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Lack of degree
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plantagenet



Joined: 09 Nov 2009
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:51 pm    Post subject: Lack of degree Reply with quote

Are there any countries that are actually worth teaching/living in where one can work legally without a degree? I've asked similar questions on this forum before, but since then I sort of gave up on the idea of teaching English abroad. However, now I have a renewed interest so I was wondering if anyone could provide any insight on these matters.

Really the reason I am asking this question is to see how the matter is in 2013 and beyond. I have the most interest in teaching in China, so that is what I am specifically hoping to get the most information about, but information on any countries would be appreciated.

I also don't have any plans on earning a degree due to the cost and time factor, but I of course would be willing to earn a TEFL cert like the CELTA if that would enable me. If the answer to my question is frankly "no" I won't mind hearing that...just lay it to me straight.

Thanks!
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3957
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You'll find this thread useful: "Finding work without a degree, but with a CELTA"
(http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=95980&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0)
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tttompatz



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 1951
Location: Talibon, Bohol, Philippines

PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can you get work in china = yes.
Can you get legal work in China as a teacher (with a proper "Z" visa) without a degree = no.

Most of the rest of Asia is similarly closed to you if you want legal work with the proper visas and permits.
After 2015 ALL of ASEAN will require a degree.

Taiwan is an option with an Associate and a TEFL cert. How long that will last is anybody's guess.

Most of Central and South America is an option but the pay is poor and visa issues abound.

Western Europe is an option if you are from the UK (degree is not a visa issue/requirement) but you are also competing with those who do have both a degree and a CELTA/TEFL.

I do not know about the current status of the degree as a visa requirement in Asia Minor or Eastern Europe.

.
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plantagenet



Joined: 09 Nov 2009
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
You'll find this thread useful: "Finding work without a degree, but with a CELTA"
(http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=95980&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0)


Thanks, based on that thread it seems my options are pretty limited and that this endeavor is probably not worth it. If only I were willing to spend thousands of dollars and 4 years of my life getting a piece of paper solely for this purpose, but alas that just isn't viable for me.

tttompatz wrote:
Can you get work in china = yes.
Can you get legal work in China as a teacher (with a proper "Z" visa) without a degree = no.


So what does this translate to? By law not doable but in practice entirely doable? Doable with some risks? Not worth it?

I should also edit my original statement about not earning a degree: I don't want to earn a degree in the US (where I live) or spend the time doing so before and just for teaching abroad. Previously members of this forum linked me to some online degrees from London Open University I believe that were fairly inexpensive. I'd be willing to earn something like that on a part-time basis while teaching to increase my employability. Would such a course of action be possible while working in China under the conditions I previously mentioned, ie obtaining a TEFL cert and having no degree?

Also, though I hear online TEFL certs are fairly worthless, are there any of them worth obtaining to get your foot in the door in China with the goal to thereafter obtain a CELTA while in China?

I know I must sound like an underqualified goon with these questions but I am just trying to figure out what's possible for me. Thanks again for any further advice.
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tttompatz



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 1951
Location: Talibon, Bohol, Philippines

PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

plantagenet wrote:

tttompatz wrote:
Can you get work in china = yes.
Can you get legal work in China as a teacher (with a proper "Z" visa) without a degree = no.


So what does this translate to? By law not doable but in practice entirely doable? Doable with some risks? Not worth it?


Not do-able in places like Beijing or Shanghai. There are lots of language academies outside of those cities who will take the chance on bringing you in on a "business" visa but the pay is often substantially less (3000-5000 rmb/month).

As bad as that sounds, it is still enough to have a decent, comfortable lifestyle. It just doesn't leave you much left over to pay bills at home or to save much (since it doesn't convert to much when you exchange it).

The same can be said for places like Thailand, Vietnam. Laos, Indonesia or Cambodia (the wages for non-degreed native speakers with a CELTA/TEFL are in the $1000/mo range).

There are also risks associated with working on the wrong visa. Piss off the wrong people and you find out just how fast your azz becomes grass and just how many lawnmowers there are out there. Getting first hand experience of life in an immigration detention center is a real, if remote possibility.

As to a legitimate degree from someplace like Athabasca-u or the UK's Open-U. They are do-able and are recognized as legitimate degrees (unlike most on-line or "lifestyle / life-learning" degree mills in the States).

.
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plantagenet



Joined: 09 Nov 2009
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tttompatz wrote:

Not do-able in places like Beijing or Shanghai. There are lots of language academies outside of those cities who will take the chance on bringing you in on a "business" visa but the pay is often substantially less (3000-5000 rmb/month).

