Can I teach English online without a degree?

You want to teach English online but don’t have a degree? Don’t despair. There are opportunities to teach English online without a degree. In fact, a degree really only comes in third on the “qualifications I need to teach English online” list – beaten to the top place by TEFL certification.

What qualifications do I need to teach English online?

The most important qualification you need to teach English online is a TEFL certification. So, if you want to teach English online without a degree, the best action you can take is to get TEFL certified. Getting TEFL certified is really straight forward and there’s even a fully online version of the TEFL certification course so you won’t have to leave your house to get qualified! A TEFL certification is the best way to learn all of the skills and knowledge you’ll need to teach English online, so you don’t need any other qualifications once you’ve got this!

Do I need to be a native English speaker?

No, it is possible to teach English online as a non-native English speaker, but the list of companies you can work for will be more limited. Don’t let that put you off, though – just be prepared for it!

Build up your English teaching experience

Once you’re TEFL certified, there are two main ways to teach English online: you can either set up as a freelancer and teach English online on your own or apply for an online English teaching position through an established school.

It’s a great idea to start out teaching English online for an established company, this way you’ll take some of the stress off yourself as most online teaching companies find students for you and provide the materials you need to teach your lessons.

Whichever route you take, if you teach English online without a degree, expect to start off with general conversational classes rather than higher level courses. Once you’ve built up your experience and contacts through general English language classes, you can move on to more specialist (and higher paid) areas of teaching English online such as IELTS and business English classes.

Make yourself stand out

As with all English teaching posts the more you stand out the more likely you are to find a job. So, if you want to teach English online without a degree, our advice is:

  • Get your TEFL qualification as soon as possible
  • Get the best TEFL training possible, such as a Level 5 300 hour Diploma
  • Stress you’re a native-level English speaker (if you are)
  • Highlight any additional skills you can offer, such as other languages
  • Showcase any previous jobs you’ve had that might align with teaching English online
  • Emphasise your flexibility and positive attitude
  • Be proactive – advertise your English teaching services online and contact online language schools direct
  • Once you’ve got some experience, build up a portfolio of your work
  • Provide reviews/feedback from your students

You might have to work a bit harder to teach English online without a degree. But you definitely can do it!

Online companies that don’t require a degree

There are lots of companies out there that will let you teach English online without a degree, here are some of our top picks:

Cambly
Requirements: Cambly have the lowest requirements for online English teachers, meaning you don’t need a degree or a certain passport to teach for them, just a strong internet connection and a pc/laptop.
Pay: $10.20 USD per hour

PalFish
Requirements: To teach English online with PalFish you must be fluent in English and have a valid TEFL/TESOL/CETLA certificate.
Pay: You can set your own rates of pay when working for PalFish, but most teachers charge around $12-$18 USD per hour. If you can offer more specific types of English lessons such as Business English or IELTS you can charge much more than this.

iTalki
Requirements: iTalki specify that you must have a valid TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate to teach English online for them and be a native English speaker
Pay: You can set your own rates of pay when working for iTalki and they take a commission or fee based on your listed course price. Most new teacher on iTalki offer their initial lessons from $8-$12 per hour to attract more students and get some good reviews. Once you have some good reviews and some regular students you can then increase your rates.

Tutlo
Requirements: To work for Tutlo you must be a native English speaker with a passport from the US, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada or South Africa and have at least 6 months of English teaching experience (offline/online classes, private tutorials, language volunteer programs).
Pay: $5-11 USD per hour

Open English
Requirements: Open English hire both degree holders and non-degree holders. If you don’t have a degree you must have a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certification and at least 1 year of TEFL teaching experience. Preference is given to candidates that can also speak Spanish or Portuguese.
Pay: $15 USD per hour

Lingoda
Requirements: Lingoda have some of the higher requirements for online English teachers. To work for them, you must have at least 2 years of teaching experience, have a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certification and be a native speaker of the language you want to teach (in this case, English).
Pay: $7.85 – $12.34 USD per hour

SkimaTalk
Requirements: To teach English online for SkimaTalk, you don’t need a degree or any teaching experience, but you must be a native English speaker.
Pay: You can set your own pay rate with SkimaTalk, but they will take a fee of 20% from the rates of pay you set.

Preply
Requirements: Much like Cambly, to work for Preply you don’t need a degree or a specific passport to teach English online, but you will need an internet connection, a microphone and a webcam.
Pay: Preply takes a 100% commission fee for your first lesson payment with every new student. They’ll then take anywhere from 18%-33% for all following lessons depending on the amount of lessons. The more tutoring you do through Preply, the less commission you pay.

Amazing Talker
Requirements: To work for Amazing Talker you need to be a native English speaker and have a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certification.
Pay: You can set your own rates when working for Amazing Talker and they’ll only take a 15% cut of the rates you set.

This is not an exhaustive list of online teaching companies that don’t require a degree. 

Freelancing without a degree

Another great option for non-degree holders who want to teach English online is to become a freelance online English tutor. To become a freelance English tutor we’d suggest getting a bit of experience by working for one of the above companies, once you have some experience you can set up your own teaching English online profile, website or social network to find students.

It can be hard to find your first few students when freelancing, but once you have a couple of regulars the word-of-mouth will spread, and you’ll soon be getting new inquiries on a regular basis. Plus, if you freelance, you’ll be able to set your own rates of pay, choose your own hours and choose your own students.

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