Let’s face it, we are all enamoured with the idea of being able to earn an income by working online (preferably from the comfort of one’s own home!) and for many people out there, teaching English is often the first avenue we explore. This makes total sense; why not get paid to speak English to people?
So, you’ve done a little bit of research and found out that there are some requirements when it comes to teaching English. First and foremost is the TEFL/TESOL certificate. Having an accredited TEFL certificate is a mandatory requirement across the board. If you don’t already have one, Dux offers a fully accredited course for an affordable price!
After having earned your TEFL certificate, you’re now entering the job market only to find that many of the companies you apply to list a degree as a requirement. This can certainly be discouraging as earning a TEFL certificate is one matter, but to have to acquire a full degree simply to teach English seems a bit excessive.
So are there employment opportunities in the online ESL industry available to those without a degree? The answer is “yes!” There are in fact a variety of opportunities out there, it is simply a matter of patience and knowing where to look.
Before exploring some of the income opportunities out there, it is worth explaining why certain companies require their teachers have a degree, especially when the degree in question usually doesn’t have to be a teaching degree specifically.
Why is this the case? How could having a degree that focuses on a discipline completely different to English help one become a better English teacher? Surely just having a degree doesn’t constitute proof of one’s ability to teach the language?
These are commonly asked questions by many teachers entering the industry. Certainly, holding a degree in an unrelated field does not necessarily mean you will be a better English teacher. But then why all the focus on having a degree?
While we can’t answer this question specifically for each company, the general idea behind this requirement is that having a degree is not necessarily proof of a certain standard of teaching ability, but it is proof that an individual can be trusted to complete tasks of an intellectual nature within a certain timeframe.
This is not to say that those without degrees cannot work at the same level, it is only to make the point that having a degree is proof that one can do so.
What does this mean for teachers without degrees? As we have mentioned previously, there are plenty of opportunities out there. The absence of a degree simply means that there may be slightly fewer income opportunities for you to explore, but this shouldn’t be taken to mean that earning an income is impossible.
Rather than focusing on the absence of certain opportunities, exploring the opportunities that are available to all online English teachers will serve you best.
While many companies do require degrees, many do not. A google search should show many lists titled “Companies that do not require a degree”. As well as Google, you can also search for job opportunities on job posting websites like LinkedIn and Indeed.
Another place to look for English teaching companies is through the use of social media platforms like Facebook. Recruiters will often post job openings to related groups so be sure to join as many ESL-related pages as you can!
Another avenue worth exploring is online companies that allow you to work on a freelance basis. Essentially, these websites allow you to create a profile and advertise your skills to prospective students. Some of them are geared towards English specifically, while others are marketed as generalised education platforms.
It is worth signing up and creating a profile on as many of these websites as possible in that these websites can serve as free advertising for your services. On some of these websites (like Fiverr, for example), you may even find potential students who are advertising their need for an English teacher.
The last option worth exploring is starting your own online teaching business. While this may seem daunting at first, it is actually relatively easy and can even be more lucrative in the long run. Essentially, the idea here is to find your own private students rather than relying on a company or website to find them for you.
While there are some challenges that go along with starting your own teaching business, becoming a fully independent teacher is a dream shared by all teachers as it allows you both flexibility in terms of your schedule as well as the rates you set.
A good starting point would be to create your own business page on various social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram etc.) in order to advertise your skills. You can focus on building a following as well as setting up specific advertisement campaigns that target regions that are in need of English skills.
The road to earning an income online can be challenging and while not having a degree might bring with it some additional challenges, it will not make your journey impossible. As we have discussed before, having a degree does not necessarily ensure better teaching so do not let the absence of one stop you from succeeding in the education industry. Dux will be launching our own course on how to get hired without a degree, so if you are considering a career in online Education, this may just be the course for you!