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 somewhere 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 beautiful destinations with less stringent requirements.
Individuals with no degree can gain the experience of teaching abroad in several countries across North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. To better their chances of getting 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 countries in Southeast Asia that legally permits foreigners to teach English without a bachelor’s degree. Although no bachelor's degree is required, a TEFL certification is necessary to demonstrate an ability to teach the material. Most teaching jobs in Cambodia are in a classroom environment teaching school-age students. However, some teachers may find themselves teaching business English to adults or offering private English tutoring.
The average salary for English teachers here is around $700-$1000 USD per month. This may seem like a small paycheck, but the dollar stretches much further in Cambodia than in the United States. Plus, teachers can easily travel to nearby countries in Southeast Asia (like Thailand or Vietnam) on their days off.
Travelers who want a chance to live abroad and experience the easy-going European lifestyle of Spain will be excited to learn that it’s one of the few countries in Europe that doesn't require English teachers to have a degree. All travelers need is a TEFL certificate and an understanding of the laws surrounding visa requirements.
It's challenging to get a work visa for the EU as an American. Often, the best chance of acquiring a visa is to head 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 get a teaching job as part of the program. Teachers in Spain can expect to earn anywhere from $800-$1500 USD per month depending on their experience and amount of hours worked.
Mexico is a great option for teaching English abroad within North America. Mexico is full of vibrant destinations with teaching opportunities, including Cancun, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Playa del Carmen, and Oaxaca. Mexico doesn’t 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 get your visa, it’s necessary to have an official letter of the employment offer from the school that hires you.
Travelers can expect a modest income in Mexico as an English teachers with salaries ranging from $500-$800 USD per month. Although the pay is lower than in 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 the 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 isn’t required in Costa Rica, but not having one can make the job search more challenging, so it’s important to have a valid TEFL certification and be a Native English speaker to land a position.
Teachers can expect to work just 20-25 hours per week, allowing lots of time to enjoy the national parks and beaches across the country. Teaching English in Costa Rica pays anywhere from $700-$900 USD per month.
Travelers looking for ways to make money while backpacking across South America can make a stop in Peru to refill their bank accounts while teaching in Lima, Arequipa, or Cusco. Peru doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree or a TEFL certificate, however, getting a TEFL certification can improve a candidate’s chances of being hired. Teachers should be Native English speakers. They can expect to work anywhere from 20 to 30 hours a week and make $500-$1000 USD per month.
Laos is another option for teaching English in Southeast Asia without a bachelor’s degree. The country doesn’t require a degree, but a TEFL certificate can provide an advantage in getting hired. The average salary in Laos for English teachers ranges from $500-$1000 USD per month, but can be supplemented by teaching English online or taking on private tutoring jobs.
Travelers looking to spend some 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 budget-friendly prices. It’s become popular among digital nomads and has many hubs for teaching, including Medellín, Bogotá, and Cartagena.
Colombia doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree or that applicants for roles are Native English speakers, as long as they have Native-level proficiency and a TEFL certificate. On average, teachers can earn $500-$1050 USD per month here.
Teaching English in Northern Africa is sure to be an adventure and is possible without a bachelor’s degree. Egypt only requires English teachers from overseas to have a TEFL certificate, and they must have a work permit. At the entry-level with no prior teaching experience, teachers can make around $300-$700 USD per month in Egypt. There are opportunities to earn a higher salary when teaching privately or at the college level.