Teaching English online is just one of the many jobs freelancers can do, always assuming they know the topic and have the skills to do it. Teaching English online takes away the geographical restrictions, and it allows you, at least theoretically, to work from whatever you want as long as you have a stable Internet connection.
If teaching online appeals to you, this article will give you the information you need to start working as an online English teacher.
Bear in mind: if you want to teach English online, you must be prepared to face competition and, for this reason, low paid jobs. Make sure you set the foundation to be seen as a valuable professional since day 1 not to end up being paid peanuts.
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How do I start teaching online?
There are at least three ways to start teaching online:
- signing-up on a third party’s website and become an official teacher for them;
- open up a profile on specific platforms;
- do it yourself as a pure freelancer.
These three methods guarantee a different outcome when it comes to authority, money, and career progression.
1. Become part of a language-focused company
If you have a solid background and credentials, you can become part of a company and start teaching within their platform and system. Basically, you become part of the school in the same way you would if you were going to teach offline. The company recruits the students and assigns them to teachers automatically, and in return, you need to give your availability and stick to it. In this case, you’re almost like an employee, so you’ve rules to follow. In exchange, you may get students without doing much.
2. Create a profile on specific platforms
If you want to be part of a company without being part of it and at the same time getting some benefits in terms of visibility, then signing up to platforms is the way to go. You only need to create a profile, add a bio and a picture (in most cases, also an introductory video to show your skills), set your own schedule and prices, and then wait for the students to book a lesson. In this case, you’re in charge of everything, but the platform may offer the visibility you may find hard to get if you work alone. The truth is that the competition on these platforms is unbelievable, and you may end up getting meager fees to get some work.
Italki and Preply are two of the most used platforms where online teachers create profiles to get clients.
3. Go freelance
Going freelancing is a good option if you want to invest in yourself, have a marketing plan, and want to really be in control of what you do and how you do it.
A good way to start teaching English online is by creating your own online school. You can offer your services via your website or even create a course on a platform like Udemy to attract students and, at the same time, have a passive income. YouTube is another source if you’re willing to put your face out there to get students. If you choose to go independent, make sure you are aware that you will need time to plan branding activities and marketing promotions to get your name out there: the outcome can be gratifying, but the effort at the beginning can be gigantic.
What do you need to teach English online?
Depending on how you want to teach English on the Web, you may need more or fewer requirements to start doing so. Companies have stricter requirements for onboarding new talents; if you work via an app such as Italki, you may be a bit more relaxed. So said, to keep up with the competitors, you should always be able to provide references, certificates, experience: my advice is to provide as many documents as you can, to establish credibility and authority, no matter how you want to approach this thing.
On a general note, these are the things you need to start teaching English online:
- Hold a Bachelor’s degree: companies definitely require one, while apps or working by yourself don’t. It’s good to show you have a degree because it shows people you’re willing to commit.
- Be a native English speaker: most companies will only accept candidates who hold a passport issued by an English-speaking country. Other forms of engagement may also hire non-natives, and you can always teach English by yourself even if you’re not a native, but this can affect the number of requests you get. The reason is simple: people want to learn from locals.
- Have access to technology: first of all, you need a stable Internet connection to pair with a good computer, camera, and headphones.
- Be available and flexible: availability is key in this industry. Very often this means working when other people in your timezone are sleeping because you’re working with someone in a different country.
- Have a certification: this may sound optional, but to show people that you’re serious about teaching English online, holding a TEFL certification is very important.
Last but not least, having prior experience helps. It doesn’t mean you need to have been a teacher your whole life before starting a business teaching English on the Web. It sure helps if you’ve had other experiences, even if just briefly.
What collateral skills do you need to teach English online?
Teaching is not just about knowing the topic but also knowing how to approach people and their needs to get the most out of them and really improve their lives. It would help if you were a good communicator and also someone patient with others.
Being organized is also crucial to make sure you don’t end up working too many hours for too little money or not working at all because you’re disorganized.
Ensure you know how to use technology, or at least the basics: when a lesson starts, your customer doesn’t want to spend time waiting for you to get connected or get your camera working.
Learn how to improve your skills in 2021 and become a better freelancer.
How much do online English teachers make?
Identifying a salary for online English teachers is almost impossible, mostly because the pay scale varies between countries, services, companies, and apps. On average, the range goes from 5 to 30 dollars per hour, but it can go higher in the case of highly skilled profiles or jobs.
For example, teaching English online to kids pay less than teaching business English online to professionals.
And it goes even deeper: being specialized in one industry gives an advantage in terms of rates or jobs’ availability.
The less specialised you are, the less money you make.
