Alternative International Teacher Certification

  • Last Post 31 October 2016
jclaire89 posted this 16 August 2016 - Last edited 01 November 2016

I currently reside in China and have a BA in Linguistic Sciences from University of the sacred heart in Milan and am currently teaching Kindergarten at an international school. I would like to be able to teach elementary and middle school with a proper teaching license, which would allow me to teach at international schools all over the world.

I am interested in pursuing teaching licensing and qualifications, as well as earning a master’s in teaching K-6. My problem is although I am an American citizen and have social security, I do not have residency anywhere as I have never lived in the US. 

As all of my education has been earned in Italy, I am not quite sure if I am even eligible to attend courses in the US or if my grades would convert sufficiently.

Thirdly, because my BA is not in Education, I am not sure I would even be able to pursue a Master's in Education. Perhaps I would have to add extra classes?

I am struggling to find the solution to these problems and hope you can help me clarify on this or maybe provide sources for me to do further research.

Many thanks


Kayleigh posted this 31 October 2016 - Last edited 31 October 2016

Hi jclaire89,

By "proper teaching license" do you mean teacher ceritification in the United States? I'm not familiar with one universal teaching license but perhaps you mean that an international school would recognize USA teacher certification as valid proof of your skills to teach abroad.

First, the good news! Even though you did not earn a bachelor's in education, you can still move on to earning your master's and become a ceritified teacher through alternative teacher certification programs.

Now, the complicated part—teacher certitification is state-mandated in the US. Therefore you would need to follow your home state's requirements which usually involve submitting the transcript from your undergraduate and gradaute coursework and passing one or more exams. Sometimes, supervised experience is required which may have to be completed in that state.

Sometimes alternative teacher certification works in stages. For example, in Massachusetts, you would need to present your bachelor's transcript, a passing score on the Communication and Literacy Skills test, and evidence of sound moral character to obtain a preliminary license. After working under this license for three years, completion of a one year mentor program, and completion of a master's you can move on to a professional (full) license which would garner the highest pay and widest opportunities.

I'm assuming you won't be returning to the states to complete any in-person state-mandated requirements. If that's the case, I think your best bet would be to earn a online master's in teaching that is not designed for licensure but would still rigorously prepare you to teach. Even though these programs are not designed to meet United States licensure requirements, they still rigorously prepare students to teach (without any on-campus or in-state requirements) supervisors at international schools may feel that it is enough. Many of these programs do not require a bachleor's in education but you will probably have to show credit equivalency for your Milan undergraduate education.

See all online master's in teaching. The ones that are not designed for licensure will have that noted in each profile. Capella University offers a Capella University.

If cost is a concern, check out the most affordable online teaching master's programs. The most affordable is $15,228 from Emporia State University.

If you can provide more details on the teaching certification you hope to earn (whether US-based or otherwise), I can provide a more specific answer.


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