TEFL: DO YOU NEED A DEGREE?

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Possibly the most asked question in TEFL – besides, of course, “Where can I earn the most money?” – is “do I need a degree to do TEFL?”  For both questions, actually, the answer is the same: It depends. The ideal scenario is that you are a native English-speaker, have a degree, have a TEFL and have teaching experience, but of course there are few people who satisfy all these criteria. The reality is the fact that there are so many TEFL opportunities that employers are willing to consider other factors when looking for a teacher.

In TEFL, it’s common for job postings to state that they require a TEFL certificate as well as a Bachelor’s degree. It doesn’t what the degree is, as long as you have a degree. There doesn’t seem to be one particular reason for this but because of the nature of TEFL courses, it can be one way of employers making sure you have some sort of higher education and not just a 20-hour TEFL course. It is a bit of an odd standard, though, to expect that a person with a degree in Archeology will have the same teaching skills as an IT graduate and for this reason the degree requirement is quite flexible.

Instead, employers look at your English skills and whether or not you have a TEFL qualification. If you have good English skills and have done a TEFL course, you have as good a chance as anyone to get a TEFL job. The thing is, your application and cover letter will go a long way to show employers what your language capabilities are and during the interview stage, there is a chance for you to prove your TEFL skills too.

Let’s not forget the effect of personality on job applications. If you are enthusiastic, well-presented and determined, the employer will be able to appreciate you as a valued member of their staff. Being a TEFL teacher requires you to be flexible, easy-going and willing, so if you are able to present yourself in this way, employers will be falling over themselves to hire you. Essentially, all you need if the first job. Once you have experience, other employers are more likely to hire you because you have proven yourself capable of being a TEFL teacher.

However, we must warn you that there are certain countries that require a degree in order to grant a working visa. If this is the case, it will not be possible for you to find a job there but these countries are in the minority.

Bottom line, there is more to TEFL than a degree, so if you don’t have one, don’t panic. Emphasise the other characteristics and skills that you have that will make you a good TEFL teacher, and you’ll find yourself a job.

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