Do you need a degree to teach online?

The good news is that you do not need a degree to teach English online in many situations. We will expand on this throughout this article.

The general qualification required to teach ESL either in person or online is a 120-hour TEFL or TESOL certification. This is seen as the entry level qualification and is usually required by most employers.

Other qualities they will be looking for include, in no particular order:

(i) Experience:

Any formal teaching experience is highly regarded by employers. This may be just a few hours from your TEFL training with real classes, or volunteering at a summer school for example. The more your experience matches the type of teacher they are looking for (such as children or adult teaching) the better. Make sure your C.V or resume indicates all teaching experiences you have had.

(ii) Additional qualifications:

These should have some applicable usefulness to the job you are applying for. For example you may have done a training course in an ESL specialism, such as teaching young learners, teaching business English or teaching online and these should be highlighted. Other qualifications which are useful to note include; a B degree in any discipline, a BA degree in an English related subject, a B.Ed degree and similar.

(iii) Native English speaker:

Some employment options may require native English speakers, which is usually defined by being a citizen of a limited number of countries. Typically these are given as the USA, UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Often they will also state that candidates should not have a strong regional accent from any of those countries.

(iv) Nationality:

The previous list was quite limited; however this list is often expanded to include countries where English is spoken as the first language. The list is then expanded to include, India, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria and South Africa for example.

Eight companies that do not require their online teachers to have a degree


Typical hourly pay rate = US$10-30

Minimum weekly hours = 4


Typical hourly pay rate = US$8-13

Minimum weekly hours = 5

Verbal Planet

Typical hourly pay rate = US$12-26

Minimum weekly hours = None


Typical hourly pay rate = US$3-35

Minimum weekly hours = None


Typical hourly pay rate = US$10-45

Minimum weekly hours = 8


Typical hourly pay rate = US$10-12

Minimum weekly hours = None


Typical hourly pay rate = US$8-13

Minimum weekly hours = 10


Typical hourly pay rate = US$10-16

Minimum weekly hours = 15

These eight companies represent a fair cross section of those available and the figures given were all correct at the time of writing (Jan 2023).

There are literally hundreds of companies available for teaching English online. We recommend that you do some thorough research before contracting yourself to any of them.