There’s a real buzz about online teaching at the moment. While we’ve seen the online learning industry grow rapidly each year, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in off-the-scale demand. Online education has become a necessity for students and teachers across the globe.
According to our 2019 graduate survey, around a fifth of our students went on to find work teaching online. It’s an area of TEFL we’ve seen rise in popularity, and right now it’s understandably extremely popular, with more people than ever looking for ways to earn money from home.
The demand for qualified teachers has increased, but with so many teachers moving online it’s also never been more important to stand out. If you’re aiming to teach English online right now then you want to make sure you’re starting off on the best foot possible.
Here’s our four-step guide to landing yourself your first online teaching job!
Step 1: Get TEFL qualified
While there’s a lot of work going at the moment there are also a lot of teachers looking for jobs. With more teachers applying for jobs, companies – and students – can afford to be a bit more picky, so you need to make sure your CV is looking the best it can be.
And that means getting the right qualifications for the job!
Get a 120-hour TEFL qualification
Most employers, both abroad and online, require teachers to have a 120-hour TEFL qualification. This is the industry standard, so it’s inadvisable to take a course with fewer hours.
We would also argue that it’s unnecessary to take a course that involves completing way over these hours. Why? Because a 120-hour qualification is sufficient for most jobs and signing up for a course that involves hundreds of hours of online study is overkill. If you want to complete further training in order to boost your CV then make sure anything above 120 hours is tailored to your goals.
Take an advanced TEFL course
If your goal is to teach English online then a specialist course is a great idea for two reasons. One: it’ll prepare you with the skills and knowledge specifically required for this type of teaching. And two: it will help you stand out from other applicants.
Our 40-hour Teaching English Online course not only covers how to teach English online but also how to get set up and promote yourself as an online teacher. You’ll learn how to set up your own website and the best software to use for teaching online, as well as marketing tips, ideas for planning lessons, and much more.
Do a practicum
Get some practical experience teaching online with a practicum. Our Online Teaching Practicum is the only one of its kind on the market, and gives you the opportunity to practice conducting online lessons and familiarise yourself with using Zoom as a teaching tool.
Step 2: Get your CV ready
Once you’ve completed the necessary training the next step is to get your CV in order.
Our CV Guide is a great place to start, and if you’re a TEFL Org student you’ll also have access to our CV builder, which makes everything that bit easier.
While you might not have previous teaching experience your CV still needs to sell you as a teacher. Highlight your qualifications and any relevant experience you may have gained in your previous employment, such as training people up, presenting, or mentoring.
It should go without saying, but it’s so important – proof, proof, proof! When you’re applying for teaching jobs then grammar and spelling mistakes really aren’t going to do you any favours.
How to find your first online teaching job – Webinar with Carl
Carl is one of our wonderful classroom tutors and takes our courses in Belfast. He’s also a very experienced online English teacher!
In this webinar recording he shares valuable insight and tips to help you find your first online teaching job.
For more videos from our tutors see here.
Step 3: Apply for jobs with online teaching companies
Now it’s time to start applying for jobs, but where you do you find them? And should you work for an employer or go out on your own?
Our advice is to start off working for an online teaching company or use a platform that connects students and teachers. The reason being that this is the easiest and quickest way to get started teaching English online.
Yes, you can make more money working independently as a third party won’t be taking a cut of what the student pays. But you’re going to have a hard job finding students willing to pay a good hourly rate for a teacher who has no experience teaching English and who is just finding their feet. TEFL is no different from other types of freelance jobs – you need to build up a client base and that takes a bit of time.
Working for an online company is the best way to get initial experience and improve your teaching skills. Alongside this you can work towards creating and building your own business as an independent teacher.
Online teaching companies vs. platforms
Your two best options when starting out are online companies and teaching platforms/marketplaces. But what are the differences?
An online company will pay you a fee per hour or class. Most will have a set curriculum and provide the lesson material, meaning you don’t have to worry about spending time on lesson planning.
An online platform/marketplace connects students and teachers. You advertise your services on the platform and students approach you directly. Online platforms will take a commission of your rate per hour or lesson.
Requirements for online teaching companies and platforms can vary greatly. Some will require a degree, others will ask for previous teaching experience, and some will even need you to be of a specific nationality.
