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Is it possible to teach English abroad in Asia without a TEFL certificate? Yes, it is and that is the secret that many TEFL/TESOL/CELTA companies don't want you to know. It's not necessary to teach abroad in all places.

And guess what?

There are a few other secrets I'll tell you about later.

In fact many companies tell lies about this requirement to get you to buy.

The requirements to teach English abroad are going to vary from country to country and more specifically from school to school.

Usually it comes down to the school.

Most schools prefer teachers with experience. The reason why is because teachers with experience tend to do a better job and they are more responsible.

Teaching is not easy.

So if you are planning on winging it you are bound to have some stressful times. I know because I did that at times in the beginning. Well, actually I frequently did that in the beginning first to second year.

I would try to search for help online and there wasn't any good materials online that show you what to do and I didn't really know what I needed to know. 

I did take a TESOL course prior to teaching in Taiwan, however it wasn't very good and it didn't really prepare me to teach there.

In the brochure to that course (which I have a picture of) they tell a little lie that some TEFL courses tell.

The lie is that you need it to legally teach abroad.

In actuality you often don't need it to teach abroad. I taught in China, Korea and Taiwan. And I can tell you that you can teach legally in all of those places and others without a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate.

If you are savvy you can teach yourself

You can read books, watch videos and take it upon yourself to learn. You can teach yourself. You don't necessarily need a course to learn and that is one of your options.

But it is probably going to take you more time since you don't know the playing field and you don't have a map of the things you need to learn.

So there is a price to pay even when you don't want to pay.

You'll pay in another way...

Unless you are savvy.

Are you savvy?

You can get a job without it, but it doesn't mean you're going to do your job any better

That's another secret.

The secret is if you want to actually have a good experience teaching abroad then you need to put some effort into learning how to teach. It's going to be where you are spending much of your time. Otherwise you're not going to be happy and you'll be looking for another job before you know it.

A good course should help you to do your job.

But what's a good course?

Well, as I previously mentioned I took a TESOL course (paid a $1000) for it and it definitely wasn't worth it.

Why not?

Because it didn't prepare me to teach who I taught (a key to choosing the best course). 

Most schools don't offer much in the way of training. So I would not expect the school to show you how to teach. I would expect them to throw you into the classroom and tell you to teach.

So as of now how do you think you would do?

Imagine a classroom full of students who are there to learn English. 

Where are you going to start?

Imagine some of them start talking when you are talking.

What are you going to do? 

Imagine your students falling asleep in your class. What are you going to do? Imagine your boss is not happy with your teaching. What are you going to do?

There are really cheap courses out there

Just so you know there are actually courses out there that are extremely cheap. You can find these courses on Groupon or here's one if you don't like Groupon. But they don't tend to be very good as they are "cheap" for a reason.

Cheap online courses tend to be text based, so much of that information that you'll learn in one is going to go in one ear and out the other.

Why is that?

According to some studies:

A high quality online TEFL course is going to use a lot of video.

You know sometimes it's like they say, "You get what you pay for."

Final words

Yes, it's definitely possible to teach abroad without a TEFL certificate. TEFL certificates are only rarely required for visas in Asia. Most of the time to get a legal teaching visa you only need a bachelor's degree and a passport from an English speaking country.

But it depends.

Schools are different. Some may require or prefer them especially if you do not have experience.

And remember if you are savvy you can teach yourself. 


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