A Practical Guide to Teaching English Abroad

Frank and Friendly Advice written by a Retired Teacher-Trainer, Experienced EFL Teacher
& Former Peace Corps Volunteer Living & Working Abroad since 1989

What if I don't have a degree
or TEFL Training?

Can I still find a job?

Yes, you can.  Without a degree your options will be more limited but are still quite varied.  Having a TEFL certificate can often overcome not having a degree, but not always.

Some parts of China and countries in Latin America are quite open to people without degrees.  Indonesia doesn't require a degree. Even Japan is a possibility for people with Working Holiday Visas (common for Aussies and Kiwis).  Thailand, in theory, requires degrees.  But many schools will hire you without one, though getting a legal work permit is very difficult without a degree.  Ask on the discussion boards for the most current information.  Things change from time to time.

Don't some people buy "fake" degrees?

Yes, they do.  But many countries are growing wise to this problem and are starting verification programs.  Maybe they will never check, maybe they will.  I suspect you would prefer to not have to worry about the midnight knock on the door of the immigration police and being carted off to jail and eventually being fined and deported.  By the way - don't think you can "stonewall" immigration fines prior to deportation.  They often really don't mind just leaving you in jail for months while your family scrapes up the money to get you out.

I can't recommend buying a degree.  I do recommend going to a country where you don't need one (or just doing part-time/short-term work as mentioned above), seeing if you enjoy the occupation, and then going to work on a recognized distance or online college degree.  Once done, you will have more many more options.

What about TEFL Certificates?

Some countries and some schools want you to have some sort of TEFL training.  A good discussion of the issues involved is located at How to Choose a TEFL School.  Can you get by without one?  Yes, but you will probably do a much better job - and feel much better about the job you do - with one.

If you find yourself with a good job making decent money - without a degree.  Use some of that money and your spare time to study online and get yourself a reputable degree.  You'll find your options expand greatly.


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