Teach with no Degree

Is a degree required to teach English?

Teaching English in schools and language centers is an extremely popular way to earn a good living while experiencing life in different parts of the world. In recent years more and more people have also taken advantage of the huge worldwide demand for the English language by teaching English online from within their home country. Whether you would prefer the adventure of teaching overseas or the convenience of working from home, Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is a realistic option for anyone who has a good standard of written and spoken English.

If you have already conducted some research regarding teaching English abroad or online you might have come across the suggestion that a full degree is required in order to secure a good quality teaching position. However, this is absolutely not true as there are tens of thousands of people without degrees happily teaching English around the world right now. Yes, you might need to be a bit more flexible about your destination, but not having a degree should not stop you fulfilling your dreams of teaching English.

What qualifications will I need to teach English?

In many cases, the only qualification you will need in order to be taken seriously by international employers is a TEFL certificate issued by a reputable course provider such as ITTT. When signing up to a TEFL course with ITTT we are not interested in your work history or academic background as they are largely unimportant when applying for many teaching jobs. All we require is that you are a fluent English speaker with the desire and motivation to do what it takes to reach your goals.

Once TEFL qualified you will be able to apply for teaching jobs in a wide variety of settings in a wide range of countries. Certain countries in Western Europe have always been popular due to their well known history, culture and lifestyle, while Central and Eastern Europe is rapidly catching up thanks to a lower cost of living. Asia is also a very popular region as it has the largest demand for TEFL qualified teachers in the world and plenty of contrasting countries to choose from. Another popular region, particularly with teachers from North America, is Latin America which is famous for its laid back approach to life and many opportunities for adventure.

Check out our guide to all the documents you will need for teaching English abroad.

Can I teach anywhere in the world without a degree?

Although completing a TEFL certification course will allow you to apply for teaching jobs worldwide, if you don’t have a degree you will find there are a few countries where local restrictions mean you will probably need to look elsewhere. In some countries schools are only allowed to sponsor teachers for a work permit if they have a degree and in others there are immigration regulations that limit certain visas to degree holders. However, these countries represent only a small percentage of the available options worldwide and there are more than enough jobs to go around regardless of your degree status.

Teachers without a degree will probably be out of the running for jobs in some of the major teaching destinations in Asia, such as Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. However, employers in other popular locations in the region including Cambodia and Vietnam will happily take on TEFL qualified teachers whatever their academic background. Somewhat surprisingly, there are many countries in Europe that are free from degree restrictions, including Spain, the Czech Republic and Russia. Similarly, Latin America is also a great choice for non-degree holders as popular destinations including Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Mexico are all open to teachers with no set academic backgrounds.

Our how-to guide for Americans teaching English in Europe is well worth a look if Europe is your dream destination.

Can I teach English in China without a degree?

With its huge population and booming economy, China has been the top TEFL destination based on job numbers for some time. However, in recent years the government has tightened the regulations on foreign workers and it is no longer the free for all that it once was. While a degree is still not an official requirement to work as a teacher, it is an official requirement when applying for a Z visa which is what every teacher needs to work legally in the country. Due to these changes it is now difficult, but not impossible, for non-degree holders to teach English in China.

If you are 100% set on China as a destination there is an alternative option that allows you to teach there legally. Internships are now increasingly common in Chinese schools and although the pay is low it can be a good way to gain valuable teaching experience while living in this fascinating country. For this option you will need a student visa known as an X visa which is open to native English speakers over the age of 18.

Unless you qualify for a Z or X visa you cannot teach English legally in China. While looking for jobs online you might come across recruiters who tell you it is fine to work on a business visa or even a tourist visa, but this is simply not true. As the demand for teachers is so high, schools and recruiters will go to great lengths to fill their vacant positions and many teachers still take up these offers. Some schools take the view that getting caught by the authorities is unlikely due to the scale of the TEFL market in China and this is true to some extent. While many teachers working illegally will get away with it, those that do get caught face a rather unpleasant experience and a disappointing end to their overseas teaching adventure.

