Do you want to teach English online and get paid big bucks? Online language teaching is a thriving industry that allows you to teach students on the other side of the world without leaving the comfort of your own home. Sounds good right? That is freedom, culture and goodness all rolled into one awesome job!
Before we dive into the nitty gritty of how you are going to start your dream career, there are some important things to consider. Here are the answers to the top questions people ask me!
This in-depth easy step-by-step guide is going to:
The best company for you to work with:
The best pay: Magic Ears
Weekly pay: Cambly
There are many advantages of teaching ESL online
Flexibility, freedom and finances!
Teaching English online is the perfect job to fit around other commitments and the pay can be lucrative.
By choosing to learn English online, students are able:
With all of the advantages above, it’s easy to see why online language tutoring has seen an explosion in popularity in recent years. Kaboom!
Yes you can make money being an online English tutor! Lots of people do!
But how much can you get paid to teach English online?
Online English teaching salaries vary widely depending on the company you work for and on your nationality and location. Some companies reserve their most lucrative hourly rates for native English speakers based in English-speaking countries only.
As a guide, a native English speaker based in the US, Canada or the UK could make anything between $10-$23 per hour. If you branch out and start your own independent business after gaining some solid experience too, the sky’s the limit.
Some packages are based on a fixed hourly rate, while others offer a lower base rate with the possibility to earn performance-related bonuses. Some companies such as Italki let you set your own hourly rate.
You can teach adults, kids, or a mix of both. Some companies have both adult and young learners, such as iTutorgroup.
With most companies, you will teach English online to Chinese adults or children. Some Chinese companies such as iTutorgroup also cater to Japanese students.
Online ESL companies will generally require you to book about 7-10 hours per week at their peak times. This is most often weekday evenings and all-day weekends Chinese time. However, many companies have work available round the clock, so you can pick up additional hours that suit you.
Remember that you can go solo too and start your own mini online teaching business. There is nothing stopping you from starting your own site and offering your services as a freelancer.
Most companies require that you have a bachelor’s degree. This doesn’t necessarily need to be in an education-related field. Some companies may hire you without a degree, such as Cambly.
Many online ESL teaching jobs require some form of TEFL certification. Some will hire you without TEFL certification but require you to get it within a specified time frame after you take up employment.
Many companies will accept an online-only TEFL certificate so you may not need to go all-out and take the CELTA. Check with each individual company as requirements vary.
Some companies require teachers to have at least one year’s teaching experience, and others state that experience is preferred but not essential. There are definitely places you can teach online without any experience though.
I recommend applying to Italki as a Community Tutor or signing up with Cambly.
Different companies have different requirements. Some companies, for example English First (EF), require native English speakers. Other companies employ non-native English speakers as long as you speak English fluently. So please do not worry if you are not a native. There is definitely work available for you.
I recommend applying to Italki, iTutorGroup or Cambly
You can find out more about all 3 of these companies further down in this article.
Note: Native English speakers may command a higher hourly rate than non-native speakers employed by the same company, so be sure to read any job offers carefully to avoid any nasty surprises come payday.
This varies from company to company. Some companies only employ teachers from certain countries. For example, Qkids only employs teachers who live in the US or Canada.
VIPKID used to only employ teachers in North America but they have recently changed their hiring policy to allow teachers who are based in any country as long as they have a good internet connection.
EF requires teachers who are authorized to work in the UK, but they don’t necessarily have to be living in the UK to teach.
You’ll need a couple of items to start teaching online. Here is what you need to get started…
Before you start, you must make sure you have the following. Click on the links to grab my favourite gear to get you set up and well on your way to teaching awesomeness.
Note: Many online English-teaching jobs are quite strict about the headset – using your computer or webcam’s built-in microphone will not be good enough in terms of sound quality. An entry-level headset needn’t break the bank and is a sound investment for your online teaching future!
Software-wise, most large companies have their own web-based teaching platform that you will use to conduct your lessons, so no special software is required. Some smaller companies use Skype or Google Hangouts which are freely available.
In terms of your working environment, you will need:
Depending on the company, you may be required to teach in front of a blank wall, a backdrop with the company’s logo, or you may be allowed to decorate the wall behind you with appropriate teaching props.
