China has a great demand of English teachers from overseas, especially from English-speaking countries. However, most schools will hire foreigners with basic qualifications to arrange a legal working visa under the Chinese government policy. The basic qualifications include a bachelor’s degree, a TEFL and two years teaching experience after graduation. Suppose you don’t have a degree, you will need to find some special schools that would accept non-degree holders. How can you make yourself stand out when you don’t have a degree?
As we know, everything is possible and nothing is absolute. Everyone will have his advantages and a place to exert. Therefore, you are still able to teach english in China without a degree. The only problem is that you will have fewer choices and less pay.
There are two kinds of possibilities for you to teach in China without a degree. One is teaching without a working visa, and the other is teaching with a working visa in a less popular city to kids probably.
First, teaching without a working visa is a way to stay in China. Some schools are not licensed to arrange a working visa for foreign teachers, and some foreigners don’t have the necessary documents to apply for a working visa, so they choose to hire the teachers on a business visa or other visas, but they will ensure their safety before doing so. Usually they have good relationship with government or have done so for a few years. These are usually language training centers teaching kids from 3 to 15. Guangdong is a popular province for hiring such foreign teachers, since they are close to HongKong, and it’s easy to extend visa every a few months. A lot of foreigners are living in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Dongguan on tourist visa and business visa. Some are doing full-time jobs and some part-time jobs. Teachers come and go, government doesn’t have much time to check or deal with all cases. There are some northern cities that could consider other visas as well. Public schools are more strict with visa, so language training centers are easier to enter. It’s not bad to teach at a training center. The class size is small, and kids are more active. Teaching style is free and flexible, and the pay is not low comparing to what some public schools can offer. Besides, training centers are more flexible on everything. They have a greater demand of foreign teachers. To gain experience at a training center can help you do better at another training center in the future.
Secondly, if you are not very picky about the location, students’ age and the type of schools, there are some schools that can get a working visa though you don’t have a degree. These are usually in a less popular area, teaching kids. My suggestion for you is seizing all opportunities and see what they are like and what they can offer. At this time, every school that is able to provide you a working visa is considerable unless you don’t need a z visa. Nowadays, more and more cities require degree to be authenticated at a Chinese Embassy. Only schools that don’t need the authentication possibly have the chance to get a z visa without a degree.
For someone without a proper qualification, experience and personality take you a lot further than a degree. You don’t need bags of certificates to tell you that you are qualified for something. Instead you need balls and thick skin. All schools like easy-going foreign teachers, but not all teachers are. Some think they are highly qualified and set an unrealistic goal and aim at a higher pay that many schools couldn’t afford. Schools do like qualified teachers, but not arrogant teachers. So attitude is really important than qualifications and certificates. Some non-degree holders have some teaching experience and they are more modest to learn from others, which is what schools like. As long as you care your students, and learn fast, set a realistic goal, try to build a strong close relationship with kids, and liked by your colleagues and your students, especially your boss, you will get what you deserve. Schools don’t like to change teachers often, so if you like, you could stay at the same school for a few years, and they will raise the pay to keep you there. Like what I said, everyone has his advantages attracting schools, so they will be happy to offer better benefits to let you stay. In one word, if you have a warm personality, and steady to learn everything new, to teach in China is not possible.