Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the AASSA member schools?
AASSA member schools may join our service organization either as full or invitational members. All Full Member schools must be accredited by a recognized US or international accrediting agency, thus assuring their quality and standard. Invitational member schools must either be accredited or be formal candidates for accreditation. They must also be teaching an American-based program in English so as to meet accreditation standards. Currently, there are 73 member schools as shown on our website in South America with member schools also in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.
How do I apply for the Recruiting Fair?
If you go to the Recruiting Fair tab and the candidate information page on our website, you will clearly be led to the link to the application. All sections of the application must be completed in order for us to review your qualifications and accept you as a candidate. If accepted, you will receive an email with instructions on paying the one-time registration fee and making hotel reservations.
When should I complete the online application?
The sooner, the better… but aim for a November 1 completion. Once your application is complete (including obtaining 3 confidential letters of reference from current and past employers and supervisors—not colleagues or friends!) and the registration fee has been paid, recruiters will have access to your online files.
Why a registration fee?
The one-time $50 registration fee (which will be refunded if you attend the fair in Atlanta) is charged to cover the costs involved in our staff’s handling and processing your application. AASSA is a non-profit organization and our aim is to provide you and our schools with prompt and reliable service. Whether a candidate ultimately attends the fair, or not, our staff is involved in your application process throughout.
How do I pay?
You can most easily pay by credit card on the home page of your online application.
If you are unable to pay by credit card, you may send a personal check payable to AASSA to our office.
If you are currently overseas, you will have to call our office (1-954 436 4034) to give us your credit card information or email us the following information:
Name on card
Type of card (Visa or Mastercard)
Credit card number
Address of record for the cardholder
3-digit security code on the back of the card
Once your application is complete and your registration fee is paid, your online file will be available to the schools’ recruiters and you will be able to access job openings and obtain information on the schools. Prior to either completion or payment, your file is not available to recruiters.
Certification, degrees and experience
Candidates are required to hold at least a Bachelor’s Degree in the area they will be teaching.
Certification is the “license” granted by each State attesting to the fact that a candidate has the necessary coursework in educational pedagogy to teach a given subject. Almost all of our schools aim to hire certified teachers and some are mandated to do so by their Boards of Directors and by the agencies which accredit the schools. The body which accredits most of our schools requires 15 hours of educational coursework. If a school agrees to hire you as an uncertified teacher, they may require you to take one course per semester (online is fine) so as to meet the agency’s requirement for teachers to have 15 hours of educational coursework.
If you need to get certified, please visit the pages under the certification tab on our website.
All agencies have dropped their long-standing rule that candidates must have a minimum of two years of full-time teaching experience to be accepted to the fair. That said, some schools will not hire teachers directly out of university…others will.
Is a TESOL “Certification” Course an Appropriate Certification for an International School?
No. Schools would expect ESL teachers to hold a Bachelor’s Degree at a minimum and to be fully certified either by their State or nationally in their field.
Benefits and realities of our fair
There are a number of salient, major advantages to the AASSA Recruiting Fair. Our fair is the very first of the recruiting season, which means that advertised jobs do not typically disappear prior to the fair, as they do with each subsequent recruiting event that is held. Secondly, ours is a regional fair and, as such, all candidates are seeking jobs in Latin America and their focus is either in Spanish or Portuguese-speaking countries. Thirdly, ours is a smaller and more personal fair than most of the others. This results in a far more relaxed atmosphere and more personal attention than most other agencies provide. Lastly, ours is an inexpensive fair for candidates and we aim to base ourselves in suitable hotels more cheaply priced than other fairs in major U.S. cities.
As with anything in this life, there are downsides as well as upsides. Because our fair is early in the recruiting season by design and at the request of our schools, it means that some of the positions are advertised as “tentative” because of a contract renewal deadline for current staff that takes place after our fair (usually in early January). Some of our candidates are, therefore, interviewed at the fair and hired a month or two later if a position becomes available.
Our Recruiting Year
AASSA now offers a year-round service, but most hiring is done at our Recruiting Fair in December with placements continuing until April or May.
Jobs come and jobs go….in their own time
Schools will post available positions on our website as soon as they become aware of them. The vast majority of positions, however, do not get posted until the weeks leading up to the fair…and many are announced at the fair itself. You can also expect that some jobs that are posted prior to the fair may be filled before the fair.
Should I Email Recruiters Prior to the Fair?
You are welcome to email recruiters prior to the fair in order to establish interest in your candidacy. That said, you will find that many of the schools will not respond. This is not because they are not interested but rather because they see the fair as the venue in which to meet candidates and hire them. The other reality is that schools are virtually barraged with applications of candidates throughout the year and there is no way they can keep up with the volume of email traffic. That said, it cannot hurt to email a recruiter of a school in which you are interested with the aim of establishing contact prior to the fair.
Can’t I get hired by just emailing the schools?
