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Do I need a degree to do CELTA or to teach English abroad?

Updated: Jan 27

Do I need a degree to do CELTA or to teach English abroad?
Thankfully, having a degree is not a requirement for being accepted onto a CELTA course!

Do I need a degree to do a CELTA?

The short answer is ‘No’ – you don’t need a bachelor’s degree to be accepted onto a CELTA course and in many cases, you don’t need one to teach English as a foreign language abroad.

Cambridge Assessment specify that to be accepted onto a CELTA course, all candidates should have the standard of education equivalent to that required for entry into higher education. If you have completed your A Levels (or equivalent) and want to teach English abroad for a year before starting university or if university is not on your radar at all after college, then you can absolutely apply to join a CELTA course!

As long as you can demonstrate in your application and interview that you are able to study at university level you won’t have anything to worry about.

Can you teach English abroad without a degree?

Yes, there are destinations that do not require a university degree for English language teaching positions. If you’ve successfully applied for and completed a CELTA course, it is possible to teach English abroad without a degree.

It’s true that many employers will want to see a degree on your CV before asking you for an interview. In some cases it might be a non-negotiable requirement of the job role and the company might exclusively want a university graduates on their teaching team.

You will also come across teaching jobs that need you to have a degree for work visa purposes. This is common in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Japan, Thailand and South Korea. Know your options. Check the work visa requirements in your dream destinations. If a degree is not a requirement for a visa then it will be up to the school or employer whether to hire teachers without university degrees, meaning there is flexibility!

How To Be A TEFL Teacher Without A Degree

  1. Have a CELTA qualification. If you don’t have a degree, a CELTA is going to be a lifesaver if you want to teach English abroad. Seen as the gold-standard of TEFL qualifications, employers will want to see this qualification as minimum on your CV.

  2. Gain teaching experience. If you’ve not got a degree, showing that you have previous experience is going to look great on any job applications. You can do this in lots of ways after your CELTA; apply for EFL summer school work, volunteer in your local community, advertise yourself as a private English tutor or teach online. This all counts as experience and will impress employers.

  3. Continue your professional development. Take advantage of free or cheap resources to bolster your CV. Join professional TEFL/TESOL organisations and consider enrolling onto short online courses or webinars that specialise in particular areas of teaching. DC Teacher Training runs post CELTA short courses focused on teaching Young Leaners, teaching English for Exams and teaching Business English.

Best Countries To Teach English Without A Degree


Spain is arguably the most popular destination in Europe for teaching English as a foreign language. With such a high demand for learning English, you might think that a degree is crucial when applying for teaching jobs in Spain, but this just isn’t the case, especially if you have a CELTA qualification on your CV. With hundreds of jobs up and down the country you’ll be spoilt for choice when looking to teach English in Spain.


Asia has been a haven for English language teachers for years, but many countries will require English teachers to have university degree. Japan, South Korea, China, Thailand and Vietnam all insist because of work visa regulations in those countries. However, Cambodia is a rare exception. A CELTA along with a high school diploma/A levels is all you’ll need when looking for work in this absolute delight of a country. Boasting some of the most delicious and cheapest street food in the region, ancient temples, and possibly the friendliest locals on the planet, Cambodia is an ideal place to teach English without a degree.


Securing work as an English Language Teacher in Mexico has never been easier as it’s one of the exotic destinations that doesn’t require teachers to have a graduate degree! The sprawling metropolis of Mexico City has hundreds of teaching contracts available for every type of English teaching position, but if a quieter beach life is more your vibe, look for teaching jobs in Merida or the Riviera Maya region.

Costa Rica

Costa Ricans take their English learning very seriously and start learning from kindergarten age. This makes it all the more surprising that you don’t need a university degree to secure teaching work in Costa Rica. A CELTA qualification is a must though. The country is a nature lover's paradise; beaches, volcanoes, rainforests and wildlife. What’s not to love? The central valley provides most of the teaching vacancies all looking for CELTA qualified applicants and degrees are not necessary!


Near enough the same size Europe, the opportunities for teaching English in Brazil are endless. English is big business in Brazil and you’ll be able to pick up teaching roles in pretty much all big cities. Don’t worry if you don’t have a degree, having a CELTA qualification should do the trick. Sometimes, employers won’t even ask to see your qualifications if you’re a native speaker. Professional English is in growing demand as Brazil stives to become a world player in business, so having business English experience on your CV will make you more attractive during interviews.

Teaching Online

Be your own boss and teach English online from anywhere in the world without the need for a visa! If the Covid pandemic taught us anything, it’s that working, learning and teaching is all possible from the comfort of you own home. It also means that learning English is now open to anyone with a Wi-Fi connection and students don’t have to rely on a English language school in their village or home town. Similarly, it allows English teachers with CELTA qualifications to bypass visa rules and regulations which often requires a degree. Make yourself stand out from the crowd by specialising in specific areas of English teaching, perhaps IELTS exam preparation or Business English.

DC Teacher Training is happy to talk you through your options post CELTA if you don't have a degree. You can even book a Jobs Meeting with a member of the team!

Danny Wilkins graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2009 with a degree in English and Drama Studies and went on to get his CELTA qualification in Manchester in 2012.  Since then he has taught English in over 10 countries including Taiwan, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Austria, before settling in the UK. Danny has previously managed one of the largest CELTA centres in the UK and is thrilled to bring CELTA courses to Birmingham, having lived and graduated in the city.

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