Want to teach English abroad without a degree?
Don’t know how? No problem!
When you are a great teacher everything else becomes secondary.
There’s a worldwide interest and effort to integrate into the globalized world, which translates into a hunger to learn English.
As English dominance across the globe, the demand to learn Communicative English grows proportionally.
However, certain requirements disqualify and discourage otherwise willing and skilled individuals from trying to teach English abroad. Some, unfortunately, do not have a bachelor’s degree but do have the knowledge and skill to teach English well. They also have the personality and the knack to effectively understand and blend with the culture and customs of the host country.
The absence of a degree stops such individuals from teaching English abroad. This is a lose-lose (no-win) situation. The teacher and the host country/students lose because of certain entry requirements to teach English overseas.
However clichéd it may sound, it’s still true that where there is a will there’s a way. Personality and skill can still carry the day. Yes, a bachelor’s degree can give you an advantage, but not every country asks for a degree to teach English abroad.
A TEFL certificate is strongly recommended because it improves your chances of getting a good job.
A TEFL course vastly improves your skills: to write a lesson plan, teaching methodology, teaching practice, use of technology, and overall classroom management.
Do remember that you owe it to your students to give them the best possible learning experience.
The list below has been created based on popular countries where you can teach English without a degree. It’s noteworthy that the living costs are low in South American and southeast Asian countries and TEFL teachers can live a comfortable lifestyle.
A word of caution before we proceed:
Can you teach English abroad without a degree? Yes!
- A bachelor’s degree is still preferred by most employers.
- Top international schools would be out of reach, in any country
- Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia and China have government restrictions; a bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement to apply for a (teaching) job visa
- Be prepared for a competitive job search
- Any Classroom experience will boost your chances.
- A TEFL Certification, such as Henry Harvin’s, would greatly increase your odds
Teach English Abroad Without a Degree in Asia
Asian culture, undoubtedly, places a lot of emphasis on education. Asia is the largest market in the world for English language teaching; opportunities abound to teach children, college students, and business professionals.
Asia is possibly the best place to look where you can have savings along with a certain quality of life. Many schools in Asia provide a comprehensive expatriate package that could include accommodation, health insurance, airfare, paid vacation, and assistance with visa and work permit.
In the recent past, East and Southeast Asia have seen rapid growth and development. The countries in this region are increasingly looking to strengthen and enhance its international image and ties using English as a lingua franca. Their citizens are trying to improve their job opportunities and life chances by learning English.
Cambodia is one of the biggest employers of English teachers in Asia
Phnom Penh, the capital city, and Siem Reap are the two cities with the highest number of job opportunities for ESL teachers. These cities offer a reasonable life-style with modern amenities.
Why choose Cambodia?
Trek through the Cardamom Mountains, cycle through Khmer ruins at Angkor Wat, or pedal the banks of the Mekong. Hire a “motodop” taxi or be dropped by a tuk-tuk in Siem Reap. The climate is moderate.
On a monthly average, the cost of living is about $600 to $750. Inexperienced teachers earn between $1,000 and $1,200.
Jordan is an Arab nation with several ancient monuments, nature reserves, and seaside resorts. Amman, a city with a population of 10 million, is the capital.
Jordan offers opportunities at schools and in companies to teach English without a degree. Expats usually report a high quality of life in this country.
Jordan offers the best of landscapes, architectural ruins, and houses some of the amazing UNESCO World heritage sites. It has major tourist attractions such as the Lost City of Petra and the Dead Sea. Wadi Rum in Jordan has a breath-taking desert landscape.
Jordan has a diverse international community,
On average, the cost of living in Jordan is about $800. Salary ranges between $ 700 and $1,500.
A TEFL certification and 3 years’ teaching experience suffice for teaching English in Vietnam (a degree is not mandatory).
Teach English Abroad Without a Degree in Latin America
The quality of life is steadily rising in many countries in South America and Central America. The demand for English language teaching is growing as these countries are trying to integrate with the global marketplace. Latin American countries may accept those without a bachelor’s degree.
Being one of the largest job markets for English language teaching in Latin America, Mexico dazzles as a tourist hot spot with international destinations such as Cancun, Guadalajara, and Acapulco,
You can teach English – without a degree – while immersing yourself in the Latino culture.
The high number of visitors boosts the need for English learning and consequently, ESL teachers. Teachers get work permits granted when they produce TEFL certificates from authorized institutions.
If your English is fluent, Mexico offers a host of prospects to teach English.
Argentina is one of the largest job markets for English language teaching in South America, so there’s sure to be an opportunity for you.
Brazil is another large market for English language teaching in South America. Most ex-pats in Brazil live in larger cities such as Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Recife, and Salvador.
#7. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a beautiful Central American country bordered by Nicaragua to the North and Panama to the South. It has beaches on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts and is a popular destination for tourists and ex-pats alike.
Teach English Abroad Without a Degree in Europe
Europe is an enormous market for English teaching.
English is the business language in Europe and is highly valued in the workplace.
The job market is competitive, and many schools prefer to employ EU citizens and those with degrees. However, there are still a few countries you can try.