What you wear may also be a requirement that the company asks of you. Some companies require you to wear a particular colour of shirt, while others accept any smart clothes. I recommend turning up for work online smart, vibrant and feeling totally ready for the lesson ahead. Yes folks…pyjamas aren’t gonna cut it.
OK great! If you’ve read the above and taken everything into account, we can start job hunting online weehee! Look at the different companies below and choose the right one for you. Then you can start applying for your dream online ESL jobs immediately.
There are many different companies that offer online tutoring jobs, and the best one for you will depend on your priorities and preferences. Don’t worry about busting a gut getting this info. I’ve done all the hard work for you. All the information you need is below.
For each company I have listed:
Let’s dive in and see what is out there! Many online English teaching companies exist, and some are more established than others, so be sure to consider the facts below before you apply for any online teaching jobs.
Remember: Your needs and wants are important. Make sure they match the company you choose.
Teach Chinese students aged 4-12 in one-on-one up to 4 students per class
Earn $22-$26 per hour
Work from anywhere in the world – as long as you are a native speaker from the USA or Canada
Magic Ears are one of the best paying and most reputable companies online right now. If you’re from the USA or Canada and have a degree and teaching experience, this is a seriously great option to choose!
Teach English to Chinese kids aged 4-12 in one-on-one classes
Pay is $15-$22 per hour
You can work from anywhere in the world as long as you have reliable and stable internet connection
VIPKID are an online English teaching company that I love and have promoted for a number of years. They are the leader in China’s online English learning industry. My friends who I used to work with, whilst teaching English in South Korea, have gone on to work for this company. They love the financial freedom they have and the students they work with are ace.
Teach English to Chinese kids aged 4-12 with 1-4 students in each lesson
Pay is $16-$20 per hour
You can work from the US or Canada
Teach English to Chinese kids aged 5-10 one-on-one or in groups with up to 6 students
Pay is $13- $16 per hour / £8.50 – £12.50 per hour including bonuses and employee benefits
Opportunities available to both US and UK teachers
Teach any language to any age, anywhere in the world, one-on-one!
Set your own hourly rate
Work from anywhere in the world!
Italki is a great place to teach if you’re a free spirit and want to teach any language to any age and any person. You can also set your own hourly rate woohoo. Note that there are different levels of teaching that you can apply to on here. You can be a Community Tutor (no teaching qualifications required) or a Professional Teacher. You can charge more as a Professional Teacher compared to a Community Tutor.
Note that you earn your payment through Italki credits, a virtual currency, which can be exchanged for cash.
Students first buy the credits then use them to pay you when you teach them. Currently, 1 Italki credit = $1 USD. Italki charges a 15% fee on transactions between teachers and students. You are only charged when you complete a lesson and make money on italki.
Are you learning a language yourself? You can withdraw your Italki credits as cash or use your credits to take lessons with other teachers to excel in your own language learning.
Teach English to any age, anywhere in the world, one-on-one
$10.20 per hour ($0.17 per minute)
Work from anywhere in the world
Cambly is a great place to start teaching English online if you just want to jump online and get some experience. Cambly requires no degree and no teaching certificate so if you want to break into tutoring foreign students in English – this is it.
Teach Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese students aged 6 to 65, one-on-one
Earn up to $24 per hour
Work from anywhere, as long as the internet connection is reliable (native speakers are paid more than non)
There is nothing stopping you from starting your own classes and promoting yourself online to gain clients.
What is the best online platform for teaching English online? There are a variety of platforms that you can use, such as Skype, Google Hangouts or Zoom. All of these will allow you to have private or group video calls and screen-sharing capabilities, so ultimately it’s down to your personal preference and what you feel most comfortable with.
As you can see, there are many, many options for getting an online english tutoring job. Whether you are wanting the flexibility to travel and teach abroad or love the idea of a homebased online teaching job; there is a company out there looking for people like you.
So what are you waiting for? Hurry! Your students are waiting!
Becoming an online tutor can be so rewarding. Not only do you gain location freedom, but it also feels great when your students are learning! Let us know in the comments if you are working for any of these awesome online teaching companies!
Want to know more about English teaching jobs abroad? We have talked about everything money from teaching English to budgeting for your next adventure!