If that travel bug has bitten you and you yearn to make a big change in your life, ditching your 9-5 in favor of a global adventure, you’ve probably considered teaching English abroad. Many people, maybe like you, with this dream don’t have degrees for a variety of reasons: you’re too young and are just on a gap year, you couldn’t afford one or perhaps you decided to shun the crowds and do things your own way, hoping to be the next Zuckerberg, Jobs or Assange.
But you’ve probably heard that you might need a bachelor’s degree to qualify. So let’s explore this and get your questions answered!
So how important is it to have a degree?
In most circumstances, the requirements to teach English overseas will include a bachelor’s degree. This is particularly true of destinations like Thailand, Vietnam, China, South Korea and Colombia among others where a bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite to signing up and being offered a job.
A lot of the time the local governments set these rules but occasionally it’s the schools or language centers who set this requirement and with the sheer number of degree-holding applicants applying, particularly from North America, there is no short supply of qualified would-be teachers.
I’m still waiting for my degree certificate, can I apply?
Perhaps you’re in the process of completing your degree or perhaps you’re graduating soon but haven’t received your certificate yet. That’s not usually a problem, so long as you have it by the time you’re ready a few weeks prior to starting your job.
Countries like Thailand and Vietnam might require you to have it 6 weeks or more prior to starting, South Korea will require you to be in possession of one in order for you to start interviewing and Colombia usually requires you to have your certificate in possession when you apply.
Is there anywhere that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree?
One of our newest and most exciting programs won’t require you to hold a bachelor’s degree to teach there: Teaching English in Myanmar. Sandwiched between Thailand, India, Bangladesh and China, Myanmar is a country full of unique culture, mysterious ancient ruins and stunning scenery.
While Myanmar had been shut off from the outside world until recently, it recently opened it’s doors to foreigners and is looking to attract many English teachers to help it grow its tourism business and provide a better future to its citizens from employment to study abroad opportunities for which the ability to speak English is a necessity.
While bachelor’s degrees are preferred, non-degree holders are regularly accepted to teach here also. This makes Myanmar a great option for anyone wanting to use the country as a springboard to explore the region, whether that be a wild weekend in Bangkok or wandering around India’s Taj Mahal or even hiking in the Himalayas. Myanmar is a great option!
[UPDATE: 2018: You are now required to hold a bachelor’s degree to teach English in Thailand, except for if you’re joining the volunteer teach program]
Out of all the destinations, one of the most exciting doesn’t require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree in order to teach there. That’s right, you can volunteer-teach English in Thailand without a bachelor’s degree! They require a minimum of you being 20 years or older, you’ve completed high school (grade 12) are a native English speaker with a good command of spoken and written English with a clean criminal record and hold citizenship of one of 7 countries plus the EU.
Why is a degree so important for teaching English abroad?
Well for one it’s a quick way for employers to see the caliber of person they’re getting. While not all hard working people hold degrees, most degree holders would have proven their ability to work hard having put in the time and dedication to complete a degree. It also shows employers a level of intelligence as most bachelor’s degrees have high requirements for enrollment and for passing and are regulated to some sort of internationally recognized standard.
It will also show them that you have the ability to communicate effectively; having completed written assignments, presentations and exams in English means you know how to explain yourself to others. Finally though, the parents of the children you’ll be teaching and sometimes the students themselves (particularly if you’re teaching adults) want peace of mind that the often high fees they’re paying to have their kids taught are securing the highest caliber teachers.
What about diplomas, associate and foundation degrees?
While these often require you to do just as much work as a bachelor’s degree, unfortunately, they’re just not held in as high regard internationally. There are a number of reasons for this, particularly that colleges offering these aren’t required to be kept to the same internationally recognized standards as those offering bachelor’s degrees.
Courses can vary wildly in terms of standard and requirements for both enrollment and passing and it makes judging the quality of the certificate really difficult. This means that schools in general, the world over, have a blanket rule of not accepting diplomas and associate degrees as a qualifying certificate.
If, however, you hold a tertiary qualification in education/teaching, which is not a bachelor’s degree, please apply, you may qualify! These are sometimes accepted as you can demonstrate you understand some basics of teaching.
Interested in Teaching English Abroad? We’ll send you more info!