Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to have teaching experience?
Although NICS prefers teachers who have classroom experience beyond student teaching, it is not required in every case. While most mission organizations require a teacher to have at least two years of experience NICS is generally willing to invest the time and effort to help its teachers get that experience. In return, the organization gets energetic teachers with a teachable spirit and a willingness to learn. Some of NICS’ schools are unable to accept first year teachers due to visa requirements. If information is desired regarding whether or not a specific country currently requires prior teaching experience, all questions should be addressed to [email protected]. Final decisions regarding staff placement are made by each school’s administrator.
What type of curriculum is used?
NICS uses a variety of American-based curricula. Each of the NICS schools has an administrator and curriculum committee that determines the best curriculum and resources for their school. Just like schools in the United States, the amount of resources depends on the size of the school. One curricula advantage that NICS has is that its teachers are able to teach for learning, not teach to a test.
What will my employment status be?
NICS staff members are employed by the school but staff members not identified as local hires or NICS Associates will also be sent as NICS Missionaries and will be required to meet those requirements before their contracts will be issued.
Will I be paid a salary?
It depends on the school and the location. NICS has three basic types of schools: Pioneer (Start up), Transitional (Becoming an International school) and International (Established). While each school has different positive aspects that make it unique, the Pioneer and Transitional may require the raising of some support and the International schools will provide a salary. The salary is one that will, for most schools, allow a single person to live comfortably in that country. “Comfortable” means that the single staff member should be able to cover all living expenses (Apartment, utilities, clothing, food and able to go out to eat a couple of times each week and still be able to save enough money to travel home for Christmas or travel during the summer break). Usually families will have to raise some support depending on the size of the family and the location chosen.
What training does NICS offer to new staff?
NICS requires its new missionary educators to attend an intense two-week training program called IMPACT (the acronym stands for International Ministry Preparation And Cross-Cultural Training). IMPACT takes place each year in late June/early July and is hosted near the NICS Home Office near Memphis, TN.
Do I have to speak the language of the country?
No. It is not necessary to know the language of the host country. In fact, most NICS teachers only know English when they arrive. Knowing the language of the host country helps in communicating in the local environment but the parents of NICS students place their children in NICS schools primarily because its schools are English speaking, American-styled schools. All NICS students speak English, although English may not be their native language. Those children who need help are placed in an ESL (English as a Second Language) class in addition to their regular studies.
How is housing handled for teachers?
Most NICS schools have apartments or houses located near the school that they rent on a continual basis. Administrators from the schools work with new staff to help them secure a place to live before they arrive. Married couples are given their own apartment, while singles normally share an apartment with another single or multiple single teachers but accommodations vary depending on the country. Some NICS schools provide housing for their teachers or provide a housing stipend to help with this expense.
Does NICS offer any Health Insurance?
Yes. NICS believes that health insurance is a necessity, so NICS provides complete world-wide health coverage to all of its fully-appointed missionary staff and their families. In most cases the schools pay for this cost. After a deductible is met, all staff members living outside of North America are covered at 100%. While they are in the United States and Canada, they are covered as high as 90% if using the preferred network. NOTE: individuals that are hired/classified as “Locally Hired Personnel” at each school are not offered the NICS missionary health insurance coverage.
What about my college loans?
Often the repayment of college loans may be deferred. Those seeking to determine whether this is the case for them should check with their lending institution to see if deferred payments are an option for their situation. Additionally, some NICS schools offer assistance with college loan repayment after an individual completes their initial contract and re-signs for another term. Generally speaking, applicants with a college loan repayment in excess of $200 per month should consider paying their debt down before attempting to serve overseas. Of course, each situation is different, and applicants are encouraged to discuss this with the school director during the interview process. Lastly, new hires may elect to use their school-paid salary to pay off college loan debt, and may raise financial support through NICS to cover living expenses while serving overseas.
Will NICS place anyone without Teacher Certification?
Because most NICS schools are accredited or are in the accreditation process, they must maintain a high ratio of certified teachers who are teaching in their area of certification. However, if a teacher has a Bachelors degree in a specialized field (Engineering, Nursing etc.) from an American university they may be able to get a temporary certificate and be placed in a school with a high certification ratio as long as they are working on classes that will lead to a more permanent certificate. This is handled on a case by case basis.
Will I need to raise financial support?
Many NICS positions are fully salaried. Which means that for a single person, for most schools, the school would pay a salary that would allow them to live comfortably in that country. “Comfortable” means able to cover all living expenses (Apartment, utilities, clothing, food and able to go out to eat a couple of times each week and still be able to save enough money to travel home for Christmas or travel during the summer break). Usually families will have to raise some support depending on the size of the family and the location chosen. Some schools pay only a partial salary and some pay no salary at all. This all gets a little confusing but it depends on the school and that school's location.
