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So you want to start learning English online without a diploma? As with most situations in the offline world, you may have noticed that a bachelor’s degree in any subject is often a basic requirement for learning English online.
For example, if you work for yourself, you can learn English without a diploma. In fact, you learn so quickly that potential students won’t be interested in your degree or your teaching qualifications. They are interested in the results you bring them!
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But if you are not interested in the self-employment route as you need money and students quickly, you should freelance for a company or market. The difference is that the company sets the rate while you choose your rate in a marketplace.
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Remember, no matter what qualifications you have (or don’t) or what path you go down (freelance, company, market), your students want to know how you can help them achieve their goals.
What helps you do that are the other qualities you bring to work: your empathy, your ability to listen, your patience, and your ability to coach and support them.
And, they’re more reassuring than a degree is your own language learning experience. Or relevant experience in the domain where they want to use English, be it healthcare, accounting, hospitality and more.
I always smile when I see a teacher’s website when they say ‘Professional Teacher’ or ‘Qualified Teacher’. But do you ever write the opposite? Do students really care how many testimonials are on your wall?
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You don’t have to have learned it on an innate level or anything. But if you already have experience learning languages, working in a multicultural team or living and working abroad, this will be far more useful than a diploma, especially in a non-relevant subject.
When I did my CELTA (Certificate in Language Teaching to Adults) many years ago, people preferred the degree. But they let a schoolgirl into the classroom even though she only had a high school diploma (she didn’t finish school for long!).
Do you want to know the right deal breaker to join the course? Did not have a diploma or not – it is trying to learn a second language yourself.
No language learning experience. No place in the course. Because teachers consider that a person who has never learned a language should not be taught another language, even if it is their mother tongue.
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If you have a degree, you can mention it somewhere. But it shouldn’t be the first thing people see when they visit your website.
Because most teachers are undergraduates and graduates, it doesn’t help students make a decision about studying with you.
The hardest part of working for yourself as an online English teacher is finding students. For this you need an extensive website and find effective ways to advertise your services.
Sometimes you want to promote yourself on social media and interact with your target students. Maybe you want to create paid search engine ads. When you’re starting out as a self-employed online English teacher, remember that finding your first students will take a lot of work.
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The great thing about working for yourself is that you set the fees, don’t pay commissions, and set your own schedule. If you have a few regular students who get results, you will find that they recommend you to their friends and family.
Learning English without a degree online is very possible if you’re taking the freelance route for a company or market. Here are some companies willing to accept applications for online English learning without a diploma.
If you want to work for an online English learning company, sometimes you need a diploma. It is simply part of the recruitment process.
Here are some language companies that require a diploma. In some cases, you will need a teaching qualification in addition to a degree.
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Whether you have a diploma or not, many people will tell you that you need a TEFL (Learning English as a Foreign Language) certification. But beware of random TEFL certifications, especially ones you get online. Most schools require a minimum of 120 hours of TEFL certification.
In the offline world, most reputable schools only require you to have one of two English teaching qualifications: Cambridge CELTA or Trinity TESOL. These are intensive 4-week courses with a minimum of 6 hours of assessed learning.
You spend your time on language theory, classroom management and more. You will also learn how to plan and deliver lessons. You spend a lot of time providing qualified teachers and interns.
Of course, 4 weeks is still a short time. But one of those qualifications is only a starting point. And you will develop your skills and experience with the support and feedback of other teachers.
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At the same time, CELTA, at least as I did, often trains teachers to teach groups offline. There was little mention of 1:1 teaching, which is how most online tutors work.
But it can still be useful to get training, support and feedback before you work with paying students. And, the courses have since evolved to include online learning.
Getting feedback before you start teaching English online can be a big help. Tracking online lessons is rare, so you probably won’t get the support you would at an offline school.
If you work for a learning marketplace, no one will appreciate your lessons. Either you meet the criteria to participate in the platform, or you don’t. Whether your lessons are good enough or not is up to the students who are evaluating you.
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In any case, before you spend money on learning certificates, do your due diligence and don’t be afraid to ask questions about what you’re actually getting.
What students are interested in is your ability to help them achieve results. And getting results often has more to do with your qualities as a human than the testimonials you hang on the wall.
Of course, life and work experience can be a huge help, whether living in a different culture or working in the same industry as your students.
Empathy is also key here. If you don’t know how you feel about being understood in another language, you’ll have a hard time helping anyone learn a language. Whether you have a diploma or an apprenticeship qualification!
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So, if you are learning a language or you want to open one, double it so you can better empathize with your students. Share what worked or didn’t work for you in language learning. If you can do that, you are more likely to help them achieve their goals.
If you want to learn more about how to learn English online without a diploma, check out the Online Teaching Accelerator, where you’ll learn how to find high-paying students and start your new career as an online English teacher.
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