How I found a job to teach English without a TEFL certification

Teaching English Without A Certification

People often ask me how I managed to get a job in Colombia teaching English without a TEFL certification.

So, this is how I did it! The exact steps I followed to find work abroad to teach English without a TEFL certification




You might feel like there is some BIG SECRET about how to find a job to teach English abroad without experience. Good news! I can assure you that there is NO secret!

All it takes is some research, a lot of planning, the smart saving of money as a backup fund and then DETERMINATION.


When I travelled around Colombia, I fell in love with the country (and salsa dancing).  Almost immediately, I started looking for a job that would enable me to live there.

After asking around and a bit of research, I found out about a government program. The program was hiring hundreds of native English speakers to work as teachers in public high schools across Colombia.

What followed was the most rewarding job I have ever had.

For one year, I taught English As A Second Language (ESL) to teenagers aged between 11 to 18. Being a teacher to teenagers presented a different challenge every day. But, I have also never laughed so much in my life.

Without a doubt, being an English teacher has been my favourite job I have ever had so far.


Teaching English Abroad


Teaching English is definitely one of the best ways to get a job abroad without experience.

Depending on the country you choose to work in, you can earn very good money allowing you to save or travel in your time off.

For instance, in South Korea, you can expect to earn between $2000-3000 USD per month, but you will be expected to work hard for your salary.

While in Latin America, salaries are considerably less, probably more around the $1000/month mark.

But you won’t be expected to work as hard. Like anything in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to every choice.

Therefore, it’s important to do your research before deciding on where you would like to look for a job to teach English without a TEFL certification. Or even teach English without a degree.

Are you looking for a fun experience, a break from your ‘real life’? Or perhaps you are wanting to start a new career as a teacher? has a great article outlining all the best places to teach English in 2019, with and without a TEFL or a degree.

How to win jobs on Upwork


Most websites out there will tell you that the most important thing to do before you start looking for a job teaching English is to have a bachelor degree and then to obtain a TEFL.

A TEFL is a teaching qualification which stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. And I agree. I really do. Getting your CELTA is always going to be the best way to find an English teaching job, and you can even do your CELTA online these days.

HOWEVER, not everyone has the spare cash to get a degree or fund a TEFL qualification. Or perhaps like my case, you are already abroad in your chosen country.

You need to find a job teaching English without a degree or teach without a TEFL certification and you need to find one fast!


There are two ways to find work teaching English abroad without a TEFL certification or degree. The first way is still traditional teaching abroad programs.  The only difference is that without a TEFL qualification, you will have less options.

In my personal opinion, if you don’t have a degree or a TEFL. Then, I believe it to be easier to find teaching work in Latin America.

On the teaching program, I found in Colombia, all you needed was a degree and to be a native English speaker.

Because of this, I suggest that unless you have your heart set on teaching in Asia, it’s a good idea to begin your search in Latin America.

Teach abroad programs can take the fear out of trying to find an ESL teaching job abroad.

Many ESL teach abroad programs provide accommodation, pay for the flights, and then provide a fair stipend or even a decent salary. They help you get set up when you first arrive. Helping you become settled, and more at home, a lot faster than you would if you were doing it all alone.


Have a look below at this list of teaching abroad programs to help you get a job abroad to teach English with no TEFL qualification or degree.

Once you have decided on the program then you can simply get in contact with them and follow their advice. It’s really, honestly, that simple!

This is only a few of the many teach abroad programs out there so do your research and get looking!


If you already happen to be in the country where you would like to teach English and you don’t have a TEFL.

Don’t worry.

I found a job abroad teaching English without a TEFL qualification. YOU CAN TOO! As a fluent or native English speaker, you will be able to find work teaching English without a certification.

All it takes is a little more work than it would if you already have a TEFL qualification. Get yourself on Google and make a list of all the high schools, elementary schools, universities and language academies.

The next step is to tailor your CV to include ANY AND ALL experience relating to teaching. Make sure you add any relevant experience, be it coaching a sports team or babysitting the neighborhood kids. Once you have your CV, send out a personalized email to ALL THE SCHOOLS. 

You might not get a response the first time, so send a second follow-up email. If you still don’t get any replies. Make some phone calls!

It’s important to put yourself out there, just like you would in any job search.


If you want to teach English abroad without a qualification then you need to be prepared to put in the extra work!

Perhaps, the traditional email blasts and phone calls route haven’t got you any luck.

At this point, it’s time to visit some of the schools and hand your CV in personally. Aim to visit a few schools every day. Wear a smart, professional clothes – as if you were going to a job interview.

Go to the school. Then explain to the reception that you would like to speak to Head of English or even the Principal if it is a small place.

You might get rejected at 80% of the schools you visit, but keep going! Eventually, a few schools will be happy to accept your CV. From those schools, you might get a couple of interviews.

Then from those interviews, maybe you will receive a job offer!


Suddenly, you are teaching English without the TEFL qualification!


The point of this post is to motivate the people who may not be able to get the TEFL qualification so easily. I want to show everyone that you are still able to find work abroad teaching English without a certification.

If I could do it, then you can.

Teaching English is a fantastically rewarding experience and if you are lucky enough to be offered the opportunity, please do not take it for granted. Work hard, be respectful of the culture and open yourself up to new people and experiences!

READ: Why you’re scared to quit your job and travel the world

teaching english abroad without a TEFL certification