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Teaching Career in US with a Foreign Degree

Home > Ask the Guidance Counselor > Teacher > How Can a Teacher with a Foreign Degree Teach in the US?

Question:
I am from India. I've been in New Jersey since Nov 2009. I have done my Bachelors (BA) and Masters (MA) degrees in English from India (Calcutta University). Before coming to the USA, I was a high school English teacher in one of the Govt schools in India. I want to join any school (elementary, secondary, high.. any type) here as an English teacher. What should I do? What are the options I have? How can I become an English teacher here in New Jersey? (elementary, secondary, high any school).

Answer:
It sounds like you were an established teacher in India and I congratulate you on your higher education. In order to work at a public school in New Jersey, or anywhere in the U.S., you must become certified (also called obtaining a teaching license). In order to apply for certification, you must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution. Applying for teaching certification therefore becomes tricky when your degree was earned in another country.

According to the state of New Jersey's Department of Education website, here are what out-of-state or non-citizens need to do to obtain New Jersey certification:

  • fill out an application online
  • obtain official college transcripts and/or a foreign credential evaluation
  • take the Praxix II Content Knowledge Test
  • provide copies of any teaching license obtained elsewhere
  • obtain official letters from administrators in schools you have worked at that outline the grade level and number of years you taught for the school
  • take a notarized non-citizen oath (if you are not a U.S. citizen) or a notarized oath of allegiance

You may be able to gain employment at a private school based on your current degrees and experience because certification is not necessary to work in a private institution. If you decide to start job hunting within private schools, be sure you have some letters of recommendation written by administrators from the schools you worked at in India. Although the job market for teachers is very competitive right now, it can't hurt to start looking at what is out there and familiarizing yourself with schools in your area. I wish you well as you search for a teaching job in the U.S.

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