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  • William Davies

Teach English Abroad Without a Degree

Teaching English as a foreign language is a fantastic opportunity to experience professional, personal, and spiritual development. As an English teacher abroad, you can see the world, indulge in foreign cuisine, and meet new people, all while gaining valuable international experience and earning a salary. 

However, requirements to teach abroad vary from country to country, and teachers come with different skill sets, qualifications, and experience. One of the most commonly asked questions is “can I teach English abroad without a degree?”

Ancient temples in Taipei, Taiwan

Can I Teach English Abroad Without a Degree?

Yes! You can absolutely teach English abroad without a degree. However, some employers will list a bachelor’s degree as a requirement to teach English abroad. Furthermore, some countries will only let teachers who have a degree teach English in their schools. 

As a result, a teacher without a degree will likely receive a lower salary. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t reap the benefits of TEFL. 

So, in order to teach English abroad without a degree, you’ll need to choose a country where a bachelor’s degree isn’t a requirement, and maximise your experience and qualifications to improve your employability. 

What You Need to Teach English Abroad Without a Degree

If you are an aspiring TEFL teacher without a degree, you’ll need to maximise other aspects of your arsenal in order to stand out among a competitive crowd. Aside from a degree, here are the things that you often need to teach abroad: 

  • TEFL Certificate: Becoming TEFL certified is the first step towards teaching English abroad. Obtaining a TEFL qualification from an accredited provider (such as ourselves!) is the first step towards getting a TEFL job abroad.

  • Near-native proficiency: These days, you don’t need to be a native English speaker to teach abroad, although some employers will only hire native English speakers. If you’re a non-native English speaker, you can prove your proficiency in the form of an English proficiency test such as IELTS or TOEFL. 

  • Experience: Be sure to highlight any experience you have working with children, whether as a summer camp worker, babysitter, or other. With unrelated work experience, highlight soft skills such as communication, time management, organisational skills, and other traits which are desirable among teachers. 

  • Enthusiasm! Teaching and classroom management skills are something that anyone can acquire (especially through the TEFL Nomad course!). During the interview, be sure to display plenty of enthusiasm for the position and for teaching as a whole. Personality and enthusiasm can outweigh qualifications in some cases! 

How to Teach Abroad Without a Degree

Now you understand how to optimise your resume and which countries allow non-degree holders to teach English, here are the steps to teaching abroad without a degree.

  1. Become TEFL Certified: Your chances of getting a TEFL job abroad are minimal without a TEFL qualification. Be sure to become TEFL certified in order to improve your TEFL knowledge and employability.

  2. Choose a Destination: Choose a destination which is attractive to you and hires non-degree holders. Remember, your TEFL experience goes beyond the classroom. You’ll want to choose a location which can cater to your preferred lifestyle and offer a unique TEFL experience. 

  3. Prepare Your Documents: Whether you need to get ahold of your IELTS document, letters of recommendation, or any other documents, be sure to prepare these in advance to expedite your application. 

  4. Apply for TEFL jobs: Decide whether you’ll want to apply for a job independently or with a non-degree holder program. Applying independently will require more thorough research and a rigorous interview process, whereas going with a program will typically cost, but guarantee you a TEFL job placement.

  5. Apply for a visa & purchase your flight tickets! Congratulations! After securing your TEFL job abroad, you can move on to applying for a visa and booking your flight. 

Best Countries for Teaching English Abroad Without a Degree

Just because many countries seek degree holders, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find a TEFL job. Here are some of the best countries for teaching English abroad without a degree.

Teach in Asia Without a Degree

Two ladies with umbrellas walking down a narrow street in Japan

Asia is arguably the most popular continent for teaching English abroad. With a high demand for English teachers, TEFL jobs in Asia are rife. Here are some of the best countries to teach in Asia without a degree:

  • Thailand: Although most employers list a bachelor’s degree as a requirement, it is possible to teach English in Thailand without a degree. Thailand is one of the most popular destinations in the world, and can provide teachers an immersive and rewarding experience in the Land of Smiles.

