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Associate's Degree and Flight Instruction exp... options?
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TheGreatAdventurer



Joined: 17 Aug 2011
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:33 am    Post subject: Associate's Degree and Flight Instruction exp... options? Reply with quote

Greetings all,

I recently discovered my real dream in life... to travel the world and teach English! I am in my mid-30s, have a 2-year Associate's Degree from a local college, and have many years of experience in both the I.T. and aviation industries. In I.T. I've trained countless people on hardware and software usage both formally and informally, and in aviation I was a Certified Flight Instructor and for about a year taught students how to fly (both in the air and on the ground).

At the current time I don't have a TEFL certificate however I plan on getting the CELTA within the next couple of years. There are many places that I hope to see during the next couple of decades and I plan to stay in each location for at least a couple of years, immersing myself fully into the culture and learning the local language, only stopping when I've finally found the spot that I TRULY feel I belong.

I'll know where that spot is when, among other things, I meet the woman of my dreams... Cool

The biggest hole in my portfolio is, of course, the lack of a 4-year degree. I'd like to think that my 2-year degree will count for something and help me find decent opportunities in the countries of my choice, yet regardless I WILL finish the 4 year degree and likely continue pursuing higher educational goals as I travel.

My question to you, friends, is simply this -- with my current qualifications, which countries are my best bet for finding a decent first teaching opportunity? On the off-chance that I wanted to get this greatest of adventures underway before completing a CELTA, would I still be able to find a solid opportunity somewhere?

For the record, I have the most interest in traveling to these areas during the course of my adventure and career:

- Asia (China and/or SE Asia most preferably, with high emphasis on Indonesia)
- Africa (Eastern Africa preferably)
- Eastern Europe
- South America

I also find myself drawn to smaller communities. I'd gladly take a gig in a large city but would prefer smaller cities and even towns or villages. There's just something about the thought of teaching English to the people of a very small town or village in the middle of the jungle somewhere that draws me in... Very Happy


Thank you in advance for your input. It'll be a couple of years before I'm fully prepared to embark (due to paying off CC debt among other things) and I look forward to reading and contributing here at the Cafe. I've lived the fast life here in suburban America since the day I was born and I am MORE than ready for a true change.
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tttompatz



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

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup, you are correct. Your lack of a 4-year degree will be problematic for you.

In a larger and larger part of Asia the 4-year degree is rapidly becoming the minimum requirement for the work visa / work permits. Your associate degree has virtually no meaning or usefulness out here (as far as the paperwork goes).

Without a degree the chances of legal work do exist but are becoming fewer and farther between (especially in East / SE Asia). It also leaves you competing for jobs with those who do have a degree leaving you at the bottom of the food chain so to speak and usually in the same category as the rest of the backpacking crowd.

It certainly won't get you a job teaching English but your status as a flight instructor (I'm assuming private pilot, single engine, VFR) may get you a job in some places in SE Asia (it will be hard to stay current and legal because of paperwork issues - but not necessarily impossible).

Bottom line:
You CAN find legal work in some countries as an English teacher without your degree.
You won't make decent money.
- $500/mo is common for those with no degree or TEFL/TESOL cert. in those countries where you can find legal work. You can always work for free in the jungles of Indonesia.

Spend a year or so to finish your degree and the picture changes a LOT.
With a degree and a TEFL you can find jobs (in Asia, in EFL) that will let you save (or pay down debt) at the rate of US$12,000 per year.

Without the degree you can find jobs (in Asia, in EFL) that let you save nothing and earn about $6000 per year.

.
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jpvanderwerf2001



Joined: 02 Oct 2003
Posts: 1117
Location: New York

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will second what tttompatz has said: Without a degree your options are limited. I would highly recommend that you take some time and finish your degree (online or otherwise); it's become much cheaper and easier than in the past.
That being said, I do think that parts of Eastern Europe--Ukraine, for example--might be an option. There is no requirement there for a four-year degree that I know of. Russia would be more of a problem, as a degree is usually used for work visa paperwork; however, I should say that I have never tried to get a work visa for a non-degree holder. I do know a guy here (in Russia) who teaches at a university and doesn't hold a degree. I don't quite know how he did that.
Best of luck.
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TheGreatAdventurer



Joined: 17 Aug 2011
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your input.