It can be a bit of a pain to work out if you meet the requirements for certain jobs, which is why we’ve done a lot of the hard work for you and put together the table below!
|Hourly rate||Degree required||Lessons provided||Students||Min. hours per week||TEFL qualification required||Accepts non-native speakers||Additional requirements|
|VIPKid||£11 - £17.50|
($14 - $22)
|Yes||Yes||Children and teenagers||7.5||Yes||No||US/Canadian accent + citizenship|
|Palfish||£8 - £24|
($10 - $30)
|No||Yes||Mainly children||4||Yes||Yes||Native English + degree for Official Kids programme|
|EF English First||£8 - £13.50|
($10 - $17)
|Yes||Yes||All ages||None||Preferred||No||UK/US citizenship|
|Dada||£12 - £20|
($15 - $25)
|Yes||Yes||Children and teenagers||4||Yes||No||1 year teaching experience|
|Preply*||£4 - £16|
($5 - $20)
|SayABC||£12 - £22.50|
($15 - $28)
|Yes||Yes||Children and teenagers||None||Preferred||No||None|
|Cambly||£8 ($10)||No||No||All ages||None||No||Yes||None|
|QKids||£13 - £16|
($16 - $20)
|Yes||Yes||Children and teenagers||6||Preferred||No||US/Canadian citizenship, 2 years’ teaching experience|
|Landi||£13 - £18.50 ($16 - $23)||Yes||Yes||Children and teenagers||10||Preferred||No||US/UK/Canadian citizens preferred|
|iTutorGroup||£4 - £19.50|
|Yes||Yes||All ages||10||Yes||Yes||Teaching experience preferred|
|Open English||£10.50 - £12|
($13 - $15)
|No||Yes||Teenagers and adults||10||Preferred||No||Previous teaching experience, Spanish/Portuguese skills preferred|
|Skima Talk*||£8 - £13|
($10 - $16)
|No||No||Teenagers and adults||15||Preferred||No||None|
|Verbling*||£14.50 - £22.50|
($18 - $28)
|No||No||All ages||5||Preferred||No||Previous teaching experience|
|Lingoda||£6.50 - £10.50|
($8 - $13)
|Yes||Yes||Adults||5||Yes||No||2 years’ teaching experience|
|Whales English||£11 - £17.50|
($14 - $22)
|Yes||Yes||Children and teenagers||8||Yes||No||Experience teaching children|
|Magic Ears||£16 - £21|
($20 - $26)
|Yes||Yes||Children and teenagers||1.5||Preferred||No||US/Canadian citizenship|
|Learnlight||£7 - £9|
($9 - $11)
|No||No||All ages||10||Preferred||Yes||Two years’ teaching experience|
|Italki*||£2.50 - £28|
($3 - $35)
|No||No||All ages||None||Preferred||Yes||Degree OR TEFL qualification required to be a Professional Teacher|
|TwoSigmas**||£16 - £24 ($20 - $30)||Yes||No||All ages||5||Yes||Yes||None|
|GoGoKid||£11 - £20 ($14 - $25)||Yes||No||Children and teenagers||10||Yes||No||US/Canadian citizenship, previous teaching experience|
*Online marketplace. Teachers set their own rates.
**TwoSigmas is a recruiting agency able to match teachers with online teaching jobs.
Where to find jobs
While the above table details 20 of the biggest online teaching companies/platforms, it’s far from an exhaustive list. There are so many online employers it’d be impossible for us to list them all!
Our TEFL Jobs Centre is a great place to keep an eye out for online teaching jobs – all TEFL Org students get lifetime access to it.
Step 4: Nail your interview
So, you’ve got your TEFL qualification, your CV is looking great, and you’ve been firing off job applications left, right and centre. The final hurdle is the interview.
The demo lesson
Each company will have its own recruiting and interviewing processes, but many will ask you to conduct a demo lesson. Some will ask you to submit a recording or you might have to do it live in front of an interviewer. Certain companies will even set your salary based on your performance during the demo lesson, which is why it’s extremely important to put the work into doing a great job!
Here are some tips for conducting a successful demo lesson:
- Do your research into the company and carefully read the instructions provided.
- Use YouTube to find good examples of demo lessons.
- Practice, practice, practice. You could even test out your demo lesson on a friend or family member.
- Dress smart, just like you would for an in-person interview.
- Be mindful of who you’re teaching and ensure the lesson is accurately tailored for the specific age and ability of the student.
- Make sure your equipment is all in working order to avoid tech issues.
Prepare for interview questions
Just like you would for any interview, prepare answers for the questions you’re likely to be asked. The purpose of an interview isn’t to catch you out, so don’t spend time worrying about being thrown a curveball. Prepare a list of answers to general questions that you can use or adapt on the day.
General areas interviewers will ask you about during an interview are:
1. Questions about you. ‘Tell us about yourself?’, ‘what are your strengths/weaknesses’?, ‘why do you want to be a teacher?’, etc.
2. Your previous experience. ‘Tell us about your previous teaching experience’, ‘what relevant experience do you have?’, ‘why is experience you’ve listed on your CV relevant to this job?’, etc.
3. Your qualifications.
4. What you can offer them. ‘What makes you a good teacher?’ ‘Why do you think this company is a good fit?’, etc.
And don’t forget about your questions at the end. When an interviewer asks you the inevitable ‘do you have any questions for me’ at the end make sure to have some pre-prepared questions up your sleeve.
Find out more about teaching English online with our definitive guide!