Help Others Succeed
Are you passionate about people-centered work that transforms communities? You may want to consider building your future in Education + Human Services.
This career path is for those who want to become future educators, practitioners, scholars, community leaders, and change agents. Together, these professionals strengthen communities, address systemic issues, and support others through direct service, outreach, prevention, and advocacy. They are dedicated to the growth, development, and needs of individuals through work that includes teaching, child development, counseling, psychology, social work, social services, speech-language pathology, human resources, NGOs, and nonprofits.
If this sounds like you or who you want to become, learn how you can move forward to help others.
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Discover Options: International Education
For complete information on assessing yourself, choosing majors, and exploring careers, review our starter tips to Discover Options in all careers as well as the specialized tips on this page.
Common Careers in International Education
When students think about careers in international education, many think of teaching abroad as the first option. This is a common misconception! The most prevalent types of work abroad for recent graduates include short-term employment opportunities arranged by a third party, internships, volunteer work, and teaching English. A more advanced career in the field of international education can include international education administration, working with international exchange agencies, or working in an office of international student affairs.
People who work in international education can be found in colleges, universities, government agencies, NGOs, nonprofits, private agencies, and more. Whether you are interested in coordinating high school exchanges, working at a study abroad or international student office, or teaching at an international school, a career in international education allows you to find opportunities to work in a global environment.
Click the items below for more insights into common careers in international education.
An international educator who works in educational administration may serve as a school administrator in international and postsecondary schools abroad or in domestic higher education institutions. Their roles can vary, but in primary and secondary schools, many become principals, superintendents, or directors of specific departments (e.g., athletic directors). Those who decide to work in post-secondary schools are typically employed in a variety of student affairs and academic departments/areas such as residence life, international admissions, experiential or service learning, career development, and more.
On college campuses, many individuals may choose to work in an Educational Abroad Program (EAP) or an Office of International Students, in order to work with domestic students who are preparing to study abroad or inbound international students. There are a variety of roles that individuals can hold within each of these departments, such as counseling students, interviewing applicants, and coordinating programs. It is also possible to work with academic departments and international universities to create exchange programs.
One primary role of EAPs is to coordinate and advise study abroad programs. EAP advisors also work with students to re-acquaint them when they return to university, which can include academic counseling. Many, if not most, who work for EAPs have studied abroad.
Responsibilities while working for the Office of International Students can include: providing student visa advice, supporting the integration of students into their new learning environment through workshops and advising, assisting international students in applying for work authorizations, and creating a community in which they feel welcome. International Student Advisors often have advanced degrees in Higher Education or International Education Administration. Additionally, they are certified as "Designated School Officials" by the Department of Homeland Security, in order to be able to provide immigration advice in the non-immigrant student visa category.
Teaching English as a foreign language is one of the most common opportunities pursued by those interested in working abroad with students from kindergarten through high school, and at private or public institutions. Teaching is very rewarding and difficult work; some responsibilities include preparing lesson plans and teaching materials, effectively communicating with students, ensuring student retention and success, and assessing or grading students’ work. Teaching English abroad is a great way to deepen your understanding of a language and immerse yourself in another culture.
For more details about teaching English abroad, jump to the Get Hired section of our International Education page.
A career in educational consulting combines both working with students and utilizing skills associated with counseling, such as psychology. An educational consultant does not necessarily have to be employed by a consulting agency, so this individual can work as a freelancer or contracted employee. Educational consulting abroad encompasses everything that a US educational consultant does and more, such as visa counseling, international university selection, and educational career-searching abroad.
A career in education technology can be very dynamic; there are a variety of employer types for people interested in working in international education or working abroad. Oftentimes, a job in education technology will be for online homeschool programs, educational apps (e.g., Duolingo), and language learning programs (e.g., Rosetta Stone). If you are considering a career in education technology, you can design courses, train teachers to use new technologies, and program cutting-edge softwares.
A career as an education policy advisor typically works in both education and government. Education policy advising is crucial in determining if present educational institutions, guidelines, and policies are properly serving children. Education policy advisors advocate for children by shaping a just, well-rounded, and inclusive education from the federal and local levels.
In order to prepare for a career in international education, there is not one specific major that you need to choose. Many of those who work in international education have strong interests in international affairs, language acquisition, cultural immersion, and leadership. If you are interested in this field, UCSB offers several majors that may match your interests.
Click on the items below to explore some example majors at UCSB that relate to international education (note that this is list is not comprehensive).
This major focuses on studying transnational processes and global issues. In this major, you can study two languages and focus on a global region of your choice. As a global studies major, students will gain valuable knowledge in cross-cultural communication, which can be very helpful for those who seek to work in international regions or with international populations.
The Linguistics major can emphasize a specific language of study or focus on speech language technologies or disorders. Linguistics majors often learn a new language, which is a valuable skill to have on a resume when applying to jobs abroad or positions where you interact with international students. Linguistics majors also learn how to break down a language into phonetics, which is an effective teaching tool for English as a foreign language.
As an English major, students learn a comprehensive history of literature, effective and persuasive writing skills, as well as critical reading and thinking skills. Students who graduate with this major have vital communication skills, written and spoken, that can help them in teaching and interacting with people who speak a different language.
Students majoring in Political Science have the opportunity to expand their knowledge about various fundamental political concepts that affect our everyday lives, like equality, justice, and freedom. Political Science majors have a balanced education about political institutions, policies, and relationships that provide students interested in international education with a useful international perspective and context.
There are several minors offered by UCSB that may be appealing to those who want to work in international education. The Educational Studies minor offered by the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education or the Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) minor offered by the Linguistics department are possible minors that can help prepare students who are interested in teaching internationally.
Depending on the type of international education work in which you may be interested, certificates also can be helpful. The type of certification(s) that you need for international education work, whether for teaching or another job, will vary depending on the country and position that you seek employment from. Some countries will value certain certifications more than others, so begin your research as early as possible to prepare.
For those interested in teaching abroad, one strategy to acquire qualifications is to pursue the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification through UCSB’s Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE) program. This certification can be applied to teaching in North America and abroad, aimed to give you practical teaching skills. If you are interested in this certification and qualify for financial assistance, consider applying for a PaCE Scholarship, which can cover most of the cost of the certification. Note, the TESOL certification does not automatically qualify you for every teaching position abroad as there are many other teaching abroad certifications available.
Regardless of the academic programs you pursue, we encourage you to utilize various online resources to determine what might be the best fit for your needs.
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