Which Degree to Teach English Abroad?

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The basic usual teaching qualifications for the majority of TEFL‏‎ jobs are a degree and a TEFL Certificate such as the ICAL TEFL Certificate.

Although sometimes you can find work without a degree in some countries, this article looks at the type of degree which is best to have to teach English and which degrees are not usually acceptable.

Which Type of Degree?

By degree we mean a 3 or 4 year BA (or sometimes a BSc) degree from an accredited college or university in your country.

Remember, however, that Associate Degrees, Foundation Degrees and other shorter course qualifications are not usually accepted as degrees in most countries.

Which Major/Minor?

The degree is usually required for visa or work permit purposes; it is used to show the authorities in the country that you have a certain level of education.

So it's often the case that the subject of the degree is not that important and certainly you will find teachers of English in entry level jobs with degrees in everything from Medieval English Literature to Mechanical Engineering to IT to Sociology.

This means that if you have a BA or BSc degree in almost any subject regardless of which major or minor you have then this will often be sufficient for a work permit and getting a job in a school.

However, having said this, to help get the job and show the school you know what you are talking about it's obviously better for your degree to be English or language related. So you will find that most English teacher abroad have degrees in:

  • English language
  • English literature
  • Linguistics
  • A foreign language

But to reiterate, don't be put off you have a degree in a completely different subject. It will be fine for most English teaching jobs abroad!

Choosing a Degree Subject

What this means in practical terms is that if you are looking towards a career (or at least a few years work) in teaching English abroad then you can take a degree in almost any subject.

So if you are thinking about which degree to take, you might want to think about taking something which interests you! There's little point in spending 3 or 4 years studying something you dislike when, at the end of the day, you would be in the same position as if you'd studied something you enjoyed.

TESOL or TEFL Degrees

Some universities offer degrees in TESOL or similar. Bear in mind that if decide at a later date to leave the TEFL industry and enter mainstream employment back home then most employers will not know what this is. A degree in English is sometimes better since most people will be able to recognize this.

See Also

Masters Degree.- for a further qualification if you are heading towards a career in TEFL.

TEFL without a Degree‏‎ - if you do not possess a degree and wish to teach.

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