Do you want to know how to become an online English teacher? Teaching English online is a flexible way of earning an income from the comfort of your own home.
You can teach from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a laptop, WIFI, and a table.
It is entirely possible to earn between USD15- USD60 per hour and often, you decide the hours you want to work. If earning from home or while traveling appeals to you, this article will guide you on how to become an online English teacher.
When I left the bank, I wanted to earn money while I traveled. I started to teach ESL online and increased my rate as I gained more experience. My average rate was between $45-$60 per hour and I earned just over $6000 per month doing this full time.
Nowadays, I have diversified my income sources, but here are some questions I had when I wanted to teach English from home.
If you are looking for other ways to earn an income online and save, read these articles:
1. Any schools I recommend and their rates, are as I know them, when I write this post.
Nevertheless, things do change, so if the school is no longer hiring, or the hiring rates have changed, please don’t send me a long angry email telling me I am giving out incorrect information ( yes, this happens unfortunately! ), send me a polite note and I will update it as soon as I can.
2– I am not a recruiter and I DO NOT earn anything if you click on any of my links to the online schools. I am providing this information on the schools based on personal experience, research on forums and by speaking to various teachers in those online schools.
You are welcome to choose any school that suits your circumstances as I DO NOT earn any money from online school referral links.
3- However, there may be links to products and services recommended on here that are affiliate links and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.
PHEW! Needed to clear that up, now where were we?
Do you need to be a qualified teacher? (No and Yes)
NO- You don’t need a full-on teaching degree but
YES- You HAVE TO have some sort of teaching qualification, like a TEFL.
Before you panic and worry about all the time and money you have to spend getting one, you can get a 120-hour TEFL certificate which can be done online and at your own pace.
It is MUCH, MUCH cheaper than a degree and way faster.
Quite a few of my friends have teaching degrees, but the online English schools were more interested their TEFL certificates than their actual degrees!
As far as i’m aware, Let’s TEFL are the only course available online now which comes with a whole extra video module with specific training for teaching online – presented by an actual teacher. They are also endorsed by DaDa and iTutorGroup as one of their recommended courses. (Both are two HUGE online schools)
Let’s TEFL runs a 120-hour online course that provides a whole module on online teaching and specific training to ensure your application, resumes, introduction videos for recruiters is done right.
The great thing about this TEFL compared to other providers, is it specialises in preparing you to teach online, as well as preparing you to teach English as a second language.
By the end of the 120-hour TELF certificate, you will have a strong understanding of the online teaching industry and job market, how to prepare your lesson plans and how to motivate your students in an online classroom.
Do I need to be a native English speaker? (No)
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually need to be a Native English speaker. Speaking English as a first language may mean you can initially demand a higher rate, but if you gain some experience, you can often raise your rate. More on that later on in the article.
Here is a list of companies that hire non-native English speakers to teach English online.
How much can you earn?
It really depends on the type of school and platform you teach on. If you work for online schools, salaries range between $15 -$30 per hour. However, if you have your own private students, you can set your own rate.
I have charged between $45- $60 per hour.
I will explain more on this later on on the article. Keep reading.
Can I do this part-time? (Yes)
The great thing here is, YOU decide how many days and hours you want to work!
So, if you want to teach English from home, you can work a couple of hours, for 1-2 days a week. This will help you earn extra money, on top of your day job.
Do I have to pay tax?
The online English schools will deem you as an independent contractor, so you are responsible for your own tax. So, this means it’s up to you to declare (or not declare) your income.
How to get started
- Sign up to an online English school OR
- Sign up to a flexible teaching platform
Online English schools
Online English schools have set hours that you commit to (normally 3-4 hours per day). They find the students for you, provide you with the teaching material. You just turn up and teach online from home. It’s a bit like being employed by an official school, but online.
If you are looking for a list of online schools that hire native speakers, these two websites list all the online teaching schools hiring, their rates and requirements:
Alternatively, if you are a non-native English speaker that wants to teach English, please look at this list for online companies that are hiring Non-native English speakers.
Flexible Teaching Platforms
Flexible teaching platforms let you set up your teaching profile and connect you with potential students, who can book you if they like your profile. You decide your rate and hours.
If you would prefer a flexible teaching platform, these sites will help you teach online and get paid. Sometimes they also advertise online tutoring jobs too.
It is free to join, and you set your own hours and rates. They will take a commission out of your hourly rate advertised.
- Italki- I have been told they are on a hiring freeze so you may not hear from them for the next few months. (15% comm)
- Amazing Talker-Between 30% to 0% depending on number of lessons completed
- Verbling – 15% commission
- Preply – 100% commission for first lesson with new student and between 33% to 18% depending on the number of completed lessons with students
- Skimatalk- 20% commission
- Savvy-Commission rate not specified
How to find students
If you signed up for an online English school, they will find students for you. You just turn up and teach and then get paid at the end of the month. It’s in their best interest to find you a student as they get paid the more you teach.
