Which countries accept TEFL without a degree

Teach English abroad as a non-native speaker

Last updated on June 15, 2020

Are you still looking for a way to finance a stay abroad?

Teaching English abroad is a popular alternative to work and travel programs to finance travel and a stay abroad. Especially popular with Americans (they hardly have any work & travel options).

The pay is high enough that you can make a living from it, in some countries in Asia even so much that you can easily save something.

Giving English lessons is not only possible for native speakers. If your language skills are good enough, you can also teach English abroad as a non-native speaker.

You do not need a teaching degree or admission, a TEFL certificate is sufficient. You must be at least 18 years old, and some countries also require you to have at least a bachelor's degree in some specialty. More on this below.



What certificates are there?

  • TEFL certificate (completely online or as a present-day event): You should do at least a 120 hour course, that is the least that is normally required by employers. Also possible completely online. The online courses are significantly cheaper and you can organize your time freely.
  • Master's programs in TESOL / TEFL are also available, for example, in England (for example at the universities of Northumbria and Sheffield), but they last at least one year and cost significantly more (min. 5000 pounds). It is questionable whether the additional expenditure of time and money will pay off.


Will you be accepted as a non-native speaker for a TEFL certificate course?

Yes, some courses take everyone (if you pass the course your English may not be that bad), with others you have to prove beforehand that your English is good enough. This takes different forms, e.g. with an interview, a test or an essay.

A few providers do not accept non-native speakers at all.


Which providers are there?

All courses presented here also accept non-native speakers. Incidentally, the fact that a course was completed online is not noted on the certificate.


Online courses:

University of Toronto

If you are looking for an online-only course that is offered by a real university, you cannot ignore the online course from the University of Toronto.

The advantage is of course that nobody will doubt the quality of your education with a certificate from Canada's largest university.

But it also costs significantly more than the non-university courses below. But still cheap for an online course offered by a university. The few that exist in English-speaking countries are normally at least twice as expensive.

You can start the course at any time and you have a maximum of one year to complete it.

How fast you are is up to you, most of them need between 6-12 weeks, according to the university.

Cost: $ 1295 for a 120 hour course

You can pay with credit card or PayPal.

Here you can go directly to enrollment and here for more information.


University of California, Berkeley

New university course that can also be completed completely online. Price and modalities are similar.

You can find all the information about this course here.


I-to-I LoveTEFL

Renowned online provider of TEFL certificates from England who has been offering courses for 21 years. A 120 hour course costs around € 240. Optionally with 20 hours of practical part.

Payment is made by credit card.

Registration and all other information can be found here.



Ical has been offering online TEFL courses since 1998 and was one of the pioneers in the field. A 120 hour course costs around 235 €. Optionally with a 30-hour practical part.

Payment is made by credit card or PayPal.

You can find all further information about the TEFL course from Ical here


On-site courses

Courses are very popular in Thailand. For good reason.

The cost of living is cheap (especially in Chiang Mai), you can gain practical experience and combine it with a stay in an exotic and attractive travel destination. Especially if you want to work as an English teacher in Thailand afterwards, this is probably the best option.



SEE has been offering 4-week TEFL courses in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand for 11 years. Courses are offered 10 times a year with a maximum of 20 participants per course.

The course includes six 1-hour practical hours in a regular local school where you will be supervised by a tutor.

A 10 hour Thai course and job search help are also part of the package.

Costs: from $ 1295, can be paid with PayPal and credit card.

See more details about the course


Chiang Mai University

4-week TEFL course at Chiang Mai University.

Cost for the 120 hour course: 42,000 Thai Baht

More information is available here


Courses in other parts of the world:

CELTA Cambridge

offered as a 4-week full-time course e.g. at some universities in England (e.g. York), but can also be completed in Germany e.g. at the Munich adult education center

Costs at least approx. 1500 €

complete list of providers


Trinity CertTESOL

is also offered as a 4 week course by a few universities in England (e.g. Manchester). No providers in Germany, but a provider in Austria.

Costs about 1400 €

complete list of providers


Will you be able to find a job?

It depends where.

The fact is that the chances of being a native speaker are much better, especially in Asia, the Middle East and Western Europe. 70% of all job offers are aimed at "native speakers" (classified as citizens of the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa). The fact that, for example, English is the national language in some Caribbean countries is irrelevant for most employers there.

You have bad chances in:

  • North asia: Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan
  • Arabian Peninsula: Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait
  • Western Europe (A good example is the Auxiliary Program in Spain)

A minimum bachelor's degree (in any subject) is also required in almost all of the countries mentioned above - overview.

Where are you more likely to land?

In other countries they search for “Fluent” or “Native like”, that sounds better.

In Latin America it is generally easiest for non-native speakers to teach English. Native speakers are less of a factor here; this applies to both Central and South America.

Also possible:

  • South East Asia: Cambodia (least picky), Laos, Thailand (with Bachelor), Indonesia (with Bachelor)
  • Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union
  • Turkey (with Bachelor)
  • possibly China (has become more difficult)

Further factors and criteria:

Non-native speakers who, in addition to the TEFL certificate, have, for example, a university degree either in English or a teaching post, completed a degree in an English-speaking country, are a certified translator or similar, have the best success in the job search.

It is also helpful if you can be shown to have spent a long time in English-speaking countries and do not have a blatant accent.

A high IELT or TOEFL score, for example, can also help to prove that the potential employer has a good command of English.

In addition, a good argument at the job interview can be that, as a second language speaker, you understand better how to learn the language because you have gained the experience yourself.


How much can you earn

Overview of salaries for TEFL / TESOL teachers worldwide.


Teach German instead?

Hardly a chance and little asked, the whole world is learning English. You can of course try to offer this to your potential employer, in combination with English.

Otherwise there is the Japanese JET program.