The Ultimate Guide to Online English Teaching Jobs
We have helped thousands upon thousands of online English teachers landing great online English teaching jobs. This ultimate guide is a pearl of collective wisdom and direct experience contributed to our teaching community and working with the recruiters of the online ESL companies and schools directly.
Hope the guide will help you get started or provide a further leap in your online teaching jobs! Please do leave comments under if you have any question!
- Get a TEFL certification. If you can get a TESOL or CELTA that is even better. This gives a head start for new teachers and boost the salary greatly.
- Highlight your teaching related experience and relevant information in your resume to engage the recruiters. Take the time to read each school’s requirements and simply list them out. Ex. the method you used during teaching ESL students, how you helped students to improve their test scores, pronunciation, grammar issues in an effective manner. There is a complete guide to creating a resume for online schools.
- Create a well thought out self-introduction video that you can link to in your resume, which greatly boosts your visibility and chance of being viewed during the screening process.
- 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.
- Practice your interview! You can learn it by making a good intro video and make an adjustment by watching your own presentation.
- 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 onto the long version of teaching online.
View Table of Contents
- The Ultimate Guide to Online English Teaching Jobs
- Short Version
- Online English Teaching Job Options
- Can I Teach English Online?
- What ESL Companies to Work For?
- Why Should I Teach Online?
- What to Expect for Teaching English Online?
- What Are The Drawbacks Of Teaching Online?
- Create Your Own Lessons
- Are You Ready to Teach English Online?
The English teaching market has matured significantly over the last few years and continue to grow in demand for teachers. Students from China compose the majority of the student body. Teaching English online offers flexibility for those who are looking for part-time teaching jobs and can turn into a full-time 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, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. However, do not be discouraged if you’re coming from other countries. 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. Read the following tips to thrive and score high paying online teaching jobs!
Online English Teaching Job Options
There are a few types of online teaching jobs you can choose from based on the nature of the employment status, target students.
- Individual and independent private teacher – this means you’ll be building your network of paying students, whether via a website you developed or advertise your service via other methods. This probably brings you the most lucrative pay per teaching hour, especially you are focusing on the niche market like teaching SAT, GMAT, TEFOL, where the quality is over quantity. However, running your own business also demand the greatest effort from your part. If you’re interesting building your teaching business, then skip to the later section, Create Your Own Lessons.
- Independent part-time contractor working for online ESL teaching platform – the benefit of working for online ESL teaching platform is that you skip all the hassle like collecting payment, finding students, and taking care of random miscellaneous chore. However, there is also some catch when you work for others, this guide is meant to navigate you through this online teaching job jungle. See a list of online companies.
In this guide, we’ll mainly focus on online teaching jobs as an independent part-time contractor working for online ESL companies.
Can I Teach English Online?
- Native English speaking teacher or Jobs for non-natives.
- Have a PC or MAC with high speed and reliable internet connection. Some take the tablet and smartphone.
- A Bachelor’s degree is often required, but there are also some opportunities for college students and no degree.
- Having the ability to accept payment through Payoneer, bank wiring/transfer, or Paypal.
- Having to deal with unhinged parents from time to time if you are teaching children
- Great passionate and patient with students. A positive attitude and smiling face with each lesson you teach
- Experience as a teacher in a classroom environment or online teaching experience
- Earned a teaching certificate or a university degree. TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA certification.
- Bilingual in another popular language, such as Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean or Chinese
- 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. Students from China compose the majority of the student body and peak hours during 6pm-9pm Beijing time.
- Are clean cut and have a professional look, which applies to the first impress in resume profile, intro video, interview, and beyond!
If you possess the above qualities, you could have great success in 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.
Is it possible to begin teaching online without prior teaching experience?
Yes, many online platforms do not require their teacher to have teaching experience, but we recommend you to get an English teaching certificate TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA to wide your job opportunities and boost your salary.
Would I need to be able to speak another foreign language?
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 you to further connect with your 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 technological requirements to teach online
Depending on the specific job technical requirements, you will most likely need a computer, tablet or smartphone, equipped with an HD webcam and a quality headset with microphone. Most importantly, you must have an excellent Internet connection with large bandwidth. You may need a white background and sometimes teaching props, though they are usually optional.
Skype and Zoom are the simplest things to use for teaching English online as a freelancer. It allows stable audio quality and screen sharing. However, most online teaching companies will have their own platform to host the classrooms for you, whether one-on-one sessions or larger group lessons.