As bad as that sounds, it is still enough to have a decent, comfortable lifestyle. It just doesn't leave you much left over to pay bills at home or to save much (since it doesn't convert to much when you exchange it). .


Thanks for the information. To be honest, I would actually prefer working outside of Beijing or Shanghai. I have no real interest in entertainment such as clubs or bars as I imagine would be more important to many other teachers. My desire to teach English in China is as a means to study Taoism, learn the guqin, and learn Mandarin, so if I could achieve that "out in the sticks" I wouldn't mind a bit. Either way, your post has given more confidence that this may be a real possibility for me.

tttompatz wrote:
There are also risks associated with working on the wrong visa. Piss off the wrong people and you find out just how fast your azz becomes grass and just how many lawnmowers there are out there. Getting first hand experience of life in an immigration detention center is a real, if remote possibility.


While anything is possible, I am quite the amicable guy and have never had a foe in my life, so I think that it will be highly unlikely that I will piss someone off. At least the risk will therefore be remote (I hope.)

tttompatz wrote:
As to a legitimate degree from someplace like Athabasca-u or the UK's Open-U. They are do-able and are recognized as legitimate degrees (unlike most on-line or "lifestyle / life-learning" degree mills in the States).


By doable do you mean doable on a part-time basis while teaching as I mentioned previously? In any case, thank you for the information you've given me, I appreciate it.
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7969



Joined: 26 Mar 2003
Posts: 5683
Location: South China, by the sea.

PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you have any qualifications at all worth mentioning? I know of one man working in China who has no degree but he is qualified as a navigator or some such qualification on-board ships. In some countries this kind of qualification, which takes years to get, is or is almost acceptable in lieu of a degree. Won't say which countries because I'm not sure.

Do you have any other employment options to keep you busy while you work on a degree? Teaching without one leaves you open to a lot of uncertainties and stresses. Once you get it out of the way life will become so much easier. Doesn't solve your immediate desire to teach now, but unless you're really old at the moment, it'll be worth it in the long run. Well you already know that but it's worth repeating.
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Nkengaola



Joined: 28 Nov 2011
Posts: 92
Location: Wanzhou, Chongqing

PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can definitely work in China with no degree, if you are willing to work in one of the smaller cities. I work in a third-tier city, and there are at least three teachers here, legally, who don't have bachelors degrees. I'm pretty sure they are getting the same pay that those of us with four-year degrees are getting. It's really difficult to get foreign teachers in this area, so the qualifications needed are lower.
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1832

PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re The Open University: although I'm sure that it is still cheaper than on-site universities, the fees have been rising substantially.
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nkengaola wrote:
You can definitely work in China with no degree, if you are willing to work in one of the smaller cities. I work in a third-tier city, and there are at least three teachers here, legally, who don't have bachelors degrees. I'm pretty sure they are getting the same pay that those of us with four-year degrees are getting. It's really difficult to get foreign teachers in this area, so the qualifications needed are lower.


Not saying this isnt happening, but the 'legal' issue here might be dodgy ground. Some employers in some regions may be prepared to use fake degree certification to get legal papers. So whilst it may appear that they have legal papers, they may have been gained through less than legal means.

The people in question may never be aware of this. The people in question may never suffer any inconvenience or trouble because of this. However, it is fair to say that this type of working situation may come with a 'shelf-life', and it may not be something that can be continued indefinitely.

Ultimately, if someone wants to enter TEFL and China with a view to a long term life / job / career change. The degree is something that has to be taken really. At some stage, not having one is going to stop you from a pure visa issuance standpoint.

plantagenet - Are you looking for a new job / lifestyle, or just an adventure for a year (or less) allowing you to experience something new? If you are looking for that, then it might be better to think about coming to China as a language student for a year, or to volunteer teach with someone etc etc. That may remove the need to have a degree entirely. If you are looking longer term, I personally think it would be foolish to make long term plans when you dont meet basic visa requirements and government regulations that exist and affect 95% of all people currently working in China.
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plantagenet



Joined: 09 Nov 2009
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

7969 wrote:
Do you have any qualifications at all worth mentioning? I know of one man working in China who has no degree but he is qualified as a navigator or some such qualification on-board ships. In some countries this kind of qualification, which takes years to get, is or is almost acceptable in lieu of a degree. Won't say which countries because I'm not sure.

Do you have any other employment options to keep you busy while you work on a degree? Teaching without one leaves you open to a lot of uncertainties and stresses. Once you get it out of the way life will become so much easier. Doesn't solve your immediate desire to teach now, but unless you're really old at the moment, it'll be worth it in the long run. Well you already know that but it's worth repeating.


