Become A Teacher Without A Degree Teaching Online

Computer being used by a person to become a teacher without a degree teaching English online.

Update 2019: Due to new regulations, online ESL companies operating in China now require people they hire to have a university degree and a TEFL certification.

If you are wondering how to become a teacher without a degree then there is no better place to begin than teaching English online. For starters, there is a lower barrier to entry in terms of the experience necessary to get started. Many online companies that are popular with new teachers will provide you with everything you need including a platform to teach from and lesson plans to teach from. This can make the learning curve significantly smaller for people looking to become a teacher without a degree.

How hard is it to become a teacher without a degree online?

The short answer is that it’s not hard at all. In fact, finding a job teaching online without a degree is perhaps one of the easiest ways to become an English teacher without having to settle for an extremely low paying job in a developing nation that is willing to hire English teachers without degrees. There are a large number of companies in existence that need teachers and are willing to hire you as long as you have a TEFL certification or prior teaching experience of some kind. There are even a number of companies that are willing to look the other way if you have neither of these, however, we would always advise you to be cautious of companies that are willing to skirt the rules or that are willing to look the other way when it comes to even their own required qualifications as these are the types of companies that you are more likely to have problems with in terms of being paid on time, being paid the full amount, or even with finding steady work.

ESL companies that will hire people without a university degree often will only consider university students who are in the process of earning a degree. That isn’t necessarily a hard and fast rule, however. The thing that I have figured out after working for an online ESL company and hiring candidates for that company is that many are desperate to find teachers. While you will still need some type of qualification such as a TEFL certification or prior teaching experience, you stand a good chance of being hired if you apply even if you are not enrolled in a university program and don’t have a degree. As stated above I do not advocate anyone working illegally or passing themselves off as something they are not. So, that doesn’t mean you should claim to have a degree when you don’t. But, it does mean that companies stating they are willing to hire students with no degree but currently enrolled in a university are also likely to hire tutors with no degree and not in a university program if you meet their other requirements and pass their interview and mock class process.

An example of changing requirements is VIPKid, which, at one point hired teachers with no degree but after being around long enough and growing large enough now specifically states they will not even consider candidates if they do not have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

How much can I expect to get paid?

The great thing (or bad thing if you are well qualified) about online ESL companies that you won’t find in a lot of traditional teaching jobs in schools is that tutors are all paid pretty much the same amount no matter how much experience they have or what their qualifications for teaching are. This isn’t a great thing if you have a master’s degree in teaching English and a 120-hour TEFL certification. But, if you have no degree and are looking for a job that pays above average for non-degree holders, this can be a major plus.

The actual amount that you will be paid will be dependent on the company you are working for. The typical pay range is between 12 USD and 22 USD per hour with some companies (usually the ones that hire non-native teachers) paying less and some companies (usually those that have very strict requirements and looking for certified teachers) paying more. Almost all of the companies will have some type of incentive bonus for teachers who make it to all or a certain percentage of their scheduled classes and some even have performance bonuses which are given based on parent reviews of teachers.

Most of the companies that hire teachers without degrees will pay in the range of 12 USD and 16 USD per hour plus whatever incentives are available. This is generally speaking as there may be some companies that pay more.

What can I do to improve my odds of getting hired?

The number one thing that I would implore anyone looking to become a teacher without a degree to do is to get a 120-hour TEFL certification. For online companies, you will be fine getting a strictly online certification, though, if you ever plan on looking for work abroad then you may be wise to invest in a blended learning certification. This will show companies and schools that you have experience and understanding of ESL teaching and will know how to work with students in a way that is beneficial. Since almost all of the companies you will be working for will have the teaching material you will use already created, there isn’t as much need to focus on creating lesson plans. The primary areas you will want to focus on when going through the TEFL certification will be the different teaching methods and classroom management strategies. Be aware that not all strategies are going to work in an online classroom, so, you will need to take what works and adapt.

Aside from a TEFL certification, learning to master the interview will go a long way in helping you find a job teaching English online with no degree. The interview process is going to be one of the more important parts of getting hired for an online ESL company and is going to be where many people get rejected. Going through some different resources and learning how to answer interview questions properly will help you to be fully prepared for your interview.

What are some final tips?

The main thing to take away here is that it is not only possible but in many cases very easy, to become a teacher without a degree for online ESL companies. But, a word of caution about this is that this can change at any moment. As I talked about above there are many companies which, in the past, were more than willing to hire tutors with no degree but which now will only hire teachers with a bachelor’s degree or higher. The online ESL industry is still relatively new and as such as many of the companies grow larger and many of the smaller ones are consolidated, the standards imposed on teachers and potential teachers are going to rise as parents and schools come to expect more. If you are looking to get hired for an online ESL company, the most important thing will be to become as qualified as possible by doing things like preparing for your interview and perfecting your résumé as well as getting a 120-hour TEFL certification. Doing this will go a long way in helping you to get hired teaching ESL online even if you don’t have a university degree or are still pursuing your degree.

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Adil Vellani
Adil Vellani
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Adil Vellani is the co-founder of ESL Job Exchange. With more than 20 years of international experience in both the education and corporate sectors, Adil is devoted to sharing his knowledge and experience to help individuals and organizations connect and make a massive impact in the lives of ESL learners across the globe. Adil also lectures at the Sino-European Institute of Aviation Engineering, where he teaches aviation engineering students in an international degree program.
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