How to become an ESL teacher with no degree?

How to become an ESL teacher with no degree?

People tend to think that lack of degree can ruin possible career opportunities and spoil a whole life. Probably, such a twist of events was real more than 30 years ago. Thanks to advanced technology and human curiosity, non-degree holders can realize their potential and succeed. There is only one thing that should be taken into account. You must be special. It doesn't mean that you must be good at everything. However, you should find your strengths to offset your weaknesses, especially not having a degree.


Can you be an ESL teacher without a degree?

As we mentioned, a college diploma doesn't provide you with the necessary information on how to teach English. Despite that fact, having a degree is required by most employers around the world. So, we don't promise that getting a job without an education will be easy. However, it's quite possible. There are a few reasons why some institutions have such strict requirements. Firstly, some countries need a reason for giving you a work visa. Otherwise, you are a traveler and can't teach legally. In this case, your major is proof to stay in a country for a long time. On the other hand, some high schools or colleges stick to the same idea because of status and public opinion. How is it possible to have uneducated staff at a state institute? It sounds old-fashioned and unfair a bit. Thankfully, there are other ways how to get a job for non-degree holders. Some countries consider education is preferred but not required. Also, online teaching is in high demand, which leads to a constant lack of good teachers. You should have a try to focus on things that you can improve for a short time. Positive traits, qualifications, and excellent knowledge of the language can make you an attractive candidate.

Bachelor's degree

Don't underestimate your personal qualities. They can make a lasting impression on potential employers. Of course, professional achievements play the important role in getting a job, however, it's not everything. When it comes to teaching children, schools pay attention to such things as a sense of humor, patience, and cheerfulness. So, it's highly unlikely they choose a sensible high-qualified professional instead of a sensitive and thoughtful newcomer. Also, if you can't boast any accomplishments, let an interviewer know, that you are a hard worker and ready to be trained. Keep in mind that all your previous experience might be useful and relate to teaching. Whether you've taken care of neighbors' children or helped your little relatives with homework, you can adjust it to prior practice. Think of what you've learned from it and make some conclusions.

Previous experience is really important. Of course, it won't replace knowledge about learning approaches and teaching techniques. But it will help to identify room for improvement and possible students' difficulties. That's why it's significant to become qualified.

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What certification do you need to teach ESL?

Teaching English as a foreign language implies qualification to teach people with different purposes and motivation. It unfolds secrets and methods on how to teach receptive and productive skills. There isn't the only opinion about the most appropriate and valuable course. All of them are useful and different. They will help not only teachers from non-English-speaking countries but also native speakers. Because as we said, excellent knowledge of the language isn't enough to become a good tutor. So, even Americans and the British will know more about explaining grammar and vocabulary.


This certification is well-known as Teaching Knowledge Test. It covers 3 modules about students' language background, lesson planning, and classroom management. Also, it suggests learning CLIL and teaching young learners. It's possible to pass all modules at once or take them in different months. Thanks to remote studying, you can choose whether you go to a local center or do that online. Passing each module costs about £40. The course doesn't require a high level of the language or previous experience, however, having them will help to understand some tricky situations. In spite of that the certificate from Cambridge English is recognized in more than 60 countries in the world, it is considered as the beginning of teaching path and provides neither detailed feedback about your lessons nor getting practice.


Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages provides a lot of information regarding:

  • teaching all skills in English;
  • classroom management;
  • providing feedback and analyses of students' mistakes;
  • relevant materials for adults;
  • making effective lessons.

Due to the pandemic situation, there is a chance to enroll in the course and study online. The price varies between $1300-1800. It is said that the course doesn't require teaching experience, however, people prove the opposite. A trainee must go through an interview to show perfect and fluent English. That's why people with Upper-Intermediate level might struggle to do that. A candidate must have a Proficiency level of English to understand the course. Generally, high-qualified ESL tutors take this course to improve their skills. Needless to say, this certification is highly respected around the world.


Such courses are pretty similar. That's why people usually take them at once. TEFL courses allow teachers to work in non-English-speaking countries, whereas TESOL helps to expand such a map and work in others, such as the USA, the UK, and Australia. It suits beginner teachers with Intermediate level or higher, who are not ready to pay much. TEFL certification costs around $400-800, but it depends on the course duration. 120 hours of studying is enough amount of time to get involved in the teaching process. Also, it includes teaching not only adults but children and even teenagers. It provides you with necessary information about teaching general English, Business one, and ESP. You can choose an online way of studying, and work at the same time. It's one of the most respected and requested certificates worldwide.

Where can you teach ESL without a degree?

As we discussed, there are some strict requirements to teach English abroad. Fortunately, it doesn't relate to all countries. When some schools want to hire teachers only from English-speaking countries, the rest institutions and language centers welcome even non-native speakers. You should consider the places, where a work visa has nothing to do with your education. There are the best countries, which provide decent work conditions and benefits to ESL tutors.



The majority of Asian countries have strict degree requirements for ESL teachers. That's why Cambodia seems to be perfect. It provided only volunteer jobs for a long time. But now the amount of paid positions is growing. You can get something between $500-2000 a month depending on the workplace and your skills. But not salary makes this place a perfect destination. Tropical climate, historical temples, and friendly population will persuade you to stay. Also, there is a good chance to put money by because of the low cost of living. That's a wonderful opportunity to get familiar with another culture and visit nearby countries for intrepid travelers.



Don't hurry up to rule out this place from your list just because of cold weather. There is a huge demand for native and non-native English teachers. Almost every person there is interested in learning the language. That's why there is a variety of options where to work. You can teach professionals in international companies such as Danone, Nivea, and Bayer. There is a chance to give a speech as a foreign guest at conferences and events. Also, you can teach individuals on your own. What is more important is an average salary and other benefits. It's possible to earn $900-1500 a month. It's not a lot in comparison with Europe, however, the cost of living in Russia is way cheaper too. Usually, employers provide a rent-free apartment or other benefits to ESL teachers from foreign countries. If you consider Russia, we highly recommend you to choose one of the huge cities, either Moscow or Saint Petersburg.

Here you can find more beautiful places, where you don't need a degree to teach English.

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