Can I be an English teacher without an English degree?

Absolutely! Many language schools worldwide are more interested in your teaching skills and passion than your specific educational background. While possessing a degree can offer additional opportunities, it is not a definitive barrier. Many individuals without degrees successfully pursue and thrive in English teaching roles abroad.

Table of Contents

Why is a degree required to do certain TEFL teaching jobs?

How can I get a TEFL job if I don't have a degree?

Where can I teach English if I don't have a degree?

Why is a degree required to do certain TEFL teaching jobs?

While there is no universal mandate stating TEFL teachers must have a bachelor's degree, several TEFL jobs do require one. The primary rationale behind this requirement is not necessarily pedagogical but administrative, mainly to fulfill visa regulations set by specific countries. Indeed, while personal qualities like passion and rapport-building are invaluable, possessing a degree often becomes essential for legal work eligibility. Nonetheless, while institutional teaching roles in certain countries may demand a degree, many online teaching positions and private tutoring opportunities might not. It is essential to research specific job requirements and be wary of bypassing established regulations, as it might lead to precarious employment conditions and legal challenges.

How can I get a TEFL job if I don't have a degree?

While having a degree can be an advantage in the TEFL industry, it isn't always a necessity. If you are eyeing a TEFL role without a degree, consider these strategies to bolster your prospects:

  • Prioritize TEFL Certification: Many institutions may bypass the degree requirement if you possess a credible TEFL certification. This certificate not only equips you with essential teaching skills but also showcases your dedication to the profession.
  • Opt for Specialized Certifications: Stand out by adding specialized TEFL certifications to your profile, such as those focusing on teaching young learners or business English.
  • In-Person Applications: Directly approaching schools or language centers in your desired teaching country can be beneficial. A face-to-face interaction can often leave a lasting impression, giving you an edge over online applicants. This approach is particularly effective in regions like Europe and Latin America.
  • Venture into Online Teaching: The virtual teaching world is expansive and constantly growing. Numerous platforms seek qualified TEFL teachers, with many not mandating a degree. This route also provides the flexibility to teach from almost anywhere, but always ensure you are compliant with local visa regulations.

In summary, while a degree is beneficial, it is not the sole pathway to a fulfilling TEFL career. Your passion, skills, and the right strategies can pave your way.

Where can I teach English if I don't have a degree?


If you are a British or Irish citizen, you can legally teach anywhere in the EU (although Brexit might change this in the future). This means that, unless otherwise stated by the employer, a degree is not required. However, given the high level of competition for jobs in many European countries, many employers would prefer you to have a degree. If you are already on the ground there are still options.

Teachers without a degree often have better opportunities in Central and Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.


The market for English teachers in most Asian countries is extremely big, and many of the most popular countries, including China, South Korea, Thailand, Japan, and Vietnam, require their teachers to have a university degree.

Cambodia and Laos provide the most opportunities in Asia for English teaching without a degree. In Cambodia, there is a high demand for English teachers, and most schools will hire teachers without a degree if they have a TEFL certification. A degree, on the other hand, may be required for higher-paying jobs in international schools or universities.

India and Sri Lanka are two other options. Because English is an official language in India there is a lot of competition for teaching positions. Overall, there are more volunteer positions for teaching English without a degree available in India than paid positions.

Central and South America

Without a doubt, this vast region provides the most opportunities for non-degree TEFL graduates. Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay are all viable options if you don't have a degree.

The Middle East and North Africa

Most Middle Eastern countries have strict TEFL job requirements, with many requiring a Master's degree, a TEFL Diploma, and/or several years of experience. However, in countries such as Jordan, Morocco, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Qatar, a career without a Bachelor's degree may still be possible.