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Tutoring English Online with Cambly

Many TEFL teachers are looking for flexibility and user-friendly online tutoring platforms. Cambly might just be the most accommodating of the lot!

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While there are plenty of language learning services out there, it’d be hard to argue that Cambly isn’t one of the most well-recognised and comprehensive English teaching platforms on the web. Founded in 2012, Cambly is another online teaching platform that saw an exponential surge of interest during the pandemic, and that interest in learning English just hasn’t slowed down.

The online teaching platform, which hires TEFL talent primarily from English-speaking countries, uses one-to-one and group tutoring to aid proficiency. Cambly also has options for kids, as well as learners of different abilities.

Cambly students have different wants and needs. Some students want to pass TOEFL or IELTS exams. Others just want to make sure they’re ready for a conversation in English. Either way, Cambly tutors and students alike have been drawn to the platform's user-friendly interface and different lesson types. For example, there are lesson plans devoted to environmental conservation, business, English in the Internet age, and so much more!

Another factor is that you don’t need experience or even qualifications to get started in tutoring. It’s as easy as setting up a profile that passes muster with Cambly administrators, and beginning to earn as you help students learn.

So, as we delve further into teaching English online, let’s discuss Cambly, and you can see whether it’s the right fit for you!

Cambly overview

Founded by Sameer Shariff and Kevin Law in 2012, Cambly has grown significantly to become one of the better-recognised online English teaching platforms. Based in San Francisco, California, the company is rooted within the area’s intensely competitive tech industry, and having access to Silicon Valley really shows. From the clean, easy-to-read aesthetic to the connectivity, the influence of social media and other successful ‘EdTech’ providers is obvious.

While other providers can be multi-lingual or multi-subject, Cambly only teaches English. That’s good news for Cambly students looking to boost their skills before a big move, a career change or just for fun. It’s also useful for Cambly teachers looking to build up some experience before taking up a career in TEFL, or those with some spare time who can speak fluent English and want to generate some extra income.

We’ll get to specific requirements soon, but the short of it is: if you’re over 18, can speak fluent English, and have the right tech available to you, you can start teaching on Cambly within days. 

What are the requirements to teach with Cambly?

So, now you know about the platform, you might be wondering about the Cambly tutor requirements. Let’s consider what you’ll need to be part of the family, teaching English online to eager students.

Degree

Crucially, you don’t need a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or teaching certificate to get started teaching English online with Cambly. The minimum age for tutors is 18, which means that if you’re a student looking to gain experience and make some extra income, Cambly might be just up your street.

Also, for those of retirement age, Cambly offers a great opportunity. There’s no maximum age, and if you were ever curious about teaching - or you used to be a teacher - you don’t need to hold a degree to get involved with teaching English online through Cambly!

TEFL certification

Along with a degree, you don’t need TEFL certification to get started with Cambly. That said, you’ll have a real advantage if you choose to take a TEFL course before applying to teach.

If you’re on Cambly you want to have a profile that inspires real confidence in students. A TEFL certificate with at least 120 hours of training - the industry standard - will make a real difference. Theoretical understanding and advice from experienced TEFL teachers will vastly improve your teaching abilities. Make sure the course you’re doing is from a properly accredited TEFL provider and gives you enough time to properly absorb the material.

If you want to make the most of teaching English online, TEFL certification is crucial. If you were learning from a teacher, you’d surely want them to be qualified even if it’s not a strict requirement.

Experience

Just as with a degree or a TEFL certification, you don’t need prior teaching experience to start working on Cambly. Like a degree or a TEFL certificate, it can be useful to have some experience to fall back on, as it’ll help in navigating lessons and mean you have some extra confidence before setting up a profile. However, Cambly is great if you’re new to the TEFL game and want to see how you fare on a competitive teaching platform.

Can non-natives teach English with Cambly?

Unfortunately, you need to be a native English speaker to work with Cambly. 

Additional requirements

To teach on Cambly, computer literacy is utterly vital. To set up a Cambly tutor profile, you’ll need to upload a picture of yourself, and a fun, personable 2-minute video that covers lesson content and a bit about yourself.

In terms of equipment, you’ll need a reliable computer installed with the latest software updates, a microphone, headphones, a stable internet connection and crucially, a webcam. Make sure your teaching environment is free of excessive outside noise or distractions. The blander the background, the better.

A major requirement is, simply put, time! Availability is everything for Cambly tutors, so make sure you’re committing to hours that suit you.

