Apologies if you’re coming here looking for a workaround to teach in Korea without a degree: the reality is that almost all legitimate schools will require proof of degree and possibly a TEFL/TESOL certificate in order to get you a visa. While there are sporadic reports of people working on tourist visas or without a degree, they are teaching illegally and at great risk of penalty.
Looking for more on Korea? Check out our guide to Teaching English in Korea or browse jobs!
Risks of Teaching in Korea without a Degree
The risk of getting caught teaching illegally in Korea are severe. Deportation is the biggest factor and if you have evidence of being deported from a country (which will be a permanent stamp on your passport), it may make the entry into other countries much more difficult and will make the entrance back into Korea nearly impossible.
If you do decide to teach illegally on a tourist visa, you will have to return to your home country after a couple short months to renew your visa, and the cost of travel will quickly add up.
Additionally, if you teach legally in Korea, in most cases, the school (both private or public) will pay for your housing as well as airfare in addition to your salary. You will not have these benefits if you chose to teach in Korea without a degree.
Is Korea the Only Place?
Of course not! There are many other countries that would that would gladly hire native English speakers to teach who don’t hold a four-year university degree. The risk for most people is too great, and either taking the time to get a degree, or chose a different place to teach is preferred.
I’m from the Philippines and English is my second language. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get college degree however, I’ve
worked as a part-time/freelance ESL Teacher for roughly 5 years and has been working as a call center agent/customer service representative for 2 years now. I’m hoping to get a job in South Korea as an ESL Teacher or Call Center agent or any office job. I would be really thankful if employers would hire people based on their skills and not on the degree they hold. I’m so much willing to undergo interviews or online exams just to prove or show you what I’m capable of.
Hi Theodore – unfortunately this won’t be possible in South Korea, they are very strict with their requirements.