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Is a College Degree Crucial for Becoming an English Teacher?

Is a College Degree Crucial for Becoming an English Teacher? | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Education comes in many forms, whether through months of hands-on training or years of schooling.

Education comes in many forms. Yet, nowadays, it seems like a college degree is the best and the most meritorious achievement in education –something that employers not only support but also demand.

To produce this article, I questioned some of my fellow colleagues and professionals from the teaching field in my close circle.

"The concept has evolved somewhere in the last 20 years that you need a college degree to ensure your professional success," said AIP managing director Adam Ling. "This has led to many people seeking a four-year degree program and even a master's degree without being completely sure what they want to do professionally."

There is a lot of controversy surrounding this issue. The education system has raised questions about the value of diplomas in today's world. For example, Asmaa Lasheen, a member of the expat community, wanted to know that when hiring an English Teacher, we should accept applicants who have not graduated from college or not. We sought to find answers.

Is a college degree required to make a successful English Teacher?

It depends on the following elements to answer the question in simple terms.

Hiring Teachers

An overwhelming number of teachers, including those with outstanding credentials, believe that a degree is not required for a productive career. Experts, however, say most schools and institutes do not represent this opinion.

"I have two college degrees that I never use, and I'd say at face value, no, you don't need one," Valerie Streif, an English teacher said. "But, sadly, the way HR departments have progressed and the recruiting practices have changed, it has become an important box to tick, something to be considered for a role in a resume, even though the role does not require the skills you have learned as you obtain that degree."

Alex Membrillo, Principal of an International School, said that a four-year degree is a common requirement for positions at his school. If an applicant doesn't have one, we probably won't even check their application.

"The explanation for this is that the agency handles massive advertisement budgets and media expenditures for consumers, and it's crucial that we are staffed with professional workers," he said.

Many managers assume credentials are confirmed by degrees, so they will usually choose an applicant with a degree over one without.


This problem also depends heavily on the specific industry. For example, someone who works in psychology would need a higher degree to work, whereas someone who is in construction would require more hands-on skills and experience.

"No doubt, people will succeed without a degree," Membrillo said. "And they need to choose a direction or profession where they don't need it."

There are several jobs, also at his marketing agency, for which Membrillo doesn't need a degree, such as marketing content writers. He recruits them on the basis of writing samples and evaluations, and he will find them regardless of whether they were college students, going by talent, and expertise rather than education.


No educational degree is right or wrong, no matter what the culture suggests. People learn in various ways, and ultimately it comes down to what works best for the individual.

"It's up to the person to determine how they perceive and evaluate performance," said Jacob Dayan, teacher, and dean. "There are many factors to help determine your own individual success. By giving personal tuition at an early age, for example, you can achieve success without a college degree. To teachers, this is a success story. It is the individual's responsibility to find their own special form of success that challenges them and gives them meaning in life.

Alternatives to a university education

There are several other directions to follow if you don't want to attend college or have the means to attend. Here are the most common.

Trade schools

Trade schools are perfect for those with different interests, who choose to pursue accelerated training and education from elevator installment to radiation therapy for a particular trade. Students usually get a diploma and credentials in their field of study at the end of their studies at a trade school. The route requires less time and money.

"Most students can stop building a mountain of student loan debt by pursuing an associate's degree at a community college or trade school," Ling said. "Regular programs can range from one to two years, depending on the credential or degree being awarded. Therefore, in half the time it takes to complete a four-year degree program, those who follow the skilled trades will already work in their industry and start to become financially independent."

Some of those trades provide more job security than related degrees, Ling said. Stability in the workplace is something that all employees want, and a major reason why many people attend college and receive degrees first.

"Although no job is 100 % secure, people still need to fix their roofs and cars," Ling said. "Such jobs should be done by local professional trade workers."


Apprenticeships are similar to schools of trade, but they provide more hands-on experiences, giving you an understanding of labor demands so you know exactly what to expect. Unlike trade school where you have to pay to study, apprenticeships compensate you for your work.

"In fact, having the ability to learn by doing helps one to become more professional in their job faster," Ling said. "If you're looking for a job that will give you instant gratification and make you an expert faster, the skilled trades may be for you. You can also use the knowledge you acquire in your personal life. Imagine you've children and you want to give them extra classes. If you are a master at teaching, those jobs will cost you a fraction of what the unqualified public would pay for."

Self-made experiences

If you choose not to follow any of the listed choices, you must be sufficiently self-motivated to establish your own classroom with others to teach.

"I had a teacher who had been a former volunteer at an orphanage," Membrillo said. "Although not holding a college degree, he had over 25 years of teaching experience running an orphanage and teaching English there.

Hiring managers continue to consider you as more trustworthy and reliable when you devote your time to developing relationships and interactions with experts in your profession.

"When you start by working for small businesses through personal connections and building up a good reputation and a long experience resume, you will reach a point where no one can doubt your qualifications," Streif said.

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