Can You Teach English Online without a Degree?

by: Quincy Smith ESL Authority Quincy Smith | Last Updated November 17, 2019

This post may contain affiliate links (at no extra cost to you). Please read our disclosure for more information.

If you’re one of the many people wondering if you can teach English online without a degree, let me assuage your fears and say yes, you absolutely can.  Teaching online is just one of the many professions that don’t mind investing in training or are willing to accept relevant experience or other qualifications in lieu of a degree.

However, before you go putting on your party hat and celebrating your new job, let me warn you that just because a job doesn’t require a degree doesn’t mean it’s going to be a walk in the park.

What jobs will you be eligible for?

With a few predictable exceptions, you’ll be able to apply to the same types of jobs regardless of if you have a degree or not.  This means you will still be able to teach both adults and children in classic English lessons like conversation and listening and comprehension.

Where the difference lies when considering if you can teach English without a degree is in specialties.  More than likely you won’t be able to do test prep like IELTS or dedicated subjects like History right off the bat.

Notice how I said right off the bat?

That’s because it’s not uncommon for teachers that don’t hold a degree to work their way up into better and more specialized roles.  Just like in any profession, there are always opportunities to prove yourself and ascend into better and more lucrative positions.

Will you make less money?

It’s normal to expect a job that doesn’t require a degree to come up short when it comes to pay, especially compared to a comparable position.  Luckily, for online teaching, that’s not the case.  We’ve looked at thousands of jobs here at English Online Hub and can say without a doubt that there is no reason to expect less simply because you don’t have a degree.  Again, this will change when it comes to specialized positions, but we’ve found the average pay, regardless of an applicant’s qualifications, to hold steady between $15-$20 per hour.

What this means is that if a company or school tries to offer you less on account of a lack of degree, you shouldn’t feel bad turning them down.  There are simply too many other opportunities out there willing to pay a fair wage.

Want proof?

Maybe you don’t believe us.  Or maybe you’re a visual learner.  Either way, here are 3 different jobs from 3 different schools – none of which require a degree.  However, they all stipulate that applicants have other qualifications, typically in the form of a teaching certification or experience.

teach online without a degree proof 1

teach online without a degree proof 2

teach online without a degree proof 3





What does this mean for job seekers?

Ever heard of the phrase “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”?  The idea that you can teach English online without a degree embodies that idea perfectly.

Yes, you may be able to get a job without a degree.  In fact, I’d say it’s highly likely.  But no, it will not be a walk in the park, you’ll still have to work for it, and you certainly won’t last long if you treat it like a free lunch.

Even with the meteoric rise of online education, competition for jobs can still be fierce.  Job seekers still need to put time into their application, prepare for their interview, and find a way to stand out from the crowd.

How can you prepare to teach English online without a degree?

Luckily for you, even if you don’t have a degree or any teaching experience, there is literally a wealth of information at your fingertips.  Blogs and YouTube channels abound to provide tips, training, and advice as you prepare to enter the world on online teaching, but just like anything worth doing, it won’t be easy.

If you want to take it a bit further and really give yourself a leg up and boost your appeal as a job candidate, it’s worth considering an online TEFL degree.  Even without the shiny credential awarded at the end, these courses are great at helping you prepare and understand English teaching.

The curriculum is designed to ease you into the theory behind teaching a language as well as prepare you for the lesson planning and classes that lay ahead.  In addition, if you are considering ESL or TEFL as a long term career, many of these programs offer excellent networking opportunities.

And did we mention they can be done online?

Wrapping Up

Education in any capacity is not to be taken lightly and just because you can teach English online without a degree does not mean you should expect any aspect to come easy.  The teachers that enjoy their jobs and earn the most are the ones that are prepared.  They know what to expect, do their homework, and approach the industry with a plan.

If you follow in their footsteps and let this post serve as a reassurance instead of a ‘free pass’ then you should have no time landing a job.

Good luck!

Quincy Smith ESL Authority

Quincy Smith

Quincy is the founder of ESL Authority and a former teacher in South Korea and China.  Currently based in Shanghai, he enjoys strong coffee, IPAs, and solo travel.


  1. Thanks I was feeling like “throwing in the towel” I will keep looking and applying.

  2. Thankyou. I have a degree in special education. I needed this article to go fourth!!!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

ESL Jobs & News
in your inbox

No SPAM, ever.  Read our Privacy Policy.