English is still the most widely spoken language in the world with more than 1.1 billion people communicating in English worldwide. The language continues to grow and with that many more opportunities to teach English are being created. From the tropic corners of South America to the frosty north of China, English has made its way around the globe and there are no signs of it stopping.
If you are looking to hop aboard the ESL train, but don’t have a degree yet, all hope is not lost. There are tons of opportunities for English speakers to teach English without a degree. The key to unlocking these opportunities is a TEFL certificate. A quality accredited certificate tells the world you are classroom-ready and able to help those looking to further their English skills.
A degree is not a prerequisite to obtaining a TEFL qualification and, in many countries, it is also not needed to become a teacher. Here are 6 tips on how to get TEFL certified without a degree and start your career as an ESL teacher. All aboard!
1. Shop Around
There is an abundance of TEFL certification companies out there and it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Take a deep dive into the accreditation each provider has and if their program suits your budget and timeframe.
You can study a TEFL course from home but some programs offer practical hours in person if you study abroad. With the amount of TEFL courses out there, you are bound to find one that is perfectly suited for your needs.
Watch out for deals that seem too good to be true, because they often are. Make use of trusted TEFL specialists that can also offer guidance with job placement once you are certified.
There are unfortunately dodgy recruiters and employers out there trying to make a quick buck off you so thoroughly dig into the reviews and reputation of a TEFL organization and recruiters when you start shopping around. This teach English abroad no degree article by The TEFL Org will also help you form a clear understanding of what to look out for when searching for a TEFL certification company.
Recruiters should give you clear information about visa situations and job expectations and those should line up with the research you do yourself. Also, make sure your TEFL certification is in line with the expectations of the job you are looking to get.
2. Make Time
Most TEFL certificate programs allow you to complete the course at your own pace, which is perfect if you are also a student. But it is important to make enough time to complete the course in a reasonable amount of time and keep your momentum going. The most common requirement is a minimum 120-hour TEFL certification.
At your own pace, this should take around a month or two, but some people take up to 6-months to complete it. If you have no teaching experience it is important to take your time and thoroughly work through the course material to gain as much insight as possible into what lies ahead in the classroom.
3. Get Experience
Not all jobs require previous teaching experience and many online ESL jobs will employ you without a degree or classroom experience. This shouldn’t stop you from gaining experience though! If you have the chance to tutor younger students before you step into a classroom you will just be all the more comfortable.
You can volunteer at a local community center or school or even work as a camp counselor if you want to make some money in the process. It could also be beneficial to choose a TEFL program that offers practical training, a bonus that will have you classroom-ready in no time!
4. Decide What You Want
Once you are TEFL certified, there are plenty of options you need to consider.
Do you want to teach from your home country? Do you want to teach while traveling? Do you want to study abroad and teach on the side or will teaching help you make some money over your summer break?
Online teaching, volunteering, summer camps, and teach abroad programs will all soon be within your reach but deciding which one you prefer will affect much of your decision making. This will help you decide if you need experience beforehand, how long your TEFL course should be, and how much time you have to complete it.
5. Join Online Forums
Joining online forums with like-minded individuals is a great way to stay motivated and keep your eye on the prize. You can pick up plenty of tips from other teachers and students in similar positions to you and it is easy to reach out for help when you need to.
TEFL teachers are always keen to help out with advice and pointers so make use of your community’s knowledge. Once you start traveling this is also a great place to meet people ahead of your arrival and find job postings.
6. Watch Out for Hidden Costs
You will come across attractive deals offering huge discounts on TEFL courses but you should always be aware of potential hidden costs. Make sure the price you pay includes everything promised in the description.
Receiving a physical certificate is one of the added costs often overlooked. You could be charged extra for printing and postage and incur costs well over $150. Physical certificates are usually required when teaching in person so consider this when picking your TEFL course.
Becoming an ESL teacher is one of the most rewarding experiences you could hope for and by approaching the process with clear goals and intentions you will be sorted in no time! Follow these tips and get off to the best possible start in your ESL career, even if you do not have a degree!