What are the basic requirements for becoming an online English teacher? Do I have to be a native speaker from the US? Do I need to have a college degree? Do I have to be a certain age to start teaching online? I keep reading about certifications such as a TEFL do I need one of those?
The most sought after teachers are native English teachers from the US or Canada who have a degree and at least a TEFL certificate. The US accent is typically the most desired by schools, especially the Chinese based ones who typically pay the most.
That being said, there are plenty of non-native teachers and native teachers from the UK, Australia and other countries who have found great jobs working online. If you are good at what you do, then you will find a job.
Unfortunately there are issues with some companies when it comes to race, age, sex and other factors. This is a sad part about the business and there are hurdles that make it harder for some people to find a job. Do not let this hold you back and put your best effort into finding a job.
Is a degree required? With some schools you do not need a degree if you have a TEFL or other certificate. With others you either need to have a degree or be working towards one. Having an advanced degree or one that focuses on teaching English is extremely helpful. If you are teaching adults it also helps if you have a degree in a business related field.
Is a certificate required? Schools like to hire teachers that have at least a TEFL certificate. Online schools are typically not that picky when it comes to where you obtained your TEFL. However, you should be cautious when looking at the various programs and what governing body certifies them. More information on the TEFL and other certifications will be covered in another lesson.
Do you have experience? Experience does count and there are ways to gain experience while looking for the better, higher paying jobs. We suggest that you try out some of the phone app jobs to get you started. That being said, if you have a four year degree and a TEFL certificate then you are probably going to be ready to apply for most jobs.
Are you a native teacher from the US and Canada, the UK, or Australia? Are you a non-native with a neutral accent? Are you a non-native teacher? Are you a teacher from the Philippines? Please keep in mind that when it comes to what a school designates as a native or non-native varies. Also, when schools are in desperate need for teachers they do make exceptions. Just be aware of the various designations and look for them in the requirements.
Are there restrictions on your location? Due the issues with internet reliability you will find that some schools require you to be located in certain countries. With other schools you need to be in certain countries due to where their servers are located. There are schools that will pay you based on the country where you are located.
How strong is your internet connection? Schools are asking for faster connections and upload speeds than what was required just a few years ago. Check the connection requirements before applying ad use http://www.speedtest.net/ to check your connection speed. Try to get the fastest and most reliable connection possible.
What hours are you available to work? The higher paying jobs are typically in the evening hours Chinese time(GMT+8) during the week with other times on the weekends. This can be tough on those living in the US who have to get up early in the mornings. If you are teaching adults in Europe you will be teaching during their working hours and evenings. Adults in Japan and Korea can be found at all different times during the day and night due to the amount of hours they work. Students from South America typically fit in with US hours in the afternoons and evenings. There are more students from the Middle East coming online as well who you will teach in their afternoons and evenings.
How many hours a week can you work? If you are teaching on the various jobs on phone apps you will find that they typically have no minimum hours per week. With most of the other jobs you will have at least eight hours per week on average.
How long of a contract can you commit to? Make sure that you check out the contract requirements. The length of the contract fluctuates and when you finish your contract you can typically sign again and get a raise in pay.
Are you on Windows or a MAC? Many of the more mature and advanced schools have their own teaching platform. Due to this there can be requirements for the type of operating system that you are teaching on. This might also lead to requirements of specific versions of Windows or MAC OS. Beyond OS, some schools also require that you have a certain amount of memory as well.
Do you have a headset? It is best to have a headset with a noise reduction microphone. If you are giving a demo, or are creating an video for your resume, you should be using a headset. This is overlooked by new teachers and yet it is a big deal for many of the schools.
Do you have an HD camera? You need to have a high quality camera. It is best if you have a camera that produces streaming video at a rate of 30 frames per second with 720p. You can get away with cameras at a lower rate, but this is the recommended specification. Schools will define this a a HD Camera on their list of requirements.
Do you have a clean, quiet working environment? Make sure that you are teaching from a location that is quiet. Do not teach from a room where you can hear someone cleaning the house, doing dishes, or other activities that can be heard by the students. Even if you have a noise reduction microphone, many of these sounds can still be heard by your students. Do not have a lot of clutter in the background either. If you are teaching adults then the less you have behind you, the better. If you are teaching children it is good to have a whiteboard and other items in the background that give them the feeling of being in a classroom.
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