I don’t have a degree. How can I teach English abroad?

While many countries want their English teachers to have a degree, there are still plenty of countries where you can find work. If you don’t have a degree, don’t let that stop you from teaching English abroad!

We’re not going to lie to you: not having a degree does put you at a disadvantage. Many of the most popular destinations for teaching English abroad require teachers to have a degree due to visa requirements. But don’t let that discourage you because options are still available. Many countries that will require a degree from their teachers can also overlook this if you have a British Council, internationally recognised and accepted TEFL certificate. The Trinity CertTESOL awarded by Trinity College London has been around since 1872, and that’s a good 150 years of reputation behind their certificate.

The Trinity Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CertTESOL) is a TESOL or TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate designed for people with little or no experience teaching English and those with experience who require an internationally recognised initial teacher education qualification.

The CertTESOL is rated at Level 5 on Ofqual’s Regulated Qualifications Framework, a comparable level to the second year of an undergraduate degree, and comprises a minimum of 130 hours, with an expected minimum of 70 hours of further study required (Total Qualification Time: 200 hours).

On this blog, we will help you find options so you can TEFL (Teaching English as a foreign language).

Why do some TEFL jobs require a degree?

In many countries, the requirement for a degree isn’t determined by the employer but by visa regulations. For example, employers can only hire teachers with one if a bachelor’s degree is required for a work visa.

It’s essential to determine whether a degree is a visa requirement. If it isn’t, it’s up to employers whether they ask for a degree or not – meaning there can be some flexibility. Once you’ve identified the countries where you can teach English without a degree, you’ll be able to focus your job search. There’s no point in spending time on job applications in countries you can’t get a visa.

Is there any way I can go around it?

Sadly, there’s no bargaining with visa regulations.

Maybe you’ve heard of someone who doesn’t have a degree but worked in a country where it’s a requirement. So how did they do it? Either they worked voluntarily, were accepted due to their Trinity CertTESOL certificate and employed as an English teacher under an internship programme or worked illegally.

Working illegally is common in certain countries, but we strongly advise against it. Not only can you get into serious trouble with the authorities, but it leaves you vulnerable to being exploited by untrustworthy employers.

Are you interested in teaching English online but don’t have a degree?

These 24 companies are open to English teachers without a degree BUT with a British Council recognised, accepted and accredited TEFL certificate! In short, not just any cowboy TEFL certificate you read about on the internet!

School Clickable website link
All Right https://allright.com/en/
Cambly https://www.cambly.com/kids
Dada https://www.dadaabc.com/en.html
EF English First https://www.ef.com/adultteachonline/
EBC https://www.ebcidiomas.com/
EF English First https://www.ef.com/adultteachonline/
First Future https://firstfutureedu.net/
GoGoKid https://teacher.gogokid.com/
Italki https://www.italki.com/
iTutorGroup https://www.itutorgroup.com
Landi https://teacher.landi.com/
Learnlight https://careers.learnlight.com/
Lingoda https://www.lingoda.com/en/
Magic Ears https://t.mmears.com/v2/
Open English https://www.openenglish.com/en/careers/teachers/
Palfish https://digino.org/palfish-apply/
Preply https://preply.com/en/teach
QKids https://teacher.qkids.com/
SayABC https://t.sayabc.com/#/home
Skima Talk https://www.skimatalk.com/en/become_teacher
Verbling https://www.verbling.com/teach
VIPKid https://www.vipkid.com/
VIPX https://www.vipxteachers.com/
Whales English https://www.whalesenglish.com

Working from home as an English teacher has recently gone through the roof! As more people worldwide prioritise English, they seek qualified English teachers for English classes. Online English classes are more convenient; learners can take them in the safety and comfort of their homes, costing them less. It also works out well for the English teacher because she brings home more money. After all, there is no travel cost involved. That two-hour roundtrip on the bus or the metro can now be used to take more online classes. She can now take as many online classes as possible!

One of the pros of teaching English online is the ability to live and work anywhere. Unfortunately, English teachers are now lumped with techies, traders, and data protection pros (GDPR) under the name “digital nomad”. Okay, we don’t earn as much as these other guys, but what the heck? Travel is beautiful and fun. Life is too short not to enjoy the world. With my English teaching wages, I can see the world.

