Careers in International Education
Students often ask about how to get involved in International Education after having a great experience while studying, interning, or volunteering abroad. International education can offer a fast-paced career for those who are committed to travel, education abroad, and are able to remain flexible. If you are interested, take a minute to look through the information provided below to see how you could benefit from a career in international education.
In general, a Bachelors degree is required for most international education positions. However, a Master's degree is often preferred. Education degrees are popular however, it is not unusual to find people who majored in international relations, political science, liberal studies, sociology, anthropology, a foreign language, psychology, or any degree from a wide variety of disciplines.
Career Options in International Education
Colleges, Universities,and 2 year institutions: Work in an international student office, education abroad office, or foreign language and TESL department. There are many specializations within each office /department such as advisers, teachers, specialists, and counselors.
ESL Programs: Teach English as a second language within or outside of the United States .
Education Abroad Program Providers: Coordinate and oversee various programs around the world. Different program providers offer different types of opportunities including studying, volunteering, working, or teaching abroad.
Law Firms: Practice law specializing in immigration or other related issues.
International Education Associations: Work to aid international educators by providing networking opportunities, publications, and advocacy support to help promote international education.
Accreditation Agencies: Perform credential evaluations for students planning to study in the United States.
Local Community International Centers: Provide international student/community outreach programs including: implementing international programs, finding homestay opportunities for international students, and/or developing and coordinating community service projects. To get involved, visit Global Ties U.S.
U. S. Government: Work in any of a variety of international careers with the Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Congress, or Foreign Service.
Forum on Education Abroad
The Forum’s institutional members include U.S. colleges and universities, overseas institutions, consortia, agencies, provider organizations and foundations. The Forum focuses on developing and implementing standards of good practice, encouraging and supporting research initiatives, and offering educational programs and resources to its members. Its mission is to help to improve education abroad programs to benefit the students that participate in them. It is achieving this goal by establishing standards of good practice and quality assurance programs, improving education abroad curricula, and promoting data collection and outcomes assessment, all to advocate for high quality education abroad programs.
NAFSA (Association of International Educators) is a professional organization for international educators. They host professional conferences, publish respected resources and have a very helpful website. Click here to link to their page about international education careers.
Prepare for a career in International Education
Compiled by: Kathleen Barnebey, former NW Field Director, Institute for Study Abroad at Butler University
- Study abroad! More than once, in different countries, if possible.
- Learn a second (or third) language.
- Work as an international ambassador, work study student or intern in your school's study abroad or international programs office.
- Get your master's degree (optimally in international studies/relations or student/personnel administration, but those two little letters after your name are really all that counts).
- If possible, integrate an internship with the international programs office into your master's program.
Recommended software skills:
- Learn all the Microsoft Office programs (especially PowerPoint).
- Learn to do simple design and layout in a desktop publishing program.
- Learn how to design and maintain a website.
- Learn how to use a database program.
Study Abroad Positions
If you want to work in study abroad (besides having done all of the above), you need to:
- Be flexible about what part of the country you're willing to work in.
- Start at the bottom.
- Not have dreams of becoming rich.
- Be proactive and send in your résumé to organizations you think you'd like to work for (do your research first!) even if they haven't posted a job - there's lots of turnover in the field.
If you want to become a "Road Warrior" (e.g., traveling recruiter), optimally, you need to:
- Love airports and being in airplanes.
- Like to drive.
- Like spending time alone.
- Love staying in hotels.
- Preferably, be single and not be in a committed relationship.
- Not be a pet owner.
- Not have a garden or houseplants (unless someone else can take care of them for you).
Other opportunities in Study Abroad
What other types of jobs are available in study abroad? Here are just a few examples:
- Program coordinator/adviser/director
- Overseas resident director
- Database manager
- Marketing or external relations manager/director
- Academic director
- Credit transfer evaluator
- Budget manager/director
- In many smaller study abroad offices, one person is often responsible for ALL of the above!