No degree can I teach English in Thailand, China, Taiwan..

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No degree can I teach English in Thailand, China, Taiwan..

Unread postby Heather » 10 Feb 2006, 22:40

Hello this is my first time one here : )

I would like to teach English in Asian I don't have a degree I am a mortgage broker in Calgary AB Canada
Do I need a certificate to teach English? If so which are recognized in Asia?
Can I leave right away or is there a teaching season?

Thank you!!
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you can

Unread postby lawyer » 14 Sep 2006, 15:05

In china, though you don't have a degree, you can teach in some middle school, the students want to communicate with foreign teachers. if you want, contact me: Lawyervicky@yahoo.com.cn
Open your mind, wherever you go, where are many friends.
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Unread postby Comenius » 08 Apr 2007, 02:51

You definitely need a BA to teach in Taiwan, although it can be in any subject.
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Unread postby Hubert » 08 Apr 2007, 19:51

Hi Heather,

Many places in those three countries will accept you without a degree or TESOL certificate. However, if I was you I would seriously consider either of these two things prior to taking up a position as an ESL/EFL teacher. From my own experience, I can tell you that it would make you a much more competent teacher.

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Unread postby Comenius » 10 Apr 2007, 22:37

Hubert makes a very good point.

Even if a country doesn't require a degree for a work visa, doing at least a 4 week TEFL training course can make a huge difference in how confidently you interview, as well as how competently you teach.
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Unread postby Hubert » 11 Apr 2007, 07:12

Thanks for your support, Comenius.
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Unread postby Peter Easton » 11 Apr 2007, 08:32

Actually, certification is good but certainly not the most important factor in teaching overseas. My order of preference when interviewing candidates is as follows:

1. Outgoing personality
2. Intelligence
3. Experience
4. Professionalism
5. Qualifications

I’ve interviewed hundreds of people with Masters degrees and tefl certificates and then watched them in the classroom and they’ve been absolutely hopeless.

Teaching is like acting or selling, inter-personal skills account for more than half the crieria when assessing a good teacher. Methodology is great but can be learned along the way - I'm always on the lookout for people with natural teaching ability first and foremost.
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Unread postby Gringo Greg » 12 Apr 2007, 08:36

I'd say knock Thailand off that list. With ever changing requirements, most recently they said you needed an B. Ed plus take a Thai culture test. Things change by the minute and I really don't suggest it at all right now.

Thailand used to be one of the most open countries in Asia for teachers but it is quickly slamming its doors shut.

Have you looked at Latin America at all?
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Unread postby Comenius » 15 Apr 2007, 05:43

I find myself agreeing with Peter a lot. :)

At the end of the day, it's the classroom experience that keeps students coming back, especially to classes that they don't have to attend. You can probably survive with a dull method in a mandatory high school class, but in private lessons to adults, your presentation has to be entertaining as well as focused and informative.
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Unread postby ani uk » 01 Jul 2007, 17:37

I am british and living in the UK.
I would like to spend a few years during the winter
teaching in Thailand.

I also dont have a degree
I do have a TEFL qualification from Chiang Mai University in Thailand.
I am annoyed that I spent so much money and now can't work there.

I would like to work in Thailand but it looks like that isnt going to be possible.

My questions for Thailand would be:

If I worked with young children (which is what I would prefer to do anyway) would it make a difference and enable me to get a work permit?

Is there any chance of work at all where I can get a permit as I dont want to be expelled forever?

I know I can teach a good class and it is ridiculus that I am not allowed just because of lack of funds/time (age wise) to do a degree.

If not Thailand where else (in the sun for my aging bones :)) would anyone suggest that i could travel to teach.

thankyou Ani
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Qualifications...

Unread postby shlee » 02 Jul 2007, 00:40

There is a delicate mix of various skills that should be considered when planning on instructing in any country...Obviously, most countries require the minimum of a bachelor's degree in order to qualify, but that doesn't mean you will be excluded from consideration everywhere...Peter and others are correct in their statements, and in the end it really depends on where you can find suitable employment...I know (at least regarding Korea and Japan) you will need a BA in some area and TEFL certification will be a added plus...

You can find a place to work somewhere in the world, but it takes some homework and diligent research to find the right place to work...
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Re: No degree can I teach English in Thailand, China, Taiwan..

