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What is a teaching license or teaching credential

You’re thinking of applying for your dream job when you come across the required certificates section and see “Teaching Credential/License”. But, what exactly does that mean?

What is a teaching license? It’s a teaching credential that allows you to legally work as a teacher within a designated area. And depending on where you’re from a teaching credential means the exact same thing.

As you’ll be able to tell from a cursory browse, many of the jobs on the Teach Away job board state a teaching credential or license as an essential requirement.
What is a teaching licence

So, in this short post, we’ll answer common questions we get around teaching licenses/credentials, like:

  1. What counts as a teaching license?
  2. What if I don’t have a teaching license?
  3. What are the teaching license requirements for teaching abroad?
  4. I hold a North American teaching license. Do I qualify for teaching jobs abroad?

Then we’ll give some specific information for teachers in the US and Canada and, finally, provide guidance for teachers outside of North America. Let’s get started.

What counts as a teaching license?

A teaching license refers to the teaching credential that is needed to allow you to legally work as a teacher with a given area (in countries abroad as well as your home state, province or country).

Depending on where you qualified as a teacher, a teaching license might be alternatively known as a teaching certification, qualification or credential.

teaching license

Your teaching license is usually accredited by the appropriate governing body in your home state, province or country.

It also is, as we mentioned earlier, usually the primary requirement set by international schools or programs looking to hire overseas teaching candidates.

It’s important to be aware of the requirements for maintaining your teaching license. Like other professional licenses, your teaching license will expire after a certain time period so you’ll need to renew it from time to time.

As a licensed teacher, you’ll usually earn a credential that qualifies you to teach either a specific grade level or a certain subject matter.

Key subject areas we’re currently hiring licensed or certified teachers for include the following:


What if I don’t have a teaching license?

Not to worry! We’ve got plenty of sought-after ESL jobs for TEFL certified graduates, too.

For the latest ESL teaching vacancies abroad, check out Teach Away’s Explore Program >

Teaching license requirements for teaching abroad.

woman at a laptop sitting at a sidewalk cafe researching her teaching license

Many hiring schools overseas will be on the lookout for teachers who hold certification from a US state or Canadian province, as well as certified teachers from countries like the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

To qualify for any licensed teaching jobs through Teach Away, you will need to hold an active teaching license/credential from one of the above.

I hold a North American teaching license. Do I qualify for teaching jobs abroad?

Yes! If you hold a US teaching license, this means you have received an official document, stamped or signed by your state, province or home country, that recognizes you as a qualified teacher.

This one (almost) goes without saying but your teaching license must not have been suspended or revoked.

If you are currently studying for or applying for your US teaching credential, that’s great! We still advise you to register and keep a close eye on any upcoming teaching jobs abroad.

That way, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running in your job search as soon as you have your teaching license in hand!

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A note on getting your US teaching license.

teaching license

The requirements to obtain a teaching credential vary depending on the state in question, but in most cases, you’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree to apply.

In some instances, you may be required to pass an exam or take a course in order to obtain a teaching credential.

There are also a variety of teaching certification options for those looking to be granted a US state teaching license quicker and at a much more affordable price than the traditional route.

Plus, what’s great about these alternative programs is that you can complete the core coursework online. Check out our state-approved, AAQEP-accredited program in Hawaii and our state-approved program Arizona.

A note on getting your Canadian teaching license.

group of college students in a college library sitting at a presentation

In order to be granted a provincial teaching certification in Canada, you’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree in education and complete the necessary amount of student teaching before applying for your certificate through the department of education or teachers college in your province.

Depending on the province, you may also be required to pass a teacher certification exam.

I hold a teaching license from outside North America. Do I also qualify for teaching jobs abroad?

man at a computer learning how to get a teaching license

Yes, we gladly accept applications from teachers outside of the United States for all of our international jobs!

If you qualified as a teacher outside of the United States, the teaching qualification that allows you to teach in your home country is effectively considered your “teaching license”.

For example, if you qualified as a teacher in the UK, your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) would count as your teaching license abroad. There are many ways you can obtain your QTS – the most common approach is completing a bachelor’s degree in education or a PGCE course.

Hopefully, you now have a clearer understanding of our teaching license requirements for teaching jobs overseas.

Remember, if you hop on over to the job board, you’ll be able to quickly filter for jobs that require a teaching certification. Good luck and happy job hunting!


Become a certified teacher in the US. Learn More. 

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