Nope, I am pretty useless overall as most of my talents and interests aren't very marketable. Though I am confident in my ability to teach English if given the opportunity, hence my interest.

As to employment, no. The job market in my area (and my state in general) seems to be pretty terrible...I basically scrape by through doing random jobs. I also don't have any desire to earn a degree other than for the purpose of teaching abroad and if I did that only to discover in the end it isn't for me, this would be a waste of time, effort, and money. So that option isn't really something I am considering.

Denim-Maniac wrote:

plantagenet - Are you looking for a new job / lifestyle, or just an adventure for a year (or less) allowing you to experience something new? If you are looking for that, then it might be better to think about coming to China as a language student for a year, or to volunteer teach with someone etc etc. That may remove the need to have a degree entirely. If you are looking longer term, I personally think it would be foolish to make long term plans when you dont meet basic visa requirements and government regulations that exist and affect 95% of all people currently working in China.


I am looking for a job as well as a means to pursue some of my interests I mentioned previously. Adventure may be part of it, but really I'd like to come there with some means of employment so I can pursue my interests on a long term basis.

Whether coming there to teach without a degree and (provided I discover this path is right for me) earn a degree while teaching is foolish or dodgy doesn't matter so much to me so long as it is possible. Whatever the case, it surely beats being stuck where I am now where not only is the employment factor very weak, but where I am also unable to pursue the interests I have on a more serious level.
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 854
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are places where this is possible (ie. parts of Latin America) but if Taoism, Mandarin, and all that are what you really want to do, then you would probably regret going anywhere but China (I've tried to learn Mandarin at university in Canada - wasn't happening).

It is possible. Not recommended for obvious legal reasons, but possible. You will have to consider that employers who skirt visa regulations may also skip on your paycheques and not give you any free time to actually pursue your interests. You might want to start asking around in the China-specific forum and be very wise about who you deal with. Good luck.
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

plantagenet wrote:

I am looking for a job as well as a means to pursue some of my interests I mentioned previously. Adventure may be part of it, but really I'd like to come there with some means of employment so I can pursue my interests on a long term basis.

Whether coming there to teach without a degree and (provided I discover this path is right for me) earn a degree while teaching is foolish or dodgy doesn't matter so much to me so long as it is possible. Whatever the case, it surely beats being stuck where I am now where not only is the employment factor very weak, but where I am also unable to pursue the interests I have on a more serious level.


I know you said you wanted the truth and straight talking, Im not so sure you plan is sensible, realistic or viable in the long term TBH.

If you want to study Mandarin seriously, you need to devote more time to it that you will probably have. 1) No qualifications or experience means you will probably only get a bottom feeder job ... this might not leave much time to study Mandarin. 2) No qualification or experience of teaching means you may have to devote more time to the job to learn how to do it ... because if you cant do it well (and doing the job well can make many different things in China), you might get dropped quickly. And with no legal visa status any plans could go up in smoke quickly. 3) Success in Mandarin requires serious amounts of study time, and possibly some study experience too ... this might be tough for you too.

Studying Taoism too? Good luck with that. Probably easier to find like-minded people in the US than it is in China. And if you do find any serious Taoists, dont expect them to speak any English. Unless you go to foreign-friendly places like BeiJing ... but that will lead to visa difficulties again.

If you are scraping by now, be aware that everyone would suggest you come to China with a significant amount of cash in your pocket for emergencies. You may not be able to be able to travel in on a one way ticket as you wont have a legit visa, so you may have to buy a return ticket before you come. Obv thats more expensive. You need money to keep you going until you find a job, who knows how long that will take as you dont meet visa regulations, and when you have a job, it may be sometime before you get a full months salary! Add in the fact you may need money and deposit to rent a place, money for a visa run to Hong Kong or elsewhere, and money to get the hell out incase it goes wrong. Lots to consider.

Expecting to stay in China, whilst studying and paying for an undergraduate degree, learning Mandarin Chinese and learning how to teach is a tall ask. Add to that you have to find an employer who will take you with a lack of qualifications and experience and I cant really see this working out well for you Im afraid.

The key issue is the degree. If you want legal and secure employment in China you need to satisfy immigration requirements. At the moment you dont. Until you do, there is always likely to be an element of risk ... and China is a long way from home, and can be very unforgiving.
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plantagenet



Joined: 09 Nov 2009
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Denim-Maniac wrote:

I know you said you wanted the truth and straight talking, Im not so sure you plan is sensible, realistic or viable in the long term TBH.