Unread postby systematic » 21 Apr 2008, 15:12

It is not possible to teach in Thailand without a degree. The law has been around for many years, but now it is being strictly applied. I fully sympathise with anyone who hasn't got a degree. Some teachers who have been here for a very long time are having to leave because their Work Permits are no longer being extended under the new enforcement.
I offer any information or advice 'as is' and hope that it has been of help. I am not an admin of this board, and my postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board management.
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Re: No degree can I teach English in Thailand, China, Taiwan..

Unread postby Ajarn.Chan » 27 Feb 2009, 17:01

:D It is still possible to Teach in Thailand without a Degree ! As of February 2009 there is still a demand for Native Speakers, with or without paperwork.

I have been teaching in a Private School here in Phuket for the past few months, and I have a contract for the new year starting in May; but all I have is TEFL Certificate and some inate ability to communicate. WIthin reason anybody who wants to Teach here can probably find work provided they stick to Private Schools and work through an Agency.

Personally I work around 20 hours each week, and receive 30,000 Thai Baht each month. I can have a work permit, and help with a suitable annual Visa, but I do not need the Visa since I am married to a Thai and get one that way instead. I also Teach various students at the weekend, and during holidays, bringing in another 15,000 Baht.

Incidentally in the UK the Thai Honorary Consul, located in Hull, can issue a one year Visa [made up of 90 day chunks, effectively making it possible to stay for 15 months], for about 80 pounds [last time I looked it up]. Alternatively it is possible to simply get a 30 day Visa on Arrival then obtain an Education Visa, not as a Teacher but as a Student.

Please note that I am NOT suggesting that sneakily defeating the rules is the best solution, nor is it likely to stay as easy as it is at present. Things are certainly changing here, and plenty of good people are being driven out because they are not able to adapt. YES the rules are constantly changing, at least on paper. It is NOT eacy to get work in any State School, though it is still possible if they are unable to fill a vacancy. [I have been offered such a post in a Town that has nothing to attract foreigners.]

Obviously State schools receive most of their funding from the State, and it is for that reason that they are obliged to have applicants Vetted by the 'Jobsworth pen pushers' in Bangkok. The school administrators on the other hand are perfectly happy to employ anybody who can get the job done. In my case I have even been offered a Tax Free 'Top Up' if I will take the post, which will be funded from the School Slush Fund.

Please understand that Thailand is not Europe, the people are very pragmatic and rules are only relevant if they are unavoidable. [Which is important to remember when crossing the road or waiting at traffic lights!] On the other hand bureacracy here can easily be stifling and oppressive, like the climate ;)

I have personally seen places 'shut down' [for a while] until the right 'Tea Money' [bribe] is paid to 'Education Inspectors'. WIthout wishing to offend the Thais [and risk going to Jail for 'insulting' Thailand] this place operates very much like a Banana Republic in some respects. Just about everything is 'negotiable' one way or another.

CONCLUSION - Please feel free to make contact via this website if I may be of any assistance. I make no promises, but can/will explain what is still possible here. No offence to the other contributors incidentally, but they are taking things a little too literally in my opinion.
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Re: No degree can I teach English in Thailand, China, Taiwan

Unread postby systematic » 28 Feb 2009, 03:26

This may be true Ajarn.Chan, but as far as Thailand is concerned I feel some distinction is necessary.
There are three main kinds of 'private' schools where TESOL teachers seek employment:

1. Mainstream Schools for primary and secondary education.
2. Cramming Schools providing evening and weekend English courses.
3. Schools providing purely corporate English.

The mainstream private schools are least likely to be able to find a workaround, and those in a high density of population, particularly with a large farang contingent.

High Street language schools such as ECC, Inlingua, Abacus, AUA, and other franchise chains, etc., will generally not employ teachers without degrees - the solution is either to e-mail them, or just walk in and ask. If they are desperately short of staff and have students signed up waiting for a course to start, they might offer a non qualified teacher a couple of hours a week at times when the inspectors are hardly likely to turn up.

In-house corporate teachers, for example those who are part of the permanent staff of a hotel or lage company, are not required to have a degree as this activity does not fall under the control of the MoE.

The largest single job ad database for Thailand is that run by http://www.teflasia.com - all the advertised jobs require a degree.

