Can I Teach English Abroad Without a Degree?
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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 teaching English as a foreign language, or TEFL, teachers, 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…
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, there are also a few countries where you can’t teach English abroad without a degree.
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 abroad 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 abroad 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 of English teaching jobs abroad without a degree you can look at our handy guide.)
TEFL job options without a degree
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.
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.
Read more: Teaching English Online without a Degree
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 TEFL.com 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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LAST UPDATED: 19th July 2022
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We’ll only market other organisations’ products and services if you have said it is OK for us to do so.
You can ask us to stop sending you marketing information or withdraw your permission at any time.
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD retains personal information in line with our corporate retention requirements. Your data will be stored within the European Economic Area (“the EEA”) (The EEA consists of all EU member states, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). However, in some circumstances, part or all of your data may be stored or transferred outside of the European Economic Area (“the EEA”). You are deemed to accept and agree to this by using our site and submitting information to us. If we do store or transfer data outside the EEA, we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that your data is treated as safely and securely as it would be within the EEA and under the GDPR. Such steps may include, but not be limited to, the use of legally binding contractual terms between us and any third parties we engage with, and the use of the EU-approved Model Contractual Arrangements. If we intend at any time to transfer any of your data outside the EEA, we will always obtain your consent beforehand.
Right to access personal information
- Under the law, any individual has a right to ask for a copy of the personal information held about them. This means that you can ask for the information that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD holds about you. This is known as the right of ‘subject access’.
- When making a request you will need to give us:
- a request in writing (by post or by email)
- We may need to ask you to provide:
- proof of your identity
- proof of your home address
- any information that we reasonably need to locate the information you have requested (for example details of the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD offices or staff that you have had contact with and when)
We will not start looking for your information until we receive all of the above. In order to submit your request, or for help making a request, please contact us.
Rights concerning the processing of your personal information
- Right to restrict processing of personal information
- In some situations, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of your personal information. We may restrict your personal information by temporarily moving the information to another processing system, making the information unavailable to users, or temporarily removing published information from a website. We may also use technical methods to ensure the personal information is not subject to further processing and cannot be changed. When we have restricted processing of personal information, this will be clearly indicated on our systems.
- You can require us to restrict processing in the following circumstances:
- You are concerned that the information we hold about you is inaccurate. You can ask us to restrict the information until we can determine whether the information is accurate or inaccurate.
- We are processing your personal data unlawfully and you do not want us to delete the information but restrict it instead.
- We no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collected it, but they are needed by you for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- You have objected to the processing (see below), and we need to decide whether the legitimate grounds we have to process the information override your legitimate interests.
Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.