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Unrelated Bachelor of Arts

 
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1st Sgt Welsh



Joined: 13 Dec 2010
Posts: 493
Location: Saigon, Vietnam

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:21 am    Post subject: Unrelated Bachelor of Arts Reply with quote

Hi Guys,

I'm interested in possibly teaching in Oman (Muscat would be great but I understand that getting positions there are fairly competitive. Salalah seems like a really good option though). I'd like to teach at a college or a university. I've read quite a number of the threads on this board and have looked at a few job advertisements. I have almost three years TEFL experience (teaching adults in Vietnam), a CELTA and a BA (Hons).

Unfortunately my BA majors were in History and Asian Studies and the advertisements I've read regarding BAs have nominated English majors or "related fields". I've tried to search on Dave's but the search engine seems a bit temperamental. Anyway I'm just wondering if, given my circumstances, Oman is an option for me at this time and if you have any thoughts it would be wonderful to hear from you Smile. Many thanks.
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madrileno



Joined: 19 Aug 2010
Posts: 133
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your only options are positions with recruiters. With an unrelated BA you can rule out all Ministry of Education positions. Even if you get an offer from a recruiter, it may be difficult to get approval from the Ministry of Manpower, as I've heard that more and more, the Ministry is not granting approval to applicants with unrelated degrees.

In this part of the world, you'll never know though until you're in the midst of the application process. You might luck out and get hired by a recruiter with enough wasta to get your app processed and approved by the MoM in Muscat.

As a newbie to the gulf, you'll be VERY lucky to land anything in Muscat, and with only BA you'll be on the VERY bottom the payscale. Muscat is expensive if you're making less than RO 1000/mo, which is what you'd be making.

If you're really set on coming to Oman, I'd recommend instead applying to a recruiting position in the one of smaller towns/cities (Nizwa, Ibri, Ibra, Sohar, Sur, etc) It will serve to get your foot in the door here, and then you could build up experience in the gulf, maybe get an online MA, and make the move to Muscat later.

Good luck.
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1st Sgt Welsh



Joined: 13 Dec 2010
Posts: 493
Location: Saigon, Vietnam

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so much for the reply madrileno. That's pretty much what I expected regarding Muscat but it's a shame that Salalah might not be an option (at least not to begin with). By the way, I know that there is a lot of recruiting going on now for September, which is too soon for me, but I've heard that there also quite a few jobs usually starting in February. Can anyone please confirm? Many thanks.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15612
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most hiring is done for this coming semester and teachers are already arriving at the more organized places.

There may be some limited hiring for no-shows, and the next push is for second semester which starts around January.

You might try applying to the University of Nizwa (direct hire - no recruiters). If your experience is in something other than conversation classes, they may be able to get around the BA question. Do a search for them (choose "search all terms") and you see that, like most of these Oman colleges, they have issues. You need to be able to deal with ambiguities and management issues, but the students are OK, if not academically brilliant. Laughing It is a foot in the door.

VS
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readytotravel



Joined: 16 Nov 2008
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was told by HR in Nizwa that recent Omani law dictates the policy concerning unrelated BAs, and that this has proved problematic for them but there was no getting around it.
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FarGone



Joined: 02 Nov 2011
Posts: 97

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

madrileno wrote:
Your only options are positions with recruiters. With an unrelated BA you can rule out all Ministry of Education positions. Even if you get an offer from a recruiter, it may be difficult to get approval from the Ministry of Manpower, as I've heard that more and more, the Ministry is not granting approval to applicants with unrelated degrees.


Hey, nowl!

I disagree with a point in yer note: I have a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice (tho a Master's degree in Professional Writing), and I was "approved" (albeit, through a "recruiter"; residency stamp affixed to mine (then)-passport.

Just my $.02

(Send e- Smile
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usa_in_gulf



Joined: 10 Aug 2009
Posts: 133
Location: Gulf

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Effective last academic year, all recruiters for the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) must receive approval on CVs prior to submitting the candidate to the various colleges for selection/interview, etc. In order to obtain MOM approval, candidates must have a related degree. If a person has a graduate degree that is related..then you may be approved.