However, if you signed up for a flexible teaching platform, they will present your profile to their students who can decide whether to book you, if they like your teaching profile.
Tip-Spend a bit of time studying the profiles of popular teachers. What are they doing right? Copy them and make your profile look better. This will make your profile really attractive and increase the chance of being booked.
Tip2– It’s ok to offer a lower introductory rate at the beginning, to build up your profile. Ask the students to leave a good review which will build up your profile credibility. After a while, you can raise your rate.
As a guide, I started charging $20 per hour and raised it gradually over 7 months to $60 per hour.
If you need help with building an attractive profile, message me, I’m happy to help!
Ways to increase your rate
- Niche down
- Provide an added service
- Convert students into private clients
If you niche down, you have a better chance of increasing your rate. For example, if you have experience working in an office, you can be a Business English teacher, which is more in demand and can command a higher rate.
I niched down to become a Business English Teacher and an IELTS Specialist.
I taught students how to deliver business presentations, excel in interviews and negotiate effectively in business meetings.
I also helped students pass their IELTS exams, so they could apply for visas and gain entry into universities all around the world.
Think about it from this perspective:
If someone could teach you the skills to secure your dream job, gain a promotion, achieve a higher salary or pass an expensive exam that could help you gain entry into a reputable university …. suddenly paying that person USD60 doesn’t sound like that much!
I had no issue increasing my rate once I could demonstrate the value I could provide to the student. If you want to be a well-paid Online English teacher – you should do the same.
How to become an IELTS Specialist:
Take this Teaching IELTS 30 Hour Online course, which guides you through the ins and outs of becoming an IELTS teacher, so you can charge a higher rate!
Students are in great need of IELTS teachers as they need to pass IELTS to enter universities and for visa applications. The great thing about this is, these types of students are willing to pay GOOD MONEY, for you to help them.
How to be come a Business Teacher
Take this Teaching Business English 30 Hour Online Course. You get an internationally recognised certificate, training on lesson plans, the job market and you get personal tutor support!
Once I upskilled and became an IELTS and Business English tutor, my rate went from $15 per hour to about $40-$65 per hour.
I could work less because I earned more and spend my free time motorbiking thorough the countrysides! 🙂
(Ps; If you also like motorbikes, add me on IG, I love connecting with motorbike peeps :))
2.Provide an added service
You can also provide added services like homework or a learning development plan. The student will feel like they are getting extra value out of a class.
Note– Don’t spend too long on these activities. keep them simple and offer them as an added service to justify your higher rate.
3.Convert students into private clients
Eventually, you can convert students from online schools or platforms into your own private students. There will be no middle person that takes a commission out of the students’ payments and you have full control over your hours and income.
Once you have built up trust with a student, you can suggest teaching them privately via Skype or Zoom.
How do I get paid?
Unless you have long term relationship with the student, ALWAYS insist payment before class begins. You can have a cancellation policy too i.e. no refunds if they cancel within 4 hours of the class commencing.
The student can pay you via PayPal or Stripe. Bank transfer is also an option, but some students will want to pay you in their own currency. TransferWise and Revolut are fantastic options for this, as they allow you to have multicurrency accounts.
- It can get lonely. You have no work colleagues, so it can feel a bit isolating working all by yourself all the time. But you chat away to your students all day, so normally, you are too busy to feel lonely!
- Liaising with some online schools can be a bit frustrating, as sometimes there are communication issues but overall, my experience has been positive.
- Most of the online schools require you to teach children. But don’t worry, I have found a list of schools that teach adults and will be sharing it soon 🙂
- You get to earn from anywhere in the world!!
- You can move to a low-cost country that has amazing beaches and jungles, spend a couple of hours teaching, then exploring the rest of the day, AND still, save.
- You get to spend more time with your loved ones as you aren’t commuting all the time
- Need I say more?
Anything else I should know?
- Review their policies on taking time off. Some are stricter than others and may impose penalties.
- Be sure to negotiate your rate and ensure it reflects your experience.
- Sometimes the parents will be present in the lesson and will take a picture or even join in!
- You will need to make or buy props for your classes, so your background looks bright and interesting. #timetogetcreative
Flexible teaching platforms:
- The platforms will take a commission, factor the commission into your hourly rate.
- Try and teach on two platforms if you can, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
- Some students will try and scam free teaching by asking for guidance/corrections via a message. Ask them to book a class and pay if they want any teaching guidance. Time = money.
Teaching English from home was one of the best decisions I ever made. It helped me save while I traveled, and I also had more control over my schedule. Because I eliminated commuting time and costs, I had more free time to pursue my passions and find other ways to make an income online.
If you have any other questions about how to get started, please send them in the comments below!
PS; If you are looking for some extra ways to save while you hunt for teaching jobs, here are a few articles which will help you save: