Published 9th July 2019

EFL Classroom studying

Where can I earn the most money? and How long must my TEFL course be? are two very common questions we at The TEFL Academy are asked by wannabe TEFL teachers, but by far the question we get asked the most is Can I teach English as a Foreign Language without a degree?

For all of you that were wondering this very question, the answer, in a very small nutshell, is yes. 

Well, yes but…

You’ll be happy to hear that there are a number of countries which are ready to welcome you with open arms whether you have a degree or not. However, as you have probably realized by now this is not the norm, so there are also a lot of countries which won’t offer you a job without a degree. 

Can I Teach English as a Foreign Language Without a Degree?
Learning in a classroom

The reason for this is not that the schools are being picky. Some countries require a 4-year Bachelor’s degree to qualify for a working visa. In this way, the TEFL industry is no different to other industries. In these countries, no matter what line of work you are in you will need a degree in order to be granted a working visa. 

When you come across those infuriating job ads which specify Degree required, don’t bang your keyboard in frustration, simply move swiftly along. Luckily there are more than enough countries in this world to satisfy every TEFL teacher’s job search. The key is to be selective about where you look.  

So while you can most certainly teach English as a Foreign Language without a degree, you may need to look a bit more carefully than a graduate. But don’t let this deter you from the TEFL life – there are loads of opportunities out there for you.

Where can I teach English as a Foreign Language without a degree?

There are too many countries to list but we’ll give you just a taste. 

Wish you could hang out in South East Asia with the thousands of other TEFLers over there? Head over to Cambodia, where you can teach to your heart’s content and enjoy this off-the-beaten-track country.

Daydreaming of chilling out in a hammock on a tropical beach on your weekends? Go to Mexico for some sun, sea, sand…and teaching.

Hankering after a hunk of red meat? Argentina is waiting for you with restaurants filled with some of the best steak in the world.

Wanting to take the path less travelled? Kazakhstan will prove to you that it’s more than Borat’s home country.

Those are just a few of the many countries that can be explored by TEFL teachers without a degree. For a full list you can look at our handy guide.

Having said all that, though, if you have no degree but want to get involved in the world of English language teaching, you need to get qualified with a TEFL certificate. If you have no degree and no TEFL certificate, there is no reason for you to even look at because nobody will offer you any sort of teaching job. And why should they? Would you hire a plumber who hasn’t done any training? Or a chef, taxi driver or personal trainer? Invest your time and money and do a TEFL course from a reputable company and you’ll be on your way.

But before you go, here are a few of our top tips for job searching if you don’t have a degree.

Be smart

Don’t bother applying for jobs that require a degree. Remember this is a government restriction and is not usually a stipulation by the school, so there is no way around it. Save everyone’s time by only applying for those jobs which don’t ask for a degree.

Beware scams

Don’t be fooled by companies or agents that promise you a working visa when you know a degree is required for that country. 

Upgrade your CV

Don’t forget to put any other further education or training on your CV. Did you teach soccer at summer camp? Tutor high school pupils? Au pair? All of those require skills which are similar to those you would use in the EFL classroom, so they would look good on your CV.

Don’t get frustrated

It might feel like you’re looking for a needle in a haystack, but don’t let that get you down. There is such a demand for TEFL teachers right now – you just need to make sure you are looking in the right place.

Think outside the box

There are many aspects to teaching English as a Foreign Language besides the formal classroom experience. Why not look at teaching online, volunteer, or teach at a summer camp? You could find your own private students and teach on Skype, or find a homestay programme which will offer you room and board in exchange for a few hours teaching a week, or be an activity leader in Italy for a short stint in the summer. None of these options require a degree and will still give you that TEFL experience.

In conclusion can i teach english as a foreign language without a degree? No degree equals No problem! Go forth and teach!

P.S. The answers to the first two questions are it depends and at least 120 hours. 

  1. I have recentlty completed both the 168 hour LEVEL 5 Certificate as well as the TFL Academy Business English Course. I am also retired from the corporate business enviroment and have a passion to teach Business English online from my home.
    I have applied to every online teaching applicant position and have either been told I do not fit their requirements or have had no acknowledgements from the recruiters. This has been through the TEFL portals.
    I was born in 1953 – is this the reason I have to date have not had much progress with my applications

    When applying for the TEFL courses no mention was made of any age restrictions.

    I would really appreciate your honest assessment and assistance.

    Best Regards
    John Allen
    U/NAME = john5996
    ID = SIDZA106012

    1. Hello John, I am sorry to hear that you are having difficulty finding work. We have sent you an email separately, where we can discuss your next steps. 🙂

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