Overwhelmingly, for the past two academic years, Salalah College of Technology has only been interviewing candidates with related graduate degrees. With very few cases, they have not short-listed, for an interview, anyone with just a BA.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 2991
Location: Mesopotamia

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FarGone wrote:
madrileno wrote:
Your only options are positions with recruiters. With an unrelated BA you can rule out all Ministry of Education positions. Even if you get an offer from a recruiter, it may be difficult to get approval from the Ministry of Manpower, as I've heard that more and more, the Ministry is not granting approval to applicants with unrelated degrees.

Hey, nowl!

I disagree with a point in yer note: I have a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice (tho a Master's degree in Professional Writing), and I was "approved" (albeit, through a "recruiter"; residency stamp affixed to mine (then)-passport.

FarGone, it's obvious you were approved based on your relevant masters degree and not for your BS (no pun intended). Smile
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1st Sgt Welsh



Joined: 13 Dec 2010
Posts: 493
Location: Saigon, Vietnam

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so much everyone for the great responses Smile.

veiledsentiments wrote:

There may be some limited hiring for no-shows, and the next push is for second semester which starts around January.

You might try applying to the University of Nizwa (direct hire - no recruiters). If your experience is in something other than conversation classes, they may be able to get around the BA question. Do a search for them (choose "search all terms") and you see that, like most of these Oman colleges, they have issues. You need to be able to deal with ambiguities and management issues, but the students are OK, if not academically brilliant. Laughing It is a foot in the door.


Thanks veiledsentiments. I've got experience teaching all skills and not just speaking so I'll check out the University of Nizwa and take it from there.

In regards to the "foot in the door", is it possible that the unrelated BA will only be an issue for getting my first contract?

What I mean to say is that the impression I'm getting is that the related degree seems to be more a governmental requirement than an institutional one. Nothing too surprising there. Assuming I get a job and the visa gets approved etc then will renewing the visa after a year or whatever just be a formality? If the visa 'belongs' to the person [and not the recruiter/employer] and it's not difficult to renew, I don't know that other more desirable schools in more desirable locations will be that bothered about the unrelated degree. In other words, they only care about it because getting a visa for a new arrival without a related degree is a hassle. If that's the case then I can justify taking a 'so-so' job if it means I can get a better one done the road. However, I might just be talking through my hat on that one and I'd be interested in hearing other people's thoughts.

In regards to further education, I'm already doing a PhD in History, but I've experienced a lot of problems with my research (which I won't bore you with) so starting something new isn't really an option at this stage.

Thanks again to everyone and if you have any more thoughts it would be wonderful to hear from you Smile.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 2991
Location: Mesopotamia

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1st Sgt Welsh wrote:
In regards to the "foot in the door", is it possible that the unrelated BA will only be an issue for getting my first contract?

What I mean to say is that the impression I'm getting is that the related degree seems to be more a governmental requirement than an institutional one. Nothing too surprising there. Assuming I get a job and the visa gets approved etc then will renewing the visa after a year or whatever just be a formality? If the visa 'belongs' to the person [and not the recruiter/employer] and it's not difficult to renew, I don't know that other more desirable schools in more desirable locations will be that bothered about the unrelated degree. In other words, they only care about it because getting a visa for a new arrival without a related degree is a hassle. If that's the case then I can justify taking a 'so-so' job if it means I can get a better one done the road. However, I might just be talking through my hat on that one and I'd be interested in hearing other people's thoughts.

In regards to further education, I'm already doing a PhD in History, but I've experienced a lot of problems with my research (which I won't bore you with) so starting something new isn't really an option at this stage.

Your unrelated BA could get you a foot in the door, but who's to say if your contract, rather than your visa, wouldn't be renewed. In other words, at some point, the institution may decide to hire only those with related BA or MA degrees. This is becoming the situation for some Saudi university TEFL jobs (direct hire); employers aren't giving BA and non-related MA holders a second look.

Your BA is in History and you mentioned you're a PhD candidate in the same field of study. Since it's not relevant to TEFL, what do you eventually hope to be doing with your doctorate?
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15612
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1st Sgt Welsh wrote:
In regards to the "foot in the door", is it possible that the unrelated BA will only be an issue for getting my first contract?

What I mean to say is that the impression I'm getting is that the related degree seems to be more a governmental requirement than an institutional one. Nothing too surprising there. Assuming I get a job and the visa gets approved etc then will renewing the visa after a year or whatever just be a formality? If the visa 'belongs' to the person [and not the recruiter/employer] and it's not difficult to renew, I don't know that other more desirable schools in more desirable locations will be that bothered about the unrelated degree.

