Get a Career in International Education


Students often ask about how to get involved in International Education after having a great experience while studying,interning, or volunteering abroad. International education can offer a fast-paced career for those who are committed to travel, education abroad, and are able to remain flexible. If you are interested, take a minute to look through the information provided below to see how you could benefit from a career in international education. 


Education Requirements

In general, a Bachelors degree is required for most international education positions. However, a Master's degree is often preferred. Education degrees are popular however, it is not unusual to find people who majored in international relations, political science, liberal studies, sociology, anthropology, a foreign language, psychology, or any degree from a wide variety of disciplines.


Examples of where international educators work


Colleges, Universities,

and 2 year institutions:

Work in an international student office, education abroad office, or foreign language and TESL department. There are many specializations within each office /department such as advisers, teachers, specialists, and counselors.

ESL Programs:

Teach English as a second language within or outside of the United States .

Education Abroad Program Providers:

Coordinate and oversee various programs around the world. Different program providers offer different types of opportunities including studying, volunteering, working, or teaching abroad.

Law Firms:

Practice law specializing in immigration or other related issues.


Education Associations:

Work to aid international educators by providing networking opportunities, publications, and advocacy support to help promote international education.

Accreditation Agencies:

Perform credential evaluations for students planning to study in the United States.

Local Community International Centers:

Provide international student/community outreach programs including: implementing international programs, finding homestay opportunities for international students, and/or developing and coordinating community service projects. For a listing of activities in your area, please visit

U. S. Government:

Work in any of a variety of international careers with the Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Congress, or Foreign Service.

**Adapted from the NAFSA website

Take some time to familiarize yourself with NAFSA. NAFSA (Association of International Educators) is a professional organization for international educators. They host professional conferences, publish respected resources and have a very helpful website. Click here to link directly to their page about international education careers.


Listed below are some suggestions to help you prepare for a job in international education


"I Want YOUR Job!" - or - "How to Find a Job in Study Abroad?"

Compiled by: Kathleen Barnebey, former NW Field Director, Institute for Study Abroad at Butler University


First things first

  • Study abroad! More than once, in different countries, if possible.

  • Learn a second (or third) language.

  • Work as an international ambassador, work study student or intern in your school's study abroad or international programs office.


A BIG plus and strong recommendation

Get your master's degree (optimally in international studies/relations or student/personnel administration, but those two little letters after your name are really all that counts). If possible, integrate an internship with the international programs office into your master's program.


Recommended software skills:

  • Learn all the Microsoft Office programs (especially PowerPoint).

  • Learn to do simple design and layout in a desktop publishing program.

  • Learn how to design and maintain a Web site.

  • Learn how to use a database program.


Reality check: if you want to work in study abroad (besides having done all of the above), you need to:

  • Be flexible about what part of the country you're willing to work in.

  • Start at the bottom.

  • Not have dreams of becoming rich.

  • Be proactive and send in your résumé to organizations you think you'd like to work for (do your research first!) even if they haven't posted a job - there's lots of turnover in the field


If you want to become a "Road Warrior" (e.g., traveling recruiter), optimally, you need to:

  • Love airports and being in airplanes.

  • Like to drive.

  • Like spending time alone.

  • Love staying in hotels.

  • Preferably, be single and not be in a committed relationship.

  • Not be a pet owner.

  • Not have a garden or houseplants (unless someone else can take care of them for you).


What other types of jobs are available in study abroad? Here are just a few examples:

  • Program coordinator/adviser/director

  • Overseas resident director

  • Webmaster

  • Database manager

  • Marketing or external relations manager/director

  • Academic director

  • Credit transfer evaluator

  • Budget manager/director


In many smaller study abroad offices, one person is often responsible for ALL of the above!


International Education Networking and Job Search Tips


Page last modified March 10, 2014