Can I Teach English Abroad Without A Degree?
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Where can I earn the most money?
How long must my TEFL course be?
These are two very common questions we at The TEFL Academy are asked. But by far the question we get asked the most is
Can I teach English abroad without a degree?
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: it’s possible to get English teaching jobs abroad without a degree.
A degree is a nice-to-have but not a must-have. So, can I teach English abroad without a degree?
The answer, in a very small nutshell, is yes.
Well, yes but…
There are a number of countries which are ready to welcome you with open arms without a degree. On the flip side, there are a few countries where you can’t teach English abroad without a degree.
But can I teach English abroad without an English degree?
Absolutely. Your degree does not have to be in English Literature or Education or Teaching to qualify as a degree. It simply needs to be a 4-year degree or the equivalent.
The reason for this is that some countries require a 4-year Bachelor’s degree to qualify for a working visa. The TEFL industry is no different to other industries. In these countries, no matter what line of work you are in you 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! Move swiftly along. 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 abroad without a degree, you may need to look a bit more carefully than a graduate.
Where can I teach English abroad without a degree?
In which countries can you teach English abroad without a degree? There are too many countries to list! But let’s 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.
For a full list of English teaching jobs abroad without a degree you can look at our handy guide.
How to teach English abroad without a degree
The question is, what kinds of teaching jobs can I get without a degree?
Teaching 1-on-1 means that your students choose you.
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 is important to your students is that you can speak English fluently and that you have a TEFL certificate. Teaching experience is an added bonus.
If money is not an issue for you and you’re more interested in the experience of teaching English than the financial gain, look into volunteer teaching. Volunteer teaching positions are not fussy about the qualifications of their teachers because, well, they’re volunteer positions. You may not get paid, but you’ll get food and board or a stipend to live off, not to mention the experience – teaching and cultural.
A TEFL internship
If you have just qualified as a TEFL teacher, an internship is a great idea for you. Doing an internship gives 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, many TEFL internships don’t require you to have a degree.
Teaching English online
Teaching English online is a booming business at the moment. You have two options:
- working for a company, or
- working for yourself.
Some online companies do require a degree but there are quite a few that don’t, and working for yourself means you don’t need to worry about a degree.
Read more: 11 Best Places to Teach English Online
Can I teach English abroad without a TEFL certificate?
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, 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.
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. There is no way around it. Save everyone’s time by only applying for those jobs which don’t ask for a degree.
Don’t be fooled by companies or agents that promise you a working visa when you know a degree is required for that country.
Read more: TEFL Scams and How to Avoid Them
Upgrade your CV
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 look 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, volunteering, or teaching 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 still give you that TEFL experience.
Read more: 13 Different Jobs for TEFL Teachers
In conclusion: No degree is no problem! Go forth and teach!
P.S. The answers to the first two questions are it depends and at least 120 hours.
The TEFL Academy was the world’s first TEFL course provider to receive official recognition from government regulated awarding bodies in both the USA and UK. This means when you graduate you’ll hold a globally recognised Level 3 (120hr) Certificate or Level 5 (168hr) Diploma, meaning you can find work anywhere and apply for jobs immediately.