Obviously, you’ll need outstanding communication skills to truly make the most out of Cambly. Good communication skills will help you to interact with clients, arrange lessons, maintain positive working relationships with students and, in general, present yourself well on the platform.

Finally, the Cambly tutor age requirement dictates that you'll need to be at least 18 years old. That means university students can become a tutor on Cambly!

Cambly job description

So, what does a Cambly tutor do? It’s a pretty simple concept: Cambly tutors teach English online to non-native English speakers. Each student will have a different level of proficiency, of course, so the conversational, easy-going style of Cambly is a good match for students who are getting to grips with grammar and phrasing. Students can use in-lesson translation technology if they’re struggling, and the tutor can keep things moving along.

Most sessions are an hour long, with the onus on the tutor to provide an engaging learning experience. Video sessions are recorded, which means that outside of tutoring time, students can correct mistakes or establish positive patterns from previous lessons. For Cambly tutors, it’s all about correcting errors in a positive way, giving feedback when needed and keeping things light but still challenging.

Finally, you’ll need to keep records of student progress and provide some feedback outside of classes, giving each student a task to work on between sessions. 

In terms of hours and commitments, it’s really up to you how often you teach, and how many students you take on. There's no minimum time commitment for Cambly teachers.

How much can you earn teaching English with Cambly?

What you earn while tutoring for Cambly is really up to you. The base rate that Cambly pays - at the time of writing - is £0.14/$0.17 per minute, meaning that an hour’s session will add up to £8.40/$10.20. If you performed, for example, 4 classes a day, you can earn £33/$40 - over 5 days, that would be £165/$200 a week. Not bad for a first TEFL job!

The application process for Cambly

How do you become a Cambly tutor, then?

For native English speakers, it really is as easy as setting up a profile. No long Cambly application process, no intense interviews and, in truth, not much waiting around whatsoever!

The ease of getting started with Cambly is one of the primary reasons it’s such a popular platform with English language tutors. We’ll go through the steps you need to take to start earning money and teaching students. Before long, you can be a Cambly star.

How do I apply?

Registration

Firstly, you’ll need to set up a profile on Cambly. 

How do you do that? It’s very straightforward. First, you have to fill out an information form. Cambly will provide this, and it’ll help identify whether you’re a good fit.

Introductory Video

Then, you need to upload a 2-minute video to the website, which will help potential clients and Cambly themselves get an idea of your communication style, and what you’re keen to focus on.

For some advice on how not to make a 2-minute intro video for the Cambly platform, the Cambly YouTube page has an informal and humorous guide!

If your video is approved, you can then start the process of setting up a profile. Approval from Cambly can take anywhere from a day to a couple of weeks, so be sure to think about what your profile needs to stand out from the crowd. 

Highlighting Your Niche and Accent

Finding your niche is particularly good practice for a Cambly teacher. For example, if you teach business English - or have designs on doing so - mention that in your profile. If you want to teach tourist-friendly conversational English, mention that. If you want Cambly students to find you, it’s also useful to add which country you’re from, and what kind of accent you have. This is where flag emojis become particularly useful!

Let Your Personality Shine on Cambly

Most of all, just be you. Students might be looking for intense, vigorous English lessons, or something a bit more laid-back. Your profile should reflect your personality and what kind of teacher you want to be. Most students just want to practice conversation with a native English speaker.

Interview process

The good news with Cambly is that there isn’t an interview process: all you have to do is get your profile approved, and you can get started teaching English online!

What to consider before you start

There are a couple of important decisions to make before you launch into teaching on Cambly. Let’s break them down:

Do I have the right tech?

Without a webcam, a reliable computer and wifi connection, headphones and a microphone, you’re going to struggle to teach successfully on Cambly. In addition, make sure your computer allows regular software updates and has plenty of memory - sessions are recorded, and you can save them onto your computer in order to sharpen your teaching skills or make note of an approach that particularly worked.

Do I have enough time to tutor?

Availability is everything. Teaching on Cambly is a commitment, so be 100% sure you can definitely carry out all the language lessons you're promising. There’s nothing wrong with scaling back the number of hours you’re teaching online if you start to struggle to make commitments. If you're looking to make the most of a small amount time, check out when priority hours are on the Cambly platform.

Cambly: pros and cons

So now we understand what Cambly does, what the requirements are to teach through Cambly, and how signing up works, let’s go through some advantages and disadvantages, so you can make an informed decision.

