How to Teach English Abroad Without a Degree

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If you’ve ever wondered if it’s possible to teach English without a Bachelor’s degree abroad, the short answer is yes! While having a four-year degree is a minimum requirement for many jobs, there are several options for those without one. You just have to know the basic job requirements and where to look.

This complete guide shares all you need to know about how to teach English abroad without a degree.

Read More: Teaching Abroad 101: The Beginner’s Guide

How to Teach English Abroad Without a Degree

Before starting your job search, it’s essential to understand the basic requirements to teach English abroad. If you don’t have a four-year degree, this is what you’ll need to secure a job:

  1. Be a native English speaker: If you’re not a native speaker, some schools may hire teachers with high enough TOEFL scores.

  2. Have a reputable TEFL certificate: A quality TEFL certificate is vital when applying for jobs without a degree. Be sure to choose a certification with at least 120 hours plus a practicum component (practice teaching).

  3. Have relevant teaching experience: Having experience is not always required, but it can help give your resume that added boost and stand out amongst other applicants. 

Read More: 5 Steps to Start Teaching English Abroad

Can I Teach Abroad With an Associate’s Degree?

Having an Associate’s degree will help make your application to teach English abroad much more competitive and open the doors to more job possibilities. 

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Is It Worth Doing a TEFL Course Without a Degree?

Taking a reputable TEFL course is key to finding success as an English teacher. While not every school or country requires teachers to have a four-year degree, most need a reputable, accredited TEFL certificate at the minimum.

Not only that, but taking a TEFL course can provide you with the tools necessary to plan effective EFL lessons, manage classrooms efficiently, and have the confidence needed for both you as the teacher and your students to succeed.

The Benefits of CIEE’s 150-Hour TEFL Certification Course

The 150-hour TEFL course at CIEE is an internationally trusted name that helps prepare teachers for the classroom. The course is accredited by ACCET, a trustworthy third-party recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. 

Other benefits of CIEE’s 150-hour TEFL course include:

  • 20-hour practicum that allows you to put your newly learned skills to practical use.
  • One-on-one feedback from a professional TEFL tutor.
  • Course material that covers teaching strategies, effective lesson planning, classroom management tips, and more.
  • Grammar and linguistic refresher to help you better understand the struggles non-native speakers face when learning English.

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6 Countries Where You Can Teach English Without A Degree

If you've ever wondered, "Where can I teach English without a degree?" you've come to the right place! This list shares some of the best opportunities around the world for TEFL-certified teachers without a degree. 

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1. Mexico

Average Monthly Salary: $500-$1,000 USD

Mexico is a culturally vibrant country known for its diverse landscapes, delicious food, and incredible history. It has become a popular place to teach English abroad thanks to the high demand for English teachers and year-round hiring periods. 

Aspiring teachers do not need to have a degree to teach English in Mexico, although a reputable TEFL certificate and being a native speaker are required. Teachers without degrees can find jobs teaching in private schools in the country's larger cities. A normal work week for an EFL teacher in Mexico is typically about 20-25 hours a week. It's also possible to find private tutoring gigs to supplement your income.

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2. Argentina 

Average Monthly Salary: $600-$1,100 USD

Best known for the towering peaks of the Andes and the majestic Iguazú Falls, Argentina is often considered one of the safest and best places to teach in South America. EFL teachers without a degree can teach English in private language schools and sometimes even public schools. 

The highest demand for teachers and the best wages can be found in Buenos Aires, Mendoza, and Cordoba. The cost of living in Argentina is reasonable, which helps offset the lower wages teachers are often paid.  

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3. Spain

Average Monthly Salary: $800-$1,500 USD

Teaching English in Europe is a dream for many, but countries in the EU hold some of the strictest requirements for EFL teachers. Thankfully, Spain is one of the easiest places to find a teaching job in Europe. Those without a degree can usually find TEFL jobs in language institutes in places like Madrid, Valencia, and Barcelona. However, many hiring schools in Spain require teachers to have work eligibility in the EU. That means the best option for Americans is typically to find a teaching job with the government or on a student visa. 

If you have an Associate's degree or have completed two years of college level coursework, you're eligible to apply for CIEE's Teach in Spain Volunteer program. This three-month program places participants with a local host family in the region of Castilla y León. During your time in Spain, you’ll volunteer as a language assistant in a public school and gain incredible professional experience.

Another option for those with an Associate’s degree is Spain's government-sponsored Language and Culture Assistant program. This popular program places teachers in public schools around the country on a twelve-month contract. Having a TEFL certificate is not required to apply but is strongly preferred. 

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4. Costa Rica

Average Monthly Salary: $700-$900 USD

Costa Rica may be small, but it’s brimming with spectacular rainforests, sandy beaches, and a low cost of living, attracting English teachers from all over the world. This Central American country is also one of the best places to teach abroad without a degree. Job opportunities for those who only have a TEFL certificate tend to be found in language institutes that help adults learn business English. 

However, it’s possible to find part-time work teaching as a substitute or a private tutor. Places like San Jose and the Central Valley see the highest demand for teaching jobs.

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5. Cambodia

Average Monthly Salary: $700-$1,000 USD

Cambodia is tucked away in South East Asia, a tropical region that enjoys consistently warm temperatures and seasonal monsoons. Many visit Cambodia to marvel at the spectacular ruins of Angkor Wat and enjoy the country's fantastic beaches, but that's not all this great country has to offer. 

While many teachers flock to neighboring Thailand or Vietnam to teach English, Cambodia is an under-rated country that shouldn't be overlooked. A four-year college degree is not usually required to teach in Cambodia, but is strongly preferred. The best English teaching jobs are generally found in the country's capital city of Phnom Penh, as well as in Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.

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6. Peru

Average Monthly Salary: $500-$800 USD

Home to the world wonder, Machu Picchu, Peru is an exciting destination to teach English Abroad. While teacher salaries are not the highest in the market, it's typically enough to cover the cost of living plus spending money. Not only that, but EFL teachers in Peru walk away with life-changing experiences that can't be found anywhere else.

Having a TEFL certificate is a must in order to find a job teaching English in Peru. However, having a four-year degree is not required. Teachers without degrees can expect to find employment in private language institutes, with the highest demand in the country's capital city of Lima.

Bonus: Teach English Online Without a degree and Live Anywhere!

Teaching English online is another fantastic way to earn an income with the freedom to live and work anywhere. To secure a job teaching English online, you'll need a reputable TEFL certificate and be a native English speaker. Although some companies also require teachers to have a four-year degree, there are many places that hire online English teachers without degrees.

Some of the most popular platforms to teach English online without a degree include Skimatalk, Lingoda, and Verbling. Online English teachers can earn anywhere between $9-$25+/hour.

Read More: How to Teach English Online & Earn Money From Home or Abroad