Travel, Teach, Live in China
Before coming to China, I, probably like you now, searched online for this very answer. I don't have a degree myself, so was disappointed to see that most sites said a degree was a requirement.
There were some reports that you didn't need a degree, some even suggesting that you forge a degree, I strongly advice against this, not only is it immoral, but if the Chinese catch you, you'll be thrown out, for good.
Well, I'm here now, and I can tell you that, yes, you can find work here as an English teacher, without a degree. You just need to look in the right places. Trying to find work in one of the big cities, such as Shanghai or Beijing without a degree would be extremely difficult, there's so much more competition there and I believe they are more picky.
Your best bet is to head to one of the smaller cities, or towns. There's no shortage of English teaching work in China, especially if you're a native English speaker. It seems they favor Americans, as they teach American English here.
You can even find work if you're not a native English teacher if you're English is good enough. I've worked with Spanish, Dutch, Italian and a Ukrainian.
The average pay, if you don't have a degree, for a 25-hour workweek is around $600 per month. This may seem low, but this is for a small town in China, such as Yangshuo, the cost of living is pretty cheap. A beer will set you back $1 and you can pick up a studio apartment, close to the town centre for $50 per month.
If you have a degree, you will get a better rate of pay and will find it easier to find work, but if you don't, you shouldn't have too much trouble finding work.
If you'd like some more easily digestible advice on backpacking, or to read some of my tales from the road, head on over to my blog, http://www.planitbackpacker.com/
There's lots of things I could have done better when I first set out on the big solo backpacking adventure. You learn by your mistakes I guess. If you're new to backpacking, why not learn from mine.