Teaching English Without a Degree: Countries to Consider

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Where to teach ESL without a degree


Finding a Teaching Job Without a Degree: Difficult

It’s time for some straight-talk about teaching English without a degree. It’s going to be difficult-really difficult because most of the jobs out there require a degree and by most, I mean like 99%. So, you’re basically competing for that last 1% and the news doesn’t get any better because someone with a BA will always get preference if they should happen to apply for that same job.

The news is also a bit grim because you’ll sometimes have to work illegally because the government won’t give you a visa without that all important piece of paper which can lead to huge problems for you down the road. For example, no health care coverage or no recourse in case your school decides to rip you off.

Plus, you’ll likely get paid less. I personally tell people without a uni degree who want to be English teachers abroad to just bite the bullet and do the time. It might be terrible, but you won’t regret it.

Seriously-almost nobody regrets having a university degree, once it’s done.

Don’t Want to Give Up?

Now, you still think you want to teach abroad without a degree. Here’s the deal. You basically have 5 options so focus your job finding efforts on these countries and you’ll probably find something. Good luck! And remember: university degrees rule all in the field of ESL so go get one!


Option #1: China

China has a potential market for English teaching jobs both at the regional and the national level. About 300 million citizens of this country opt to learn English every year, which has made it necessary to hire teachers from abroad. In fact, a large number of foreign teachers with good English, but without a 4-year degree are being hired and provided with several benefits and perks.

Nonetheless, a TEFL certification such as the CELTA is mandatory. If you’re going to get a TEFL cert. of some kind, it’s best to just do the CELTA because it’s by far the most widely recognized and reputable one throughout the world. Beijing – the capital city, and Shangai – the financial city, are the top places for English teaching opportunities but you may also find some opportunities out in the countryside because more well-qualified candidates will pass up those positions.


russian-federation-flagOption #2: Russia

Russia has emerged as one of the leading destinations for teaching English abroad. The demand for TEFL jobs has increased exponentially within the past few years. Though this country may not pay you as much as Korea or the Middle East, the competition to land a job here is comparatively lower. Also, the region is not expensive to live in, as compared to its European counterparts. St. Petersburg and Moscow are the top destinations for teaching English without a degree.


Spain Flag


Option #3: Spain

In Spain, there has always been a constant demand for English teachers. Teaching English without a degree is not at all tough in Spain, and the locals are highly enthusiastic about learning English. People realize the importance of English as knowing it helps them find jobs in the fields of tourism, business and education. You can find an array of English schools in Seville, Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona, many of which will allow you to teach English without a BA.



Option #4: Mexico

Fluency in English is in great demand all over Mexico. This in turn has created several opportunities for teaching English without a BA. A majority of the citizens including university students, school children, businessmen etc. are very keen to study English. Due to the increasing demands for learning English, the government has passed a law recently to offer work permits to teachers with a formal TEFL certification and English skills.

Option #5 South America

South America is perhaps the best place to explore your teaching talents without a degree. Places like Argentina, Peru and Ecuador offer a variety of jobs for English teachers from foreign countries. These places do not require you to have a university degree or diploma. However, there’s a potential downside of working in these countries. You end up getting paid less than Middle Eastern or Asian countries. Costa Rica is one of the best places in the region to start your English teaching career without a degree.

General Tips about Teaching English Without a BA

While you are focused on teaching English abroad and searching for jobs, it is extremely essential for you to acquire a TEFL certification, as it would immensely increase the probability of your employment. You could consider doing one of these courses: TEFL and TESOL Certifications.

Online TESOL certifications

Also be aware of the school hiring seasons in whichever region you want to work. For instance, in South America, schools hire teachers during March/April; while in Europe, it is typically between September and January.

Starting work as a volunteer in schools, where your basic needs are taken care of would be a great way to explore further possibilities with respect to teaching English without a BA. So, go ahead and explore these regions to fulfill your dream of teaching English, minus the degree.

What do you Think?

Are there any places that teachers with a degree should consider? Leave a comment below and let us know.

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One Comment

  1. David Blatt

    While I agree the more training and degrees the better and increases employment opportunities, I found a distinct credibility gap between official requirements and the needs of individual language schools on the ground. For a start, being a TEFL teacher is very poorly paid compared to other “professions” so the turnover of staff is high. This results in schools lowering their requirements in order to employ English teachers and offer a continuous corriculum to their students.

    A university degree is also no indicator of the ability of people to teach. Universities cannot teach enthusiastic and genuine communication and empathy. It comes from within. Certainly the study and aquisition of a recognised TEFL certificate, CELTA or Trinity TESOL, should be the bare minimum, but I found schools in many regions round the world that were simply crying out for English speakers who could just string a sentence or two together.

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