Take a look at our step-by-step guide to legally teaching English in China


Top countries for teaching English without a degree

Although there are many options for non-degree holders around the world, these are the most popular destinations right now:


Spain is probably the most popular option in Western Europe and what a great option it is. Famous the world over for its culture, Spain also enjoys a modern infrastructure, warm climate, world-class beaches, and convenient transport links to the rest of the continent. The average salary ranges from $1,000 to $1,800 US a month which should be enough to live comfortably, although many teachers top this up by taking on private students in their free time. The only real downside to TEFL in Spain is that it is such a popular destination which means that competition for jobs can be high. The largest markets for teachers can be found in big cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia.


With its vast size and large population, Russia offers a huge amount of potential for English teachers as long as you possess a TEFL qualification as it is expected by most employers. Visitors can enjoy a rich and colourful culture, while fans of the outdoors will be spoiled for choice as skiing, trekking, watersports, and other active pursuits are widely popular. Your level of experience and the type of employer will dictate your level of income, with an average of around $900 to $1,400 per month being typical. Some jobs also include accommodation and even flights so it is worth shopping around before signing on the dotted line. The two big centers for jobs are Moscow and St. Petersburg, although other cities have smaller markets.


Mexico has the largest market for foreign teachers in Latin America which means that jobs are widespread and relatively easy to secure for those with a TEFL certification. Mexico has many attractions for teachers including great weather, a diverse landscape, delicious food, and spectacular beaches. It also has a low cost of living which means the average monthly salary of $500 to $900 will stretch a lot further than in your home country. Another highlight is that many nationalities, including American and British, do not require a visa to enter Mexico. The capital, Mexico City, has a large amount of jobs year-round, while smaller cities and beach resorts are also worth checking out.

Costa Rica

Located in tropical Central America, Costa Rica has been popular with tourists and TEFL qualified teachers for many years. Drawn by the year-round hot weather, exotic wildlife, amazing beaches, and a relaxed and friendly culture, visitors are rarely disappointed with what the country has to offer. The average monthly salary is a modest $700 to $1,000, but with a relatively low cost of living you can make that go a long way. The majority of jobs involve teaching adults in private language centers who generally hire staff at any time of the year. The capital San Jose has by far the largest market, although jobs can also be found in smaller cities and some coastal resorts.


Cambodia is probably the most popular destination in Asia for teachers without a degree as there are plenty of jobs available and the average salary is enough to live a comfortable lifestyle. Visitors to this beautiful country will also find they receive a warm welcome as the local people are known to be exceptionally friendly and keen to share their culture with the outside world. The average monthly salary can vary considerably depending on your level of experience, but you can expect to earn somewhere between $700 and $1,200. Those earning towards the higher end of the scale should find they can save a good chunk of their income each month. The main areas for jobs are the capital, Phnom Penh, and the tourist hub of Siem Reap.


The Middle East region is known for its high salaries and also the tough restrictions most countries have regarding who can apply for teaching jobs. Jordan is the exception to the rule as many employers will gladly take on TEFL qualified teachers regardless of their degree status. Jordan is also popular as it is one of the more liberal countries in the region and the capital city Amman is home to a diverse international community. Monthly salaries vary considerably as your qualifications and previous experience will be taken into account, but the average ranges from $650 to $1,500. The vast majority of teaching jobs are located in Amman which is a safe and peaceful city with plenty of culture to enjoy.

Can I teach English online without a degree?

While a large percentage of TEFL qualified teachers head overseas to work in countries all over the world, an increasing number are choosing to teach English online. This is a very convenient option for anyone who is not in a position to leave home, whether for family, financial or other reasons. As the online teaching sector has grown so rapidly, the number of course providers has exploded. Across these many platforms the individual requirements vary considerably, with many only open to teachers with a degree. However, if you want to take advantage of the ever increasing demand in this sector, there are still several good options for teachers without a degree.

These are ten of the most popular options for teaching English online for non-degree holders right now:


Cambly focuses on providing short chat sessions via webcam for mainly adult students worldwide. No previous experience is necessary, but you will need to be a native English speaker. You can choose exactly when and how much you teach and the pay is $0.17 US per minute ($10.20 US per hour).

For further information or to apply visit the Cambly website.


As this is an app-based platform you will need an Apple or Android smartphone/tablet to apply. PalFish is open to all nationalities as long as you are a fluent English speaker and a TEFL/TESOL or equivalent qualification is necessary. Teaching hours are flexible and you even get to set your own pay rate. Average rates for one-to-one classes range from $10 to $18 US per hour, although some teachers charge considerably more.

