Is it possible to teach English abroad without a degree? The short answer is YES, you can!
The long answer sometimes includes stipulations like lower salaries, and even extra up-front cost, but there is ample opportunity (and plenty of money to be made) for teaching English without a degree.
The hard truth is that earning a TEFL certification will greatly increase your chances of finding work (in some cases, it’s your only chance). But just because you don’t have a bachelor’s doesn’t mean your work isn’t valued!
While many of the following locations may prefer a bachelor’s degree, it’s up to you to put your best foot forward in the application process and to show that a degree isn’t everything.
So if you’re the type to seek an education through meaningful travel and cultural exploration rather than in the academy, we’ll totally vouch for the validity of that hard-earned travel diploma. And here are some ways to amplify your experience along the way.
8) Teach English in Thailand
It’s no secret that we love Thailand and all that it has to offer, so we get really excited to share details with you! Teaching English in Thailand without a degree is possible, but you’ll find that most places on the web will tell you a degree is required.
Here’s the scoop: government schools are not allowed to sponsor work permits for those who do not hold a bachelor’s degree, but they can still hire you. It just means you’ll have to do some extra leg work to figure out how to obtain your own work permit (and pay for it yourself). Plus, you’ll need a TEFL certificate.
From gorgeous beaches with transparent water and mountains worth hiking to the top of, to temples in every corner, Thailand is a unique experience! Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket have the most amount of available work, but there are more jobs available than teachers to fill them.
7) Teach English in Mexico
Mexico remains one of the most popular destinations to teach English abroad, and one of the reasons is because it does not require a degree! Note that there are employers that do require a degree (often universities will), but there are still lots of opportunities that don’t.
Other reasons include the obvious: amazing cuisine, beautiful coastline, impressive cities, strong history, and pueblos magics (magic villages)! Find jobs anywhere from Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara to Veracruz and Mexico City.
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Compare salaries, cost of living, benefits, contract length and more for 60 of the most popular countries to teach English abroad.
6) Teach English in Guatemala
Did you know you can teach English in Guatemala? You can, even if you don’t have a degree! It’s a country that’s relatively new to the TEFL scene, and therefore there are lots of jobs available and not enough teachers to fill them. While most employers will look for a TEFL certification, rest assured there’s work to be found for those who seek the non-traditional education of travel.
5) Teach English in Czech Republic
Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, is one of Europe’s finest gems to teach English abroad, but most especially without a degree! It’s another city that may say that a degree is preferred, but it’s not required and you shouldn’t let that little word stop you from applying.
It’s a great city with gorgeous castles, a mix of old and new elements that make Europe Europe, and a high demand for English teachers. There’s a mix of teaching opportunities when it comes to types of students (professionals to children), and it makes a great jumping off point for exploring more of Europe while you’re there!
4) Teach English in Cambodia
Cambodia is Southeast Asia at its finest! With a low cost of living compared to average monthly salaries, you just might be able to save some money while teaching English here with no degree. Cambodia boasts one of the highest demand for English teachers in Asia, and it is an incredible country to experience as well: From the UNESCO World Heritage site at Angkor Wat to a landscape speckled with rice paddies, gorgeous lakes, several beautiful pagodas, and friendly locals, Cambodia is welcoming and picturesque. Phnom Penh is your best bet for city living.
3) Teach English in China
China contains one of the biggest markets for teaching English abroad in Asia and the entire world. But don’t think you need a degree to teach there because of that; it’s not always true!
While it’s a bit of a mixed bag — there are many schools and employers that do require a degree — there is ample opportunity for those looking to teach English without a degree.
A few cities with strong ESL markets are Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, and Hangzhou. If you’re not aware of how incredible an opportunity like living and teaching in China would be, let us fill you in: big city life and access to remote mountains, outdoor adventures, rich historical sites such as the Great Wall, eager students, and interesting shopping markets.
2) Teach English in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is an ideal place to teach English without a degree because it is the best of both worlds: the demand for English teachers continues to increase, and it’s a truly beautiful country to live in and explore. You’ve got beaches, mountains, tropical rainforests, adventure activities, and a lot to see! The most ideal city to try for jobs is San Josè, but positions can be found throughout the country.
1) Teach English in Peru
With endless beauty and adventure, Peru sits at the top of our list for best countries to teach English abroad without a degree. While you will find that some employers will look for degreed applicants, there is ample opportunity for those who are TEFL certified but don’t have a degree.
And there you have it. There is ample opportunity all over the globe for you to teach English abroad without a degree. Most countries will require you to have at least a TEFL certification, but since you likely don’t have to deal with paying off any pesky student loans on your adventure abroad, investing in your TEFL education is a smart decision. It will pay off for both you and your students.
See degree requirements for 60 countries around the globe in our Country Comparison Chart here.
Words by Jayla Rae Ardelean for globalU.