In short yes you can teach English online without a degree and we’re going to share with you our favorite companies where you can get started teaching online without a degree.
A frustration that has constantly been voiced to us is why is there a requirement to have a degree to teach online in the first place with a lot of online teaching companies? Why exactly do you need a degree to teach English online? That’s what we’re going to explain.
The surprising answer is that it’s for legal reasons. Most countries where you can be employed as an English teacher require you by law have to have at least a bachelors degree to be eligible to obtain the countries related work visa (see our guide on teaching abroad).
China in particular has implemented numerous reforms to help better regulate the online teaching space. As China is the largest market for online teaching in particular, these various requirements influence the online teaching industry.
Online Teaching is treated no Differently
Even though you’re an online teacher based in the United States or Canada as an example, you still need to meet the legal requirements set out by the country where your students live.
In the past, a lot of countries including China were quite lax about enforcement. Even 10 years ago you could land in a country like Thailand and secure a job teaching English even if you had no experience and no degree.
Technically illegal, but that’s how it was. Emphasis on was. As countries develop (including China) enforcement and expectations increase. In Asia it’s now a standard practice to possess a bachelors degree as well as a TEFL certificate.
But I see jobs that don’t require a degree
It’s common to see in Facebook groups and ESL forums various posting about teaching English online or abroad without a degree. We at Teach and GO advise caution when engaging with these types of postings.
The first issue is that it may be an illegal operation. Perhaps it’s an unscrupulous recruiter who is just looking to make money on a commission. It could also be a small time company that is skirting visa laws. Lastly, it could just be a position where you’re not technically or legally considered a teacher so the rules around ESL teaching would not apply to you.
Teach English Online with No Degree
So how do you teach English online with no degree? You simply have to go on a platform where you’re considered a freelancer or a platform where you’re not legally considered a teacher. Here are Teach and GO’s favorites:
- Skima Talk
Fiverr – The true freelance option
Fiverr is a popular freelance website for services like web design, logos, music and more. As Fiverr continues to grow and develop, it’s quite an under rated spot to teach English online (or any language for that matter).
As Fiverr is strictly a freelance platform, you can create a teaching gig with no issue on Fiverr. You’ll have to set your own rates, plan your own material and organize the actual lesson. What Fiverr does is in return is to connect you with buyers and a way to deliver your service.
That means no marketing as your gig will be found organically. If you’re in the market for any type of professional service or you want to become a top rated Fiverr seller, then get started today.
The freelance platform of choice for creative professionals.
Checkout our dedicated guide to teaching on Fiverr.
Outschool – The teaching platform for creative people
Outschool is a creative platform that allows you to teach any subject you’re passionate about to children (elementary to high school aged students).
Outschool is similar to Fiverr but instead of being a broad freelance website, they have narrowed their focus down to strictly education and courses. They way it works is that you have to first apply to Outschool and get accepted. Once accepted you’ll have to create your course material and price the enrollment per student.
Outschool then drives organic enrollments of your course which is great because you can focus on teaching. It is a bit time consuming to get setup with Outschool, but top teachers on this platform are making quite a high hourly rate. Much higher than any online teaching company would pay you.
The creative option for online teachers.
See our dedicated Outschool review for more.
iTalki – An Online Teacher Marketplace
Where Fiverr is a broad freelance platform and Outschool focuses on children, iTalki is your freelance teacher marketplace for adult learners.
As it’s marketplace there is a vetting process in order to get accepted. But having a degree is not essential and there are plenty of teachers on iTalki who don’t have a bachelors degree.
You will need a TEFL certificate, so if you don’t have one yet, obtain that certificate before applying. What’s great about iTalki is that you’ll have your own clients with much more flexibility designing your schedule.
The best online teacher marketplace
Checkout our getting started with iTalki guide.
Palfish – The Conversation App
Palfish is a mobile (or tablet) app. You can teach on Palfish with a phone or a tablet. We suggest using a tablet as it’s a much more enjoyable experience.
Palfish currently has two programs. A general “free talk” program where you have conversations in English and a Kids program. To anyone without a degree or who is a non native speaker the free talk option is for you.
To get started you simply download the app and go through the application process. If you are a native speaker with a degree, Palfish higher paying kids course is a better option.
Teach online with a phone or tablet.
Here is our dedicated Palfish review guide.
Cambly – Casual Conversations
Cambly is an on demand conversations platform. It’s a platform that connects language learners with native speakers for casual conversations to help with pronunciation and grammar.
With Cambly, you’ll be having 1 on 1 conversations with adults. The pay is low, but so are the requirements. You simply have to be a native English speaker with an internet connection.
If you have no experience, degree or TEFL certificate. Consider getting your start with online teaching by using Cambly as the service is available 24/7 so you can usually get bookings at a time that is most convenient for you.
Casual, on demand conversations. Get paid to talk.
Learn more with our Cambly vs Palfish comparison.
Skima Talk – The Japanese Platform
Skima Talk is a fairly unknown platform and marketplace. Used primarily for Japanese professional to learn English, the focus with this platform is one on one teaching through conversations and lessons you create.
As it’s a Japanese platform and not Chinese no degree is required. Experience is of course preferred but if you’re a native speaker you’ve already meet the base requirement.
Last, Skima Talk is a marketplace. That means language learners book you and not Skima Talk itself. You’ll also have to prepare the material yourself and calls are conducted on Skype.
Teach English online with Skima Talk.
Verbling – Teach any Language
Verbling is Y Combinator start-up that was founded in 2011. It’s a platform designed to allow anyone to learn any language, anywhere at any time.
As a teacher on Verbling you can teach any language you’re a proficient speaker of. Verbling does require that you have some verifiable experience teaching. However a degree, TEFL or formal teaching certificate is not required.
Last, with Verbling you do not need to be a native speaker of the language you want to teach. You just need to prove you have a strong command of the language (C2 on the Common European Frame Work).
Teach any language to a global audience.
Preply – Machine Learning One on One Teaching
Preply is another platform that connects educators to students in a one on one environment. It uses machine learning and their own internal algorithm in order to rank and recommend teachers.
Preply like iTalki is a broad language learning platform. You can teach any language you’re a native speaker of (or have a demonstrated level of competency).
Lastly, as you’re considered a freelance independent contractor and not a teacher there are no formal requirements to apply to be teacher. Obviously experience is preferred and as students are the one who do the bookings, having practical experience will make you more attractive. But currently anyone with passion for teaching languages can apply.
Teach online with Preply
Teach English Online with No Degree Conclusion
So that is it for Teach and GO’s guide to how to get started teaching English online if you don’t have a degree. There are plenty of opportunities for you to get started, you just need to get a little creative and put in the work.
We strongly suggest platforms like Fiverr and iTalki as they are quite popular and can drive consistent enrollments long term.