Before you can start teaching online, you must fulfil a few job requirements. Unfortunately, many online teaching companies require teachers to have a college education. The Trinity College CertTESOL certificate is comparable to the second year of an undergraduate degree.

What are the job requirements to teach English online without a degree?

Every English tutoring job has special hiring requirements. Still, if you want to teach English online with no degree, you’ll need to meet these three requirements.

1. Be a native English speaker.

If you’re from the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, or Ireland, you’ve fulfilled the first requirement to become an online English teacher!

Some companies will consider hiring you if you’re from a country where English is widely spoken and if you have a minimum C1 (Advanced) level. Some companies will be pretty selective when dealing with non-native English speakers and prefer their English teachers to have a standard accent. Although you may have a C1 or even a native English speaker, if you have a strong regional accent, this might pose a problem. The reason is simple. You are teaching ELLs (English language learners) who have no way of distinguishing a standard accent from a regional one. I had a French girlfriend who was a high-flying advertising VP in a Paris-based prestigious advertising company. She chaired many meetings in English but spoke with a Texan twang. Luckily, as she had a very high-profile role at the multinational advertising company, the company sent her on an intensive pronunciation, accent re-training and elocution programme. The programme managed to eradicate her cute Texan twang! To think of it, her accent was unique. She spoke a slightly French-accented English with a Texan twang. For English teachers, we can go on the internet, find accents, re-training videos, learn from them and practice, practice and practice. An effective English teacher must make herself understood. If your learners cannot understand you, all these lesson plans, materials, and group activities you have carefully planned go to waste. Without understanding, there will be no motivation and progress from your learners.

2. Have some experience teaching or with kids.

Many English teaching platforms usually prefer applicants to have experience teaching and tutoring children, but it’s not typically mandatory. It depends on the specific company, but getting experience may give you an edge in getting that interview.

3. Have a TEFL certificate or teaching qualification.

While many companies will not require a full college degree, many online English teaching jobs require a “real” TEFL certificate. Not just one of these weekend courses where everything is in-house, with no external moderation and independent quality control. The internet is full of these TEFL course providers. One word of advice: Be cautious with who you decide to get your TEFL certificate. You want your TEFL certificate recognised and accepted by the schools you apply to. Go for the best. There are only two gold-standard TEFL certificates worldwide, and employers from Europe to Asia to South America know this.

The TEFL certificate tells your future employer that you are formally trained and can teach their students. Your Trinity CertTESOL certificate means that you passed an intensive and comprehensive TEFL course and that their clients will be happy with you. As a result, they keep their clients happy. Don’t get swayed by words like affordable, painless and quick. You don’t want to waste your money on a certificate that is not worth the printed paper. You want a TEFL certificate that employers respect and, of course, a certificate that will help you get the TEFL job.

Where can I teach English without a degree?

Some countries might be off the cards if you don’t have a degree, but thankfully there are still great options out there! Here they are:

Europe

Irish citizens can live and work in any EU country without visa restrictions. Unless specified by an employer, a degree isn’t necessary. Spain, Italy, Germany, and The Czech Republic are your best options for finding a TEFL job in Europe without a degree.

If you’re not an EU citizen, it’s a lot more tricky to find work teaching in Europe – degree or no degree! But, again, there are options around this.

Central and South America

There is a wide range of opportunities across Central and South America. Demand for English teachers has been steadily increasing worldwide, particularly in areas such as Business English.

In Central and South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru, Mexico, and Uruguay, it is possible to TEFL without a degree.

Cambodia

Looking at the TEFL jobs, you’ll probably have noticed the abundance of positions in Asia. Unfortunately, the opportunities for TEFL without a degree in Asia are minimal. Still, there is one great option open to you – Cambodia!

Considering the high demand for teachers, incredible culture, and the easy access to travel across Southeast Asia, it’s not hard to see why Cambodia is an attractive option for EFL teachers.

See the table below for what many countries require from those wanting TEFL.