Most of our school heads want to meet candidates face-to-face to ensure a “fit” both personally and professionally. For that reason, most heads will simply email back (if they respond at all) that they plan to attend the AASSA Recruiting Fair.
For teachers just out of university, new to the profession, or with no overseas experience, it is highly unlikely you will be considered as a viable candidate without a face-to-face interview.
I cannot attend the recruiting fair. Can I still be a candidate?
Yes, you can be a virtual candidate. It is ALWAYS an advantage to attend the fair and meet recruiters in person.
Do I have to be a U.S. Citizen to work in an American School overseas?
Most of our schools hire all nationalities. A few schools do have government-imposed restrictions on certain other nationals.
What are my chances of being hired?
The ratio of candidates hired to the total number of applicants varies greatly from year to year depending upon the qualifications of the pool of candidates, the number and type of vacancies posted, and the “fit” between the two. Last year's rate was 50%.
Cast your net wide and keep an open mind
Some candidates approach the fair with the notion that there is only one school or one city that is for them. I strongly suggest against this approach since that particular place may not even have an opening and, even if they do, you may not be their ideal.
Approach the fair with an open mind and let the winds take you to places you may never even have dreamed of. Some of the great gems of this world are the places that you would never consider. Some are not the places that pay the most money or even have the best reputations.
Child Protection & Background Criminal Checks
AASSA embraces the protection of children as an essential principle guiding its work in recruiting staff to work in its member schools. As such, we require confidential references of candidates from current and past supervisors and advise schools to personally speak with each referee. We require that candidate’s applications leave no gaps in work experience and that candidates self-declare any past criminal history. Failure to fully disclose may result in termination by a school for misrepresentation.
In addition, candidates should know that by opening an application, both AASSA and the schools have the right to undertake criminal and sex registry checks to ensure a candidate has no past history that would jeopardize the children in our schools. Additionally, each school will require the submission of documents mandated by their host country in order to obtain a residence visa. These could include Interpol or police checks from countries of current and past residence, or the more specific checks such as those listed below:
- USA (FBI Check)
- Canada (RCMB Vulnerable Sector check)
- England and Wales (DBS or ICPC)
- Northern Ireland (Access NI Enhanced disclosure)
- Republic of Ireland (Garda Vetting National Check)
- Scotland (Enhanced PVG Disclosure)
- Australia (Federal Working with Children Check)
- New Zealand (Police Check with exception request)
The Recruiting Fair hotel:
We have arranged a group rate for candidates to reserve rooms at the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead. This is a top-notch hotel and this rate is approximately one-third of the normal cost. It is most convenient for candidates to stay at the conference hotel if at all possible since interviews will all be held in the recruiters’ rooms at this hotel, as will all events of the fair (i.e. registration, orientation). Rooms do not include either internet or meals. Once you are accepted to the fair, you will be sent an email that instructs you how to make hotel reservations under our group rate.
Once this hotel is sold out, we will place candidates at nearby hotels. Once again, the early bird gets the worm!
How do I get to the hotel?
We selected the Grand Hyatt partially because it is easily reached by taking the MARTA from the Atlanta Hartfield Airport for just $2.25 inbound and $1.75 back to the airport. (MARTA directions: take the northbound train to Exit N7 and follow the signs to the Grand Hyatt at the exit. It’s about a 7-minute walk). You can also take a taxi for $42 from the airport to the hotel. It takes 35-40 minutes from the airport to the hotel.
What happens at the Recruiting Fair?
The main registration session is on Thursday evening but you may register if absolutely necessary early Friday morning. Each registration session will be followed by an hour-long orientation session during which time you will be briefed and have all your questions answered.
Recruiters arrive on Wednesday or Thursday and will review candidates’ files and leave invitations and notes of interest in candidates’ mail folders, which will be found outside our office.
On Friday morning, there will be a 2-hour signup session in the hotel ballroom. All of the recruiters will be seated around the perimeter alphabetically by country and school and candidates will stand in lines (some short and some long) to briefly speak with the recruiters of the schools in which they hope to be interviewed. Candidates should also speak with those schools that left them notes of interest. It is highly recommended to make extra copies of your resume bearing your photo (15 should be more than sufficient)to be able to hand to recruiters at the sign-up session.
At this initial session, candidates and recruiters will set times for initial interviews (which can range from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the desire of the individual recruiter.
For the remainder of the day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning, interviews take place in the recruiters’ hotel rooms. A candidate may have 2 or even 3 follow-up interviews with a school…and ultimately if a position is offered, a decision will be made. Many times, candidates are offered multiple jobs, and then the pressure of making a choice is necessary.
What should I take to the signup session and interviews?
The recruiters have access to your online application. Still, it is good form to bring copies of your resume to the initial signup session to assist the recruiters in deciding whether it is appropriate to schedule an interview with you, or not. It is suggested you bring 10-15 copies of your resume and it is a good idea if they have your picture on them for the sake of instant recognition!