Would a degree obtained online from a Nationally-Accredited (DETC) only school be acceptable to employers? For instance, Ashworth has an early childhood education BA program. Would that meet the requirements to legally get a Visa (and good job opportunity) in Indonesia?
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tttompatz



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

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheGreatAdventurer wrote:
Thanks for your input.

Would a degree obtained online from a Nationally-Accredited (DETC) only school be acceptable to employers? For instance, Ashworth has an early childhood education BA program. Would that meet the requirements to legally get a Visa (and good job opportunity) in Indonesia?



It is about 1 step above a degree mill and as such there are some immigration services that won't accept it as a valid degree.
Unless you want to be a kindergarten teacher it won't go very far either on the job either.

Try your local community college / state college. Just as fast, just as easy, about the same (or lower cost) and fully recognized without issues.

Even an unrelated degree from a state college (finish what you started with your associate) coupled with a TEFL will go farther and not have issues now or in the future.

Speaking as a person who does do the hiring.... there are no short-cuts.

.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11531
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can speak for the Central European region, where a degree is not a legal requirement and your two-year thingie would be sufficient. You WOULD need a CELTA or equivalent, as the vast majority of new teachers on the job market have one. You might be able to get into some niche of aviation English as well, but not likely without local contacts in the field, making this a year-two possibility, but not a first-year one.

Salaries in this region are subsistence-level: you can make enough to live ok and enjoy the local area, but any purchase from a pair of new jeans on up will require budgeting in advance - no chance to pay off debts from here.

One other more general note for you: you seem to be aiming to travel around a bit, I assume working one contract in a region and then moving on. That's fine, and many people do it, but do be aware that the better jobs in any region usually go to people who have got a bit established there: they speak the local language (to some degree), have established reputations and made contacts.

Moving around after each contract ensures that you will remain on the bottom of the food chain, essentially.

One more general note: not all regions are created equal in terms of experience. For example, European and Asian students differ very widely in terms of approaches and methods in the classroom and their motivation and goals for learning. A few years in Asia won't count for much on the European job market, and likely vice versa as well.
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TheGreatAdventurer



Joined: 17 Aug 2011
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tttompatz wrote:
TheGreatAdventurer wrote:
Thanks for your input.

Would a degree obtained online from a Nationally-Accredited (DETC) only school be acceptable to employers? For instance, Ashworth has an early childhood education BA program. Would that meet the requirements to legally get a Visa (and good job opportunity) in Indonesia?



It is about 1 step above a degree mill and as such there are some immigration services that won't accept it as a valid degree.
Unless you want to be a kindergarten teacher it won't go very far either on the job either.

Try your local community college / state college. Just as fast, just as easy, about the same (or lower cost) and fully recognized without issues.

Even an unrelated degree from a state college (finish what you started with your associate) coupled with a TEFL will go farther and not have issues now or in the future.

Speaking as a person who does do the hiring.... there are no short-cuts.

.



Well community colleges, at least around here, only go up to Associate's Degrees. 4-year schools around me are quite expensive and would take a lot of time to finish.

Regardless, if I go to the trouble of finishing a Bachelors before looking for a job I'll definitely be doing the CELTA as well. In that case it doesn't really matter what the degree is in, right? I considered something like Early Childhood Education because Indonesia requires a degree in either education or English.

How about a school like Western Governers University? They have Regional accreditation as well as National and are a non-profit so the tuition works differently and is very very low. Would a degree from WGU be universally accepted?


Spiral - I'm not looking to jump from contract to contract. I'd like to stay in each spot for at least 2 or 3 years before considering another, and when I find a place where I really feel comfortable and happy (and meet a quality woman) I plan on staying. Who knows, it could be the very first place I teach! Wink
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tttompatz



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

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheGreatAdventurer wrote:
Well community colleges, at least around here, only go up to Associate's Degrees. 4-year schools around me are quite expensive and would take a lot of time to finish.

Regardless, if I go to the trouble of finishing a Bachelors before looking for a job I'll definitely be doing the CELTA as well. In that case it doesn't really matter what the degree is in, right? I considered something like Early Childhood Education because Indonesia requires a degree in either education or English.

How about a school like Western Governers University? They have Regional accreditation as well as National and are a non-profit so the tuition works differently and is very very low. Would a degree from WGU be universally accepted?


1) it would take a maximum of 4 years and with transfer credits for your associate should only take 1 or 2.

2) Indonesia does NOT at the moment require a degree to teach English.
Visa Requirements

Indonesian’s Immigration Authority has tried to restrict the influx of “backpacker” teachers and has put some controls in place. To have correct working papers, teachers need to have a TEFL certificate. Although employers prefer a certificate that contains 6 hours teaching practice, this is not a requirement from the Indonesian Immigration Authority. A degree is not necessary.

Indonesian’s Immigration Authority will only issue teaching visas to nationals of the UK, Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand—as it has deemed these to be English speaking countries. Employers in Indonesia are restricted by these laws and are by no means discriminating against nationals of other countries.

The schools should process candidates for a 12-month working visa and issue a KITAS (Identity Card for foreigners) after registration with the relevant authorities in the city you are working. Unless you live close to an Indonesian embassy, the initial visa is usually processed in Singapore on the way to Indonesia as most schools have agents there who can process the visa quickly.

As of May 2010, the fees for a U.S. citizen include $50 for stays up to six months, $100 for stays up to one year and $175 for stays up to two years.

http://www.embassyofindonesia.org/consular/consulates.htm

3) It is NOT on any list of degree mills and DOES have proper accreditation so yes, it should be fine.

.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheGreatAdventurer wrote:
Well community colleges, at least around here, only go up to Associate's Degrees. 4-year schools around me are quite expensive and would take a lot of time to finish.
Please take this in the spirit in which it is given. Immigration officials will take the above statement and pretty much reply in their own way, "Boo hoo. So what? We have our rules."

Quote:
Regardless, if I go to the trouble of finishing a Bachelors before looking for a job I'll definitely be doing the CELTA as well.
Words like the underlined make it sound as if it was an exasperating experience, and that you are looking for sympathy. Go the extra mile. You're halfway there already.
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tttompatz



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

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:

Quote:
Regardless, if I go to the trouble of finishing a Bachelors before looking for a job I'll definitely be doing the CELTA as well.
Words like the underlined make it sound as if it was an exasperating experience, and that you are looking for sympathy. Go the extra mile. You're halfway there already.


"G", he can go to the "trouble" of doing it and get a job that allows him to SAVE $12,000 per year or "not go to the trouble" of doing it and EARN $6000 per year.

Education has no value but he wants to be a teacher.
(haven't we seen that song before?)

.
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TheGreatAdventurer



Joined: 17 Aug 2011
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not seeking any "sympathy" here, gentlemen... simply inquiring about my options. Please don't read so much into my choice of words.

At any rate, thanks for your input.
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marmot



Joined: 22 Apr 2011
Posts: 14
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TGA, I only have an associate's degree and have had ZERO problems finding well paying jobs in China and have a work permit. I'm making the equivalent of about 2,000 USD per month, which goes a long way here. Many of the teachers I know have no degree either but all seem to at least have a TEFL cert of some sort. Don't listen to the fear mongers on this forum, things are not as complicated as they seem and if you have a decent head on your shoulders you can easily find work. I'm also finishing my degree at the moment online and it is doable if you can avoid distractions and focus on your class assignments. Best of luck!
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TheGreatAdventurer



Joined: 17 Aug 2011
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the input, marmot. I actually looked very favorably at China as a place to begin my TEFL career, however from what I read I got the impression that they were getting very strict about requiring a 4-year degree for legal employment. I'll have to keep an eye on the opportunities there!

And guys, for the record, I certainly do value education. The only reason I am contemplating teaching before finishing my Bachelors is so I can begin this incredible adventure sooner. Once established in my first teaching gig I would spend most of my free time finishing the degree, allowing me to gain valuable experience in the meantime.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheGreatAdventurer wrote:
Once established in my first teaching gig I would spend most of my free time finishing the degree, allowing me to gain valuable experience in the meantime.
Cart before the horse, IMO.

Also, you will probably be happier if you have the proper training/education first, instead of trying to play catch-up. Think about it. There is no rush.

What's that old saying?
The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.
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TheGreatAdventurer



Joined: 17 Aug 2011
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:
Cart before the horse, IMO.

Also, you will probably be happier if you have the proper training/education first, instead of trying to play catch-up. Think about it. There is no rush.

What's that old saying?
The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.


Point taken, friend.
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