  • Asia
  • Europe
  • South and Central America
  • The Middle East and Africa
Country Avg. monthly salary Degree required Start of term Teaching experience Housing & flights included Suitable for non-native English speakers Age restrictions
Cambodia £680 – £1,000
($900 – $1,300)
 No November  No  No  Yes Under 65
China £1,000 – £2,000
($1,300 – $2,575)
 Yes September  No  Yes Yes, if a degree obtained from an English-speaking country Under 55
HongKong £1,550 – £6,300
($2,000 – $8,380)
 Yes August  No Not usually  Yes Under 60
India £120 – £775
($150 – $1,000)
 Yes April  Yes  No  Yes None
Indonesia £565 – £1,030
($745 – $1,355)
 Yes July  No Not usually  No Under 60
Japan £1,600 – £2,000
($2,100 – $2,675)
 Yes April  No Sometimes  Yes Under 65
Kazakhstan £360 – £470
($465 – $600)
 Yes August  Yes  Yes  Yes None
Malaysia £550 – £1,450
($720 – $1,900)
 Yes January Preferred Sometimes  Yes Under 65
Myanmar £600 – £1,500
($800 – $2,000)
 Yes June Preferred Sometimes  No Under 52
Mongolia £630 – £1,000
($875 – $1,400)
 Yes September  Yes Sometimes  Yes None
Nepal Voluntary  No April  No Sometimes  Yes None
South Korea £1,280 – £1,600
($1,670 – $2,000)
 Yes March  No  Yes  No Under 62
Taiwan £1,335 – £1,735
($1,700 – $2,220)
 Yes September  No Sometimes  No Under 65
Thailand £740 – £980
($1,000 – $1,280)
 Yes May  No Sometimes  Yes None
Vietnam £920 – £ 1,500
($1,200 to $2,000)
 Yes August  No  No  Yes Under 60

Online

The online teaching market is continuously growing. Online English teachers can work from anywhere with a reliable internet connection – whether from home or as they travel the world.

The great news is that teaching English online is something you can do without a degree! While a number of the powerful online teaching platforms do require one, there’s still plenty of work out there.

Five tips for finding a TEFL job without a degree

So now you have a better idea of where you can TEFL without a degree; here are our top 5 tips to help you land a great job!

Get TEFL qualified

A TEFL qualification is essential if you want to work as an English teacher abroad without a degree. Most employers look for teachers with a minimum 120-hour TEFL qualification. The Trinity College CertTESOL course is a 200-hour TEFL qualification. The Trinity College CertTESOL course is also externally moderated on top of being accepted, recognised and accredited by the British Council. The British Council recognises only 2 TEFL certificates. The reason being is that we are the only ones externally moderated. Quality control is high; therefore, Trinity CertTESOL graduates are real EFL teachers, ready to teach anywhere. All other TEFL course providers teach, check, mark and pass in-house. While self-assessment is an accepted practice, it is always good to have an external body come in to see that all is in place and that all standards were adhered to. Look at it as a second opinion you are advised to get before accepting a primary doctor´s diagnosis. On the Trinity CertTESOL course, an external moderator from Trinity College London will do the moderation on your Unit 4 (Material). You will pass if you defend your work and answer the questions acceptably. Before the external moderation, we would have practised your moderation so you feel confident on the actual moderation day.

Do your homework

Don’t waste time applying for jobs in countries where you don’t meet the work visa requirements. Instead, work out where you want to teach, check you meet the visa requirements, and focus your job search where you do.

Be flexible and patient

You may find that TEFL job fast. For others, it may take longer. If you are flexible, that TEFL job you dream of will come. Always remember that as part of your Trinity College CertTESOL course is the exclusive Worldwide and lifetime Job Placement Service. You can always use it. You get lifetime access to it. Anytime and anywhere. Just send us an email and let us know where you´d like to work, and we will get your details to our partner language schools in the city of your choice.

Boost your resume/CV

Make yourself a more competitive candidate with further qualifications, such as a Trinity College CertPT course, or by acquiring work experience through volunteering at home or abroad. You want to stand out – especially against other candidates who might have a degree – so going the extra mile will help you find work more quickly.

Watch out for untrustworthy employers/recruiters

There’s a huge demand for teachers in Asia, particularly in China. Drop it if you need a degree to get a work visa and a recruiter offers you a job. If the recruiter or the employer asks you for money to get the job, red flag, walk away! Always ask to see the employer´s requirements.

Teaching and living abroad is an unforgettable experience. I  know an Irish guy who has lived in 55 different cities! And he’s only 40. He has decided to settle down and is now the Director of  Studies in a prestigious language school in Seoul.