It is also recommended that you take a copy of the following paperwork in case a recruiter would like to see them: a copy of your university transcripts, proof of certification or licensure, letters of recommendation (beyond the ones you have already provided as part of your application), and perhaps a portfolio representing your work.
It is also suggested you bring along stationary, notepaper or cards in order to leave messages in recruiters’ mail folders.
What else should I take to the fair?
You should definitely bring a laptop or other device with wireless connectivity to be able to link to the AASSA website. AASSA will provide a room at the Grand Hyatt with wireless capability for 25 laptops. Having this connectivity will be particularly helpful as you’re doing your research on possible openings prior to the fair.
What to look for in a job/salary package
While teaching is a noble vocation, it is also a job. In selecting a job, compare not only salary packages but the savings you might realize. Consider the cost of living as well as the salary and benefit package. While money is one aspect of fulfillment, remember you are heading off to an adventure. Consider the size and type of school in which you want to work as well as the place you want to live. Aim for a place where you will be happy and a place that will provide what you are looking for at this stage of your life: a bustling city, or a more rural setting?; by the sea or up in the mountains?; a hot climate or a colder one?; a stable country or a more politically exciting one?
How can I find out more information about the schools and countries represented?
It is highly recomended that you visit the schools' webpages and do internet searches of cities and countries in which you are interested. AASSA is in the process of having schools upload videos of their institutions and host cities.
Couples, teaching couples, spouses and children
For financial reasons (since schools generally provide housing and benefits), most schools will look either for single teachers and/or teaching couples. Some schools will hire married couples in which one spouse does not work, but this combination often diminishes your chances of being hired. Some schools will not hire families with children, many will, and most will cap the number of children since the schools generally provide for the education of the children of the staff they hire.
If you are a married couple with children and only one member of the couple is working, it is unlikely you would be hired.
Accompanying Spouses Not Seeking Employment
Each year there are candidates whose spouse does not plan to work. Some schools will consider a candidate with a “trailing spouse” but MANY will not because of either financial realities or difficulties involved in getting a residence visa for the non-working spouse. Some trailing spouses are retired and do not need the benefits provided to a dependent spouse. If this is your situation, please be clear in explaining your situation to the recruiters—and know that your situation may make it more difficult to be hired.
What if I am a Citizen of the Country Where I am Seeking a Position?
Because of the laws of certain countries, the hiring practice restrictions placed by certain Boards, or the demands placed on Boards by members of the parent communities, citizens of a host school country may find that they may not be considered as overseas hire candidates. If you are Brazilian, as one example, you may find that some schools will not be able to hire you on an overseas hire salary and benefit package.
What types of positions are schools seeking to fill?
Our schools offer a typical range of courses found in American schools offering programs from Early Childhood through high school graduation. While the majority of our schools offer the College Board’s Advanced Placement Program in high school, there are a number of schools that offer the International Baccalaureate.
The specific positions that become vacant vary from year to year depending upon the needs and vacancies of individual schools. While one year may see a greater number of openings in math, science and counseling, for example, the following year may see greater needs in elementary positions, librarians and IT positions.
Since our schools are located in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries, it is highly unlikely that candidates applying as teachers of either of these languages will be hired from abroad. A small number of schools which are located in non-Spanish speaking countries may have openings for an imported Spanish teacher.
Our schools generally do not hire speech therapists.
For the past two years, AASSA has opened its recruiting fair to administrative positions (i.e. principals, vice principals, curriculum coordinators, etc) and a good number of candidates have been successfully placed.
International Baccalaureate Positions:
A number of our schools are IB schools and, as such, are offering either the Primary Years Programme, the Middle Years Programme and/or the IB Diploma Programme. The IB requires those teaching their courses to have undergone IB training as a minimal requirement and you will find that schools will prefer to hire experienced IB teachers. If you do not have this training, I suggest undertaking your own training if you are interested in IB positions. You can find out information by contacting IBO at http://www.ibo.org/iba. They now allow Level I training online.
Advanced Placement Positions:
Most American educators are familiar with the AP Program of high school courses. Like the IB, many heads of school will seek candidates who have had AP training in their subject area and seek out experienced AP teachers.
Are Positions for Head of School (i.e. Director) Recruited for at the AASSA Recruiting Fair?
No. Applying for Director’s positions is a whole separate process. At the current time, AASSA does not conduct head searches for schools.
A word on contracts…
Contracts are generally offered for an initial period of two years and most are renewable annually after the initial two years. Contracts in the international school world are taken VERY seriously and are, literally, binding upon both the school and the employee. Breaking a contract is not taken lightly… Candidates should, therefore, make sure they have a thorough understanding of the contractual agreement into which they are entering.
Dress for the fair
As with any professional interview situation, dress for success. Job fairs and interviews are settings where first impressions get you in the door, or not. Be presentable and be real.
Still Have Questions?
Please do not hesitate to contact us at:
if you have any questions about our recruiting service.
For questions about billing, please contact Terri Williams at: