OET Jobs has helped many teachers land excellent online English teaching jobs. We’ve heard all the best tips and tricks from teachers, and HR departments. Plus, our recruiting experience assisting candidates during the hiring process has helped us to really know the ropes.
These are our top tips to maximize your earning potential and enhance your chance to get the best pay teaching English online.
1. Polish your Resume
Nothing beats a great resume. You’re a representative of the company to their student customers as an English teacher, so having a clear profile photo to show off your professionalism will really help. A photo with an online teaching style background is even better.
Check out this free resume template here.
2. Online Teaching Setups
A proper and professional online teaching setup is not only necessary but also critically affects how you convince the recruiters to give you a better pay rate.
A good technical setup includes a reasonably performing computer or smartphone, a camera with HD resolution (at least 720 or 1080), a quality headset with a microphone or separated microphone, and an Internet speed of 10MB/s for both uploading and downloading.
You might sometimes get by with 5MB/s, but you’re missing a lot of opportunities to work for better-paying companies. A computer is not always required, because some companies actually teach over a smartphone, like Cambly and Palfish. However, note that the majority of online teaching jobs will be on a computer.
A good teaching environment must have a good lighting. Some companies require you to have a white background or a whiteboard for your background. Puppets and posters are not always required, but can definitely help you to land a higher pay grade, and come in handy when you need to engage the attention spans of young children.
3. Focus on the Companies with the Greater Pay Rate
You may find that companies with a higher base rate have higher standards and are more selective during the hiring process. Additionally, figuring out your pay can be difficult, as some companies offer base rates, plus bonuses or standby pay. Make sure you clarify the overall compensation with the recruiter during the interview process to make sure you’re making the highest rate you can.
- What’s the base pay?
- What different types of bonuses are available?
- What are the rules for earning the bonus?
- What’s the payment method? (Common ones are PayPal, Payoneer, bank wiring, or direct bank deposit.)
- What currency do you pay in?
- What’s the payment schedule? (Common ones are weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly)
Be cautious about the pay rate for some companies, because the pay rate may differ according to various conditions
- Country that you’re currently living – company like iTutorGroup pays differently based on the country you currently living. The pay rate to Americans live in the US is different from Americans live in Southeast Asia, even you’re having the similar qualifications.
- Compensation structure – the advertised pay rate has many conditions. Pay rate is typically combination of hourly base rate + performance bonus.
- Native vs. Non-Native English Speaker – The pay differences could be drastic between native and non-native English speakers. Some companies hire non-native English speakers, but the pay rate differences could be very disappointing, an good example (a bad example?) is iTutorGroup.
- Class booking – some companies have relatively good pay rate and conditions, but not enough students to provide you a full booking, then you’re end up sitting idle. ex. VIPKID. This tend to be the companies that do not have a fix schedule and teach different students in different classes. For ones you’re dedicating for fix schedule with the recurring same students and have good teaching experience, you can look into Whales English.
4. Obtain an ESL Teaching Certificate
A certificate is not always required by online ESL companies. Many teachers get by without having a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate. If you have experience teaching English online, or in the classroom, you may not need a TEFL to teach English online.
Note that some schools like iTutorGroup don’t require a certificate first during the hiring process, but will ask you to obtain one within a certain time period after you are hired.
5. Prepare for your Interviews
Understanding each companies’ interview process and expectations will help you to prepare for your interview. Companies are not created equally. Different schools have different expectations due to the varying teaching curriculum and their target student audience.
Understand differences in class type:
For younger children, TPR and more dramatic actions are required for constant engagement, but the teaching material is simpler and less preparation is required. Companies include Sincewin.
The English learning process for older children or teens is a more systematic approach. This requires some preparation on your side. The majority of online English teaching companies focus on this age group, including VIPKID, Landi, Class100.
Teens and college preparation
This segment is probably the most difficult one, since it focuses on the technical parts of English like grammar, college entrance exams, and cater to students looking to study in a university abroad. Hujiang is one company that focuses on this student audience.
The adult lessons tend to be conversational, or slightly technical because adult learners usually have some basic English language foundation. The focus tends to be speaking and improving language ability for the working environment. Companies include Cambly, Hujiang, and iTutorGroup.
The class size ranges from One-on-one, one-to-two, small group up to 4, or large classroom setting 15-40 students. The large group class is generally delivered to kindergarten or local school, there is usually an assisting teacher in the local school to maintain the classroom order.
6. Optimize your schedule with off-peak hours
Another trick to maximize your online teaching hours is to know the zone you’re in. We all know Chinese online ESL companies compose the majority of the job openings and especially the peak hours of 6 pm to 9 pm Beijing time. For some, that’s the only time slot those companies offer English lessons.
So what about the rest of your time? Now you can look into the companies that teach off-peak hours, or companies in different time zones.
That means you’ll be holding multiple part-time contract work for two or more companies simultaneously. Chinese companies with solid off-peak hours (7am to 4pm Beijing time) include Class100 and Sincewin, where they offer English classes to local schools and kindergartens during normal school hours.
7. Create an Outstanding Self-Intro Video
Many companies screen candidates via pre-recorded intro videos, as the first interview, or before proceeding to a formal interview. This can be a great thing for you because you can prepare and refine your interview as many time as possible.
Here are some self-intro videos we found that might be useful for you.
8. Company Loyalty
Company loyalty sometimes has an impact on your earning potential, especially for companies with bonus structure tied to the length and hours you have taught and the rating you’ve accumulated over the time.
Palfish is a good example, as it not only indicates your total hours taught and hard earned rating on your profile page, but also includes social elements such as sharing posts and photos in the community with students and fellow teachers. If you’re able to establish yourself as an excellent teacher, there’s really not an incentive to go elsewhere, as the pay grows over time.
The downside to this type of reward system is that if you’re a new teacher, you might have trouble finding students. Note that for some companies students must select you, but for others the company itself assigns the students to you.
Are you ready for your job interview?
We wish the best for you in navigating the online English teaching journey!