Have you ever dreamed of working remotely while traveling the world? With the growing demand for English teachers worldwide, now you can turn your dream into a reality. Teaching English online allows you to set your own schedule, be your own boss, and inspire students globally – all without needing to relocate.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to launch a successful online English teaching career in 2023. You’ll learn how to get set up, where to find students, how much money you can make, and tips from experienced virtual English teachers. By the end, you’ll have all the information you need to start teaching English online and earning an income from anywhere in the world.
How Does Teaching English Online Work?
Online English teaching connects teachers and students via video chat software for virtual classes. Teachers provide lessons to students located anywhere with an internet connection. Most platforms and companies handle student acquisition, scheduling, and payment processing, allowing you to focus on the teaching.
Lessons are one-on-one with individual students or small groups. Curriculums are usually provided, but teachers have flexibility in how lessons are structured. Teaching materials consist of slide decks, worksheets, games, and more, all shared on-screen during the video call.
Online classrooms aim to recreate an in-person learning environment. Teachers can share their screen, write on a virtual whiteboard, offer encouragement, and adapt lessons to each student. Most platforms have classroom management tools for things like timed lessons, mute control, and chat.
Top 5 Benefits of Teaching English Online
Teaching English online provides some incredible advantages over on-site teaching. Here are the top 5 benefits:
1. Flexible Schedule
One of the best perks of teaching online is getting to set your own schedule. Most platforms allow you to open slots for bookings rather than assigning set hours. You can determine when, how much, and how often you want to work. Accommodate your existing commitments, take time off when needed, and avoid early morning commutes.
2. Location Independence
Since sessions take place virtually, teachers can work from anywhere with a stable internet connection. No need to live in the same city or even country as your students. Travel the world and explore new destinations while earning an income online.
3. Additional Income
Online teaching makes for a great side-hustle or part-time job in addition to your existing career. The flexible scheduling allows you to fit lessons in around other work and obligations. A few hours per week can generate hundreds or thousands in extra monthly income.
4. Global Community
One of the most fulfilling aspects of teaching English online is interacting with students from around the world. Build connections with people from different cultures and backgrounds. Your students will appreciate learning about your home country too.
5. Career Development
The skills you gain teaching English online can open up new career paths. You’ll improve your communication, interpersonal, and technology abilities – all in high demand across industries. Online teaching helps build your resume and LinkedIn profile for future job search success.
Requirements to Teach English Online
Wondering if you have what it takes to teach English online? The prerequisites are quite reasonable:
- Native English fluency – While 100% perfect grammar isn’t necessary, you should have an excellent command of English with clear pronunciation.
- Bachelor’s degree – A university degree is often required, in any field of study. Some platforms accept certifications or TEFL training in place of a degree.
- Teaching experience – Minimum requirements range from none required up to 2 years teaching experience. Even if not mandatory, experience helps you become an effective online teacher.
- Tech Specs – A computer, webcam, microphone, and high-speed internet are essential. Certain sites also require a minimum internet speed and computer OS.
You’ll also need patience, enthusiasm, and a passion for e-learning. Previous experience working from home or remotely can also prepare you for the virtual teaching environment.
While not always mandatory, getting TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certified demonstrates your commitment and ability. TEFL shows you have specialized training in ESL methodology, lesson planning, classroom management, and more. VIPKid, one of the most popular platforms, requires teachers to be TEFL certified.
Top 10 Companies for Teaching English Online
Ready to start your online teaching journey? These ten platforms and companies make it easy to find students and start earning:
One of the largest platforms, with over 70,000 North American teachers tutoring Chinese children ages 4-12. Known for its personalized matching process and robust teacher training programs. Requires a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree and TEFL certification.
Pay: $14-22 USD per hour
Connect with adult ESL learners from around the globe for conversational English lessons. No minimum teaching requirements and flexible scheduling. Get paid weekly through PayPal.
Pay: $0.17 per minute
3. Magic Ears
Teach Chinese kids ages 4-12 years old with their proprietary curriculum. Requires a TEFL certificate and Bachelor’s degree. Offers guaranteed base pay rates plus incentives.
