Where can I get a job teaching English online? What are the top jobs for ESL teachers online? What kind of experience do I need to teach online? The number of questions for those that are new to teaching English online can be long. Even those that have some experience in the field have questions that need to be answered. The point of this guide is to help you get started or to fill in the gaps for those of you who are already down the path but need further help.
If you want the short version and top tips on how to get a job teaching online then just follow these steps:
- Get a TEFL certification. If you can get a TESOL or CELTA that is even better. One of the best TEFL certificates is through the International TEFL Academy.
- With each school that you apply to make sure that you include a cover letter that talks about how you meet their needs. Do not be lazy and use the same cover letter for each school. Take the time to read each school’s requirements and simply list them out. There is a complete guide to creating a resume for online schools.
- Create a well thought out introduction video that you can link to in your resume. Provide a YouTube and Youku video. Why both, you might ask? Because with Youku the Chinese are able to see it, unlike YouTube which is blocked.
- Create a resume that focuses on solutions for teaching students. Include how you helped students to improve their test scores, helped with their pronunciation, and other items such as fixing their grammar issues in an effective manner. Here is a full resume guide.
- Make sure that you have a quiet place to teach from, with a plain backdrop, good headset with microphone, and as fast of an internet connection as possible. Many schools prefer a wired connection. Include this information in your resume. You can find a review of the top headsets for teaching online.
- With many of the schools, you need to follow up with them. Keep a list of schools that you applied to, when you applied, where you are in the process, and if you have to follow up with them. Persistence is key!
If that is enough for you and are ready to go then you can check out the long list of online English teaching jobs here. Ok, now on to the long version of teaching online.
View Table of Contents
- 1 Short Version
- 2 Can I Teach English Online?
- 3 Why Should I Teach Online?
- 4 Is Teaching Online For Me?
- 5 What Are The Drawbacks Of Teaching Online?
- 6 Are you ready to teach English Online?
- 7 Create Your Own Lessons
- 8 Related
The English teaching market has matured significantly over the last two to three years but there is still room for growth and the demand for teachers is ever increasing along with it. Teaching English online offers flexibility for those who are looking for part-time teaching jobs and can turn into a fulltime job for those who are willing to put in the time and effort.
It should be noted that the highest demand for teachers is from countries such as the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Yes, you can still get a job if you are a native English speaking teacher from another country, or a non-native who has put in the time and reached a level that is good enough for online teaching.
I do not make the rules, but knowing and understanding the market in its current state is necessary so that you do not waste your time applying for companies that might be looking for someone with a different profile than yours.
Can I Teach English Online?
A lot of the times the requirements vary from job to job, but some of the general requirements to teach English online are:
- Being a native English teacher or Jobs that allow for non-natives.
- Have a PC or MAC with a high speed and reliable internet connection
- Being willing to learn a new skillset and handle any technical issues that might arise
- Having the ability to accept payment through Stripe, Paypal, Payoneer Gumroad or other similar services
- Willing to keep a positive attitude and smiling face with each lesson you teach
- Having to deal with unhinged parents from time to time if you are teaching children
If you have the qualities below, you can earn an even better teaching job if you possess these qualities:
- Experience as a teacher in a classroom environment
- Earned a teaching certificate or a university degree
- Bilingual in another popular language, such as Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean or Chinese
- Have marketing skills to promote yourself and courses if you chose to create them
- Able and willing to work odd hours or on the weekends. Of course, this depends on where you live and where your students are from
- Are clean cut and have a professional look
- Can create your own courses and are willing to learn how to market them
- Have or are willing to learn skills such as WordPress and other online programs needed to develop your own website
If you possess the above qualities, you could have great success teaching English online. About one-third to half of the teaching platforms are looking for teachers with some experience so do not shy away if you are trying this for the first time. There are places that do not require you to have a degree in order to teach online, but having a TEFL Certificate is an almost must have if you want to earn more than the average. This is only required if you teach locally in a classroom setting or at a university.
It is possible to begin teaching online if you have no experience although you will have to work harder. Even though most online platforms do not require their teachers to be bilingual, teachers with this skill use it to their benefit. Knowing a second or even a third language allows them to further connect with their students and help them learn the course material easier. This is especially useful for those students that are in the beginning stages of learning English and don’t understand very much of the language yet.
The main thing is ensuring that you understand the grammar rules and how to teach pronunciation. Many of your students are going to ask you how to pronounce words and phrases. Understanding the various vowel and consonant sounds, the ever famous schwa sound, and common pronunciation mistakes is vital if you want to become a top level teacher. Grammar can be tricky to teach given all of the exceptions afforded in the English language. If you are new to teaching English you might become overwhelmed with some of the finer details when it comes to the various grammar rules.
Why Should I Teach Online?
If you enjoy teaching but do not want to teach in an institute or other classroom settings, you may be a good candidate for teaching online. Other reasons to teach online include flexibility of scheduling, talking to people from other countries, being able to live nearly anywhere in the world while teaching, the satisfaction of teaching someone something new, and for those of you who start your own business you will enjoy being your own boss.
For those of you that need a list, well here it is to help get you motivated:
No Need To Discipline Students
What are your online students going to do that is so out of hand that you would need to discipline them? Right, you get the point. Much better to deal with students online who are simply sitting in their chairs with headsets on listening away. Of course there are rude kids and helicopter parents at times, but for the most part, they are pretty easy to deal with. Teaching adults is even easier.
