Can I teach English abroad with an associate's degree?

Almost 700,000 people graduate with an associate’s degree, a two-year degree awarded at many junior and community colleges across the States, every single year.

(Note: The Canadian and UK equivalent to a US associate’s degree are two-year diploma programs, offered at a variety of post-secondary education institutions.)

There are so many great reasons to earn an associate’s degree. Whether you plan to transfer to a four-year college for a bachelor’s degree or better prepare yourself for the job market, an associate’s degree is a cheaper and less time-consuming way for any student to get their first two years of college under their belt.

But what if you want to move abroad and teach English? Does your associate’s degree count for anything in the competitive global ESL job market? Where can (and can’t) you teach with your associate’s degree? And how can associate’s degree holders make the most of their credential when it comes to teaching English abroad?

Read on to find out the answers!

1. Add more value to your associate’s degree with a TEFL certificate.

teach abroad associate's degree

The standard qualifications to teach English abroad usually include a bachelor’s degree, native-level English skills and a TEFL certification.

If you’re falling short of this first requirement, then a surefire way to make your resume stand out amidst the competition (the majority of whom will have a four-year degree) is to get TEFL certified.

Getting TEFL certified will not only get you shortlisted for jobs. It will also expand your ESL teaching know-how and help you impress at the interview stage.

In short: It’s going to be difficult for you to get hired for a well-paying, legit English teaching job without a TEFL.

2. Search for English teaching jobs abroad you qualify for with an associate’s degree.

can you teach abroad with an associate degree

Most government teaching programs (like EPIK in South Korea)accept only graduates with a bachelor’s degree.

While China is one country where you need a four-year bachelor’s degree, there are a whole bunch of English teaching destinations overseas that welcome applications from associate’s degree holders with the right TEFL training.

Take for example South American countries, like:

These are all great countries to focus your job search if you’re interested in living and traveling in an astoundingly diverse, beautiful and dynamic region. (Yup, that makes two of us!)

The salaries aren’t as high as you can expect in Europe or Asia, but the cost of living and competition for jobs is much lower.

And if Asia is where you want to teach, don’t panic - all is not lost!

Countries like Taiwan, Thailand and Cambodia don’t require overseas teachers to have completed a four-year degree - your two-year degree and TEFL certificate is plenty.

And South Korea isn’t out of bounds, either. The TaLK program accepts candidates with an associate’s degree as well as students who are currently enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program. The perks aren’t quite as good as you’ll get with EPIK, but you’ll earn enough to live comfortably and explore this incredible country.

Read this: No degree? 5 places to consider teaching English abroad so you can see the world this year.

3. Consider volunteer teaching job opportunities.

English teaching opportunities overseas come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re into the idea of teaching English abroad on a volunteer basis, then there are organizations based in countries worldwide that are clambering to hire people with an associate’s degree.

Usually, you’ll earn a stipend to cover your daily living expenses, plus accommodation costs covered. Best of all? By volunteer teaching abroad, you have the chance to live like a local and immerse yourself in the culture and community, rather than experiencing it as a tourist would!

Sold? Get started by reading more about volunteer teaching English in China.

Moving abroad is daunting for any new graduate. You’ve been in education for quite a while and the real world might feel like a terrifying place. But think of the amazing people you’ll meet, the life skills you’ll gain and the experiences you’ll encounter while teaching English abroad.

The world is your oyster. Grab life with both hands and go for it!

esl jobs