Pros

  • Ultimately, the biggest tick in Cambly’s win column is the chance to keep a very flexible schedule of Cambly classes. If you want to find part-time work, fit an extra job around your commitments, or pick up some teaching hours after retirement, Cambly really is your friend. There aren't minimum hours restrictions, so the amount of teaching you do and the income you can make really is up to you.
  • You definitely won’t struggle to find work with Cambly. Another big pro of the platform is its immense reach: English learners from any number of countries, any age and proficiency know the company name and its reputation.
  • For newer teachers with no prior teaching experience, it’ll be useful to know that Cambly provides everything for you. There’s no need for intense lesson planning; Cambly offers a range of different prepared plans to get you teaching material in no time. While that means you’ll need to learn about lesson planning elsewhere, it is a weight off the mind - especially if you’re tutoring online and have other commitments.
  • We mentioned earning potential, and the advantage of Cambly is that you’re guaranteed weekly payment if you’re teaching. Payment is quick and easy, without enormous commissions as you might find on other platforms. Alongside this quick and easy payment is another benefit; gaining experience. The more lessons you do, the better a teacher you’ll become, and your pay should rise in kind. If you work priority hours, you might find a bumper payslip in your account, while you practice English with eager students.

Cons

  • About that payment, though: it’s not great, especially in comparison to other ESL companies. Sure, there’s no complicated hiring process, nor huge commission to take a chunk out of your wages, but the price for that is a low starting rate. You’ll need to teach a considerable number of hours to make a comfortable living.
  • The platform’s emphasis on more casual, conversational English teaching means that while a student can pick up enough to get through a chat in English, the more vigorous, theoretical elements of the language can get lost. Experience is important, but it might not be the kind of experience you need.
  • Cambly isn’t known for providing teaching feedback. You’ll have to take your student’s word for it if they’re enjoying classes, and reviews are extremely important. If you’re looking for professional development, this might not be the platform for you.
  • Cambly is a platform that’s open to everyone, regardless of qualifications or prior teaching experience. On the one hand, that’s great for people who want to make a foray into teaching to see if it’s for them. On the other, it means if you have a degree, TEFL certificate, experience or any other relevant skills, you will make the same amount of income as someone who’s simply trying it out. That’s not representative of meritocracy.
  • Cambly tutors can’t choose their students, or set their own rates. If you’re an experienced, highly qualified teacher, you could be earning the same as someone who’s taken up Cambly as something of a hobby. 
  • Cambly only tends to hire native speakers of English. If your English skills are exceptional, but you're not a native speaker, you might be able to find prospective students, but it's not as common as it might be on other online ESL platforms.

Cambly reviews

How does a typical Cambly review look? Indeed rates the platform at 3.4 out of 5, with former and current employees saying that Cambly offers excellent flexibility and enjoyable work, but a low pay rate.

Glassdoor rates Cambly a little higher, with 3.6 stars out of 5. Again, the flexibility of the job is repeatedly mentioned, along with the ease of use of the platform, and the availability of eager students. However, the pay continues to be a point of contention, with comparatively meagre earnings on offer for budding teachers.

The general consensus from Cambly review sources is that the Cambly requirements are great for new teachers, especially those who want to build teaching experience. However, the pay ranks fairly poorly compared to other online ESL platforms.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. Is Cambly worth it for tutors?

    Cambly is an excellent platform for teachers who want to have flexible working hours and are particularly focused on conversational English.

  • Q. How much do tutors make on Cambly?

    At the time of writing, Cambly pays £0.14/$0.17 per minute, meaning that an hour’s session will add up to £8.40/$10.20. If you performed 4 classes a day, you could earn £33/$40 - over 5 days, that would be £165/$200 a week.

  • Q. How do I start teaching in Cambly?

    The Cambly application process is as easy as filming a 2-minute introduction video, inputting some personal information and setting up a profile. There are no minimum hours, and you don't need teaching experience or a bachelor's degree, so all kinds of native speakers can join Cambly! In terms of technical requirements, you'll need a working computer, a solid internet speed, a webcam, headphones and a microphone to get started.

  • Q. What do you need to be a Cambly tutor?

    You don’t need any qualifications or experience to become a Cambly tutor and work with adult students and Cambly kids alike, only enthusiasm and native-level English.

  • Q. Is Cambly currently hiring?

    Cambly is constantly hiring, and new students are always joining - just set up a profile to get started!