While many American teachers leave the States to get a better teaching job in China, Japan, Thailand or Philippines; many South East Asian nationals seek the way to immigrate to the US.
The easiest way to immigrate to the US is through J-1 Visitor exchange program or even H1B employment program. Many schools in the US are happy to sponsor foreigners to come and teach Science, Math, Music, Spanish and even ESL. United States is facing a serious shortage of professional teachers.
According to official US gov website (http://j1visa.state.gov/programs/teacher), foreign teachers can teach in accredited primary and secondary schools in the United States.
A teacher must:
- Meet the qualifications for teaching in primary or secondary schools in their country of nationality or last legal residence;
- Have a minimum of three years of teaching or related professional experience;
- Satisfy the standards of the U.S. state in which they will teach;
- Is of good reputation and character;
- Be seeking to enter the United States for the purpose of full-time teaching at a primary or secondary accredited educational institution in the United States; and
- Possess sufficient proficiency in English language to participate in his or her program.
As you can see the requirements are not that strict. A lot of Filipinos are coming to the States each year as teachers seeking better life and later a better employment opportunity.
J-1 visa does not guarantee you a green card and you have to return to your home country once the contract is over. You can find more information about the schools hiring foreign teachers on the US gov site here: http://j1visa.state.gov/programs/teacher#program-sponsors
If you are serious about immigrating to the States as a teacher, H1B visa is the way to go. VisaLista is a website built by foreign teachers in the US, who help other foreign teachers to find a job there. They’ve created an awesome database of schools and universities that sponsor foreigners to come and teach in the US on J-1 or H1B visa. Also they help to write a CV, prepare to interview and more. Their official website states the main steps in order to get a dream job in the States are:
- Create an account on VisaLista (you have 5 mins free trial) and purchase a subscription. (20 USD until Fab. 28)
- Start with a state you would like to live in and look for all their openings and requirements.
- Apply for the jobs by filling out online forms or just by submitting your resumé and cover letter to the email listed if there are no openings. The most common documents you will need are:
- Your transcript standardized ‘Course by Course’ from an agency like WES
- A resumé
- A motivation-cover letter.
Schools that like your skills will contact you for an interview either through the phone, skype or by email. These interviews are also the moment that they check your English level.
- The school thinks your are the best candidate! The school will put you in contact with their lawyers to start the application for the h1b or j1 (this might take from two weeks to two months). More info at the USCIS site.
It will take about 1-2 months to get a visa and start working. Good luck in your job hunting!