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 doesn’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, 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 (check out our guide to teaching IELTS here).
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.
What about the classroom? We’ve got a guide to where you can teach abroad without a degree too!
Will you make less money teaching without a degree?
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 ESL Authority 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 a degree, you shouldn’t feel bad turning them down. There are simply too many other opportunities out there willing to pay a fair wage.
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.
Companies Where You Can Teach English Online without a Degree
So, if you’re keen to put in the work and find an online teaching job without a degree, we’ve compiled a list of the best companies to apply to. All of the companies listed below will allow you to teach English online with no degree.
1. Lingo Live
Read our Lingo Live hiring guide
Lingo Live is an online teaching company based in North America. The company specializes in providing English lessons for overseas companies and business people.
Although a degree is not required to become a Lingo Live coach, due to the specialized nature of the lessons, coaches are expected to have extensive business knowledge and some professional coaching or teaching experience.
In some ways, becoming a Lingo Live coach is actually harder than getting an online English teaching job that requires a degree. But if you have a background in business and not a formal business degree, it could be the perfect online teaching job.
|High pay rate||Lots of business experience required|
|Adults only||Lengthy application process|
|No TEFL required||Lesson planning required|
Preply is an online English teaching platform that allows teachers and tutors to create personal teaching profiles and connect with students.
As tutors and teachers are responsible for finding their own students and marketing themselves, the platform doesn’t require teachers to have any specific qualifications. However, lots of qualified teachers, degree holders and TEFL certified tutors use this platform to find students, so finding students can be hard and the competition on Preply is fierce.
Teachers have a lot of control on Preply, they can set their own hours and rates of pay. So if you’re good at marketing yourself and you set your rate high enough, you could earn a decent income with this company.
|Potential for good pay rates||The platform can be competitive|
|Teachers manage their own schedule||Teachers are responsible for marketing themselves and finding their own students|
|Easy to sign-up||Teachers are responsible for lesson planning|
Skyeng is an online English teaching company based in Russia. The company mainly offers English classes for adult students living in eastern Europe, but it has a few younger students using the platform too. In comparison to teaching companies that require a degree, Skyeng pays a little less per hour, but the rates are still fair.
Skyeng’s hiring policy is pretty inclusive, making it a good option for people looking to teach English online without a degree or for teachers that don’t speak English natively. However, the company do prefer that teachers have some sort of English teaching qualification, such as a TEFL or TESOL certificate
|Hires non-native English teachers with good command of English||Demo class required in the interview process|
|Some bonuses available||TEFL and teaching experience preferred|
|Most students are adults||Pay is on the lower side|
Cambly is one of the most popular companies to work for amongst online English teachers without a degree. It’s a worldwide platform that operates 24 hours a day. Although children are allowed on Cambly, most of the students are adults and lessons are mainly informal and conversational. For this reason, no official qualifications are required and the signup process is pretty easy.
Cambly is a log-in and talk style platform, so you can literally log in and start teaching any students that are online. Students are based all over the world so there tend to be people available to talk at pretty much any time of day.
Since the company is so flexible, pay rates on Cambly aren’t sky high, but they’re not as low as some companies on this list.
|Easy to sign up||Pay is on the lower side|
|No specific qualifications needed||It can sometimes take a while to get approved|
|Very flexible hours||Students/bookings are not guaranteed|
Classo is a Korean company that offers lessons for Korean students in a variety of languages. In addition to languages like German, French, Chinese and Japanese, Classo also allows teachers to teach English online without a degree.
With Classo, the most important thing is that you are native or near-native in your chosen language. Much like Cambly, you can teach on Classo 24-hours a day which is great for anyone in need of a flexible schedule.
|Good pay rate||Student age can vary|
|Open to native and non-native speakers||Interview process on the website is unclear|
|TEFL not required|
6. Golden Voice English
Read our Golden Voice hiring guide
Golden Voice English is a Canadian online ESL company that is based in Toronto. The company follows a similar model to popular English teaching companies like Dada or VIPKid with one key difference; Teachers don’t need a degree to apply.
When working for Golden Voice English teachers will be expected to teach group classes for up to six children. Most of the students are based in China so this can lead to some unsociable hours. However, in comparison to other, ‘no degree required companies’ Golden Voice is one of the more stable and higher-paying gigs available.
|Fairly high pay rates||Teachers must be legally able to work in US or Canada|
|Quick and easy hiring process||Criminal background check required|
|No official qualifications required||9 hour per week commitment required|
7. Open English
Read our Open English hiring guide
Open English is one of the few companies that cater to the Latin American market and provides English language lessons for Spanish speaking students around the globe.
Open English only hire English speakers with a North American accent, but if you fit this criterion, you don’t need to have a degree or a TEFL certificate. However, the company website does state that teaching experience, a degree and a TEFL certificate are preferred.
The company also prefers to hire teachers that have some Spanish or Portuguese language ability.
|Quick and Easy interview process||Only hires North Americans|
|10-hour minimum contract||A degree is preferred but not necessary|
|Sociable hours (Evening EST time)||Fairly low pay|
Read our Cafetalk hiring guide
Cafetalk is an online teaching platform that supports lessons of all types. On the platform, you can teach a variety of subjects such as music and foreign languages.
