Can you teach English abroad without a TEFL qualification?

With teaching English abroad becoming more and more popular amongst many different people, we often find our customers asking us if a TEFL qualification is really necessary to teach English abroad. With so much information out there, it can be difficult to understand what’s a must-have requirement and what’s more of a nice-to-have. Well, to make it easier for you, we’ve done the hard work and laid it all out here:

Can you teach English abroad without a TEFL certificate?

The simple answer – no. Unless you have one of the following:

  • Other certificates. There are various ESL certificates available that can land you a teaching English abroad job, these include certificates such as CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and DELTA (Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). CELTA and DELTA qualifications are more intensive and expensive versions of TEFL. If you have either of these certificates, you won’t necessarily need a TEFL on top. However, these qualifications will only train you to teach adults, so if you want to teach children, a TEFL qualification would definitely help!
  • You already have a work visa. Most English teachers abroad need a TEFL certificate in order to get a working visa. But, if you’re lucky enough to already be in your chosen TEFL country with a working visa, you might not need a TEFL to teach. You’ll still need teaching experience though, so if you’ve got the visa but no experience, you’ll struggle to find a job.

Woman using computer in office

What happens if you teach English abroad without a TEFL certificate?

Even if – on the rare chance – you manage to find a job without a TEFL certificate, there are a few things you’ll need to be aware of:

  • You won’t be able to get a work permit. If you can’t get a work permit, you could be working illegally and may face prosecution or deportation. In most countries, teachers need a TEFL certificate to be able to apply for a work permit. Some teachers think they can get around this by working on tourist visas or regular visas but this is illegal, and you could get caught by officials and never be allowed entry to that country again.
  • You’ll struggle to find work. It’s 100% harder to find a teaching job if you don’t have a TEFL certificate. Many employers state that it’s a must-have requirement, and without one, your CV may be cast aside without even being read.
  • Your salary will be significantly lower. Unqualified teachers generally earn much lower salaries than those who have completed ESL courses. Without the bare minimum of a TEFL, in some countries, you might struggle to find a liveable wage.

Stop sign with blue sky and clouds

What are the benefits of a TEFL certificate?

Now you know there may be some options to teach English abroad without a TEFL certificate, you’ve probably noticed the workarounds are few and far between – and all have their downsides. A TEFL certificate comes with so many benefits, not just helping you find a TEFL job. These include:

  • Full legal requirements. By getting yourself a TEFL certificate, you’re ensuring you have the full legal requirements to get a visa and work permit for your chosen TEFL country. So, you’ll be able to live stress-free, knowing you won’t be prosecuted or deported for working illegally!
  • Develop teaching skills. A TEFL course will cover everything you need to know to be a successful ESL teacher and give you the relevant skills and tools to effectively transfer your English knowledge to your students. You’ll also learn some tricks of the trade, lesson planning, how to manage your classroom and much more!
  • Meet other TEFLers. Throughout your TEFL course, you could end up making some lifelong connections with other TEFLers. A TEFL course is a great opportunity to network – the people you meet now might be able to help you find work later on, or you could do the same for them and have a friend TEFL with you – yay!
  • Prepare you for the classroom. Walking into a classroom full of expectant students may seem daunting now but after your TEFL course, you’ll have the confidence to walk in there with your head held high, ready to share your knowledge.

TEFL teachers together

How do you get a TEFL certificate?

There are a few different routes you can go down to gain your TEFL certificate and the one you choose will depend on your needs and situation.

  • Online Courses. Online Courses are the quickest and easiest way to get TEFL qualified. You’ll be able to access your course online from anywhere and work at your own pace. Online Courses are great for aspiring TEFL teachers who need flexibility and can’t commit to a classroom course or don’t live close enough to avenue.
  • Combined Courses. Combined TEFL Courses provide face-to-face classroom training alongside online training. Combined Courses are great for anyone who feels they learn better in a classroom environment or need that extra training to boost their confidence. Plus, employers prefer it!
  • TEFL Internships. A TEFL Internship will give you the chance to gain amazing teaching experience as well as a TEFL certificate. You’ll be guaranteed a teaching position where you’ll be able to showcase everything you have learnt from your TEFL Course. You’ll also have full in-country support and will be surrounded by other TEFLers so it’s a great option to boost your confidence and get some good experience before going it alone.

TEFL teacher using laptop


Related Articles

form girls discount


Simply pop your details below to receive your exclusive discount code.

Follow Us

Find Us

i-to-i TEFL
4th Floor, Wilson House, Lorne Park Road,
Bournemouth, England, BH1 1JN,
United Kingdom

i-to-i TEFL is a part of Teach and Travel Group Ltd.
Registered Company No. 7935847.