FAQ For Australians Teaching In California

Are you an Australian teacher looking to start teaching in California?

This sunny state is a popular place to be, but there are rules and regulations to be aware of when you start teaching in a new country.

Below you’ll find the answers to common questions around topics such as visas, finance, and teaching opportunities with Scoot.

Work visa

Visa type and eligibility

Scoot sponsors teachers to receive the E3 visa, which provides work authorization in the United States when working for Scoot Education. The E3 visa is valid for two years but there is no limit on visa renewals.

To be eligible, you must have a job offer from Scoot and a university degree (bachelors or higher) in the field of education.

Is there an age restriction:

No

Are spouses and dependents eligible:

Spouses (not domestic partners) and dependents (under the age of 21) are eligible for an E3-D visa which provides work authorization but without any employer restriction. Spouse and dependent visas are tied to the primary visa holder’s status.

Spouses/dependents can apply for work authorization after arriving in the United States and approval takes three to four months. They cannot legally work before receiving work authorization.

Terms of visa:

Primary visa holders must only earn income from Scoot Education. 

Who sponsors the visa:

Scoot sponsors the visa and manages the application process via an immigration attorney.

Permanent job offers:

To accept a permanent job offer at a Los Angeles school, the E3 visa will need to be transferred from Scoot to the hiring school. This is a straightforward process but does require the visa holder to leave the United States for approximately one week.

Employment with Scoot:

Employment type:

Australian teachers are classified as hourly, at-will, overtime-eligible employees.

Work regularity:

Scoot guarantees work on every school day, according to the school calendars of our client schools. If a teacher does not work on a school day, pay will still be provided. Teachers are not paid by Scoot on public holidays or during school holidays.

Job title:

Australian teachers are classified as Substitute Teachers, which is America’s nomenclature for Casual Relief Teachers.

Subjects in high demand

Due to school demand for full-time teachers in certain subject areas, Scoot prioritizes teachers with the following qualifications to come and teach in California:

  • Math
  • Science
  • Special Education
  • Elementary

We also consider educators qualified in the following subject areas:

  • English
  • Humanities/ Social Sciences
  • Physical Education

Unfortunately, we are unable to consider other subject areas outside of this list in California. However, as we expand to new states, we anticipate that we will be able to consider more subjects.

Teaching in California

School types and locations:

Scoot currently works with private/independent schools, charter schools, and public schools.

Scoot’s client schools are spread throughout Los Angeles and Orange County but a concentration of schools exists in the central Los Angeles area. Central LA and Bel Air are also where most private schools are located.

We also work with schools in NorCal, such as Sacramento.

Work eligibility:

Teachers can work in a private/independent school without a California teaching credential (i.e., VIT) but must have a California teaching permit or credential to work in a charter school.

Prior to employment by Scoot, an Australian criminal background check must be provided by the applicant.

Credential requirement:

Scoot requires all Australian teachers to be eligible, and apply for, a California teaching credential.

Credential eligibility (grades kindergarten through 12):

To be eligible for a California teaching credential, the applicant must have:

  • Foreign transcript evaluation from either of the below companies showing completion of a baccalaureate or higher degree from a college or university that has been deemed to be equivalent to a regionally-accredited institution in the United States
    • https://www.ierf.org/
    • https://www.wes.org/
    • Cost: Approx. $500 AUD
    • Timeline: Two to three weeks
    • The evaluation must show completion of a professional preparation program in elementary or secondary education, including student teaching, taken at a college or university that has been deemed to be equivalent to a regionally-accredited institution in the United States
      • Note that Special Education credentials have some additional requirements
  • Applicants must have an overall grade point average of “C” or better on a five-point scale in all course work offered toward fulfillment of credential requirements. Continuing education units (CEU’s) and professional development units are not acceptable to fulfill credential requirements
  • Completed CTC form 41-4 applying for a preliminary multiple subject credential
  • Completed live scan using form 41-LS (to be done in the US)
  • Application processing fee ($100) paid by cheque
  • Must have or be eligible for VIT or equivalent in Australia (provisional or full)
  • A photocopy of all documents must be submitted Scoot

School schedules:

All schools in Los Angeles have slightly different calendars/schedules but average between 170 to 180 school days per year between August/September and June. 