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Pay: $16-26 USD per hour
Taught exclusively to Chinese children and teens via their mobile app. Known for reasonable requirements (TEFL optional) and paying reliably on time.
Pay: $15-25 USD per hour
Fun and engaging platform with their own prepped lesson materials. Students ages 4-12 with classes taught in the evenings and weekends China time. Requires a Bachelor’s degree.
Pay: $16-20 USD per hour
Huge Chinese company with a variety of English teaching brands like TutorABC Learning Time. Flexible peak hours and high pay rates. Must have Bachelor’s degree and TEFL certification.
Pay: $19-28 USD per hour
One of the more casual platforms for teaching young learners in China. Provides structured lesson plans and activities to keep students engaged. Requires Bachelor’s + TEFL.
Pay: $14-25 USD per hour
Global platform connecting tutors with students of 150+ nationalities for private lessons. Teach a mix of children, professionals, test prep students and more. Set your own availability, rates, and curriculum.
Pay: Set your own rates
Platform focused on pairing North American teachers with Chinese kids for English language development. Known for their SayABC curriculum and classroom management features. Require Bachelor’s degree + 120-hour TEFL.
Pay: $15-26 USD per hour
Japanese platform with adult ESL learners across Asia. Lesson materials provided but teachers can supplement. Flexible peak hours. Requires degree and TEFL.
Pay: $15-22 USD per hour
This list covers some of the major players, but new platforms and opportunities emerge all the time in this growing industry. Do your research to find the ideal fit based on your background, skills, and preferences.
How Much Can You Earn Teaching English Online?
The income potential for online English teachers is quite lucrative, with many averaging $15-30 USD per hour. Salaries depend on the company, your experience level, time committed, and student demand. It’s possible to earn thousands per month while only working part-time hours.
Unlike freelancing sites like Upwork, hourly pay rates for virtual teaching are generally fixed. However, some platforms offer opportunities for bonuses and incentives on top of your base pay. Things like high student ratings, minimal cancellations, peak hour shifts, referral bonuses, and tenure milestones can increase your earnings.
As a benchmark, first-year teachers on many of the most popular platforms can expect to earn between $1500-$2500+ per month while working 20-30 hours per week. Experienced teachers on the high end make $3000+ per month.
The key advantages are that this income is highly flexible, consistent, and reliable when sticking with reputable companies. Plus teaching English online often qualifies for tax write-offs on things like internet fees, technology, continuing education and home office supplies.
Steps to Start Teaching Online
Ready to begin your online teaching journey? Follow these steps:
- Choose a company – Research and select 1 or more online teaching platforms that fit your schedule and goals. Having options helps fill your availability.
- Complete the application – Provide your background, qualifications, demo video, and documents for your chosen sites. The process can take anywhere from days to weeks.
- Get TEFL certified (if required) – Passing a 120-150 hour TEFL certification course is mandatory for most platforms. Get this checked off early. International TEFL Academy offers popular courses.
- Set up your tech – Make sure your computer, webcam, microphone and internet meet the minimum requirements. Optimize lighting and audio for a professional looking classroom.
- Complete training – Plan for the 10-30 hour onboarding and introduction training provided by each company. This preps you for the virtual classroom.
- Open schedule slots – Once approved and trained, start opening your availability for student bookings per the company guidelines and your preferences.
- Teach your first classes – Dive in to start delivering lessons to students based on provided curricula. Reflect after classes on what went well and areas to improve.
- Market yourself – Become a highly requested teacher through excellent lessons, progress reports, feedback forms, and parent communication.
- Refine techniques – Continuously enhance your online teaching skills through certifications, colleague feedback, reviews, and self-assessment. Find your niche.
- Expand offerings – As you gain experience, consider taking on more hours, teaching specialized courses, managing private students, and pursuing opportunities with additional platforms.
Tips for Online Teaching Success
Follow these top tips shared by experienced online English teachers to excel and achieve a thriving, sustainable career:
- Set a schedule – Though flexibility is a perk, routines help you fully commit during class times and manage off-work responsibilities.
