walter claims, using just the ISC data of 10,000+ ISs thats 50 vacancies in IE. Yes as I wrote they are niche vacancies but when they do occur there is an ultra small pool of candidates.


We disagree, as I wrote " it is the consensus of the major contributors as well as other sources that 2 years of post credentialing experience in a K12/KS environment is the ultimately recommended pathway". RECOMMENDED.


An IT/DT with a professional grade credential would apply to MS (Mississippi) through reciprocity for a 5 year credential in their original field in MS. After receiving the MS credential take the PRAXIS 5311 exam (Library Media Specialist) and apply for the 5 year A level Librarian/Media credential. No Masters degree or EPP/ITT program is required.