I heartily suggest that anyone who wants to teach in Thailand, which as a previous poster mentioned, is 'slamming the doors', without a degree at least takes the time to read these articles:

http://www.teflwatch.org/teachers-in-jail-2007226.html
http://www.ajarn.com/Banter/visaworkpermitfaq.htm
http://www.internationalschoolsreview.c ... ailand.htm
http://www.phuket.net/phuket-living/emp ... nglish.htm
http://teakdoor.com/williams-legal-sect ... ermit.html
http://edition.tefl.net/articles/career ... tion-tips/

and to browse the tips submitted by our staff and regular contributors at http://edition.tefl.net/category/articles/

Not to do so would run the risk of exposing oneself to embarrassing situations.
Last edited by systematic on 04 Jun 2010, 02:33, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Updating and copyediting
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Re: No degree can I teach English in Thailand, China, Taiwan..

Unread postby Ajarn.Chan » 01 Mar 2009, 15:06

Hi Systematic

You are right of course, at least literally 'Correct' ;}

However the impression you give is somewhat like suggesting that because the Speed Limit on British Motorways is 70 that nobody drives any faster, not quite true is it ?

All I am/was trying to do was balance your replies with a dose of 'reality'. But I tried to temper my optimism with a warning which I will repeat to anybody who does not know.

'Living and/or working in Thailand is NOT like Europe'. Rules get 'bent' here all the time and for most practical purposes there is often 'no harm done'. However if you are ever unfortunate enough to be the 'Scapegoat' of any sort of Crackdown then be ready to LEAVE, and possibly never come back !

Having said all that for many people in this world [without steady jobs, pensions etc] Europe is a far from friendly place. Even as a Brit it is currently very unwelcoming to many of us who have dared to 'live abroad' for any extended period of time.

In other words there are risks in everything we do. Anybody who speaks reasonable English CAN get work here, provided they are willing to be flexible and realistic. Whether they SHOULD seek work, or be offered it is beside the point.

Personally I know a lot of 'Graduates' who are dreadful Teachers ! I also know many 'gifted amateurs' who are excellent communicators, and actualy care about the children they are responsible for. Then of course there are many other 'types' some of whom are far from desirable, but they tend not to last.

SORRY Systematic, I do not mean to be annoying, just blunt ;>

As a matter of interest only today an Agency here proposed that I buy a cheap 'Online Degree', from a source they have used in the past; so that I might take up a Teaching Post that they are so far unable to fill. Of course it would be a Fake, but like Admiral Nelson they would 'turn a blind eye' as would the authorities, at least for now.

I personally would NOT suggest that anybody tries to LIVE permanently here in Thailand. Basically the Thais are Institutionally Racist, from HM & PM downwards [Both born in the UK] they do NOT want us long term, everything is against us. But for a few years it might be just the thing that some of the people who keep asking are looking for.
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Re: No degree can I teach English in Thailand, China, Taiwan..

Unread postby systematic » 01 Mar 2009, 19:05

Hi Ajarn.Chan,
Ajarn.Chan wrote:However the impression you give is somewhat like suggesting that because the Speed Limit on British Motorways is 70 that nobody drives any faster, not quite true is it ?

- But how many do it without a licence, tax, and insurance? And would to do so be either a matter of dishonesty, or a kavaliersdelikt?

Ajarn.Chan wrote:
Personally I know a lot of 'Graduates' who are dreadful Teachers ! I also know many 'gifted amateurs' who are excellent communicators, and actualy care about the children they are responsible for. Then of course there are many other 'types' some of whom are far from desirable, but they tend not to last.

I certainly agree with that, but as a long time administrator for what is probably Thailand's largest group of independent providers of mainstream education, it would not be deontologic to recommend or condone bending the rules.
Officially, the onus is on the employers for ensuring that all documentation is authentic before beginning the Work Permit process and an increasingly large number large mainstream private schools now verify each certificate through its issuer for authenticity. Nevertheless, the three government agencies involved now run their own spot checks on some 5 - 10% of degree certificates and match them with the lists of degree mills and bogus universities, and although this still means that the majority of fakes will slip through the net, visas, work permits, and teacher licences, are being denied.
High Street institutes and agencies on the other hand however, are the MacDonald's of the language industry, and how they choose to hire their staff is up to them:
Ajarn.Chan wrote:...an Agency here proposed that I buy a cheap 'Online Degree', from a source they have used in the past; so that I might take up a Teaching Post that they are so far unable to fill. Of course it would be a Fake...