  • Japan: The requirements for teaching in Japan are typically high, but it is possible to teach English in Japan without a degree for teachers who undergo in-person TEFL training with a non-degree program. 

  • Cambodia: Cambodia is one of the most popular countries to teach English without a degree. With beautiful landscapes, archaic Buddhist temples and ancient civilisations, teaching English in Cambodia can provide an immersive experience for non-degree holders. 

  • Laos: Nestled between Thailand, China, Cambodia and Vietnam, Laos is Southeast Asia’s tranquil capital. Full of luscious landscapes, enchanted temples, and a slow-paced lifestyle, you can live and teach English in Laos without a degree. 

  • Malaysia: Although Malaysia is quite high on the development front when compared to other Southeast Asian countries, non-degree holders can find TEFL jobs in this multicultural hub.

  • Myanmar: Despite political strife, Myanmar is trying to welcome tourists which will only increase its demand for English teachers in the future. This high demand creates lower entry requirements for teaching English in Myanmar.

  • Taiwan: Although employers prefer Bachelor Degree holders, you may be able to teach English in Taiwan if you have an Associate’s Degree. 

Teach in Europe Without a Degree

Aerial view of Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic

Teaching English in Europe offers a vast range of options. Whether you want to teach English in the Mediterranean, Balkan, or post-Soviet countries, Europe offers a plethora of cultures, landscapes, and opportunities for English teachers. 

Here are some of the best countries to teach in Europe without a degree:

  • Spain: Spain is not only one of the most popular countries for teaching English abroad, but it also allows non-degree holders to teach here. TEFL jobs in Spain often come in the form of language assistant roles.

  • Poland: Kraków, Gdańsk and Warsaw are just some of the places laden with history and culture that English teachers can experience here. English teachers in Poland often work in these urban hubs or in more remote areas through public schools and summer language camps. 

  • Georgia: Aside from its complicated Soviet and post-Soviet history, English teachers in Georgia can embrace its various monasteries, pleasant landscapes, and its strong sense of national identity.

  • Romania: Sprawling mountains, Gothic architecture, and cheap beer awaits those who teach English in Romania. Public schools and summer language camps are popular TEFL job opportunities here.

Teach in Latin America Without a Degree

Colourful houses in a South American neighbourhood

The entry requirements for teaching English in Latin American countries are typically lower. Because of this, salaries are also lower, ranging from around $500 to $1,000 per month.

Here are some of the best countries to teach in Latin America without a degree:

  • Mexico: Teaching English in Mexico will grant you access to a culture rich in gastronomy, picturesque landscapes, illuminating festivals, and more. The demand for English is high in Mexico, and living here also offers teachers the chance to develop their Spanish language skills.

  • Argentina: With streetside tango, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and lively football culture, teaching English in Argentina can provide a comprehensive South American experience. 

  • Costa Rica: Teaching English in Costa Rica means living in a country that is known for its thriving biodiversity and one of the happiest populations in the world.

  • Peru: Home to Machu Picchu and ancient civilisations, teaching English in Peru will allow you to navigate breathtaking landscapes and engage with local communities. 

  • Brazil: With tropical rainforests, endless coastlines, and rhythmic streets, teachers can embrace a unique and diverse culture while teaching English in Brazil.

  • Chile: As one of the safest countries in South America, Chile is a popular destination for English teachers abroad. Teaching English in Chile will allow you to experience a diverse lifestyle outside the classroom, from embracing its Patagonian glaciers to its charming streets.

Teach English Abroad Without a Degree! 

It’s entirely possible to teach English abroad without a degree. As a non-degree holder, you’ll need to be persistent in your quest for TEFL jobs abroad. Non-degree holders will need to become TEFL qualified in order to increase their employability when applying for TEFL jobs abroad. While the research will require more time and preparation, non-degree holders can experience a profound and life-changing experience teaching English abroad. 

Read more about teaching English abroad:


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