I'm not quite sure what you mean here. I never thought of the visa "belonging" to someone. I would say that it belongs to some combination of your employer and the Oman government. It is in your passport, but it can be withdrawn at any time by either the employer or the Ministry. It can't be transferred to another employer. (new employer = new visa)

Yes, the Ministry can change the rules at any time. What has happened is that in the past the recruiters were hiring based on breathing and ability to find the airport... leading to problems with standards and teacher connections to reality... so, the Ministry of Labor cracked down on credentials. Normally if the rules change, a contract is not renewed. In the Gulf, changing jobs within a country can be quite problematic. Employers can make all kinds of problems if they want to...

VS
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1st Sgt Welsh



Joined: 13 Dec 2010
Posts: 493
Location: Saigon, Vietnam

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:

Your BA is in History and you mentioned you're a PhD candidate in the same field of study. Since it's not relevant to TEFL, what do you eventually hope to be doing with your doctorate?


Thanks nomad soul. The plan was to hopefully become an academic in my chosen field. Maybe that will still happen but I suspect I'm starting to get a bit long in the tooth for that Embarassed. Knowing what I know now, I probably wouldn't have started the doctorate in the first place [and I certainly would have chosen another field for my undergraduate] but live and learn. Besides, I've devoted too much time, money and energy to give up on it so I'll keep plodding along. Not an ideal situation I know, but that's the lay of the land. If entering academia isn't practical, after finishing the doctorate, I was thinking of getting a Graduate Diploma of Education and then working for international schools.

veiledsentiments wrote:

I'm not quite sure what you mean here. I never thought of the visa "belonging" to someone. I would say that it belongs to some combination of your employer and the Oman government. It is in your passport, but it can be withdrawn at any time by either the employer or the Ministry. It can't be transferred to another employer. (new employer = new visa)

Yes, the Ministry can change the rules at any time. What has happened is that in the past the recruiters were hiring based on breathing and ability to find the airport... leading to problems with standards and teacher connections to reality... so, the Ministry of Labor cracked down on credentials. Normally if the rules change, a contract is not renewed. In the Gulf, changing jobs within a country can be quite problematic. Employers can make all kinds of problems if they want to...


Sorry if I didn't express myself better veiledsentiments and thanks for the reply. I think I'm getting the approval of the various ministries mixed up with permits Embarassed.

Where I was coming from was that, in Vietnam at least, once you get a work permit then you 'own' it in the sense that the screening process has already been done and your qualifications have been deemed suitable to work in the country. If you stay in the same field [and don't leave Vietnam whilst your permit is still valid] and you simply just change employers, you don't have to go through the whole rigmarole again of getting your degrees notarized, police checks, health checks etc. Your sponsorship changes and you will be given a new visa, but that's pretty much it and your legal status isn't altered. You are OK to work anywhere from a prestigious foreign university in Hanoi or Saigon to the lowest-common-denominator, dodgiest language mill in the sticks and everything in between.

Anyway that's just the way things are here, but it seems Oman might be a completely different story.

I was thinking that maybe if I did a year in a not-so desirable location with a not-so desirable employer in Oman, I could possibly move on to something better. After all, (so went the theory), my first employers would possibly make an effort to get my qualifications deemed suitable and, once this judgement was made, (assuming the rules hadn't changed), that I would OK to work in a lot of other places. The decision that I was suitable, as far as the state was concerned, wouldn't be altered. Anyway, like I said, that was the theory.

Please don't misunderstand me. Oman doesn't owe me a thing and I don't want to sound like I'm entitled to anything. However, I've heard really good things about Oman and it sounds like a really under-rated TEFL location and one I'd like to try. I know my educational background is not ideal and thanks again for all the helpful insights Smile.
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madrileno



Joined: 19 Aug 2010
Posts: 133
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
Your unrelated BA could get you a foot in the door, but who's to say if your contract, rather than your visa, wouldn't be renewed. In other words, at some point, the institution may decide to hire only those with related BA or MA degrees. This is becoming the situation for some Saudi university TEFL jobs (direct hire); employers aren't giving BA and non-related MA holders a second look.


It's becoming the same case in Oman. Many unis that used to hire directly are now only accepting applicants with related degrees. Where applicants with unrelated degrees were hired just two years ago, now many are being let go when their visas/contracts expire instead of being recontracted.
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