Is Teaching English Online the Right Choice for You?
Teaching English online is a fantastic opportunity to make a teaching career that works for your lifestyle. Whether you want to travel or work from home, when you teach English online you have the flexibility to make your job and schedule work for you.
The online teaching profession continues to grow rapidly and has become a very big market. I mentioned in my blog post Returning home and developing your TESOL career when I first returned to Canada I worked as an online English Language teacher. At that time, 2011, to teach English online was almost unheard of or not considered a real job opportunity. Today, many English teachers make a living with their online teaching career and the number of companies to choose from has expanded greatly.
Why Teach English Online?
Of course, the first thing you should consider is whether you would actually LIKE to teach English online. That is the most important thing! Once you’ve done that, you need to think about whether an online job is something that would work for you and your lifestyle.
Here are some reasons working online may work for you! (see what I did there? “work” for you?)
- You can work in the comfort of your own home
- You can work and make money from anywhere in the world!
- Your job is what you make of it! It can be a part-time job to make extra money on the side (#side hustle!!) or a full-time career!
- You can set your own hours and make your own schedule
- You can claim your computer and other office materials on your annual taxes
How Much Can You Make?
Here is what you really want to now…the numbers! How much can you make as an online English teacher? The average salary for a professional online English language teacher who works full-time is $$39,956 USD a year. The salaries offered by companies can range from $10 – $30 per hour.
Teaching Qualifications that Most Companies Ask for
The general qualifications to teach English online are to be a native English speaker with an outgoing and energetic personality where you can really engage with the students. The educational standards are having a University degree (sometimes high school is accepted) and an English language certification. These education options are not always a requirement but are ideal and will probably help to increase your job options and pay.
** Please note that this is a general reflection of industry standards. Most companies ask for these qualifications but not ALL**
English Language Certification Options
As I wrote about in my previous blog post (same post mentioned above), I chose to do a Certificate in English Language Teaching for Adults (CELTA) course to get my initial certification. This was the best option for me because I intended to make this my career and wanted to be able to teach abroad.
The other accredited option which is on the same level as the CELTA course and accepted internationally is taking a TEFL course. These courses are usually offered by a number of different English language recruitment companies so you have your pick. If you choose this as an option and want it to be legitimate make sure to check on their website that the course is accredited (especially if you might want to eventually teach abroad).
If you don’t want to sift through all the companies that offer TEFL/TESOL training courses you can register here at International TEFL and TESOL Training (ITTT) and get a 15% discount. This way you also don’t have to worry about whether the course is accreditated win-win!
The final option if this is more of a part-time gig for making extra money would be to do an unaccredited ESL certification online. This may limit your job opportunities especially if you want a certification that is recognized globally.
My recommendation would be to just bite the bullet and do an accredited course (either TEFL or CELTA). This allows more options for you down the road to develop your career, sets a more professional standard and will make you more money in the long run.
Accredited English Language courses allow for more teaching options in the long run.
For more information on what certification is right for you, you can find out more here: TESOL Certification
Online Teaching Job Options
There are a few different options to teach English online:
1.) You can register with an Online teaching company that provides you with students and makes your schedule based on your availability. This is essentially like working for a school as an employee. They will assign you hours and students and give your feedback, reviews, training etc. Example companies would be VIPKID or Golden Voice English.
2.) You can sign up with a website to offer your teaching services and book students through their website. What is helpful about these websites is they provide you with a ready-made audience of potential students, a more professional online platform for advertising yourself and more promotion on online search engines. These kinds of online platforms have more freedom but may not have guaranteed hours as you are booking your own schedule.
3.) Start your own online business! Teaching and advertising on your own website and using Skype. This is obviously much more work and probably a more professional career option. But it is possible!
Registering and working with a company (option #1) is usually the most stable and common option for online teachers.
Tools You Will Need…The Basics
To get you started you will need the following:
- A good quality computer
- Strong internet connection (usually plugin, but I got away with a wireless connection)
- Notebook and pen (for taking notes on each student)
- A quiet, professional working space
For all your electronic needs go here: The Online Teacher Accessories
Now that you know what you need, time to start job searching!
You have options here there are a lot of online resources to search for jobs and I’ve listed the top sites below!:
Indeed.com ~ you can sign up for an email notification and upload your resume to the website for easy application (keyword: Online English teaching)
Linkedin – a great resource for finding groups and connections online (make sure to update your resume with your relevant skills and education)
Teflsearch.com – (www.teflsearch.com) – a search website specifically for Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) jobs.
ESL Authority – www.eslauthority.com – another English Language specific website
There are more job searching websites, however, I would start with these! They cover all your bases.
Want to skip the job search?
I have done the research for you! You can check out my Cheat Sheet of Online English Teaching Companies. This is an extensively researched list with a variety of online companies. Each company has different requirements, skills and pay grades so you can pick out and apply to the ones that work for you!
One final note before I sign off….
Make sure to do your research!
Before starting to teach English online whether it is a career or side hustle, make sure to check into companies before you apply or accept a position. Click To TweetMany will have different qualifications and expectations. You want to make sure you have a legitimate professional company that pays you on time and treats you well with a fair schedule. Why? Because you deserve it damn it!
For some helpful resources and reviews of online English language teaching businesses check out this great website or Facebook page that lists online teaching company reviews, and where you can post questions about teaching online!
There are affiliate links in this post. For more information on affiliate links please go to my disclosure policy
Any specific questions about teaching English online? Ask Below!