5 Things You Can Do With a TEFL Certificate and No Degree
Quite often the first question I am asked is: “Where can I teach and earn a decent salary without a degree?” It is a very difficult question to answer because, what exactly is a decent salary? It varies from person to person. That said, if you want to earn mega bucks you need to teach in the Middle East and for that you do need a degree.
But if you currently don’t hold a university degree, what are your options? Let’s take a look at some ideas of what you can do with a good quality TEFL Certificate and no degree:
- Get Experience first: You can still teach abroad! But you absolutely must gain teaching experience. If you don’t have a degree or no teaching experience this is going to be imperative. The Assessed Teaching Practice you do on our TEFL course, is not nearly enough and is not really what Academic Directors look for. They want to see that you have dealt with real student needs, common TEFL challenges, prepared lessons, done research, sourced teaching material and perhaps even team-taught. One of the more important questions to ask when looking to do a TEFL course is whether you are given the opportunity to volunteer teach (which we do!) Ramp up as many volunteer teaching hours and then apply to teach in countries like Argentina, Nicaragua, Russia, Vietnam, Spain, Mexico and China*. These countries are currently welcoming English teachers with no degrees but teaching experience and excellent references are a prerequisite.
- Teach Online: This can be a very satisfying option too and it is suited to teachers who need more freedom. I recommend starting by teaching for an online school to gain experience and a get a feel for what it is like. Then you can set yourself up at home. Do the research! You need to have a good internet connection (not a dongle), a PC with a webcam, a headset and a microphone. You will need to advertise your services online. There are a lot of online English teachers so you need to set yourself apart. The most important thing is to think of why students should have lessons with you.
- Teach kids: It is a lot easier to get a job teaching children English if you don’t have a degree. Au pairing is a great way to do this but you actually need to like children! There is an emerging market here in South Africa. Foreigners are immigrating to South African and they need their kids to speed track their English language learning so they can be integrated into the local schooling system. Create a website for yourself with a free tool such as Google Web Designer or Simbla and advertise your services, get a police clearance certificate which you can provide to a prospective family and get going.
- School aftercare/tutoring specialising in English: Similar to number 3, but the children are older, you only have them for a few hours a day in the afternoon and if you set yourself up well, you can host them at your home. This service would be great for parents of second or foreign language speaking children who need after school care. Consider that if the parents themselves are not proficient in English, how are they to help their children?
- Copy Editing: If you have a passion for writing and reading, this is a great angle to take and you really have the freedom to do as much or as little as you like and work from anywhere. You need a PC, internet connectivity and a grammar reference guide. You must pay attention to detail, be meticulous and retain a sense of humor! A proof-reader does the following:
- checks for spelling mistakes, typos, punctuation errors and also checks for correct grammatical and vocabulary usage.
- re-words sentences for clarity and conciseness, eliminates repetition, and ensures a consistent style/register.
- suggests reorganization if it will improve coherence.
- checks formatting so documents look crisp and professional.
Over and above all these ideas – you must do a lot of research. Get connected to like-minded individuals through online forums. Join exclusive TEFL groups on Facebook or LinkedIn and get chatting. If you work at a school, speak to your colleagues. Not having a degree doesn’t have to mean problems for you – you can still achieve a lot if you work for it.
* Since we wrote this article, China has introduced regulations requiring English teachers to hold a university degree. However, you can still do part-time work if you enter the country on a study visa. So if you are prepared to learn a bit of Mandarin, you can still teach in China without a degree!