TEFL without a degree

Where you can and can't teach

no degreeTeaching TEFL without a degree is possible in many countries around the world. There are some countries that are stricter with their applicants, but some of the best places to teach English abroad will allow teachers to work without a degree.

To be brutally honest, if you are a native speaker of Engilsh without a degree, you’ll be able to find work in many countries, however if you are a non-native speaker without a degree, your chances are a lot slimmer. It can be done, but it is much harder and you’ll have a smaller selection of countries you can choose from.

flag globeSome of the countries in which you can teach TEFL without a degree include Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Egypt, Poland and Russia to name a few. Countries like South Korea and Japan are very strict about qualifications, so if you don’t have a degree you can strike them off any list. There are possibilities for positions in countries like Thailand even though the official policy is you need a degree (which is actually an immigration policy, not an academic one). If you look for work in these countries, you will have better chance looking for work in less popular schools or schools that are farther from the big cities.

In Thailand for example, popular teaching towns like Chiang Mai have an oversupply of teachers and less demand. This means the schools can be more picky about the teachers they want (and can actually pay a lower salary than schools in other areas). If you were to look for work in provinces like Phayo, Nan, MaeĀ  Hong Sorn or areas in Isaan for example, you would find it much easier to find work as the demand for teachers is higher than the supply, unlike Bangkok or Chiang Mai.

Another advantage of taking a job in a smaller province in any country is that it is a much more authentic experience of the people and culture. If you are interested in learning the language, you will pick it up much more easily there than in a big town like Chiang Mai and Bangkok where most people speak English.

As you can see teaching TEFL without a degrees is definitely doable. In my experience, I have seen many great teachers without a degree who have taken an online TEFL and gone on to make a fantastic, engaging teacher.

Once you have your first teaching position, you have your foot in the door, so to speak. After that with the experience you gain, it’ll only get easier to find work and be confident in your teaching abilities which will come through in any interview you do.

So, don’t let not having a degree put you off learning how to be an ESL teacher. Go out there and explore the world.

April 9, 2015

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