Europe would be ideal if can attend face-to-face interviews and want to teach adult business professionals. You can expect to financially breakeven but may not be able to save much money.
Russia is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing markets for English language teaching. Most teaching jobs are located in the capital, Moscow, or the major cities St. Petersburg, Vladimir, Omsk, and Novosibirsk among other main cities.
The large population in Russia and the rapidly developing economy makes the country an attractive option for English teachers.
The lack of a bachelor’s degree will not disqualify you from finding a teaching position, but TEFL certification helps a great deal. If you intend to teach at a school, private ones are the only alternatives because public schools don’t employ foreigners. Many jobs exist for ESL teachers in the Russian job market.
Perks of Choosing Russia
Most schools pay for visa, accommodation and other necessities, a chance to explore the largest country in the world
On a monthly average, salary is between $900 and $1,400 and the cost of living is about $300-400
Romania is not all about Dracula! It has a job market for teaching English. Most teaching jobs are in the capital, Bucharest, and also the cities of Constanta, Cluj-Napoca, and Lasi.
A typical teacher’s salary in Romania is not very high, but the cost of living is so low that you will definitely be able to break even financially.
Georgia is a small country at the junction of Europe and Asia and was formerly part of the Soviet Union. Most of the teaching work is based in the capital, Tbilisi.
Though this post is aimed at those without a University degree, it certainly provides useful tips and information for those who have a degree!
TEFL certificate and teaching English abroad
- A TEFL certification is a bare minimum in some countries. For example, you can teach English in Mexico without a degree but you must have at least a TEFL certificate.
- Having a decent TEFL qualification will stand you in good stead for your job search.
- Ideally, you should choose a TEFL course that includes 120 hours of instruction.
- Getting a TEFL certificate is useful in terms of the skills and techniques it gives (even if a TEFL certificate is not a legal requirement at your school)
Alternative options for teaching English without a degree
There are a few other options that can be explored for teaching English without a degree.
These are not long-term options, but short-term options to experience a particular country.
Working Holiday Visas
A working holiday visa can give you the chance to teach English in countries you would otherwise need a degree for.
Japan is one of the best options, where you can spend a year in the country and teach English to pay for your travels. No degree is required.
Working Holiday Visas have strict requirements and regulations:
First, establish the countries your own (country) is partnered with.
Next, find out if you’re eligible. (Age and other factors are the usual restrictions).
Finally, research to find out if you’re allowed to teach English on the visa. Each country mentions in its website the type of work that is allowed / not allowed on a working holiday visa.
Volunteering doesn’t usually require a degree. It’s a wonderful way of teaching abroad experience while exploring a country, and its opportunities.
China, Thailand, and a few in Europe have schemes that offer volunteer opportunities
Short Programmes and Internships
Short programs and internships (up to 6 months) offer the opportunity to teach English in countries around the world without a degree.
These usually include accommodation, meals, stipend, and in-country support.
This could be a good way of getting some initial TEFL experience.
However, some major costs to take into account the individual are the cost of the program, visas, and flights.
Teaching English Abroad Without a Degree – FAQ’s
It varies. Some countries have official requirements for visa purposes, and individual schools may have their own policies.
As a general guide, some schools prefer those who are below the age of 55. Older teachers will find it especially difficult to find teaching work in China for example. However, schools in Europe and Latin America are more accepting.
Many schools prefer to hire native English speakers, but will also hire non-native English speakers as long as you have an appropriate level of fluency in English.
Unfortunately, people in some countries (particularly in Asia) have certain ideas about what English teachers should look like. Non-white teachers have a harder time finding a job or being accepted by students. If you are persistent and patient, it’s possible to find a suitable TEFL job.
If you have no teaching qualifications or experience, your options are very limited.
Less reputable schools may hire you; however, these schools may have poor resources and low pay with virtually no benefits.
You risk developing a very poor impression of the teaching profession.
You may also find it difficult to actually teach a class if you have no training.
1. Online job boards are a good place to look for English teaching jobs abroad. These give a good idea of what is available and what the requirements are.
2. The other option is to start a search after arriving in the destination country. This may turn up more options, as not all schools post their vacancies online.
3. Through contacts; ‘It’s not what you know but who you know.’
Real-life classroom experience is a valuable asset which employers view favorably.
To gain some teaching experience and strengthen your CV, try volunteering as a teaching assistant or conversation teacher in your home country.
Work at a Summer School
Gain experience by working at a summer school. In the US and in the UK many summer schools run during July and August, and many of them welcome newly TEFL-qualified teachers.
Teaching English abroad without a degree: final advice
If you have your heart set on teaching English abroad but don’t have a degree, get your TEFL certification
You could make friends and start a life in a strange place, as well as to adapt and thrive in a different culture.
This gives immense confidence. It could make you a better version of yourself!
Whilst gaining a unique insight into different cultures, there’s a good chance you’ll make life-long friends with some like-minded people.
A TEFL certificate, such as henry Harvin’s is an added advantage that can help you land better prospects.
No degree…no problem.
There’s an English teaching job out there for you!