In addition to the two and a half month summer break, schools also commonly take the following holidays:

  • Federal/bank holidays
  • A two week winter (Christmas/New Year) break
  • A one to two week spring break during March or April
  • The week of Thanksgiving

Finances

Income:

Australian substitute teachers will earn a gross income of between $156 and $195 USD per working day depending on which school they’re teaching at and the length of workday. Scoot pays weekly, via direct deposit every Friday.

Holiday pay:

Substitute teachers do not receive holiday pay or paid time off/leave.

Tax:

A combined state and federal tax rate of 20% to 25% should be budgeted for.

Cost of living:

Los Angeles has a lower cost of living than Melbourne or Sydney but is one of America’s more expensive cities to live in. Common expense ranges are (all USD):

  • Accomodation: Single person apartment or share apartment: $1,000 to $1,500 per month
  • Transportation: Metro tickets are $1.75 per trip, $7.00 per day, $25 per week or $100 per month. Uber/Lyfts are inexpensive and readily available but a car may be necessary if teaching in different locations
  • Health insurance: Partially provided by Scoot, expect to pay $75 to $125 per month
  • Food/groceries: In general, groceries are less expensive than in Australia

Upon arrival:

Due to not having a social security number upon arrival in the States, Scoot is not able to pay teachers for approximately two weeks. Teachers must arrive in America with enough cash to cover: 

  • Accomodation rent
  • Rental bond
  • At least a month’s living expenses

Remember to consider the AUD to USD exchange rate.

It is critical that Australian teachers apply for a social security number (SSN) on the day they arrive in the United States via the Social Security Administration. After receiving an SSN, bank accounts can be opened and payments received.

Who pays for what:

ExpenseAmountScoot paysTeacher pays
Flights to the US and other relocation expensesx
E3 visa company application and attorney feesx
E3 visa applicant fee$400 (AUD)x
Spouse/dependent work authorization applications and attorney feesx
2x live scan criminal background checks (one for Scoot, one for CTC)$144 (USD)x (reimbursement)
Australian criminal background checkx
Health insurance$75-125/month (USD)75%25%
Foreign transcript evaluation$500 (AUD)x
California credential application$100 (USD)x
Living expenses in Los Angelesx

Timeline

When to arrive:

Australian teachers must arrive during or before August of each year as that’s the start of the school year. Teachers can work for Scoot if arriving before August but are unlikely to earn an income during the summer break.

Length of commitment:

Scoot expects Australian teachers to commit to working in Los Angeles for at least one school year; from August to June.

Length of time to receive visa:

The entire E3 visa application and issuance process take between two and three months.

Length of time to receive California credential:

Being issued a California credential can take four to five months depending on the credential type. Australian teachers must apply for a California credential at least four months before arriving in the United States or starting work for Scoot.

Transportation

Ease of getting around Los Angeles:

Los Angeles has a limited public transport network of trains and buses while Uber/Lyft is inexpensive. However, teachers are encouraged to purchase a car if they’ll be teaching at multiple school locations and plan to be in the United States for more than one year.

Experiences

Some things to consider:

  • Teachers in the US are not paid as well as Australian teachers 
  • You do not receive benefits such as paid holidays or sick leave 

Some of the benefits of living and working in LA

Scoot has worked with a number of Australian teachers, especially since our parent company, anzuk, also operates in Australia. Here are some benefits that our Australian educators shared with us about working with Scoot in Los Angeles:

  • You are guaranteed work every day 
  • Scoot only place me in schools that I felt comfortable in. I love how they always check in with me to see how I am going and to make sure that I am happy 
  • At the beginning, Scoot asked me what type of teaching experience I wanted. Whether I wanted to teach on a more casual or permanent basis. They really do their best to cater for your needs
  • Being a passionate educator, I really endeavour to create impact and make a difference in the lives of the students that I teach. I believe that I can make more of an impact when working with children that I know. Additionally, being a part of a school community and making meaningful connections is something I thrive on. Given this, I am very much looking for a more permanent teaching role in the US. However, I found that working as a substitute teacher on a more casual basis was a great starting point as it allowed me to experience working in a range of different schools and find a school that I am most suited to 
  • I have found that schools are so friendly and welcoming and they really love Australians
  • Working and living in a new and vibrant city is an absolute adventure! LA has so much to offer, there is so much to see and do. There is never a dull moment and I cannot wait to see where this new and exciting journey will take me next
  • For me, the benefit of living and working in the US outweigh the considerations. While I earn less, I am able to financially support myself and have enough money to enjoy the city. For me, the experience and adventure of living and working in an exciting city like LA is invaluable. 

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