To sign-up with PalFish, download the app and follow the instructions.


This platform is mainly aimed at adult students and is open to native English speakers only. Some previous teaching experience is preferred, but it is not an official requirement. You are free to set your own working hours and pay rates, although SkimaTalk takes a 20% cut of your fee in return for providing you with students.

For further information or to apply visit the SkimaTalk website.


Lingoda offers lessons in English, German, French, and Spanish either individually or in small groups, 24 hours a day. As it is the leading online language school in Europe, the requirements are more stringent than many others. Teachers will need to be a native speaker of the language they are teaching, have a TEFL/TESOL or equivalent qualification, and at least two years teaching experience. You are free to choose the hours that suit you best and the pay ranges from €7 to €11 (euro) per hour.

There are two ways to apply to Lingoda. Either fill out the application on the Lingoda website or send a 1-minute video application to [email protected].

Open English

Open English is the number one online English learning platform in Latin America. It provides individual and small class lessons led by native English speakers from North America. Teachers without a degree require a TEFL/TESOL qualification and at least one year of teaching experience. You will be even better placed if you can also speak Spanish or Portuguese. You have to commit to a minimum of ten hours per week and the pay is up to $15 US per hour.

For further information or to apply visit the Open English website.


This platform provides one-to-one sessions using Verbling Video, the company’s own integrated video chat service. Applicants need to be native English speakers with some previous teaching experience. A TEFL/TESOL certificate will increase your chances of being accepted. You are free to set your own available hours and pay rates, with 15% going to Verbling as a commission.

To open an account and make an application visit the Verbling website.


LatinHire is different to most other platforms in this list as it recruits teachers for education companies covering many subjects, not just the English language. Working hours and pay rates are dependent on the subject and your level of experience.

To apply visit the LatinHire website.


iTalki is a huge enterprise that connects over 5 million students with around 10,000 teachers worldwide for individual language lessons. Teachers must be a native English speaker with either a degree or a TEFL/TESOL certification. Teachers can set their own hours to suit their schedule and decide on their own hourly pay rates. The system is based on student reviews, so it is advisable to set your rates at a reasonable level initially in order to build up a profile. Starting rates are typically from $8 to $12 US per hour and iTalki will take their commission off of this. Once you have established yourself you can raise your rates accordingly.

To make an application visit the iTalki website.


This Polish based platform provides one-to-one lessons for adults, children, and business professionals. Applicants must be native English speakers with a TEFL/TESOL certification and at least six months teaching experience in any format. Standard lessons are 20 minutes in duration, with optional 40 or 60 minute formats available. Lessons are on-demand so no prior booking is required. Pay rates range from $5 to $11 US per hour.

To apply visit the Tutlo website.


Preply provides a platform for teachers to conduct lessons in a wide range of languages as well as English. The only requirements are a good internet connection and the company’s own video software. Hours are flexible, from a few hours a week to full-time, and the more you work the less commission you pay. You can set your own pay rate, although your first lesson with each student is effectively a trial lesson as Preply takes the whole fee as a commission. If the student returns for more lessons the commission varies from 18% to 33%. If successful you can expect to earn up to $550 per week.

To make an application visit the Preply website.

How do I get started teaching English without a degree?

The first and most important step for anyone wanting to teach English, regardless of their background, is to complete a TEFL certification course. If you are planning to head overseas to teach we recommend our in-class TEFL course or our 120-hour online course as they both cover all the essential subjects required and are well respected by employers around the world. If you like the idea of teaching English online, you should take a look at our 170-hour TEFL course with online specialization as it includes an extra 50-hour section that is dedicated to the online teaching environment. Check out our online course page for full details of all our online course options.

Once you have worked through your chosen course you will receive your TEFL certification from ITTT and be eligible for our lifetime job support service. This expansive service covers many areas of job hunting, including access to our very own database of employers, unique job leads, assistance with CV/resumes, interview preparation, and help with job contracts. With our years of knowledge and extensive contacts throughout the world, you should be able to find the right kind of job to suit your plans, whether online or in-class. Just remember, most employers are not interested in your academic background. They want to see that you have a TEFL qualification and the enthusiasm and passion that the job requires.

Take a look at our how-to guide for teaching English abroad for a handy break-down of the whole process.