Frequently Asked Questions

Planning a move to a new country can be both daunting and exciting. If you have questions about teaching abroad, look no further! We've compiled a list of the questions that teachers ask us most often below.


We recommend reading through to familarize yourself with Footprints and the services we offer. We think we've done a good job of answering the most burning teaching abroad questions but if the information you're looking for is missing don't worry! Our contact information is provided at the end.


NEW: Would you like to learn more about the United Arab Emirates' recent merger of ADEC with MOE? Read our article and infographic explaining what this change means for teachers.

As seen on: 
The Globe and MailHarvard UniversityThe New York Times

I've heard that there's a big change with the ADEC organization in the United Arab Emirates. What does this mean for teachers?
As of February 2018, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) has been fully merged into the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Education (MoE). While the country's international teacher recruitment needs remain quite similar, there are some key differences between the two programs. We have written an informative article and infographic explaining this big organizational transition happening in the UAE's public school system.
1. Do I have to pay to apply with Footprints?
Applying to teach abroad with Footprints is 100% free for you! There is no charge for our services. Simply apply and we’ll do our best to find the best opportunity for you.
2. I’m not sure where to go or what I qualify for? Which jobs should I choose?
We know that deciding where you would like to teach and what jobs you’re qualified for can be a daunting task. So we make sure that when we’re reviewing your application you are considered for the jobs you’re most qualified for. If one of our recruiters thinks that you’d be a good fit for a position other than the one you applied for they’ll make sure to mention it to you. We want to find the very best opportunity for you!

Make sure to apply for any position you’re interested in but bear in mind that applying for every job or to the same job multiple times will not improve your chances. Think quality over quantity!

If you’re still not sure where to begin, feel free to send us your resume and a short summary of the types of positions you’re interested in to We’ll be able to advise you on where the best opportunities for you will be based on your qualifications and experience.
3. ADEC has merged with the MOE. What does this mean for teachers?
The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) recently announced that it has merged with the Ministry of Education (MOE). This means that from now on the MOE will be responsible for hiring all foreign teachers interested in teaching in public schools in the UAE - ADEC is no longer hiring. If you'd like to learn more about this check out our in-depth article and handy infographic which clearly lay out these changes and their implications for teachers.

Read more about the ADEC MOE merger.

Or check out our MOE jobs.
4. How does the Footprints application process work?
The process differs a little bit depending on which part of the world you’ll be teaching and your qualifications. Typically, experienced public school licensed teachers choose positions in the Middle East. Opportunities in Asia appeal to most other candidates (often all that's required is a Bachelor's Degree).

Applying to Jobs in Asia
1. Apply for any jobs you’re interested in here on our website.
2. One of our recruiters will reach out for a phone interview if you’re a good fit for the position (or if there are any other positions that you’d be a good fit for).
3. We’ll schedule a 15-20 minute phone interview during which one of our recruiters will get to know you and find out more about your qualifications and experience. This is also a good chance for you to learn more about the opportunity and ask any questions you might have.
4. Your recruiter will submit your profile to schools that you’re interested in and will arrange a Skype interview between you and the school if they’d like to speak with you.
5. When you receive a job offer we’ll guide you through signing the contract and the school will assist with the visa process.
Did you know? The most opportunities (by far) are in China - and it's the easiest country to get a teaching job? We've made a Teaching in China infographic explaining the types of jobs available, locations, visa info, and more.