- Overprepare lessons – Put effort into activities, games, visuals, and supplemental materials that engage students and fill time gaps.
- Personalize for students – Connect lessons to each student’s interests and goals for optimal motivation and progress.
- Get TEFL certified – Even if not required, a TEFL demonstrates valuable skills and training in virtual ESL education methods.
- Optimize your setup – Have proper lighting, a distraction-free background, comfortable seating, and a second monitor for classroom features.
- Practice classroom management – Use features like mute control, chat messages, screen share, and the virtual whiteboard seamlessly.
- Communicate with parents – Report progress, offer constructive feedback, and partner with parents for student success through dedicated apps.
- Developthick skin– You may deal with tech glitches, absent students, poor ratings, and critical feedback. Take them in stride and focus on wins.
- Join teacher communities – Groups on Facebook offer camaraderie, advice, feedback, and resources from fellow online educators.
- Provide excellent service – Going above and beyond for students earns 5-apple ratings, retention, referrals, and more booking requests.
By following these tips, you can build your skills and reputation on any online teaching platform. Stay patient through onboarding, continually improve your lessons based on experience, and prioritize student progress above all else.
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching English Online
Have more questions about launching a successful online teaching career? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
What qualifications do I need to teach English online?
Most companies require applicants to have native-level English skills, a bachelor’s degree in any field, and TEFL certification. Some accept relevant experience in lieu of a degree. They generally provide training before you start teaching.
When are the peak hours for online ESL teachers?
Peak hours are typically early morning and evenings based on time zones in China, Europe or other high demand regions. You’ll need to align your availability during these key learning times.
How much time does it take to prepare for classes?
Experienced teachers report spending at least 30-60 minutes prepping engaging activities, lessons, and materials for each 25-45 minute class. Less prep is needed once you get familiar with curriculums.
What types of students take online English classes?
Students range from young children and teenagers to adults and professionals seeking to improve business English skills. You may also teach test-prep students working towards exams like TOEFL.
How do I get hired and start teaching with an online ESL company?
Every platform has a different application and onboarding process. Generally you’ll need to submit your resume, qualifications, demo introduction video, ID documents and pass background checks before teaching.
Can I teach English online as a part-time side hustle?
Absolutely! Most platforms are very flexible in setting availability which makes online ESL teaching an ideal side gig in addition to your full-time job or other commitments. Just ensure you can dedicate focused effort during class times.
How do I get more bookings from students on online teaching platforms?
Positive reviews and ratings for your classes increase visibility and recruitment. Maintain a consistent schedule, offer specialized courses, suggest lessons to existing students, and leverage marketing from the platform.
Is experience teaching English online required to get hired?
While prior virtual teaching experience is an asset, most platforms provide the training you need as a new online ESL teacher. Highlight any in-person teaching experience in your application.
What technology and equipment is required?
You’ll need a desktop or laptop computer, webcam, microphone and headphones in a quiet space with a professional background. A minimum internet speed of 5-10 mbps is also typically required.
How much can I earn teaching English online?
Most platforms pay $14-26 USD per hour. Income depends on experience, education level, hours worked and student demand. Part-time schedules can earn $1500+ per month while full-time can be $3000+.
Start Your Online Teaching Career Today
Teaching English online is an incredibly rewarding way to earn an income while making your own schedule. With remote work on the rise, demand for online teachers and tutors continues growing globally. Whether you want to travel, make extra money, or launch a new career, teaching ESL online is worth considering.
This guide covered the major platforms, requirements, pay ranges, steps to get started, best practices, and FAQs around teaching English online. With this foundation, you can confidently choose your ideal platform, prepare your application, and launch your virtual teaching journey.
Remember to start gradually and keep enhancing your live online lessons based on student feedback and self-evaluation. Join teacher communities for continued support. Most importantly, focus on developing bonds with students and making learning fun. With passion, dedication, and grit, you can build a thriving career as an online English teacher and inspire the world.
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