You’re dying to apply for a killer job teaching English online you just found. It looks nearly perfect.
But there’s one tiny problem. You don’t have a four-year degree. And the job posting is looking for applicants with a bachelor’s degree. ????
So do you go for this awesome job opportunity, or let it pass you by? That depends.
Do I really need a degree to teach English online?
There are opportunities to teach English online without a degree. Which brings us to our quick list of online English teaching jobs that pay well and don’t require a bachelor’s degree.
Below this list of jobs, we also offer tips for job searching for an online English teaching gig without a bachelor’s degree (so don’t click that ‘x’ button just yet!)
A (non-exhaustive) list of online English teaching companies that don’t require a degree:
While there’s no perfect answer to the question of whether you can teach English online without a degree, we do know of a few instances in which you should (and shouldn’t) take a run at an online English teaching job that looks amazing, even it feels slightly out of reach.
Because whether you're thinking about college, already enrolled, or have zero interest in ever going to college, there are ways to find employment as an English teacher online.
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You should apply to teach English online without a degree if:
A degree isn’t listed as a requirement.
The education section of an online English teaching job description is an important one to examine. Most online English tutoring companies are quite clear on their minimum education and experience requirements.
Hey, if you didn’t have the time, money or the inclination to attend college, we get it. Higher education is getting harder to pay for. Not only that, but lots of people have degrees they don't need for their job or have jobs totally unrelated to their major.
If the description doesn’t say a degree is a must, then it’s fair to assume that they will consider an applicant without it. SayABC, for example, welcome applications from candidates without a degree for three-month online English teaching contracts.
Your degree isn’t in education.
When you’re reading job postings, be sure that you’re not mistaking “bonus” or nice-to-have requirements, like a teaching license, with hard-and-fast requirements.
With almost no exceptions, when it comes to teaching English online, your bachelor’s degree can be in literally anything.
This means you don’t need to have majored in English, linguistics or education.
While applications from licensed or certified teachers are certainly welcome, you really just need to be fluent in English and have a degree in any major. Experience teaching/coaching/mentoring kids or adults (depending on the age group the company caters to) can be required/considered an asset, depending on the company hiring.
Oh, and similarly to teaching English abroad in general, you don’t need to speak a foreign language to qualify for online English tutoring jobs, either.
You’re studying for your degree.
Free time can be scarce during college, but when expenses pile up quickly, a part-time or flexible schedule job is a good way to offset costs while ensuring there’s enough time left over for both academics and extracurriculars.
If you’re currently enrolled in a college program and are looking for a side gig with flexible hours that you can do from home, then there are plenty of online English teaching companies that will hire you. QKids is just one example currently hiring college students to teach English online.
If you’re thinking of teaching abroad, either for a semester or after graduation, then there’s really no better way to get your application to the top of the pile than by gaining direct experience teaching English language learners.
Recommended reading: Want to teach abroad? Try teaching English online first.
You have previous teaching experience but no degree.
Select teach abroad employers won’t require applicants to have a college degree, provided you have adequate teaching experience.
If you don’t have a degree but you’re already an experienced ESL instructor (either in your home country or abroad), have some business know-how and love the idea of being your own boss, you could even choose to tutor English online on a freelance basis.
This route will involve a lot more legwork, of course, in the sense that you’ll need to market your services effectively and source your own English students. Due to the almost insatiable demand for online English learning, however, it’s an option that has the potential to turn into a profitable career in the long term if you’re successful at building out a steady student base.
You have an ESL certificate but no degree.
If you're a native English speaker but you don’t have a degree or any experience to bolster your application for an online English teaching jobs, we highly recommend you get TEFL certified.
There are even fully online TEFL courses out there, so you won’t have to leave your house to get qualified!
You shouldn’t apply for an online English teaching job without a degree if:
A degree is listed as mandatory.
As much as we hate to break it to you, you will be out of luck with some online English tutoring companies. Many employers, like VIPKID, iTutorGroup, 51Talk, Hujiang and Gogokid, do prefer graduates and use college degrees as one way to weed out their hiring process.
With the employers listed above ☝, no degree = no easy way in.
This is doubly the case for those entering the field without much (or any) previous experience teaching English. Some companies will accept an applicant with experience in lieu of qualifications but most will not accept someone without either.
And some online English tutoring companies are even more selective about who they hire. VIPKID, for example, not only require applicants to have a degree and eligibility to work in the US or Canada. They’re also looking for candidates who have relevant experience working with young children, whether as a teacher, coach, camp counselor or babysitter.
Because requirements do vary across employers, we always recommend you to apply for online English tutoring jobs that align well with your background and aspirations. We’ve all been there and it can get frustrating (and disheartening) to get zero response back from numerous applications.
Recommended reading: This calculator shows how much you can earn teaching English online
That said, there are literally thousands of people teaching English abroad without college degrees every year. You might want to try your luck at applying to jobs in countries where you can teach English without a degree, getting some hands-on ESL teaching experience and using that to give your online English teaching resume a boost. Today's post has covered a really common question we get at Teach Away - online English teaching jobs that require no degree to get started. Looking for more online English teaching job opportunities, with or without a degree?