Missionaries who serve in NICS schools will be ministering to students from every major religion and many countries all over the world. Most of the students are there because their parents want them in an English speaking school and don't necessarily care that it is a Christian school. The benefits should be obvious. NICS has three basic types of schools:
Pioneer (Start Up)* - Missionaries who serve in these schools have to have a pioneering spirit and love the idea of being on the ground floor of a project. These schools generally start from the ground up and will struggle for a couple of years before they really take off. The research has already taken place to determine the need for an International school in the area but the real work has only just begun. Just like if a missionary wanted to go start a church in the jungle somewhere, most people who serve in a Pioneer school would have to raise their own financial support. These schools are the future of NICS. As the school grows the need for the staff member’s own financial support should decrease.
Transitional (Becoming an Established School)* - Missionaries who serve in these schools have to be flexible. Usually the school is undergoing some significant changes. Maybe it started as a Pioneer school and has grown past the start-up phase but is not yet established. Maybe this school was started by a different mission agency and was turned over to NICS to run. Maybe the dynamics of the school have changed and the school is adjusting to a new focus. Whatever the case these schools are not quite a Pioneer school and not yet completely established. Usually these schools pay a partial salary and try to move a little closer to paying a full salary each year.
Established - These schools are usually very stable and experience a steady growth. Usually these schools pay a full salary but this is still ministry work and depending on the situation, the salary may need to be supplemented with some financial support.
While each school has different positive aspects that make it unique, the Pioneer and Transitional schools may require the raising of some financial support and the Established schools will generally provide a salary.
If there are any other questions or information is desired regarding raising financial support there are representatives available to offer assistance in developing an understanding of and strategy for accomplishing the fundraising necessary. Each year NICS helps over 100 new missionaries and families go to the mission field and rarely does anyone not make it to the field because of a lack of funding.
* The Peggy Scott Foundation has provided assistance to multiple missionaries and families over the past few years to help supplement financial support for a limited number of recipients. If additional grant funding is provided, these funds will be distributed according to need to candidates required to raise support who are willing to go through the application process in order to be considered for assistance from this fund. Because the funds are limited and so many teachers are secured each year, there may not be funds available to assist everyone who applies. All inquiries regarding this source of funding should be directed to Tim Mudder at [email protected]. .
If I have to raise support, will NICS help handle the money?
Yes. NICS handles all receipting, tracking and acknowledging of donations for its missionaries from the time of their appointment throughout their entire time of service with NICS. A small administrative fee is deducted for expenses associated with this service. Due to NICS’ non-profit status, donations from US based donors that are funneled through NICS are tax deductible.
Is my transportation included?
NICS schools do not typically cover the expense of transportation, but through one-time financial gifts from the missionary staff member’s church, family and friends the costs of transportation may be greatly reduced or eliminated altogether. Some schools provide a travel stipend that helps to reduce or fully covers the airfare for the staff member.
Do the schools follow a calendar similar to the United States?
Yes. Most schools will normally will start in August and finish in May or June. The length of Christmas holidays and summer breaks and other holidays will vary.
How long does the hiring process take?
The applicant will normally receive word two to three weeks after NICS receives a completed application packet and references, depending on the time of the year. NICS will do everything possible to screen each application and arrive at a decision in a timely manner.
I have children. Can they attend the NICS School?
NICS believes that families add a wonderful dynamic to the staffs at schools around the network and also recognizes that the children of its staff deserve the best education possible. Most NICS schools are in a position to welcome families with children and those that do waive tuition costs for children of appointed missionary staff members. Some schools are unable to place staff members with children for various reasons. NOTE: the school may extend this tuition benefit to children of “Locally Hired Personnel”, but it is not required by the agency.
What is the usual length of a teacher’s contract with a NICS school?
Most schools and most positions will require an initial two-year minimum contract. Once the initial contract is completed, many schools will sign contracts with staff on a year-by-year basis. NOTE: on occasion, a director may allow an initial one year contract if there are special circumstances involved.
What makes a NICS school different from a national school or an “English Language Institute” overseas?
While there are many differences between the two types of schools, one of the main differences involves the program offered at a NICS school. While some national schools or English language institutes may have a strong focus on English-language learning or acquisition, a NICS school is an English-speaking school in totality. National schools may hire individuals without an education background who have an ESL or TESOL certificate, but NICS schools are seeking faculty members with education degrees and teacher certification (even to fill ESL positions within member schools).