A Guide to Teaching English Online

Updated: 23/02/2018

Benefits of Teaching English Online

The growth of possibilities in teaching English online is really revolutionary for both teachers and students. With new platforms being constantly developed, it is set to become an integral part of the ESL industry. It is beneficial for students as it provides an opportunity to learn English in an interactive setting with a native speaker, which they may not have access to where they live. Even for those who live in big cities such as Beijing, with numerous English schools and TEFL teachers, working online may simply be more convenient. As a teacher this means increased flexibility in time and location – you can work from anywhere in the world as digital nomad as long as you have a stable internet connection, so this could mean staying in the UK, living in rural India or constantly moving; and with potential students all over the globe, you can work at times that suit you.

The course

The course is designed for people who already have an initial TEFL certificate. It is a 40-hour course, and is designed to teach you everything you need to know to get you started in teaching English online. It includes information on online tools and how to utilise them, teaching effectively online, online learning environments, activities for working online and how to adapt materials to use them while teaching online. It gives you an in-depth understanding of how to transfer the TEFL skills you already have to communicate and teach effectively online.

Online TEFL Jobs

Tutor ABC – Tutor ABC is one of the longest running companies offering online EFL lessons. They offer lessons 24 hours a day, and allow you to work to a personalised schedule that suits you. The majority of students are Taiwanese and Chinese and between that ages of 22 and 65, although there are some younger students looking to learn English to help with university applications. They provide support in the form of training and lesson plans appropriate to the age and levels of your students.

Learnship – Learnship is a German based company who have students all over the world. They utilise advanced software for their virtual classroom which has numerous features to enable you to provide dynamic lessons to your students. They allow you to set your own working hours and assign students to you on that basis.

Open English – Open English is the leading online English school in Latin America, with students from all over Latin America, the US Hispanic community and Spain. Teachers run lesson with small groups lasting 45 minutes. You will be provided with the material for each lesson with the focus being on pronunciation, forming correct sentences and discussing topics.

italki – italki is the world’s largest marketplace for online language teachers (it’s not just for English). It provides you with a way to connect with students: you set up a profile, and upload a copy of your TEFL certificate so you can be recognised as a professional teacher, and set your own available hours (don’t need to be at regular times) which students book on to. The lesson structure is completely up to you and your students to design. You set your own prices, so you can start off low if you don’t have much experience, or higher if you have taught before (italki charge 15% of whatever you make).


These are just a few examples of the companies you could and up working for – there are a many others (including a number in our online TEFL Jobs Centre), so you will be able to find one that suits you and your needs perfectly.

How much can I earn teaching English online?

TEFL Org graduates teaching English online

David completed his 120-hour online course while he was travelling and started teaching English online to help fund his lifestyle as a digital nomad. Read his story here.

Alison began teaching online after taking the 150-hour course and deciding it wasn’t the right time for her to go away. She now works online full-time, teaching students from around the globe from her home in Dundee. You can read her story here.

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