However, the platform is mainly used for English teaching. The majority of Cafetalk students are Japanese adults looking to improve their English conversation in a relaxed and informal learning environment.
The main requirements for Cafetalk are that you should be at least 20 and be native in the language you want to teach. So if you’re a native English speaker, you should be able to teach English online without a degree with Cafetalk.
|Fairly high pay rates||Own lesson planning required|
|Experience and TEFL not required||Most lessons take place during Japanese peak times (Evening GMT+9)|
|Opportunity to teach subjects other than English||Low initial pay due to payrise structure|
Palfish is an extremely popular app-based English teaching platform that hires teachers without a degree. Since the company is based in China, teachers are required to hold a TEFL certificate.
Palfish has two different programs. One is for ‘regular teachers’ who want to teach informal lessons on a flexible schedule. The other is the ‘official kid’s course’ that requires teachers to work set hours. The official kid’s course is a little harder to get on, but neither option requires a degree.
|App-based so no computer required||TEFL Required|
|Flexible and stable jobs available||Experience Required|
|Good bonus scheme||Fairly low pay rate|
Weblio is an online English teaching company based in the Philippines. The company caters to the Japanese market and offers English tuition to Japanese learners of all ages. Weblio has barely any entry requirements for teachers.
You simply have to be over 18, fluent in oral and written English and know how to use a computer. However, this comes at a price, as Weblio’s pay rates are rock bottom low.
If you’re a non-native speaker living in a country with a low cost of living then Weblio may still be a viable option, but if you live in the US or Europe, it may be hard to live on the wage that Weblio provides.
|Inclusive hiring policy||Very low pay rates|
|Available to non-native speakers||Low review scores from past teachers|
|Possibility for pay rises|
Yeko is a Chinese online English teacher company with super flexible requirements. Just like Weblio, they’re mainly looking for teachers with a neutral accent and fluent English ability. Being a native English speaker or having a degree is not important.
Yeko’s pay rates aren’t exactly clear from their website, but after researching it looks as though they are a little lower than average for a company of this type. Yeko requires teachers to teach a minimum of 20 hours a week.
|Flexible hiring policy||Lower than average pay rates|
|On the job training available||20 hour per week commitment required|
|Trial class bonus available|
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?
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.
Thanks I was feeling like “throwing in the towel” I will keep looking and applying.
And have you finally secured a job?
I have noticed that while searching for my next work, a lot of companies ask if you are bilingual( in my case, I speak Spanish as well as English). But then they say, “Native Speaker only” to any position. So why does being able to speak 2 or more languages matter?
Hi Lynne, I taught ESL to adults in the USA for 15 years. I only speak English. From what I understand, the companies want a “Native English Speaker” meaning most students want teachers who have an American or British English accent therefore “native”. If your first language, for example is Spanish or Chinese but you are totally fluent in English, the students will learn with (or hear) your accent from your first language – assuming you learned English after age 18. Being bilingual is just helpful if you need to speak to the students’ parents (if you work with children) or if you are working with pure beginners and want to explain something. I worked with adults from 28 different countries over the years so knowing Spanish wouldn’t have helped me. We just stuck to English only and I used pictures, acting and the students learned. Full immersion. Hope that helps you!
Thankyou. I have a degree in special education. I needed this article to go fourth!!!
Awesome, good luck!
I’m a native speaking TEFL certified teacher but nobody wants to hire me because I am from South Africa. They want US or UK teachers. Very disheartening as I speak English with a neutral accent .
Hi Elaine – sorry to hear that. Are you only looking to teach online? If so which companies have you contacted?
I’m sorry to hear that. It’s unfair that a person’s identity or nationality is still being evaluated, not skills. I hope you find a worthy job after all!
Hi Elaine have you tried your Itutor or Italki groups?. I am South African as well, recently got my TEFL certificate, had my interview just this morning that did not go well because I have no experience but guess what, I’ll not give up and will continue applying. Please keep on trying
Hello Elaine. I am from South Africa too and wish to start online teaching. I just want to know how is that going on for you now after a few months?
Thank you one of the most informative reads! Do you recommend a TEFL certification online program? I have an Associates degree and would like to obtain a TEFL certification. I am hoping with both I can obtain an online teaching position. Also, do you recommend which certification to obtain, TEFL or TESOL? Thank you!
Hi Claudia – we like to recommend iTTT – they offer a solid curriculum online. Also, there isn’t much difference between TEFL and TESOL so don’t worry too much about that!
Emailing you now is my first step into teaching online. I have a BA in Geography and I have been researching online courses for ESL, TEFL etc.
– I don’t have a teaching certification- only a BA in one of the social sciences.
What do you recommend as far as which course/training and the companies I should try first as far as being employed as an online ESL instructor
Hi Kevin – you will qualify to teach at most schools as you have a bachelor’s degree – what about doing the 120hr TEFL from Magic Ears and then applying there?
I would like to teach abroad. I’m in the US now. But I would like to teach English in one of the EU countries. Also, this is all very new to me. Not quite sure where to
Hi Monika – you can check out eslauthority.com/teach and browse the current hiring guides we have – quite a few are on EU countries – good luck!