Common Overseas Jobs for Americans

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated March 1, 2021 | Published February 25, 2020

Updated March 1, 2021

Published February 25, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're interested in becoming an expat, or a native-born citizen living overseas, you have plenty of job options to choose from. Some people work in different locations worldwide like a coffee shop or a library and can be alluded to as a digital nomad. However, you can decide to work and live in one city abroad to discover a new culture while working in a position aligned with your career path.

In this article, we will define what overseas jobs are for Americans, how to get overseas jobs, related overseas careers an American can pursue and common locations for overseas jobs.

Read more: Choosing a Career Path in 9 Steps

What are overseas jobs for Americans?

An overseas job for an American is when you decide to move away from the United States and live in a foreign country. You may be referred to as an American expat. You can either work for a U.S.-based company or you can work for a company located in the country you want to live in. You'll need to know the language of the country you're moving to and have a working knowledge of cultural nuances, so you can interact with your coworkers and locals effectively.

Read more: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

How to get overseas jobs

Here is a list of few steps to help you find a job outside of the United States:

  1. Narrow down a list of countries you're interested in working in.

  2. Learn the language aligned with the countries on your list.

  3. Research the open positions in those countries.

  4. Apply for a work visa and follow the steps of the country you get a job offer in.

1. Narrow down a list of countries you're interested in working in

Research is required during the process of looking for work overseas, so try to prioritize the top reasons for why you want to work overseas. If you're looking to work in a better climate, you can work in coastal countries like Costa Rica, Spain, Greece and Portugal. On the other hand, you can also choose to work in cold-weather countries such as Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Finland if that's your preference. You should also research the country's unemployment rate, political climate, crime rates and methods of transportation to see if you need a car or not when living there.

Nevertheless, you should also visit the countries you plan on visiting and speak with a real estate agent about the cost of living and the lifestyle of the area. You want to get a full preview of what it's like to live in a foreign country and understand the expectations while speaking with locals is the best way for you to do that without living there. Be mindful of your income and save up if you're planning on moving overseas in addition to seeing the salary requirements that can be comparable to U.S. salaries.

2. Learn the language aligned with the countries on your list

Language plays a significant role for most Americans when they travel or work overseas. If you feel more comfortable with not learning a new language, you can work in an English-speaking country like Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. You still need to be thoughtful of cultural differences in comparison to the United States when working there.

However, it's still important for you to learn another language, especially if you go to Europe, where you can expect your coworkers to be bilingual in some countries like Switzerland and Belgium. If you're a student, try to get involved in immersion programs that allow you to take courses or an internship while traveling through the country where the program is located. This option gives you a glimpse of what it's like to live outside of an English-speaking country.

3. Research the open positions in those countries

You should be researching for positions that match your education and the experience you've acquired. Be sure to factor in the employment levels of expats for each country on your list to determine the likelihood of getting a job during your search.

4. Apply for a work visa and follow the steps of the country you get a job offer in

Each country has its guidelines for international employees working in their country, and you'll need separate documentation for each country to be a resident. For example, some countries in Europe require you to get a residence permit through the embassy before working there, whereas others allow you to apply for a work permit once you arrive in the country. If you have any questions, you can also call a U.S. embassy, but international call rates may apply depending on the nation in which the embassy is located.

Read more: What Is Strategic Planning? Definition, Techniques and Examples

Overseas careers

Here is a list of an overseas career that you can consider:

1. Chef

National average salary: $30,100 per year

Primary duties: A chef manages the kitchen at a local restaurant, and they monitor all activities related to the preparation and presentation of food for patrons. They also have full control over meals listed on the menu in addition to the ingredients and the safety protocol for staff members working in the kitchen.

2. Oil and mineral extraction technician

National average salary: $32,320 per year

Primary duties: An oil and mineral extraction technician extracts these types of natural resources from the ground for use. They mainly work under the supervision of scientists and engineers to secure resources safely and they must apply applicable regulations as well.

3. Travel agent

National average salary: $43,244 per year

Primary Duties: A travel agent sells trips to individuals and families seeking to go on a vacation to an exotic destination. They quote the best prices that fit within their budget for lodging, transportation and entertainment where they'll reside. They normally send an itinerary once the trip is finalized.

4. Truck driver

National average salary: $54,800 per year

Primary duties: A truck driver transports products across state lines and makes sure to log what they're delivering and the time they've been on the road. They must drive the speed limit and arrive at retail and distribution centers during the day or the evening.

5. Nurse

National average salary: $57,900 per year

Primary duties: A nurse serves as the liaison between the patient and the doctor about symptoms they have, and they give treatments advised by the doctor to patients. They oversee aids that work alongside them to care for additional patient needs when they're requested.

6. Lawyer

National average salary: $73,604 per year

Primary duties: A lawyer represents their client in a civil or criminal case that either gets determined by a judge or a jury. They also consult their clients on the rights they have and options they can select from given the parameters of the case. They also work with paralegals to ensure compliance with administrative procedures instructed to them.

7. Researcher

National average salary: $78,536 per year

Primary duties: A researcher examines the information from a variety of sources, assembles it and presents it to their employer. Their employer can be in many industries, but the research gathered is imperative to the goals they're trying to reach. Research can be on trends from the stock market, the environment, consumer behavior, etc.

8. Consultant

National average salary: $88,743 per year

Primary duties: A consultant renders their advice to a business in need of solving a problem. A consultant usually has experience in a specialized field, so it's used to strategize the future of the company and the actions that they can take to remain profitable.

9. Software engineer

National average salary: $106,941 per year

Primary duties: Software engineers apply their knowledge of mathematics and computer science to create and improve new software. They may work on enterprise applications, operating systems and network control systems, which are all examples of software that can be used to help businesses scale their IT infrastructure.

10. Physician

National average salary: $202,445 per year

Primary duties: A physician is in charge of examining patients to see what kind of illness they have. They also run tests to find the right diagnosis and communicate treatment options to patients. They must make important decisions regarding preventive measures the patient should take in the future while ensuring the practice is being run successfully.

Common locations for overseas jobs

A few common locations for jobs overseas include:

  • Germany

  • United Kingdom

  • France

  • Italy

  • Spain

  • Costa Rica

  • Czech Republic

  • Norway

  • Sweden

  • Finland

  • Iceland

  • New Zealand

  • Taiwan

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