Demand for ESL teachers is high in all areas of the world and employers typically prefer those who have a TEFL qualification over non-qualified applicants. It is highly recommended that you first complete an internationally accredited TEFL certification before applying for an ESL teaching position. Having some form of teaching experience will also increase your options for employment, though as with a degree, this is not always a requirement.
Where can I teach English without a university degree?
With countries ranging from ancient to very modern, Europe offers a whole range of history, climate, and population density. There are many countries where a degree is not required and these include the ever popular, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic. If you are looking for something quieter, areas of Greece, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria may be more to your taste.
Western European countries such as Germany, France and the Netherlands generally do require a degree when applying for ESL teaching jobs.
Starting in Mexico and working south, it is possible to find ESL teaching positions throughout most of Latin America which do not require a degree. Costa Rica, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil are all popular teaching destinations for teachers with only a TEFL certification. The vast majority of jobs will be located in the major cities of these countries. More jobs are gradually becoming available throughout South America in countries such as Uruguay, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay and Colombia, for example.
North Africa/Middle East
A vast array of different cultures is present within this geographical area and many countries offer ESL teaching positions with just a TEFL certification. These include Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.
However, it is worth noting that many of the higher paying positions in the Middle East will require a degree and some experience.
Southeast Asia is a very popular teaching and travel destination. With a huge variety of environments, including vibrant cities, tropical jungles, white sandy beaches, and paradise islands, S.E. Asia has a lot to offer. In many areas your salary will be relatively high compared to the local population. The most popular cities include those within Vietnam and Cambodia. Should you wish for more adventure you may want to consider countries such as Myanmar or Laos.
Other Asian countries such as China, South Korea and Japan generally do require a degree.
A further option to consider for positions without a degree is teaching English online. With a computer, headset and good internet provision, it is possible to teach from anywhere in the world.
Some restrictions will apply, for example China has recently changed its regulations regarding online teachers having to teach from within the country. As always, do your research before making any solid plans.