While bad Internet connection and technology failure can cause problems sometimes, the diverse and interactive multimedia materials that can be employed to teach English online are greatly beneficial for language learners and for ESL teachers. Some software allows you to divide classes into groups or pairs and send them to sub-classrooms to create a sense of intimacy. You’ve got multiple aids available while teaching, while the shy students may be more likely to open up in such environment. Overall, technology can be taken advantage of to create an effective virtual learning environment.
Type of English Teaching Certificates
- TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)
- Probably the most common ESL teaching certificate. In theory, a TEFL certificate can boost your teaching job opportunities and salary. However, there’s no unified and universal standard for the quality of the TEFL course and the certificate fee may range from US$40 to 1,400. See this TEFL guide to help to choose which TEFL to pick from.
- TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)
- CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults)
- This is an accredited certificate offered by Cambridge University. This is probably the most intensive English teaching curriculum you can obtain and universally recognized. However, it comes with a high price tag and might overkill for online ESL teaching.
What ESL Companies to Work For?
Hujiang, Whale English, QKids, Landi, PalFish, Alo7, VIPKID, and SayABC are some of the best Chinese companies to work for online English teaching from what we’ve heard from our Facebook communities, Online ESL Reviews, Online English Teaching Jobs, and Online English Teaching Jobs Facebook group to read others’ reviews and learn about their experiences to find the right opportunity for yourself.
Do I need to prepare the teaching materials?
Online ESL companies usually already have the course materials prepared, some require the teacher to prepare more than others depending on the type of class to be taught. Teaching young children is certainly less prep work compare to teaching teens to read a classic English novel. 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.
How to Maximize Earning Teaching English Online?
Here are some tips to Make the Most Money Teaching English Online that you can use!
Where can I Find a Matching Online English Teaching Job?
We can assist you in finding a or multiple matching jobs free of charge! Submit your application
Why Should I Teach Online?
If you enjoy teaching but do not want to confined by an institute or other classroom settings, which is often the case for sustainable earning while traveling, parents with young children, an additional source of income without wasting time commuting, part-time job for the college student, or the flexibility of scheduling. Of course, it’s always interesting talking to people from other countries, being able to live anywhere in the world with the flexibility to sustain yourself, and for those of you who start your own business, you will enjoy being your own boss.
Controlling Your Own Time with Flexible Schedule
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.
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 and Working from Anywhere
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 a fast Internet, a good computer, a headset, and some decor. If you work for a company that provides you with students, then you don’t even need to plan your classes! 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!
Pay is Good
You probably won’t able live a king or queen teaching English online (except if you move to countries with lower living cost), but teaching English Online is probably one of the highest part-time paying online jobs and provides a substantial subsidiary income. You save time and fuel not wasted by sitting in the traffic but in your comfortable home. The downside is that you are either hired as an independent contractor by the company, so you won’t receive full-time employee benefits and need to take care of your own health insurance bill. Another thing to watch out for is the pay rate, see the later compensation to learn about the salary breakdown and things to be mindful when judging the pay by a company.
What to Expect for Teaching English Online?
Type of Students
- Student Nationality
- Very likely you’ll be teaching students online from all over the world and the majority are Chinese students, as students from China consist the highest number of online ESL students. As a result, you’ll need to put in the effort to learn your students’ background in order to understand their learning motivation and hurdle and leverage the effective teaching methods to bridge the gap of language differences in order to become an effective teacher.
- Student Age
- Online English learning students range from 4 years old to sophisticated business professionals.
- Learning Focuses – ESL companies have varieties of teaching expectation due to their targeting students.
- General or conversational – learning simple pronunciation, young children, etc. Teaching children require greater patient and attention in details because you know, you’re dealing with children.
- College entrance exam prep – SAT, GMAT, GRE, TEFOL, etc
- Business English – teaching adult is usually simpler than children, adult lessons tend to be focusing on conversational skills and ones dedicate the effort learning English often has a clear goal of achievement.
- Class Size
- Range from one-on-one, 2, 4, 10, or even 40 if you land a job teaching public school.
- Class Duration
- Range from 25 min to 90 min in back to back sessions.
- Time Zone Differences
- Depending on where you and your students located, you’re very likely to encounter the time differences if teach online. Depending on the company you work for, but the majority of online students are based outside of native English speaking countries, especially in China and various countries in Asia.
- Class Schedule Flexibility
- A fixed class schedule with recurring students – which mean you’ll need to dedicate some hours to the same recurring classes each week.
- A flexible class schedule with non-recurring students – you might get new students or the same students who book your class again.
- Flexible hours without weekly hour commitment – his is more spontaneous, you can open up your class whenever you’re available.
