Published 16th October 2019

If you’re interested in teaching English abroad you probably know that many TEFL jobs prefer their candidates to have two things: a TEFL certificate from a recognised TEFL provider and a Bachelor’s degree. However, the key word here is prefer. While a TEFL certificate is a non-negotiable, a degree is not essential to getting a TEFL job.  Yes, you heard right: you DO NOT need a degree to teach English as a Foreign Language. It is a nice-to-have but not a must-have. So, what are your TEFL options without a degree?

Private tutoring

The most obvious option is to be a private tutor. Teaching 1-on-1 means that your students can decide if they are happy to have you as their teacher or not. Usually the fact that you don’t have a degree won’t be an issue at all. After all, having a degree does not necessarily relate to being a good teacher. What will be important to your students is that you can speak English fluently and that you have a TEFL certificate. Teaching experience would be an added bonus.

Teaching in Mexico, Cambodia or Turkey

Believe it or not there are a number of countries which don’t require you to have a degree to teach. The requirement for a degree is more often than not a government stipulation for a working visa, but there are a few countries which don’t have this requirement. Jobs in many countries in Latin and South America are available to teachers without a degree, as well as Cambodia and Turkey in Asia, and Spain in Europe.

Volunteer teaching

If money is not an issue for you and you’re more interested in the experience of teaching English than the financial gain, then you could look into volunteer teaching. Volunteer teaching positions are not fussy about the qualifications of their teachers because, well, they’re volunteer positions. While you may not get paid, you will probably get food and board or a stipend to live off, not to mention the experience. 

A TEFL internship

If you have just qualified as a TEFL teacher, an internship is a great idea for you. Doing an internship will give you the experience of living abroad and teaching English as a Foreign Language, without the hassle of finding a job and organizing a work visa. For this reason, TEFL internships don’t require you to have a degree.

Teaching English online

Teaching English online is a booming business at the moment. There are loads of companies you can work for or you could work for yourself. Obviously working for yourself means you don’t need to worry about a degree, and while some online companies do require a degree there are quite a few that don’t.

Though there are more jobs on offer to you if you have a TEFL certificate and a degree, there are still loads of options available if you don’t. The key to finding a job teaching English as a Foreign Language abroad if you don’t have a degree is to make sure you have a 120-hour TEFL course from a recognised TEFL provider. If you can, get some experience under your belt. Then you will need to decide which avenue you want to follow in terms of teaching. 

If you are dead-set on teaching English abroad in a school or language school or university, don’t despair, your TEFL options without a degree are wider than you think. If you don’t have a degree you just need to be a bit pickier when choosing your destination and it may take a bit longer to find a job. But don’t give up hope, because your dream TEFL job is out there waiting for you!

  1. I would like to teach English online, however I don’t have a degree or matric but I’m very fluent in English and would appreciate this opportunity. I was just hoping to find out if I can qualify

    1. Hello Nomfundo, we have sent you an email with our course information and a prospectus. Along with this we have included information about teaching online. 🙂

  2. Hi
    My education goes as far as a IGCSE certificate. I have some experience in tertiary but it’s not completed. what are my options?

    1. Hello Sedi, it really depends on what you want to do with the qualification, but there are plenty of options to teach abroad without a degree. We have sent you an email with our course information and a prospectus. 🙂

      1. Hi

        I have seen some TEFL courses on sale all around, so how do I get a hold of the right course to do?

        Is there a difference between the offers on the TEFL Academy as opposed to the other sites?

        1. Hello Busi, we offer a 168 hour, level 5, TEFL Course, which will qualify you to teach English as a foreign language in most countries around the world. We’re the world’s only TEFL course provider that has received official recognition from government regulated awarding bodies both in the US and the UK. Our course has been approved by the DEAC, a U.S. Department of Education National Accreditor. Our course is internationally recognised, regulated by Ofqual, a UK government department and awarded by Qualifi, a UK government recognized awarding body. You can find more information via the following link:

          Potential TEFL course students should remember that their prospective employers are likely to be based outside of your home country. This means that accreditation bodies based solely in your home country may not be recognised by employers abroad. This is why The TEFL Academy has chosen Qualifi, as they offer international accreditation for training course providers. You can find out more about Qualifi on their website:

          The Distance Education Accrediting Commission was founded in 1926 and is a U.S. Department of Education National Accreditor. DEAC’s goal is to ensure a high standard of educational quality in the distance education institutions it approves by requiring compliance with its published standards, policies and procedures. Our Level 5 TEFL Course is DEAC-approved as meeting the criteria for Approved Quality Curriculum (AQC) status. You can find out more about the DEAC on their website:

          A regulated qualification means that it is officially recognised by government and sits on the Ofqual Register of Regulated Qualifications. You can view our qualification on the Ofqual register here: 🙂

      2. Hi, I am interested in online teaching as well as teaching abroad. I will have my degree at the of 2020. Could you send me some information if possible please.🙂

  3. Good evening,

    I would like to find out where i can search for prospective jobs. I have registered on a few sites and based on the information i have recieved it is acceptable to just have tefl without a degree but when looking at Visa requirements for countries other than asia t is really challenging to find work. I have been advised to look into the internship which you need to pay for and they offer the TEFL course which doesn’t make sense if i already have it. Your assistance would be highly appreciated.

    1. Hello Michelle, there are many opportunities without a degree. You will be slightly more limited in the choice of countries that you can teach in, but it most certainly still possible. We have a full list of countries on our website at the following link: We have also sent you an email about teaching without a degree. 🙂

  4. Good evening.
    I have a Graphic Design Diploma -First Class.
    It is SAQA regulated.
    I would like to to do a paid internship or teach full time.
    Thank you.

    1. Hello Vejeand, we do not offer any internships in Graphic Design, only teaching English. I would recommend that you search through Google, which should yield some results for you. 🙂

    1. Hello Nicholas, we have sent you an email with information about online tutoring and a list of jobs boards which you can use in your search. 🙂

    1. Hello Ruashana, You can apply for any of the internships advertised on our website once you meet all of the criteria: You can get in direct contact with the internships coordinator once you click the apply now button. They will then be able to answer any further questions that you may have. We have also sent you an email with our course information. 🙂

  5. Hi there .I would love to teach English abroad but i am Zimbanwean.i do not have a degree but i speak fluent English and i have my high school certificates .I ddnt further my studies into tertiary due to so financial hiccups on the way.I work as an au pair in South Africa my duties include helping the kids with their homework and entertaining them with educational activities.My question would be would I be eligible?

    1. Hello Constance, There are very few requirements to do the TEFL course with us. You only need to: be over the age of 16, have a minimum C1 level of English (advanced), have access to a computer and the internet
      and have basic computer skills. If you fit all of these requirements then you will be able to enrol for our course online or over the phone. I would recommend that you also do some research on where you would like to teach upon course completion as the requirements can vary from country to country. You may find our World TEFL Factbook helpful, it is available for download at the following link: 🙂

    1. Hello Sheriah, I will be able to provide limited assistance with your job search unless you did your TEFL course with us. We have a jobs board on our website where you can search for jobs worldwide. You can access the jobs board on our website through the following link: I would also recommend searching through Google for other ESL job sites. We do have a range of internship and volunteer programs that you can apply for though our website at the following links: and I hope you find this helpful and I wish you all the best with your search. 🙂

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