Teaching English abroad is a fantastic way to earn an income while exploring the world. It’s a chance to see what local life is like in a place completely different from home. Although many countries around the world require English teachers to have a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, there are still some great destinations with less stringent requirements.
People without a degree can gain experience teaching abroad in several countries in North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Europe. To increase their chances of being hired without a degree, job seekers should obtain a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate.
Cambodia is one of the few Southeast Asian countries to legally allow foreigners to teach English without a license. Although no bachelor’s degree is required, a TEFL certification is necessary to demonstrate an ability to teach the subject. Most teaching jobs in Cambodia are in a classroom environment where school-aged students are taught. However, some teachers may find themselves teaching business English to adults or offering private English lessons.
The average salary for English teachers here is around US$700 to US$1,000 per month. It may seem like a small salary, but the dollar stretches far more in Cambodia than in the United States. In addition, teachers can easily travel to neighboring Southeast Asian countries (such as Thailand or Vietnam) on their days off.
Travelers looking to live abroad and experience Spain’s laid-back European lifestyle will be pleased to learn that it is one of the few countries in Europe that does not require English teachers have a degree. All travelers need is a TEFL certificate and an understanding of the laws surrounding visa requirements.
It is difficult to get an EU work visa as an American. Often the best chance of getting a visa is to travel to Spain on a student visa, which allows the visa holder to work part-time for up to 20 hours per week. Another option is to participate in a working holiday program and obtain a teaching position under the program. Teachers in Spain can expect to earn between US$800 and US$1,500 per month depending on their experience and number of hours worked.
Mexico is a great option for teaching English abroad in North America. Mexico is full of vibrant destinations with educational opportunities, including Cancun, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Playa del Carmen, and Oaxaca. Mexico does not require a bachelor’s degree; aspiring English teachers simply need a TEFL certificate and must be fluent in English, speaking at a native English level. To obtain your visa, it is necessary to have an official job offer letter from the school that hires you.
Travelers can expect a modest income in Mexico as an English teacher with salaries ranging from US$500 to US$800 per month. Although the pay is lower than some destinations, traveling and living in Mexico is also more affordable. The cost of living in Mexico is 112% cheaper than in the United States.
5 Costa Rica
Head to Central America to experience Pura Vida (pure life) while teaching without a degree. Costa Rica is a country with incredible natural landscapes and 5% of the world’s biodiversity. A degree is not required in Costa Rica, but not having one can make it harder to find a job, so having a valid TEFL certification and being a native English speaker is important to land a job.
Teachers can expect to work just 20-25 hours a week, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the country’s national parks and beaches. Teaching English in Costa Rica brings in between US$700 and US$900 per month.
Travelers looking for ways to earn money while backpacking through South America can stop over in Peru to top up their bank accounts while teaching in Lima, Arequipa, or Cusco. Peru does not require a bachelor’s degree or TEFL certificate, however, obtaining a TEFL certification can improve a candidate’s chances of being hired. Teachers must be native English speakers. They can expect to work 20 to 30 hours per week and earn between $500 and $1,000 per month.
Laos is another option for teaching English in Southeast Asia without a license. The country does not require a degree, but a TEFL certificate may be an advantage for employment. The average salary in Laos for English teachers ranges from US$500 to US$1,000 per month, but can be supplemented by teaching English online or through private lessons.
Travelers who want to spend time in South America off the beaten path can apply for English teaching jobs in Colombia. This beautiful country is famous for its coffee, dancing and affordable prices. It has become popular among digital nomads and has many teaching centers including Medellín, Bogotá, and Cartagena.
Colombia does not require a bachelor’s degree or that applicants for positions be native English speakers, as long as they have native-level proficiency and a TEFL certificate. On average, teachers can earn between US$500 and US$1,050 per month here.
Teaching English in North Africa is sure to be an adventure and is possible without a license. Egypt only requires foreign English teachers to have a TEFL certificate and to have a work permit. At the beginner level with no previous teaching experience, teachers can earn between 300 and 700 USD per month in Egypt. There are opportunities to earn a higher salary by teaching privately or at the college level.