Without a Degree Will Just ESL Teacher Training be Enough to Get a Job?

ESL teacher training can go a long way towards landing your first job even without a degree. A lot of folks flat-out run out of steam during their academic career, run out of cash for university courses or get sidetracked and never get around to getting a degree.  Many have their heart or minds set on JAPAN and don't have a degree so they give up.  Well.... uhh.... there are many countries that you simply don't need a degree to teach in and let's start with the monster of monsters: China.

 Your top 10 cities in China with the most jobs are:

  • Shanghai: 22 million people. Central East area of China
  • Beijing: 19 million people. North East area
  • Tianjin: 11 million. North East area
  • Guangzhou: 11 million people. South East area
  • Shenzhen: 10 million people. South East area
  • Dongguan: 8 million people. South East area
  • Taipei: 8 million people. South East area
  • Chengdu: 7 million people. West Central area
  • Hong Kong: 7 million people. South East area
  • Hangzhou: 7 million people. Central East area

Man... that's a lot of people. And of all these eatin', sleepin' and livin' people a whopping 300,000,000 or better are studying English. So tell me where exactly are you going to scare up enough university graduates, with teaching experience to teach this large a number? 

(Guys and gals I can hear the head scratching from here.) You can't. Period. Do they want candidates with degrees? Yes. Are they going to get them? No. Can you find a job without a degree? Yes. The math just flat-out works.  In many countries ESL teacher training alone is enough to secure that precious first job and critical job experience. And this is just ONE of many countries where you can teach ESL abroad without a degree. Just one mind you.

One thing that needs to be clearly understood is that we aren't talking Hong Kong here. Job competition is high in this glitzy city and a degree plus TEFL certification is pretty much standard as it is in Japan.


ESL Teacher Training and Competitive ESL Markets Around the World

So don't be afraid of  countries crowded with teachers.  Just like in the world of internet marketing big competition exists for a reason - there is big volume and sales. Same thing with the world of ESL teaching.

There are many schools so you may be thinking "there are too many teachers...I'll get blown-out."  Bull shit. The door swings both ways. Big numbers of schools means big numbers of students this equals big need for teachers. (The theme here is "big".)

A common mistake some recent grads think regarding ESL teaching abroad is that because there are a lot of teachers there isn't room for more teachers. One not so small thing got left out of the equation. Turnover.
It exists for 2 reasons. One.  Shear mass and volume of the market itself running on 1 year contracts equals a lot of openings that just naturally occur when the working contract expires. The teacher moves on for whatever reason. Gap year finished, misses their home country, teaching isn't for them, gotta different itch to scratch, culture shock gets the better of them etc. I think you get the picture.

And then there is the number two kind. It's  the kind of not so good kind. Churn and burn is the basic model of these ESL schools.  And we'll get to that in a second but first the burning question.

Where can I teach English without a college degree?

Well folks, some of the top destinations for those without a degree who find work with some ESL teacher training  as mentioned above are:

  • China
  • Nicaragua
  • Spain
  • Mexico
  • Argentina
  • Russia
  • Vietnam

The aggregate amount of teachers needed in these countries is absolutely mind boggling. And all you need is some TEFL certification.

So What Do You Do When You See Things Heading South Like a Bat Out of Hell?

There is a reason for this. These type of English schools run day to day operations on the "churn and burn method" The school is poorly managed. They treat staff poorly. Or the whole teaching position is just a scam. And you know what?

That's just fine. If they don't know how to run a school that's their problem and definitely not yours. Folks what comes goes around comes around...just take a look at what happened to Nova and Geos. When you leave you leave. 

R.E.M said it best: " It's easier to leave then be left behind." Damn straight we say. ESL teachers with the wrong mindset who did not do their homework get chewed up in these schools.

Those who do their homework and can see the writing on the wall show up for the knife fight that they feel to be coming. And when they show up for the knife fight they bring a gun. What the heck is that?  Mind set.

Mind set is critical for survival in this type of school. If you expect to be treated like royalty from a school that keeps its head above water with a churn and burn philosophy you are clearly courting disaster.

BUT If however, like a trail-blazing TEFL backpacker, you are going to knock out the contract, get your experience, bank some bucks , build out your network and blow out of there like the damn place is on fire then you are ready for this experience. And teaching abroad is a breezy easy way of life all because of the mindset.  And so without further ado here is

Your "Get 'er Done" List

  • Do your homework and get your TEFL qualifications  through the organizations that place the most TEFL certified teachers and deal with the most reputable schools. This gives you downside protection right off the bat. Why mess around right?

  • Waste no time recontacting your TEFL certification provider for other job possibilities.

  • Bring cash and credit cards for emergency uses.

  • Network right off the bat and make friends who know what is going on if you don't. Just like in poker. If you can't spot the sucker at the table, you're it.

  • Make sure your network contains natives who speak the language of the country you are in. If they have pull that's even better. Pull means, other networks of people, places to live, organizations for foreigners etc.

  • And just have a mindset that if you are put in the position where you need to lock and load, you're going to do it just like Nickelback and Burn It To The Ground. Don't stand there and just take it year in and year out.

  • Then you move onto a better situation wiser and a whole lot tougher.
But really this kind of thing only happens when you don't do your homework so the wisest course of action, of course, is not to put yourself in the position to begin with. So get some ESL teacher training and start your ESL career off in the right direction with a well recognized TEFL course.

Related Articles...

Teaching ESL in Asia - How does Japan compare to its Asian neighbors for salary, working conditions etc.
ESL Teacher Training - Is TEFL certification enough to get a job? Let's take a look at the Chinese market for ESL teachers. 

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