Controlling Your Own Time
If you own your own website or teaching platform you will put in a ton of work at the beginning which will dwindle down a little later on. Once you are all setup, then you will mainly spend your time teaching and writing up reports.
Now if you are working for an online school you will have certain time schedules to deal with, but you make the choice on where you work. Yes, of course, if you want to make a fair amount of money the market for teaching children in China is the way to go and that means early morning hours for many of you. Again though, it is your choice so choose your school or platform wisely.
You Can Be A Digital Nomad
If you want to become a digital nomad and travel the world while working, then online teaching is a great option. All you need is internet and a few ideas for your lessons. If you work for a company that provides you with students, then you don’t need to plan your classes either! One caveat is you need to make sure you are in a place with a stable internet connection. Sitting in a small hut on a vacant beach in SE Asia might be nice, but I doubt the coconut palms will be pumping out an LTE signal!
Students Seem To Make An Extra Effort
With online students are typically only seeing them for an hour each session, or even less. In these situations, they seem to be more motivated, focused and willing to make that extra effort to do well.
Work With Students From All Over The World
Do you want to learn about a new culture without even having to leave the comfort of your room? That is one of the perks that I like the most about teaching online. Of course, they can be issues and group lessons when you mix some of the cultures together, but one-on-one sessions with students from around the world is a real joy. Some of them are into swapping various recipes back and forth. You’ll be surprised at how eager they are to learn about your culture while also sharing a wealth of knowledge about theirs.
Is Teaching Online For Me?
This is probably one of the most burning questions that you ask yourself when you first start thinking about teaching online. This seems to be a case for people that have never taught ESL before, and even with those who are familiar and have experience teaching in real life.
One of the biggest perks of teaching online is the flexibility of your schedule and the ability to work from the comfort of your home. If the idea of creating your own schedule and being able to make money without leaving your house sounds like a great opportunity, read on.
If you are now a stay-at-home parent but want to earn extra income for your household by using your degree that you earned in college, teaching online may be for you.
If you are part of the growing trend of homeschooling your children, you may be perfect for this job. You are already being a teacher inside your home. You may as well make money from it!
If you are a college student and want to find a way to make money without leaving your dormitory or apartment, then this might be the right job for you.
If you are looking for a part-time job that allows you to earn money in your free time without too much stress, then you too might find online teaching to be perfect for you.
What Are The Drawbacks Of Teaching Online?
Although there are plenty of benefits of teaching online, there are a few drawbacks as well. There are some areas where teaching in a classroom setting is more beneficial than teaching online. We are going to look at a few of those reasons below.
You Have To Control Your Own Destiny
Yes, of course, everyone likes to say how much they want to be in control of their own destiny. In reality, many human beings prefer the safety and comfort of the job when they are told what to do and when to do it. This can be seen in a regular classroom setting where you receive feedback from the school district on your teaching methods.
You have an opportunity to compare your teaching methods with your fellow teachers. None of this happens when you are teaching on your own. Well, this is not completely true due to the advent of Facebook groups we can share different teaching methods and so forth. If you do choose to become an online teacher, I definitely recommend that you do find one or two good Facebook groups are teachers are supporting other teachers.
You’ll find that some of the schools do a great job of training teachers while others seem to go through a couple of my classes and then give you free reign. It seems like the longer the school has been around the better the training experience will be.
Fluctuations In Salary
When teaching online one of the difficult things for people get used to is the fluctuation that can happen when it comes to making money. Learning about the various holidays around the world, and other times when students are not around can be a steep learning curve for some or simple one for those who are willing to do a little research.
If you decide to build your own website and find your own students, you might run into a feast or famine environment when you first start your adventure. Being your own boss is great, but with anything that is worth having, it can be hard going in the beginning. If you take this route, you really should have some money stored away or be teaching on another platform while you build your student base.
Another unfortunate trend with online teaching is with schools that promise to pay a certain amount and in the end offer you less than advertised. They will tell you as well that if you just stay with them for a certain number of months you will get a raise. Yes, there are schools that are honest and true to what they say, but there are other schools headed in the other direction. Being cautious in doing your research will help you to avoid these pitfalls.
You should also take into consideration how you’re getting paid. PayPal, for instance, takes a fair amount of fees out of your salary. Another issue with it is how it does not offer the fair value when switching from USD to other currencies. This something else for you to look out for and understand when you venture into the world of online teaching.
The Marketplace Continues To Grow And So Does The Competition
While the internet’s popularity serves many purposes and is the leading way that many freelance workers make their living, you must take into consideration that people all around the world are doing the same thing. This can lead to lower salaries and competition with people who are living in lower-cost environments.
People that live in countries where English is not the native language can charge incredibly low prices for their work. Some of these prices can be as low as $2-3 per hour. Most people that live in a country where English is the native language simply cannot compete with those rates.
Having your own website in teaching platform will help you to get a decent rate as long as you are good at what you do and know how to market yourself. There are also plenty of websites out there that will pay more for a native English speaker from Western countries.
The secret to turning a big profit online is to differentiate yourself from your competitors online. If you offer something different from everyone else, the students will come to you. You need to find your niche basically. Many people find this through test preparation, specific types of training, and pronunciation, just to name a few.
Are you ready to teach English Online?
Learn more about Tips To Effectively Teach English Online
Create Your Own Lessons
Create your own English lesson is another viable option, but require significantly more effort and setup time before you can run it. Here’s a create your own online English teaching business guide if you’re interested finding your own students, accounting and legal work, and don’t mind building a simple website.