Teaching English without a degree is, fortunately, possible. Regardless of your educational history, there are plenty of language schools that will be happy to employ you. True, having a degree opens up more doors and opportunities, but if you don't have one, there is no reason to let that stop you from pursuing your dream of teaching English abroad.
Why do certain TEFL positions require a degree?
The question of whether you need a degree to find a teaching position is arbitrary, as it is with many other occupations. There is no reason why an English teacher with a university degree would be more effective than one without. Certain traits (passion, commitment, and the ability to create rapport with your students, for example) are more important than a college diploma in this career, as they are in many others.
It is important to note, however, that these qualities should be backed up by the teaching knowledge you will gain from taking a TEFL course. While you can teach abroad without a degree, teaching abroad without a TEFL qualification is a lot more difficult and not advisable.
Whether or not you need a degree to teach TEFL is usually determined by the country where you will be teaching. Some countries have regulations or limits that require foreign teachers to hold a degree in order to obtain a work visa. Language schools and other employers are bound by the law and will state in their job advertisements that you must have a degree if that is the case.
If you hear about teachers who have gotten around the visa restrictions, they could be working illegally, which we strongly advise against. You expose yourself to exploitation by less-than-honest employers, as well as the risk of getting into serious legal trouble.
How can I find a TEFL job without a degree?
Before looking at places you can teach without a degree, there are a few proactive steps you can take to improve your chances of landing a good position.
1) Get TEFL certified.
Even if a job offer doesn't require a degree, you will almost certainly need a TEFL certificate (and even if you don't, there are plenty of compelling reasons to earn one). With a TEFL certificate under your belt, your opportunities will be much better than without a degree.
2) A specialized TEFL certificate will boost your CV even more.
A qualification in teaching young learners or business English will set you apart from the competition.
3) Apply for positions on the ground in the country where you want to teach.
When compared to applying online, being present in person and demonstrating your abilities might make a significant difference. Many schools choose to hire in-person rather than using internet job boards (especially in Europe and Latin America).
4) Teach Online
The need for online English teachers is rapidly increasing, and many online teaching platforms do not require a degree. This means you can theoretically teach online from anywhere in the world, though you should research any visa regulations in the country where you want to live and teach from.
Where can I teach English without a degree?
You can legally teach anywhere in the EU if you are a British or Irish citizen (although Brexit might change this). This means that unless the employer states otherwise, a degree is not required. However, given the fierce competition for jobs in various European nations, many employers would prefer you to have a degree. However, there are still options if you are already on the ground.
Teachers without a degree generally have better prospects in Central and Eastern European countries like Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.
The market for English teachers in Asia is huge and many of the most popular countries, such as China, South Korea, Thailand, Japan, and Vietnam, require their teachers to possess a degree.
Cambodia and Laos offer the greatest possibilities in Asia for English teaching without a degree. The demand for English teachers in Cambodia is high, and most schools hire teachers without a degree if they have a TEFL certification. However, a degree may be required for higher-paying work in international schools or universities.
Other alternatives are India and Sri Lanka. Because English is the official language in India, there is a lot of rivalry for teaching positions due to the low demand. This suggests that there are more volunteer positions available in India for teaching English without a degree compared to paid positions.
South and Central America
Without a doubt, this vast region offers the most prospects for TEFL graduates without a degree. If you don't have a degree, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay are all viable possibilities.
North Africa and the Middle East
Most Middle Eastern countries have strict requirements for TEFL jobs, with many needing a Master's degree, a TEFL Diploma, and/or several years of experience. In nations like Jordan, Morocco, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Qatar, however, a career without a Bachelor's degree may still be attainable.