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My Husband has a job in the US- what can I do??

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by MrsBauer, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. Hi all,

    Ok, so I teach Y6 and have 5 yrs experience plus 1/3 of an MA. We are likely to move to Portland, Oregon in the next few months or it could end up being New York.

    Sounds great...but what do I do?!

    Can I teach out there? I've done a search and am I right in thinking only at an international school? If so, what about a job at a museum maybe? Anyone looked into this?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. The rules vary from state to state, but in general states require you to jump through their hoops to get certification to teach in that state, and it also varies depending on whether you wish to teach elementary, middle or high school. Y6 best equates to 5th grade which in most school districts is the last year of Elementary school and therefore requires a more general "multiple subject" teaching credential rather than a single subject credential.

    In some states you would be able to teach initially after you had got a "foreign transcript evaluation" for your degree and PGCE - basically a verification that your qualifications meet the standards required. This may be enough to get an initial credential which is a short term solution that buys you time (usually 2 - 5 years depending on the state) to get the necessary qualifications to get what is often called a "clear" credential - which makes you fully licensed. The additional hoops you may need to jump through to get the full license could include a basic skills test; a test to show you can teach English learners; some kind of CPR certification; a test in the US constitution or civil rights may be required; and some tests relevant to teaching the subject(s) you would teach.

    It may be possible to teach in non-public schools (privates, international schools etc) without a valid US credential - it depends on the school.

    Once you know which state you are moving to check the requirements for that state on their teacher commission or education department website - for OR: http://www.oregon.gov/TSPC; and for NY: http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/evalforeigncred.html

    Also there may be restrictions on the type of license available to you depending on the visa you are on. Some states will only issue full licenses to US citizens or permanent residents.
  3. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Before you go too far, find out what sort of visa you and your husband will be on. Some visas will allow a spouse to work, and others won't. You may or may not be legally eligible to take any sort of work at all.
  4. Thank you so much for your very helpful posts. I had a reply back from the NY site who said that as I'm not an American, I can't teach at all... :( does that sound right? Does that correlate with anything anyone has heard from NY?

    I'm still waiting on Portland to get back to me.

    The visa my husband gets wouldn't allow me to work until he gets his green card. But surely as a qualified person, I could apply for a job once out there? I could always foot the visa bill myself?

    Oh god, this is not going to happen is it? I'll have to not work I guess...
  5. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    The visa rules are pretty complicated and need some attention. Don't give up hope, but do start a conversation with your husband's employer and possibly an immigration specialist. Applying for a job after you get there may not be that simple - you might need to get a work visa before you arrive. Sorry to be such a downer, but at least if you start working on it now, you have a chance to get it sorted in your favour.
    As for New York, I think it's the same as the other states - you can teach in private schools. In some case (states) you can teach in a public school under certain circumstances. There are a ton of private schools that appreciate hiring teachers from abroad for the added cultural perspectives and sometimes the status of having, for example, a Parisian native teaching French.
    Don't give up yet.
  6. suefla

    suefla New commenter

    It's not a case of paying for the visa. I was in the same situation - it took nearly 4 years before my husband got his green card. I was allowed to look for work after 2 years by getting a hardship exemption.
  7. I don't think that certification has anything to do with not being an American. NY is one of the harder states to get certification in. I am certified in AZ in elementary and special ed and I wouldn't even want to attempt it. Plus, you have 5 years from your initial to get your Masters degree in an acceptable subject to continue to teach in NY. I would look at their website http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/ to see the hoops you will need to jump through. Your real problem will be getting a work permit and a job if you do manage to get one. Unless you are a certified math, science or special ed teacher (which is an actual certification in the US), jobs are slim pickings. Good luck.
  8. Thanks for your advice. I have done lots of digging around online and emailing various websites and I can see that NY is prob not going to happen. So if I can't teach out there, what could I do (visa permitting)? Does anyone have any experience of museum jobs for teachers or tutoring work maybe?
  9. One of the challenges presented by New York is the strength of the unions- you have to get past them in order to secure a post there.
    If your husbands job does not grant you the ability to work then you would essentially be looking for whatever job you did to sponsor you- I don't believe you are allowed to sponsor your own visa (unless you're a super rich billionaire). The only 'work' you would therefore be able to do is volunteering and I'm sure schools and museums would be happy to take you on as an unpaid assistant. Remember to get all police checks done before you leave the UK (it may help you into a position of working with children) and look into visas you might be able to apply for after a period of time which could allow you to work.
  10. Arepa

    Arepa New commenter

    You can teach at an independent (private) school in the states without a teaching degree or certificate. In some states you can also teach in a Charter school (semi- government schools) without a certificate. Competition is keen, but positions are available. It would help, I think, if you were familiar with the IB. There are agencies that place teachers in independent schools (be careful, some are quite pricy while others are of no cost to the teacher).
    The key issue is your Visa. Immigration law in the US is very complicated. I would recommend that you seek out an Immigration lawyer to assist you after you have found out a bit more information. I would advise you to first conduct some research on this site: use the Search box as much has been written on teaching in the US and Visa requirements. In addition, you should also use Google to research and find out exactly what your husband's visa entails. It (the Visa) should have an identification code/ number that should make it at least partly clear whether or not you can work. One you find out this information, you can then decide whether or not you will need an immigration lawyer.
    Good luck.

  11. Hello everyone! An update:

    We will be on L visas and so I will have the right to work...question is, can I
    apply for teaching jobs (elementary)?

    Thanks for all your help! This really is the only site I trust for reliable answers!
  12. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Find out what state, and then check the requirements. Private and charter schools may be your best bet.
    Congrats on the good news!
  13. Don't forget to check out international schools in the city you move to (if it's NY then I know there are definitely a couple there). You would be able to work at them with your UK teaching certificate. Good luck!
  14. Sorry to butt in but thought I'd jump in on this one since there seems to be so many who have experience here!
    My husband starts a new job in Washington DC in October and I have the same question; does anyone know if I can use my PGCE secondary science/ chemistry qualification in an American school there or would I be better to try the international Schools there (of which there are at least 2 that I am aware of)?
    I have just finished my NQT year in a grammar school here in the UK.
    Thanks is advance!

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