If you want to study Mandarin seriously, you need to devote more time to it that you will probably have. 1) No qualifications or experience means you will probably only get a bottom feeder job ... this might not leave much time to study Mandarin. 2) No qualification or experience of teaching means you may have to devote more time to the job to learn how to do it ... because if you cant do it well (and doing the job well can make many different things in China), you might get dropped quickly. And with no legal visa status any plans could go up in smoke quickly. 3) Success in Mandarin requires serious amounts of study time, and possibly some study experience too ... this might be tough for you too.

Studying Taoism too? Good luck with that. Probably easier to find like-minded people in the US than it is in China. And if you do find any serious Taoists, dont expect them to speak any English. Unless you go to foreign-friendly places like BeiJing ... but that will lead to visa difficulties again.


Well I suppose I wasn't envisioning the endeavor as going to China, teaching, studying Mandarin, studying Taoism and the guqin, and earning a degree all at once...you're right that wouldn't be very realistic. I was more or less thinking of landing a job and earning the degree in my spare time while picking up what Mandarin I can from self-study and general immersion, and then once I was established with the teaching experience and degree, proceed to pursue the interests I spoke of on a more serious level. I was also hoping that through self-study by reading books on teaching (especially TEFL) and taking the CELTA certification I'd be capable of doing my job well, or at least more so than someone with a degree in Art History or other subjects unrelated to teaching who is only attempting teach as a mean to fund their travel experiences.

Denim-Maniac wrote:
If you are scraping by now, be aware that everyone would suggest you come to China with a significant amount of cash in your pocket for emergencies. You may not be able to be able to travel in on a one way ticket as you wont have a legit visa, so you may have to buy a return ticket before you come. Obv thats more expensive. You need money to keep you going until you find a job, who knows how long that will take as you dont meet visa regulations, and when you have a job, it may be sometime before you get a full months salary! Add in the fact you may need money and deposit to rent a place, money for a visa run to Hong Kong or elsewhere, and money to get the hell out incase it goes wrong. Lots to consider.


While its true that I am scraping by, I also have a reserve of cash saved up and plans of adding onto it prior to leaving to teach. I was asking these questions to understand where I would stand in a year or more from now; I had no plans of leaving right away. I was hoping by that time I'd have enough money for plane ticket, the CELTA course, initial living expenses, and emergencies.

Though I can see your overall point. It does sound like this idea involves an element of risk and may be problematic, but is it really impossible? How difficult would it be really? Ultimately earning a degree prior to teaching is not an option for me because, as I said, if I dislike teaching I would have wasted too much time, money, and effort for solely for this purpose. If that decision precludes any realistic chance of following through with these ambitions, then I suppose it isn't worth it.

Perhaps it would be better to teach in Russia while earning a degree before moving onto China as I hear Russia doesn't necessarily require a degree to teach legally? Only problem with that idea is I don't really want to learn Russian and am primarily interested in teaching in China, so it would be a bummer if such was my only option.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3957
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

plantagenet wrote:
I was more or less thinking of landing a job and earning the degree in my spare time while picking up what Mandarin I can from self-study and general immersion, and then once I was established with the teaching experience and degree, proceed to pursue the interests I spoke of on a more serious level.

You may not have time to pursue your interests. Moreover, you're not likely to save enough money to pay for your university courses. In fact, how much do you expect to earn?

and wrote:
Ultimately earning a degree prior to teaching is not an option for me because, as I said, if I dislike teaching I would have wasted too much time, money, and effort for solely for this purpose. If that decision precludes any realistic chance of following through with these ambitions, then I suppose it isn't worth it.

A good way to see if you even enjoy teaching is to commit to 3-6 months of volunteer teaching at one of your local nonprofit, ESL literacy or refugee programs. You'll get some training and will mostly assist an experienced classroom teacher. If you don't like it, then you're only out your time and gas money. This is what I did before making a major career change to TEFL.

and wrote:
Perhaps it would be better to teach in Russia while earning a degree before moving onto China as I hear Russia doesn't necessarily require a degree to teach legally? Only problem with that idea is I don't really want to learn Russian and am primarily interested in teaching in China, so it would be a bummer if such was my only option.

Yeah, without a degree, your options are limited---not a lot of choices in terms of teaching with a proper work visa. That's the reality. I know several graduate-degreed teachers who desperately want to teach in the "exotic," high-paying UAE but don't have the years under their belts. They end up working in less appealing countries in order to build their teaching experience before taking another crack at the top jobs in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Point is, we all have to start somewhere, and it may not be our primo choice. Yes, it's a bummer, but many teachers make the most of it before moving on to a better, more desired teaching situation.
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