Russia: Teach English Abroad Without a Degree

Eager to make up for its Cold War isolationism (and flush with cash from its booming oil and natural gas industries) Russians are more interested in learning English than ever before. Such high demand is matched by government policy designed to attract as many English teachers as possible and, as a result, in Russia you can teach English with no degree. Indeed, most major language schools in Moscow and St. Petersburg are more than happy to accept candidates with TEFL certifications only.

That having been said, a degree – especially in a related field such as Education or English – is of course preferable. After all, the high demand for teachers has, of late, been matched (thanks to the Global Recession) with a higher than average supply of would-be instructors. So even if schools in Russia do not explicitly require a degree, the flood of qualified applicants means that find the chance to teach English with no degree is not as easy to come by as it once was.

Those with the patience to make themselves and their applications as attractive as possible will be amply rewarded. For example, if you want to teach English without a degree in Russia, you should get the best TEFL certificate you can.

If necessary, you can get enroll in an online certification program – every little bit helps – but you will see the biggest return on investment if you can go straight to a classroom-based TEFL course. Better yet, look into a CELTA program. Even without a degree the CELTA reputation speaks volumes.

So, too, does experience. There are plenty of opportunities in your home country to get experience – even if only as a volunteer – in teaching English as a Second Language. Such experience will not only stand out on your resume but also put you head and shoulders above the competition.

Such preparation means you Russia could be the just the place you to get your foot in the door of this booming industry. Who knows? Your next job in Moscow or Minsk could be the start of an entirely new career!


Changing Face of ESL Schools in China

The number – and type – of ESL schools in China is rising to meet seemingly insatiable demand for English language education. In 2010 there were more than 30,000 companies offering private English classes in China but such a number out of context fails to convey the incredible growth the industry is experiencing: in the last five years alone the market for ESL schools in China has doubled and is now worth more $3 billion dollars annually. Nor is this surge in demand abating – some analysts predict growth in excess of 12% to 15% over the next few years (putting the industry’s growth rate on track to outpace the country’s own astronomical growth in GDP).

This rise in demand is driven by the convergence of high regard the country has for English proficiency and the rising economic prowess of China’s ever-more prosperous middle class, a great deal of the country’s new wealth is being reinvested in educating the next generation. As a result, ESL schools in China are experiencing an unprecedented level of specialization and segmentation. Unsatisfied with the six years of government funded English-language education provided in public schools, more and more parents in the Middle Kingdom are investing in private education programs to give their children a head start on the path to success – and many are starting earlier than ever before.

While after school programs and exam preparation cram courses continue to be popular among many, parents are increasingly eager to start their students on the path to success earlier than ever. As Disney English, a subsidiary of the American media giant, has discovered, classes aimed at toddlers and preschoolers are one of the biggest areas of growth. Because of this the demand for qualified and experienced English teachers is likewise unparalleled. Thus, for those interested in teaching English in China the changing dynamics of the industry represent an unprecedented opportunity.


Do I need an English teaching degree?

The allure of an international teaching career is stronger than ever. Plus, in our jet-set, web-savvy world it is more obtainable than ever before, too. As a result, more and more students are deciding as early as high school that they want to be international educators. Still, with their sights set the path from dream to reality – and the college majors necessary to achieve success – can initially appear daunting. It does not need to be, however. Instead, use the following guidelines to help you reach your goal.

If you’re interested in teaching a subject other than English, you do not need an English teaching degree. Instead, major in the subject you wish to teach and, if possible, minor in education. You do not need to major in education to get a teacher certification but a background in the discipline certainly helps. If your university does not offer an education minor, do not lose heart. You can take courses and do supervised teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate level to get that extra experience.

If you wish to teach English as a Second Language – and demand for qualified candidates is higher than ever – an English teaching degree might be just what the doctor ordered. More and more universities are offering undergraduate programs in Teaching English as a Second Language and more still offer minors and certifications. Recipients naturally have a leg up in the hiring process but do not worry if your school does not have a formal English teaching degree program. English, Linguistics, and General Education majors – all of which are available at any large liberal arts school – provide a perfect background for candidates interested in teaching English abroad. Not that you need to be an English major to earn a TESOL certificate – being a native English speaker is enough.

As you can see, then, the world is your oyster and the path ahead yours to blaze. The only thing that is missing is you!