It seems like I still receive an email asking the question how does teaching English abroad without a degree works. The answer to that should be to “qualified” to teach abroad.
That’s not the case nowadays, more and more countries are granting work/teaching visas to many people without a degree. Though, some countries are bureaucratic about issuing visas to those without TEFL certification.
Naturally, schools would like that you’ve a degree and it’s also in your best interest to do so. It will provide great opportunities for better paying jobs in the future.
With that being said, maybe you do not know if you want to make teaching a career. Perhaps you are unclear what you want to do now – or have gone through a tough time in your life and looking for a change. This may be a consequence of divorce or other relationship breakup, losing your job and you’re ready for a change.
There are so many valid reasons for anyone to be looking for a change in life. If you think that you love teaching, but did not complete your degree, don’t worry because you can teach English abroad without a degree and can always complete your degree later.
Even many prestigious schools now offer online degree programs. But, for now let’s assume that you want to teach English abroad without a degree. The minimum you do need is a good command of the English language and a willingness to accept a different culture.
A good place to start would be to think about what you can do. Where you would consider going and the more flexible you’re. With no degree you should be ready to go where you will have the best option of finding a teaching job.
It comes down to the law of demand and supply. With lots of teachers looking, but few jobs, schools will select people with the highest qualification. With a lot of jobs crying for teachers, but few applicants, schools will be more willing to consider non-degree applicants.
Here is where having a TESOL certificate can be a big plus. TESOL represents Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and this certification is an industry standard qualification.
Some schools mistakenly may think that if you are breathing and can speak English, you are able to teach it. That’s not always the case! Teaching English overseas is a tough one to consider, but it is possible if you know what you’re doing.
To be able to provide schools a TESOL certificate shows schools you have training in teaching English. Keep in mind that if two candidates apply for a similar position, normally the one with more to offer will likely get the job. So, you want to get yourself as attractive to the school as possible you could.
Have a good complete resume (CV). Include a business photo. Overseas schools do not know who you are, whether you from Nigeria or South Africa and you cannot just pop in during an interview without a photo ID. In many countries, it’s a requirement. You may be asked to submit a photocopy of your international passport too.
In addition, schools and visa-granting authorities may also be asking for a police report. Normally, the police check is usually in the form of a letter from your local police confirming that you’ve got a clear record.
Include in your resume any courses you have taken, some other skills a school may be interested to know about and, of course your interests. Can you speak another foreign language? Being able to teach another subject besides English? Science? Math? Art? Computer Science? Having the skill to teach another subject can make you more valuable to any school you will be assigned to teach English abroad without certification.
Without any doubt, Asia is considered the biggest employer of ESL teachers. China alone needs thousands. Also does Columbia. Thailand is yet another country which has a large need. These are one of the three easiest countries to try teaching English without a degree.
However, it’s not only up to the schools. In Thailand, for example, three government bodies are involved in granting the necessary documentation to work as a teacher. The Education Department reviews your diplomas from a foreign country. If they are happy with your papers, they will give permission to the Immigration Dept. to grant a teaching visa.
That’s great! It looks like a miracle, right? Well, you’re not done yet. The first time it can be an endless runaround; however, if the school knows what it’s doing, all goes well. Renewal of your teaching visa will be easier going forward.
Like I said earlier, supply and demand is the key, so search for the teaching jobs abroad where the jobs are plentiful. Regulations may be far more lax. If the concerned school wishes to hire you, they can easily “make it happen”.
Teaching English abroad is fun, so whether it is something you truly desire to do, do not let the lack of a degree keep you away from it.
Good luck looking for job opportunities abroad!