Applying to Jobs in the Middle East
1. Apply for any jobs you’re interested in and submit your resume on our website.
2. One of our recruiters will reach out for a phone interview if you’re a good fit for the position (or if there are any other positions that you’d be a good fit for).
3. If you’re successful you’ll be asked to attend an in-person interview with the school in your country. These interviews take place throughout the year in larger cities of most countries.
4. Once you have been offered a position you must wait for your visa to be approved before you can depart.
5. Do I need a resume to apply?
Yes, please upload your resume when applying. Our recruiting team really can’t evaluate your application or invite you to interview without it. So the sooner we have it the sooner your adventure begins! If you need some help getting your resume ready we have some samples and tips for successful teaching resumes here
6. What if I can’t apply online?
If you’re having trouble applying on our website, don’t worry! Just email your resume and a quick summary of the types of jobs and locations you’re interested in to: We’ll make sure your details get to the appropriate recruiting team.
7. How do I check the status of my application?
Due to the large volume of applications we receive daily, unfortunately we can’t provide an individual update on the status of your application. We do our very best to review all applications within 5 days and if your application was successful we’ll reach out for an interview as soon as possible. We will contact successful applicants only.
8. How do I update my resume?
If you’ve applied to a job with Footprints before and would like to update your resume, please apply for a job as a ‘New Applicant’ rather than a ‘Returning Applicant’ and upload your updated resume. It will be automatically added to your file.
9. How should I prepare for an interview?
As with any interview, preparation is key. Our recruiters want to know that you’ve done your homework and are seriously interested in the opportunity.

For jobs in Asia it’s a good idea to research the cities you are interested in teaching in, the visa process and what you can expect from life in Asia in general. It’s also a good idea to think about any experience you have working with children or teaching and how your interview answers can reflect that.

If you are interviewing to teach in the Middle East, you need to read the guides that will be sent before to you before your interview. They have a lot of useful information about life in the Middle East and the positions themselves. Reading them will show your recruiter that you’re seriously interested in the position.
10. How long will I be going abroad for? Do you have any summer jobs?
All of our positions are for a minimum of a year. This is due to the fact that applying for a visa can be quite a time-consuming process. Because schools sponsor their teacher’s visas and assist with the visa process, they prefer to hire teachers for at least a year.
11. How soon can I start teaching abroad?
Peak hiring times will always be in January and August but the schools we work with are looking for teachers to start at various times throughout the year so there are always options to start sooner or a little further down the line, depending on your availability and their needs. However, it is important to bear in mind that the visa application process can be quite long so that will also dictate when you can make the move. For the Middle East, we generally recommend applying at least 3-4 months before your desired start date and 6-8 weeks for Asia.
12. What are the requirements for teaching abroad?
To teach in Asia, as a minimum requirement, you must have a bachelor’s degree (in any discipline). Some teaching experience or experience working with children is also required (this can include babysitting, coaching, tutoring, working as a camp counsellor etc). A TEFL certification is also strongly preferred (for more info on whether you need a TEFL please see our TEFL question below).

Middle East
To teach in the Middle East you must have a bachelor’s degree, a government teaching license and a minimum of 2 years of public school teaching experience (post-certification). For these positions the subjects and grade levels that you are certified to teach and have experience teaching are very important. Our partners in the Middle East are most often looking for English, Math, Science, ICT and Kindergarten/Primary teachers. Our job postings will always specify which subjects and grade levels the school is looking for.
13. Do I need a TEFL?
There is a lot of contradictory information out there about this. Technically having a TEFL certificate is a visa requirement if you do not have teaching experience, although this rule is not always strictly enforced. In recent times the schools we work with are requesting TEFL qualified teachers more often than not and are unwilling to consider those without. So while there are exceptions to the rule, generally speaking we recommend completing a course if you are new to teaching and serious about these opportunities. Not only will it strengthen your application, it will also (as the name suggests) actually help to prepare you for teaching English to foreign learners - which can only be a good thing! You can complete one online in your own time at a modest cost.

You can check out our recommendations here:

Don’t wait to finish your course to apply with us, you can start the application process right away, just state that you have a TEFL in progress on your resume.