As a career academic who obtained his qualifications along the hard road of study and legality, I would find it shameful that anyone, particularly one who aspires to the social and moral responsibilities of the corps of education could admit to, or recommend obtaining a degree through any other means, even in Thailand where rules and regulations might be bent. Agencies are rarely run by people with a social conscience. Those that bend the rules are also the ones that rip their teachers off; and not suprisingly, a high proportion of the miscreants caught in Thai classrooms were found to be holding false documents.

To draw focus to our discussion by returning to your motoring metaphor: to fulfill the needs of legality and insurance cover, anyone who does not have a driver's licence in Thailand, could, I suppose, always 'buy' one, but it will not make them an expert driver, neither will it prevent the incalculable risk of an accident, that may or may not be their own fault.
I offer any information or advice 'as is' and hope that it has been of help. I am not an admin of this board, and my postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board management.
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Re: No degree can I teach English in Thailand, China, Taiwan..

Unread postby Ajarn.Chan » 03 Mar 2009, 12:19

OK Systematic, so we must agree to differ :D

Kudos to you for your achievements, it explains your perspective. I hope I have made mine equally plain, and I have frequently warned against taking Thailand for granted.

I have not bought, nor will I ever buy a Fake Degree. I mentioned it simply as an illustration of the current reality 'here on the ground' in Phuket, Thailand as of 2009. As it happens I have spent almost 5 years in various Uni's as a Mature Student; but for Health & FInancial reasons {I have MS} foolishly I never quite managed to finish.

Those issues have also left me living 'hand to mouth' for most of my adult life; it all began 34 years ago, when I was just 22. Perhaps as a consequence I see the world as it is, rather than as it purports to be; ie. brutal and unyielding not ideal and forgiving. Or to put it another way I am probably Amoral from your standpoint, but not Immoral :roll:

Since this thread is hopefully read by aspiring TEFL'ers {who are mostly ordinary folk} as well as 'career professionals', then I sincerely hope the information is useful to them, and the mixture of cautions and warnings is heeded. I would NOT want the responsibility of bringing anybody here only to hear they were Jailed or Deported. On the other hand I do not set myself up as an arbiter on the rights and wrongs of other people's judgements. With a clear conscience I simply offer my personal experiences and perspectives, and let them decide for themselves; not that I am implying anything different from your 'side'.

Pax Vobiscum ;)

PS - Yes Ghormullah I can see the 'funny side' of this ...
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Re: No degree can I teach English in Thailand, China, Taiwan..

Unread postby systematic » 03 Mar 2009, 13:58

Hi Ajarn.Chan,

I'm neither playing the arbiter, nor am I moralising, but as you have correctly understood, I have to ascribe to the job I do. I don't need any brownie points for getting there either - it's just the result of several decades in the business. A bit like a machine operator who goes on a few courses, publishes a few training manuals, and makes it to head of R & D :D

I fully sympathise with your situation, and many are the times that I would dearly like to employ a mature individual who does not possess a degree, but my hands are tied.

The purpose of this forum is to inform and to obtain information and advice, and all our views are of course relevant.
I offer any information or advice 'as is' and hope that it has been of help. I am not an admin of this board, and my postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board management.
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Re: No degree can I teach English in Thailand, China, Taiwan..

Unread postby Doogs » 10 Mar 2009, 03:36

Come to China. It's a great place to teach, especially in the South where the weather is quite warm. There are lots of vacancies in China, and as well as a generous salary, you can expect rent free accommodation, and if you take a years contract you'll be reimbursed for your return air fare and visa costs. You don't need a degree, it's mainly a requirement for your Z visa anyway. A lot of people teaching here are currently on tourist of business visas anyway, since the Government changed the rules after the Olympics. I would recommend doing a tefl course, either a weekend course or an online course. Neither will prepare you fully for teaching classes of fifty to sixty students at a time in the public schools, but then no course will do that, a lot of it is down to personality and confidence in your abilities.

Give it a go, you can come over for six months just to try it out. It's a great experience, and you'll meet some nice people, see amazing things, eat amazing food, and teach some of the nicest, most hard working students you could hope to meet.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
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Re: No degree can I teach English in Thailand, China, Taiwan..

Unread postby Peter Easton » 10 Mar 2009, 07:57

A lot of people teaching here are currently on tourist of business visas anyway, since the Government changed the rules after the Olympics.


Working on a tourist visa or a business visa is illegal no matter where you are in China.
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