Posted on November 27, 2018 | By Max Kurasinski
27th Nov 2018
Browse through any TEFL jobs board and the phrase ‘degree essential’ will spring up again and again. Unfair as it may seem, this often isn’t anything to do with teaching English itself but a government stipulation for a work visa. Rather than wasting your energy raging against the system if you don’t have a degree, focus your efforts on applying for jobs in locations where this is less important. When you’re TEFL certified and a fluent English speaker, there are heaps of fantastic parts of the world you can start teaching English abroad without a degree.
To get you started, here’s our list of top places you can teach English without a degree.
If your heart’s set on Asia but your lack of degree has turned you away from the TEFL hotspots of Thailand and Vietnam, we’ve got the perfect option for you: Cambodia. You’ll get the warmest welcome you can imagine, a chance to explore a truly fascinating culture, whose devastating history definitely has not broken the country’s strong spirit, plus gorgeous beaches, dense rainforests and stunning waterfalls. Oh, and you might have heard of a truly breath-taking wonder called Angkor Wat? Yes, that’s right, it’s here in Cambodia. What more can we say?
While salaries aren’t high, you’ll earn more than enough to live comfortably while teaching English abroad without a degree. However, demand for English teachers is relatively low here and competition is high so don’t expect to waltz into a position. It’s very difficult to find a job without being on the ground in Cambodia – and even if you’re in the country, there’s no guarantee of a job. So, although it may be a safe haven for TEFL teachers without degrees, it is by no means a secret and you’ll find plenty of other teachers scrapping for work in Cambodia. But if you’re determined enough and willing to push through a few rejections, Cambodia could be the perfect location to start your TEFL journey.
When your heart craves the passion of South America but your head strictly states you should work in a stable economy, Argentina feels like the perfect answer. From the urban sophistication and all-night partying of Buenos Aires to the country’s dazzling array of natural wonders, Argentina is a truly amazing place to TEFL.
The vast majority of TEFL jobs are in and around the main cities but there are opportunities for English teachers to teach in language schools or deliver private English tutoring all over the country. Even more appealing is that you only need to be a ‘native English speaker’ and hold TEFL certification to bag yourself a great job. Perfect if you want to teach English without a degree.
Feel the sun gently warming your arms as you sample paella and sangria on a cobbled street or beachside bar. Throw in some heated football matches, gothic towers and a fiesta or two to make sure the cliché is complete. But Spain really is all this – and so much more. Expect warmth, laughter, laid-back energy, amazing culture, partying into the night, beaches to suit all tastes and cities to match when you TEFL in Spain.
This highly accessible country has numerous opportunities to teach English in language schools across Madrid, Seville, Barcelona and Valencia. If you’re looking for a top European destination to get teaching English abroad without a degree, Spain is it.
If you pride yourself on being ahead of the curve, then we’ve got a brilliant option for you. Nicaragua is a relative newcomer to the TEFL market but all the more exciting for that. This is a country edged by both the Caribbean and the Pacific, so gorgeous beaches are a given, but that’s far from being all that this amazing country has to offer. Do you fancy boarding down a volcano, exploring lush rain forests or revelling in the rich culture and fun nightlife of a thriving city? Nicaragua has it all.
Even better, while language schools prefer candidates with a degree, the strong demand for English teachers means you can still pick up a job without one. What are you waiting for?
For anyone who’s sampled the scrumptious delights of Mexican food, this country’s already got one massive tick. But Mexico is far more than tasty tacos. Imagine exploring Aztec and Mayan ruins, living it up in the gigantic Mexico City or chilling out in a hammock on some of the most gorgeous beaches out and you’ll get a glimmer of what’s on offer to TEFL teachers in Mexico.
With a huge demand for English teachers, you can teach everyone from school kids to businessmen in this country of fascinating contrasts. Mexico simply is a brilliant place to start your journey teaching English abroad without a degree.
If you fancy working in a country that spans eleven time zones and has possibly the most fascinating politics in the world, then head to Russia now! This country has an incredibly high demand for English teachers, particularly in the language schools around Moscow and St Petersburg. As long as you have your TEFL certification, you should be able to pick a TEFL job with relative ease, with or without a degree.
Be prepared for super-cold winters (temperatures in the logic-defying inhabited Oymyakon average around minus 50 degrees!), a vodka shot or two, amazing architecture and a welcoming hospitality that turns western expectations upside down.
If you’re still desperate to teach in a country that requires teachers to have a degree, one option is to do a TEFL internship. As you’re officially studying rather than working (even if you receive a living allowance), visa restrictions tend to be lighter – which means you can teach English in destinations such as Thailand or China, which are normally off-limits without a degree.
Alternatively, some online teaching positions don’t require a degree. Without the difficulty of having to secure a working visa in a foreign country, there are much fewer limitations on online teachers. However, you will still need a spectacular command of the English language and you may need to work slightly unusual hours to meet the demand from foreign markets!
If you don’t have a degree, you’ll often need to work harder to prove you’re suitable for the TEFL job. Make sure you highlight your fluent English, your TEFL certification and all relevant experience on your application. Read our FAQ page on applying for a TEFL job without a degree for some more information.
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I have worked in schools for 15 years or more as a senior teaching assistant.
Would this give me an advantage to work in countries
That you need a degree?
Hi Kimberley, thanks for your message! It is great that you have experience working in schools, this will definitely benefit you with your job search. In regards to not having a degree, there are some countries where you will struggle as you need a degree to be eligible for the working visa. For example, China, Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea and Japan are all countries where a degree is compulsory.
Here is a link to jobs we have available without you needing a degree: https://lovetefljobs.com/search-jobs/
Good luck with your job search and let us know if you have any further questions 🙂