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Singaporean Girlfriend wants to work as teacher in USA

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Singaporean Girlfriend wants to work as teacher in USA

Post by willtravel » Thu, 28 Aug 2014 1:15 pm


This is a bit of a reverse question for your forum, but I can't seem to find a straight answer anywhere else, so I'd thought that I'd ask here...

I am living in the US and have developed a relationship with a wonderful Singaporean lady. She currently lives and works in Singapore as an English college professor. She has a Master's Degree from Europe in Education but lived briefly in the US several years ago with her (now EX) husband, before his work brought him to Europe where they eventually divorced.

My friend now wishes to move to the US to pursue teaching and to be obviously closer to me (We have visited each other twice this past year).

I do understand that any potential hiring educational institution here in the States would first need to "qualify" her European Master's degree as American compliant.

Since the United States and Singapore seem to have a special relationship, are there any helpful tips that anyone could offer to help us on our journey?

Thanking you in advance,


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Post by PNGMK » Thu, 28 Aug 2014 1:52 pm

Some good news; because of the FTA Singaporeans can utilize an underused work visa H1B1 (i.e. there is quota available).

Some bad news; to teach at any accredited state school (primary, middle, high school in Tx, Ca etc) you need to be a state certified teacher - to certify means attending a state approved college certification process (in Tx it's a year long course I think).

Some middle of the road news. Some private schools and colleges and universities don't required that certification. Your gf's degree would have to be ranked against other applicants but should do ok, her work experience is what would really count. I would be looking for a job in those categories.

I suggest she obtains a police clearance certificate before leaving Singapore (to state she has no criminal convictions). She'll need it for any teaching position I suspect.

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Post by Spikky » Fri, 29 Aug 2014 8:57 pm

to be obviously closer to me (We have visited each other twice this past year). :mad:
**** Confirm *****

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Post by triste » Sat, 30 Aug 2014 12:20 am

Teaching jobs in the US are extremely competitive right now. Tons of layoffs of already credentialed teachers in the past few years have caused a very saturated field. I know teachers in the states who commute 90 min to 2 hours each way because they can't get a job close to home and the job isn't stable enough to pick up and move for it. I wish you luck getting together and developing your relationship, but I'm doubtful about her job prospects, to be frank.

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Post by AZWildcat » Sat, 06 Sep 2014 12:06 pm

PNGMK made some very good points. The US-Singapore FTA makes things a lot easier for your girlfriend. I think her best bet might be to try community colleges.

Where are you in the US? Each state has different requirements for K-12 teacher certification and some states can be more difficult than others. In CA, the CTC website lists approved agencies you can use to evaluate a foreign degree/transcript.

As for the availability of K-12 teaching jobs, it various by state and cities. From my experience for example, teaching jobs are scarce in Tucson, AZ but more in the Phoenix area and some of the more remote Indian reservations. In the SF Bay Area, the crappier school districts often struggle to find teachers. I know of classrooms that have substitutes for the entire school year, yikes. Special ed positions are in higher demand if your gf ever chooses to get an additional K-12 certification.

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Post by Strong Eagle » Sat, 06 Sep 2014 11:04 pm

I can't speak for the rest of the country but in Texas, you will find the following.

a) In large public school districts there are many open teacher jobs. The problem is that you don't get to choose your school, and you could easily end up in one of the tougher schools.

b) Most all public schools require certification to teach. However, some will take an alternative certification which can be earned over a period of time. You friend could go to the HISD website (Houston) for quite a lot of information about various teaching categories.

c) Most private schools do not require certification but do require experience (although quite a few will take first year teachers who have been certified). Salaries are usually not quite as competitive as the public schools but then again, you're not enmeshed in a public school bureaucracy. In Houston, your friend could look at the St. Agnes, Cristo Rey Jesuit, Strake Jesuit, St. Pious, Episcopal High School, and St. Thomas websites to get a sense of what they are looking for.

d) Community colleges will be quite competitive as there is usually a surplus of graduate candidates from major universities who don't get hired post doc into a university and thus, go to a community college. Most require a masters or higher, certifications are meaningless at the college level.

e) You will need to fully document just exactly what a European masters degree is because far too many folks in Texas will have no idea. For example, my dentist in Singapore practiced with an Australian masters degree... fully qualified, yet in the US, everyone needs to have a doctors degree to practice dentistry... in the dental field, however, the sanctioning boards are aware of this.

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