10 Countries where you can teach English without a degree
As the English language continues to dominate the global markets, the high demand for English teachers doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Many countries are offering native speakers the opportunity to teach English without needing a degree.
Being an ESL teacher is a reward, but it doesn’t hurt to have a few extra perks sprinkled on top. Teaching English abroad is a great way to meet new people, explore new places and experience diverse cultures all while earning a salary.
There are endless opportunities beyond the borders of South Korea and Japan, and all you’ll need is a TEFL certification.
So whether you’ve been slaving away at a desk for far too long and you’re looking to make a change, or you’re a recent high school graduate eager to take on the world, there’s something out there for everyone. Here are just a few amazing countries that are great for teaching English without a degree:
Cambodia is a popular tourist destination within Southeast Asia thanks to ancient temples such as Angkor Wat, and it’s incredible beaches in the South. But compared to its neighbours, Thailand and Vietnam, it’s often overlooked when it comes to ESL positions.
Despite its tumultuous past, Cambodia has seen an economic boom over recent years, creating a demand for English teachers. Because the demand is so high, teachers can expect to find jobs year-round, and while most language schools prefer a degree, a TEFL certificate is enough to get you hired. Compared to its Asian counterparts, teaching salaries are modest, but the cost of living is low and will provide teachers with a comfortable lifestyle.
Affectionately referred to as “The Kingdom of Wonder,” there’s no escaping this country’s bewitching landscapes, making it the ideal teaching destination to travel and explore Southeast Asia.
Palm-fringed beaches, mouth-watering food and ancient Mayan ruins make this one of the most exciting and sought-after countries for prospective ESL teachers. Thanks to Mexico’s ties to the United States, the demand for English teachers is huge, making it relatively easy to find work with a TEFL certificate and no experience.
Most positions are available in Mexico’s private and international schools, but there’s also a high-demand for Business English, which can be a great way to make extra money. Most schools and positions don’t offer free accommodation, and the average teaching salary is not comparable to that of Europe and Asia, but you’ll be more than comfortable thanks to the low cost of living that Mexico provides. If you love warm weather, friendly people and amazing beaches, then Mexico is a great teaching destination for you!
Thanks to its low cost of living, tropical climate and natural splendour, Costa Rica has become the go-to destination for English teachers eager to explore Latin America.
Learning English allows Costa Ricans to secure higher-paying jobs, which means that English teachers are always in demand. Because of this many jobs can be found in secondary schools and universities, and because business professionals are also looking to improve their skills, teaching Business English is another option for those looking to get into the ESL market in Costa Rica.
Most institutions don’t provide accommodation, but rent is relatively cheap, even in the larger metropolitan areas such as San Jose. The average salary may be dependent on how many hours you work. But the spectacular mountain views, white sandy beaches, and lush rainforests in this low-cost Central American paradise will more than make up for it.
This Spanish speaking country is fast becoming a favourite amongst ESL teachers. Thankfully, it's not as overcrowded as the rest of Latin America, making it easier to find work. Most positions are in private schools, language institutes, or universities within major cities such as Managua and Granada.
Nicaragua is a great place to start your English teaching career and fine-tune your Spanish skills, but it’s not the place for you if you’re hoping to get rich. Many schools offer a modest salary, but since the cost of living is quite cheap, it’s not very difficult to live a comfortable lifestyle. This country provides a beautiful, slow-paced lifestyle that will enrich your teaching experience.
Over the years, Argentina has become a hotspot for digital nomads looking to explore this country’s vibrant landscape and culture, and English teachers are no exception. Thankfully, the demand for English teachers is quite high, especially within major cities such as Buenos Aires and Cordoba. Native speakers are likely to find positions within an international language school, and the hiring period is usually in March and August.
Argentina is an amazing destination for anyone who loves the outdoors, and public transport is often inexpensive. Many institutes don’t provide accommodation, but the cost of living is affordable, and you can expect to save on accommodation if you share with a coworker. If you’re eager to save a ton of money while teaching, then Argentina might not be the best option. However, it is great for learning Spanish, the tango and visiting the Andes region.
Snow and vodka are two words that may come to mind when you think of Russia, but this intriguing country has more to offer Native English teachers than you think. A huge country ready to be explored, Russia is filled with culture, history, art, ballet, classical music and incredible architecture. There’s something for everyone, making it one of Europe’s hidden gems.
The ESL world has definitely taken notice, and it’s quickly become one of the top destinations for English teachers. If you have a TEFL certificate, finding teaching jobs in Russia is quite easy, and there are plenty of options around Russia within private schools and training centers.
Not only is Russia an affordable option for those looking to travel around Europe, but many schools offer flight reimbursements and accommodation. It’s important to note that while Russia provides an interesting and unique culture, the harsh climate and lifestyle isn’t for everyone.
If you're not a fan of cold weather, then sunny Spain is a great option. You may be surprised to know that most positions only need a TEFL certificate and an enthusiastic spirit, which is amazing! However, this does make Spain a popular option for many teachers which will make finding positions within cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia incredibly difficult.
But don’t fret, the demand for English remains high as many Spaniards are eager to improve their English and get an edge in the job market. Finding opportunities outside of these bigger cities are better options. The cost of living within Spain can be affordable with the right budget tweaks, but be aware that most schools don’t offer accommodation which can push up your living expenses.
The mere mention of Romania immediately conjures images of Count Dracula and Transylvania thanks to Bram Stoker’s literary masterpiece. This has, unfortunately, cast a menacing shadow over this vibrant and multi-ethnic country, but it’s the perfect destination for teachers who might enjoy something a little more off the beaten track.
There are plenty of teaching options when looking for work in Romania. Many teachers are able to find positions across the country in public schools or private international schools, which are usually located in Bucharest. Most teachers are typically paid on an hourly wage, making teaching salaries quite modest. But with the cost of living so low, teachers are able to enjoy a good lifestyle. This is an amazing country for anyone looking to explore medieval castles, and have an affordable home-base when travelling the rest of Europe.
No, we're not talking about the state in the US. Georgia is a small Eastern European country that offers a fascinating history, majestic cathedrals and unbelievable hospitality. Over recent years, the Georgian government has created initiatives to aid English teaching, which has created a demand for English teachers within private and government schools throughout the country.
Because Georgia provides a relatively new market for ESL teachers, teaching salaries are not spectacular. But thanks to the low cost of living in cities such as Tbilisi, you’re able to cover necessary expenses without much hassle. If you’re a wine lover, then this charming country might pique your interest as it claims to be the birthplace of wine!
Jordan is a country that should be at the top of your list if you’re eager to explore the Middle East. Most positions are in the capital city of Amman, and with the cost of living quite reasonable in this city, you’ll be able to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.
Jordan offers a culture that is one of the most liberal in the Middle East, but foreigners should observe local customs. Along with sponsoring your work visa, some schools may offer to reimburse your flight and offer to pay for your accommodation. Spend your free time exploring the ancient city of Petra, floating in the dead sea or enjoying a delicious cup of Jordan’s famous cardamom coffee - there’s plenty to explore within this Middle Eastern gem.
Based on the list above, not having a degree doesn’t have to mean the end of the road. There are plenty of countries that offer ESL opportunities to eager teachers that haven’t made our list. Doing your research and completing your TEFL certification will significantly increase your chances of getting hired.
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Now that there’s nothing stopping you, start packing your bags and make your ESL dream a reality!