- Peak vs. Non-Peak Teaching Hours
- Due to the sheer and dominating number of online ESL students are from China, so the peak time period 6pm-9pm Beijing time offer the most English teaching job opportunities. The majority of the Chinese companies also offer, if not only, the teaching hours during that time period.
Companies have their own compensation structure, including hourly pay rate, bonus, or penalties. The hourly rate for teaching online typically ranges from US$15 – 25 per hour depending on your qualifications and companies’ focusing audience, some can get as high as $40 – $60 per hour.
Real Hourly Rate = Base Hourly Rate + Bonus – Penalties
- Real hourly rate
- This is usually not a flat rate, but the dynamic rate as shown in the formula above.
- Base Hourly Rate
- Depending on your qualifications – the company’s accent preference, educational background (Bachelor’s degree or above and field in Education and English are highly preferred), prior teaching experience, etc.
- The company’s salary structure – ones focusing on high-level English curricula like writing and grammar or business professional is typically paying significantly higher than teaching young children.
- Your interview performance – there are some key qualities that recruiters emphasizing, including passion, friendly attitude, engaging, positive manner, professional, etc. Just recall the teachers you enjoy the most then you’ll understand recruiters’ reasoning and logic.
- Good student review, contract bonus, periodic rate raise, great performance, high booking rate, etc.
- Cancellation and Penalties
- Late to class, absent, leave early, short notice, etc
Pick a company that pays well and punctuate! 5 Top Paying Online ESL Companies That Let You Teach English From Home in 2019
Companies often pay you via Payoneer, bank wiring/transfer, or Paypal. Note that those financial services take a fair amount of fees out of your salary, some more than others, $15 per bank wiring, 4% of transaction fee on PayPal, or fixed $2 per transaction on Payoneer. Some companies withhold the income tax. Another lost from the conversion of local currency to USD or other currencies. This something else for you to look out for and understand when you venture into the world of online teaching.
Online English teacher is typically independent contractors hired by the company instead of a full-time employee. Therefore, you will be responsible for your own income taxes. Many do not deduct and withhold taxes from the teachers’ monthly payment, but some do.
- For US citizens and tax-payers, all income of more than USD $600 per year is reported directly to the IRS via 1099s form.
Legal & Employment Contract
- The employment contract duration usually lasts from 6 months to one year.
- Teaching position usually hired as an independent and individual part-time contractor
Where can I find a supportive English Teaching community?
If you do choose to become an online teacher, you can join our Facebook groups, Online ESL Reviews, Online English Teaching Jobs, and Online English Teaching Jobs Facebook group where you can find supportive and experienced teachers.
How to adjust from classroom teacher to teaching Online?
Online teaching is a bit different from in classroom teaching, where you have a physical presence and easier interaction with students. However, it’s not a difficult transitioning from in-classroom teacher to online teaching once you understand some fundamental differences between these environments and able to adapt different techniques.
- You will need to make gesture adjustment and teaching style due to a finite and relatively small screen and video framing.
- Slightly more difficult to promote group discussion in an online session.
- The class material presentation is shifted from blackboard to interactive software and apps.
- Low Internet speed, software glitch, and technical issues can be an extremely annoying thing to handle.
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.
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.
Another unfortunate trend with online teaching is with schools that promise to pay a certain amount but might offer you less than advertised in the end. Be sure to learn and ask the HR of the compensation structure. Yes, there are schools that are honest and true to what they say, but also schools headed in the other direction. Being cautious in doing your research will help you to avoid these pitfalls.
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. To avoid the race to the bottom, make sure you have all the qualifications satisfied, the more the better.
Create Your Own Lessons
You may create your own teaching materials or employ existing ones. Most online teaching companies provide the plans for you already. You can also employ engaging and fun activities such as games, discussions, debates, storytelling, and role-playing, beyond the traditional lessons. You most likely won’t need to speak another language besides English. The point is that you’ll talk in English 100% of the time, so foreign students can copy your accent and pick up how you speak like a native.
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 in finding your own students, accounting and legal work, and don’t mind building a simple website.
Some downside if you decide to build your own website, teaching business, 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.
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
Learn From Other Online ESL Teachers
You can join our Online English Teaching Jobs Facebook group to learn about others’ experiences teaching English online. You’ll learn where to find online teaching job opportunities, the application and interview process for each company, the pay, and benefits, how to make the most money teaching English online, as well as the tips for teaching ESL successfully.
All in all, online English teaching is an ideal remote job for travelers or those looking for flexibility while gaining experiences in the field. It is also a rewarding experience as you impact others’ lives while learning other cultures.