Middle East
If you’re applying for a job in the Middle East, you must be a certified teacher (ie. licensed to teach in public schools in your home country). If you don’t have a government teaching license, a TEFL certificate will not help your application.
14. What is a certified/licensed teacher?
This is a teacher who has a state/national teaching license and is certified by the government to teach in public schools in their home country. Below is a list of accepted licenses by country:

US - State Teaching license
Canada - Provincial Teaching License
UK - PGCE or QTS (depends on the job you're applying for)
Ireland - Teaching Council Registration
Australia - National Teaching License
New Zealand - National Teaching License
South Africa - SACE

*A TEFL/CELTA certificate is not sufficient for licensed teacher positions
15. What documents will I need to obtain a working visa?
The visa approval process can take 3-4 months so it’s a good idea to start preparing as soon as possible. As you go through the process you may be asked to submit any of the following:

A criminal background check, a copy of your degree (authenticated for China and apostilled for South Korea), a copy of your passport, a copy of your TEFL certificate and passport photos. You may also be asked to undergo a medical check.

Middle East
The visa approval process can take up to 3 months so it’s a good idea to start preparing your documents as soon as possible. When applying you may be asked to provide any of the following:

A copy of your teaching license, a copy of your degree, authenticated university transcripts, a criminal record check, valid passport, driver’s license, medical history and references. If you are travelling with family you may be asked for a copy of your marriage license and authenticated copies of your children’s birth certificates.
16. Can I apply with my friend/partner?
If you and your partner or friend would like to apply to teach abroad together, please submit individual applications to any jobs you’re interested in. Then email your details to stating that you’d like to apply together. Moving to Asia can be a great option for two people who want to teach abroad together

We can’t guarantee that you’ll be teaching at the same school, but every effort will be made to place you in the same city.
17. What about moving abroad with a family?
Middle East
Teaching in the Middle East is a good option if you are looking to bring your family abroad with you. The government schools we work with will sponsor visas for your spouse and up to 3 children. They will also provide accommodation, return flights and medical insurance for you and your dependents. However, your children’s education will not be covered by your employer. You would be responsible for paying to send your children to a local private school which can be quite expensive. We urge teachers to do their own research on the cost of privately educating their children in the UAE. It is also important to be aware that your spouse will not be permitted to work on the visa provided by the school. They would have to seek employment and an appropriate working visa independently.

Teaching English in Asia is not particularly family friendly unfortunately. Schools do not provide packages for families which means that you would be responsible for arranging visas, flights and accommodation for any dependents. You would also have to educate your children privately which is expensive.
18. Can I bring my pets?
We understand how difficult it can be to leave your furry friends behind, but we don’t recommend travelling with pets. The process can be very expensive and time consuming, and the journey itself gruelling for your pet. Depending on where you are moving to, pets may not be as culturally accepted as at home and thus may not have the same quality of life overseas. Its also important to remember that your employer will most likely be providing your accommodation and pets may not be permitted to live with you.
19. What are the average benefits and salaries I can expect from teaching abroad?
Middle East
Roundtrip airfare
Free accommodation or accommodation stipend
Local medical insurance
Contract completion bonus
Relocation allowance
Paid national holidays
Family benefits (visa sponsorship, flights, accommodation and medical insurance for a spouse and up to 3 children)
Additional annual airfare allowance for travelling/visiting home

Flight allowance
Free accommodation or accommodation stipend
Local medical insurance
Paid national holidays
Tip: China offers the most jobs in Asia. See China-specific salary and benefits info in Our Infographic

Salaries and the cost of living
As with most jobs, salaries vary from one school to another - each job posting on our site lists a salary. You may notice that these don’t directly compare with salaries back home because of differences in the cost of living abroad. For example, jobs in the Middle East offer higher salaries, but the region also has a higher cost of living - so don’t let a lower salary put you off teaching elsewhere. Some quick research about what it costs to live in the cities you’re interested in will show you that you can live comfortably on a teacher’s salary, and even save money or travel the region. When comparing salaries, don’t forget that housing is provided or subsidized, so it’s not something you need to budget for (like back home).
What if I have a question that isn't listed here?
If you've read through this page and haven't found the information you're looking for, feel free to get in touch. We'll do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.