Is it possible to teach English abroad without a degree? The short answer is YES, you can! The long answer sometimes includes stipulations, lower salaries, and even extra up-front cost, but there is ample opportunity for teaching English without a university degree. While having a TEFL certification will greatly increase your chances of finding work (in some cases, it’s your only chance), just because you don’t have a bachelor’s, doesn’t mean your work isn’t valued! While many of these locations 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!
8) Teach English in Thailand
It’s no secret that we at Teach English: ESL 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 here, 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).
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 Spain
Spain 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 and programs, such as the Auxiliar de Conversacion, that do require a degree, but still lots of opportunity for jobs that don’t.
Other reasons include the obvious: amazing cuisine, beautiful coastline, strong history, and amazing cities to live in! Find jobs in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, and Valencia.
6) Teach English in Nicaragua
Nicaragua is growing in popularity for tourism, and with that popularity it’s seeing a huge demand for English teachers, so head on over before things become too saturated! Though this country is still one of Central America’s best kept secrets, Nicaragua won’t make you the most amount of money teaching English without a degree. However, the cost of living is extremely low, and you will likely have an authentic and truly special experience. Ideal cities to teach and live in include Leon, Managua, Granada, and San Juan del Sur.
5) Teach English in Mexico
Mexico is undoubtedly a hotspot for teaching English, and its gates are wide open to teachers with no degree! There are three main cities to aim for: Mexico City, Acapulco, and Tulum. With a country this rich in culture and history, it’s likely you won’t have a hard time filling your spare time, from visiting Mayan ruins, cenotes and beautiful beaches, to checking off a long list of incredible and interesting museums.
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 true! While it’s a bit of a mixed bag — there are some 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 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 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!
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 investment. It will pay off for both you and your students.
Words by Jayla Rae Ardelean.