Am I technically a degree holder?

by Jessica
(Massachusetts)

Question - I currently have one year left before I finish my Bachelors Degree. Fortunately, I am completing my degree online, so I am able to move about freely and perhaps go abroad early before I finish school. I am also about to begin my Tesol certification (I will complete this alongside my normal studies).

My question is: Since I would have likely one semester left in school by the time I started teaching English somewhere, would this mean I am considered someone with a degree, or without? I assume this means I would have a degree (although technically not finished), but since its a technicality, I'm not quite sure. Also, how do I bring this up in the application process?

Answer - I don't understand the distinction you make between technically having a degree, and actually having it. In what way is it a technicality? If you don't actually hold the certificate, then this will be a problem for you in finding a good English teaching job abroad.

Remember that the requirement to have a degree usually comes from the government, not the language school, although most language schools would also prefer their teachers to have a degree. Therefore you will need to produce your degree certificate. If you cannot produce this, then, in the eyes of the authorities, you do not have a degree.

In some countries you will also need to have your degree certificate legalized (or notarized). The notary (notary public) will need the original certificate, and they will check with your university that you have actually completed your studies. Not all countries require you to legalize your degree.

It would be much better for you to completely finish your degree before you begin your search for any job teaching English overseas.

I recommend honesty when you apply. If a school requires the degree certificate for the visa - which most schools do - then they would find out anyway eventually. Also, be careful of schools that don't care about you not having a degree. This might well mean that they are employing you illegally - and this carries certain risks.

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