The U.S. government is regularly looking for teachers to work abroad. The children of military service members who are stationed overseas are educated at schools administered by the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). The DoDEA, which is headquartered in Virginia, is a civilian branch of the Department of Defense that oversees more than 190 Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) in 12 foreign countries, seven states, Puerto Rico and Guam. In addition to the children from military families, these fully-accredited schools are attended by the children of civilian employees of the Department of Defense.
More than 86,000 students are served by approximately 8,700 educators at elementary and secondary DoDDS schools. Most of these schools are located on American military bases in NATO countries in Europe, the Mediterranean, Asia and North America. Many schools are located in exciting capital cities and offer educators great opportunities to experience international culture. DoDEA teachers are not part of the military and do not need to have a military background. As employees of the federal government, they are entitled to a variety of perks and benefits.
In addition to employing teachers and administrators, DoDDS schools have service departments that include school nurses, psychologists and counselors who help foster an educational environment that promotes the academic, personal and social growth of students. These schools also provide many of the specialized programs that can be found in American schools, including English as a Second Language (ESL), special education, gifted education and advanced placement for high school students.
DoDDS Teacher Salaries and Benefits
Salaries for Department of Defense teaching jobs are competitive with those for U.S. teachers. Many DoDDS employees are U.S. government employees and are often categorized as General Schedule (GS), the federal government's pay system for white-collar positions. As federal employees working overseas, DoDDS teachers receive benefits that include health insurance, life insurance, retirement contributions and allowances for housing, transportation and shipment of personal belongings to and from the host country.
The DoDEA Professional Development Branch exists to meet the professional development needs of DoDDS teachers. In addition to coordinating training for job-related skills and competencies, the Professional Development Branch supervises annual recognition programs for outstanding DoDDS educators.
Becoming a DoDDS Teacher
DoDDS teachers and school administrators are recruited and hired in the U.S. and must have American training and certification. This includes at least a bachelor's degree; for secondary school teachers, this degree is usually in a field that is related to the subject being taught. Advanced training in teaching methods, the learning process, testing and curriculum development is also required, along with student teacher experience.
The DoDEA requires the teachers it hires to be professionally certified or licensed. It participates in the nationwide certification reciprocity agreement administered by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). This agreement allows a recommendation for certification or licensure from a state-approved teacher training program in one state to be honored by the department of education of another state (or in this case by the DoDEA).
Teachers who are employed by the DoDEA, have satisfied the academic requirements for teaching (including student teaching experience) and have passed a teaching exam are eligible for DoDEA licensure. For more information about Department of Defense teaching jobs, visit the DoDEA website.