The coronavirus pandemic changed the way we lived our lives. Nearly every country and community was affected—and the education sector suffered, too.
When the World Health Organization (WHO) officially announced COVID-19 as a global health pandemic, schools of all levels in countries worldwide had to shut their doors until further notice. With the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, many academic institutions had to abandon traditional practices and adopt distance learning practices to continue educating pupils nationwide.
The coronavirus pandemic significantly boosted the already-growing online learning industry. The field of online learning soon proved itself necessary during this time: not only did it provide students worldwide with an opportunity to learn from remote experts without travelling, but teachers established themselves through their own classes while homebound due to quarantine restrictions.
As early as 2019, our survey showed that 1 in 5 of our graduates went to find an online teaching job. Now that the pandemic has increased the popularity and need for online education, we continue to see the rise of teaching English online as a legitimate way to earn from home.
If you’re looking to join the bandwagon, this article can help you get started. We’ve included the basic requirements of an online English teacher and a comprehensive guide to choose among the three common job types: teaching with a company, on online marketplaces, and as a freelancer.
You’re bound to find an option that’s a good fit for your goals and lifestyle.
3 Steps to Build Your Foundation and Get Started
As the industry grows and many teachers flood into the online space, the demand for qualified teachers increases. But it also means you need to do everything you can to prove yourself and stand out from your competition.
Establishing yourself as a qualified teacher helps you get hired and attract more students for more income. In other words, even though it takes a lot of effort to build your credibility and skill, the rewards make it worth it!
Once you’ve completed the requirements and training, decide which teaching route you want to take. Because there are so many to choose from, let’s look at how you can start teaching English online:
So, where do you start?
Begin by setting up the foundation of your online teaching career. Cover these basic requirements that teaching companies and students look for in an online teacher, as they will set you apart from those who just haphazardly apply for teaching jobs.
- Get TEFL qualified: Most employers look for teachers with a 120-hour TEFL qualification. If you want to have a competitive edge over other teachers, you can also take an advanced 40-hour Teaching English Online course to boost your skills and credibility.
- Gain initial experience: You can do an advanced course to get some practical experience with teaching online. We offer our Online Teaching Practice specifically for you to have the opportunity to try teaching English with Zoom. You may find it remarkably different from teaching in person!
Doing an advanced English teaching course also helps you know yourself more. Do you really want to teach English online? Is this something you truly want to pursue as a career? Does your teaching style match your intended students? It also serves as a “taste test” before getting into any company or starting a freelancing gig.
- Update your CV: Lastly, prep your CV for sending to prospective companies and clients. We have a CV guide to help you write it, as well as our CV builder tool if you’re a TEFL Org student.
Writing your CV is crucial because any grammar or punctuation mistakes will affect your credibility as an English teacher. In addition, if you have any previous experiences or skills that can support your capabilities as a teacher, highlight them in your CV.
3 Ways to Find English Teaching Jobs Online
There are three simple ways for you to find English teaching jobs online. Since each has its advantages and disadvantages, we’ve outlined them below to help you decide which suits you best.
Working for Companies
The first way is by working for a company that teaches English online. These are organisations that hire teachers as employees to work for them. While the hiring process depends on the company, it usually includes signing an independent contractor agreement to teach English online. You will likely have a TEFL interview and teach a demo lesson before they hire you.
Because of these beginner-friendly benefits, working for companies is ideal for new teachers looking to plan lessons and create materials.
Moreover, since companies are established businesses, you can start earning a lot sooner with a company than if you do freelancing. You can begin teaching almost immediately after you pass a company’s application process, just to give some perspective. They’ll seal the deal, set up your schedule, assign you students, and all you have to do is show up in the virtual classroom. This process is fast, especially if you compare it to freelancing, where you’d have to do a lot of marketing for months before you start getting student inquiries.
Benefits of working for a company
Working with an established company is a great way to get started and gain experience, as most of them will do the following on your behalf:
- Plan the ESL (English as a second language) curriculum
- Provide you with the teaching materials
- Decide on the learning platform (digital classroom)
- Train you on teaching guidelines and materials
- Streamline process from beginning to end, including dealing with any teaching concerns
Since the English teaching company will designate students to you (or make it easy for students to book their preferred teachers), you’ll have a sense of security with a stable stream of students. You don’t have to keep looking for students to teach—you just have to do your job well to build your reputation and give them a great learning experience.
The biggest barrier to working with a company is that you can’t maximise your earnings or have more control over your schedule and workload. Since English learning companies pay their teachers by the hour or per lesson, your income depends on how many students they’ll assign to you.
Nevertheless, established companies offer you an opportunity to try teaching English right away. You can learn the ropes and earn a couple of bucks before going the freelancing route.
- Build experience
- Start teaching and earning fast
- No need to prepare lesson plans
- Guided teaching style (with training)
- No need for self-marketing
- Contractual commitment
- Can’t maximise earnings
- Rigid curriculum
- Fixed teaching style
- Can’t choose your students
These are English teaching companies that you can consider:
|Company||Hourly rate||Degree required||Lessons provided||Students||Min. hours per week||TEFL qualification required||Accepts non-native speakers||Previous teaching experience required?||Additional requirements||Application link|
|Yes||Yes||All ages||10||Yes||No||4 years||Must be US citizen||Apply|
|Engoo||£2 - £7.20
($2.80 - $10)
|FluentBe||£7.20 - £8.70
($10 - $12)
|Yes||Yes||All ages||None||Yes||No||1 Year||Apply|
|Ginseng English||£7.50 - £11.25
($10 - $15)
|No||No||Young learners and teenagers||None||Preferred||Yes||Preferred||None||Apply|
|iTutor||£3.75 - £16.50
($5 - $22)
|Yes||Yes||All ages||6||Yes||No||1 year||None||Apply|
|Learnlight||£9 - £10.50
($12 - $14)
|No||No||All ages||10||Yes||Yes||2 years||Apply|
|Lingoda||£6 - £9.75
($8 - $13)
|Yes||Yes||Young Learners||20||Yes||No||1 year||Apply|
|Open English||£9.75 - £11.25
($13 - $15)
|No||Yes||Teenagers and adults||10||Yes||No||1 year||US candidates only, Spanish language skills a plus||Apply|
|Rype||£6.50 - £8
($9 - $11)
|No||No||All ages||15||Preferred||Yes||1 year||None||Apply|
|Skyeng||£2.20 - £14.50
($3 - $20)
|Superprof||Set your own rate||No||No||All ages||None||Preferred||Yes||None||Apply|
*Online marketplace. Teachers set their own rates.
Information accurate as of August 2021.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How can you make the most money as an online English teacher?
A. If you want to earn top dollar as an English teacher, you should get your TEFL qualification as soon as possible, choose your teaching niche, and seek the highest-paid online teaching companies. Ensure that you’re working during peak hours, and make the most out of the students and classes assigned to you. Once you’re all set up, you can start your own English tutoring company and keep all the profit you make.
Q. How do you get more students as an online English teacher?
A. If you’re working for a company, the number of students and your schedule might be less flexible. However, if you’re working via an ESL marketplace or your own business, you can amp up your marketing efforts and generate more interested students.
Q. What are the best sites to teach English online?
A. There are a lot of English teaching sites for you to choose from. We understand that they may be overwhelming, especially if you’re unsure what you want to prioritise as an online English teacher.
Because of this, we’ve come up with this list of online teaching companies and platforms to help you decide which is best for your personal goals and situation. If you’re going the freelancing route, we also have a list of the best online teaching platforms to hold your virtual classes.