Teaching English Abroad: Do You Need a Degree?
Probably you have come to this page because you don't have a degree and are concerned that if you travel across the world to get a TEFL qualification you still won't get an English teaching job!
Of course, you could just hide yourself away in shame and give up on your dream, but we're betting you won't after you read the following.
Let's consider a few persons who needed a degree: William Shakespeare needed a degree. Jesus needed a degree. The Lord Buddha needed a degree. George Washington needed a degree, as did Abraham Lincoln. Harry Truman needed a degree. John Major needed a degree. Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald needed a degree. Thousands of sports persons in baseball, American football, European football, basketball, tennis and other sports also needed a degree. Bill Gates needed a degree, likewise, as did Warren Buffett – and so, of course, do you!
But we also would like to pay tribute to the persons named above and the legions just like, or similar to, them who have made our lives here on earth much better, including the many thousands of wonderful English teachers trained in TEFL courses who work here in Thailand and help forge a great future for their delightful Thai students. Indeed, we also would like to pay tribute to the many thousands of worthy persons across the earth who do have degrees, and who likewise have made life here on earth a great deal better for us.
None of the persons mentioned or referred to above forsook their dreams, however, just because they lacked a degree, and neither should you! If you want to start a new life in the Land of Smiles, or elsewhere, and dream of teaching English abroad, you can assuredly do that and build a career here, degree or not, as we will explain.
Ultimately, of course, education is more than just university training. It is life experience; continual self-improvement; hard, goal-oriented work; and experience in business, perhaps – and, to no small extent, the application of a keen, knowledge hungry intelligence to everything we do in our lives. Finally, it is the experience of having performed, to the peak of our individual abilities, work that benefits not only ourselves, but also others.
In a very real sense, then, education is not only discovering and practicing a way of supporting ourselves and our families; it is also, by effect, humanitarianism in practice. In other words, we ourselves grow and become (educate ourselves) continuously in the process of fulfilling our own needs while striving to make the world a little better for others.
Would you be interested in knowing why having a degree came to be a qualification for employment? It's a simple enough answer. Until just over a century ago, when prospective employers needed some sort of measurement to determine whether an individual job applicant would be successful at work or not, the criterion was to administer an I.Q. test.
It was ultimately discovered, however, that questions on an I.Q. exam greatly, and unfairly, favored persons of a specific background, culture, religion or sex. Thus, employers decided that they would drop the I.Q. test requirement and consider a job applicant's worthiness on the basis of his or her having a university degree. The results of this transition are mixed, and indeed dubious: but to this day, a degree is still a major employer criterion – along with aptitude and interest test results, in some cases.
In our case, we preach the following 'Gospel': Let's not be elitist! In our course, persons with PhDs and MBAs have trained alongside persons with only high school, or A-Level, qualifications, and nearly all of them (even those with PhDs and MBAs!) have been successful in acquiring prestigious English as a Foreign Language teaching positions. So what does this mean?
Let's be honest. Everyone ought to have a degree if it's possible to obtain it, because it shows that one has learned how to learn, learned where to acquire information when it's needed, and, most importantly, learned through the character-building experience of taking on a long, difficult project and seeing it through to a successful conclusion that hard work and dedication pay off.
Yet most of us, if we had to take (or resit) our course final exams all over again six months after graduation, would flunk! This means, clearly, that the experience of achieving a degree is important, but the degree itself is not – except in a number of technical professions such as law, medicine, accountancy, the sciences, university academia, engineering, etc.
In our case, though our course is challenging enough, it is not rocket science! Indeed, in one class we had a university lecturer (who held a PhD, of course) in the same class as a young lady who had just finished high school. He got an A, and she got an A-. Does that mean that her body of knowledge and experience is equivalent to his? Absolutely not! However, being younger and inexperienced in lecturing, she probably became a better teacher of EFL/ESL that he did!
Truthfully, does the lack of a degree impact on finding good employment in Thailand? In most instances, you will not be able to teach for universities or international schools, though most government schools (and just about every other type of school) will hire you based on our tefl courses certificate. In this, you may take heart, as university and international school students have, for the most part, already acquired English at a second language ability level and thus are not so much fun to teach.
Your knowledge and skills are far more needed full-time by the numerous private children's schools, language schools, companies, families and business persons whom you will be able to teach. In doing so, you can expect (probably even during your first few months of experience) to be earning in the range of 30,000-50,000 baht a month, a comfortable income range for people making their homes in Thailand.
But will you be 'legal'? Well, "This is Thailand!" – meaning, in our case, that the teacher shortage here is very acute, and if you complete your TEFL Course training with us and teach well and enjoyably, an excellent school that pays well will give you a job – and doubtlessly arrange to get a work permit for you, too, if you hold a degree – meaning you may never, ever, need to go out of Thailand again unless you wish to.
And finally, if you lack a degree, just sign up for an affordable yearlong Thai language course scheduled to your convenience and get an education visa! You won't get the work permit, but both you and your employer will be happy, as you won't have to leave Thailand again as long as you remain employed!
If you are dreaming now, you can make your dream come true!