Getting a TEFL Certification
Even if certifications are not mandatory, having them is always a good idea. Nowadays, getting a certification from your home’s comfort is not that hard, and there’s a big choice for finding courses and exams online. I’ve highlighted some of the best TEFL courses to get the online certification that you can book with just one click:
1. Premier TEFL Courses
Get Certified to Teach English as a Foreign Language with this series of Government Regulated Courses. Premier TEFL offers different courses to prepare you to teach English thanks to experts in the field.
You can choose one of these courses:
- 168 Hour Regulated Level 5 TEFL Course – Check here
- 290 Hour Regulated Level 5 TEFL Course – Check here
- 300 Hour Level 5 Hybrid TEFL Course – Check here
You can also choose the fast-track courses, in case you want to speed up your learning path:
- 120 Hour Advanced TEFL Course – Check here
- 240 Hour Advanced TEFL Course – Check here
- 250 Hour Advanced TEFL Course – Check here
2. TEFLPros 120 Hours Course
The TEFLPros 120 Hour Digital TEFL Course includes 10 modules of core course material, 32 units arranged in an intuitive order, videos, texts, worksheets, and assignments.
3. The TEFL Academy Online Level 5 Course
The online level 5 TEFL course by The TEFL Academy consists of ten mandatory units. All ten units are exam-assessed and for units 5, 7 and 10 there are also coursework-assessed assignments. You get 6-months access to the course, and the certificate is accredited.
The best companies to teach English online
If you want to start teaching English online and are looking for companies that allow you to do it, this list is perfect. I’ve included the best companies that let you teach English online from home and that you can join if you meet their requirements.
|Name||Hourly rate||Degree required||TEFL required||Non-native speakers||Link|
|Amazing Talker||($15 – $28)||No||No||Yes||Here|
|Panda ABC||(up to $30)||Yes||Preferred||No||Here|
|HelloKid||($14 – $20)||No||Yes||Yes||Here|
|Barons English||($15 – $22)||Yes||Yes||No||Here|
|VIPKid||($14 – $22)||Yes||Yes||No||Here|
|EF English Live||(up to $20)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Here|
|Landi||($10 – $18)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Here|
|iTutorGroup||($5 – $22)||Yes||Yes||No||Here|
|Lingoda||($8 – $13)||Yes||Yes||No||Here|
|Magic Ears||(up to $26 per hour)||Yes||Yes||No||Here|
|GoGoKid||($14 – $25)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Here|
|Qkids||up to $20||No||Yes||No||Here|
Remember: signing up with a company doesn’t guarantee clients. You are put into a database with other teachers, and you may or may not be assigned students over time.
How do I find students online?
Finding students is the hardest part of teaching English online. Whether you signup with a company or decide to go 100% freelance, clients are never guaranteed, and you need to put in the time and effort to succeed.
The key is “reputation”: the more people know about you, the better opportunities you have to find new clients. Reviews are essential, so it’s your online presence: having a website is not optional if you want to have more options, and if you want to show your skills, a blog is also needed. Show expertise in what you do, make sure you communicate with potential leads, and get more students.
How important is it to be specialized to teach English online?
Being specialized in a specific industry or niche is the best way to become unique and differentiate yourself from other online English teachers. Specialization can come from your experience or interests, and it’s something you should think carefully about, also taking into account the market’s needs.
Best online courses to become a better Online English Teacher
Having a certification, being specialized, and having all the requirements to become an online teacher doesn’t mean you will be a good one. Teaching can be hard, and to master it almost to perfection, these are a few courses to learn how to become a better online English teacher.
1. Teach English Online: find students and start teaching now
The complete guide for anyone who wants to start a freelance career teaching English online. Master how to teach the core language skills of writing, speaking, listening, and reading. Identify your own particular English teaching niche.
2. Teacher Training – How to Teach Online
Learn the basics of teaching online to launch your business. This one-hour course is perfect as a starting point, and it will give you the knowledge to build the perfect setting for your online business.
3. Teach English Now
In this course, you will learn about the best practices for teaching English online. This includes an introduction to online teaching, Second Language Acquisition theories and how they apply to learners, conducting a needs analysis, curating content for your courses, designing lesson plans, and effective teaching strategies to help you become a successful online teacher.
Learning to Teach Online
The Learning to Teach Online (LTTO) MOOC will help you develop a working understanding of successful online teaching strategies that you can apply in your own practice. The course is based on the multi-winning-winning open educational resource developed by Dr. Simon McIntyre and Karin Watson.
Teaching English Online: FAQs
1. Is it easy to become an Online English Teacher?
Working as an online English teacher is not easy. Competition is fierce, and fees can very often be small. Also, the time differences when teaching people from other places can contribute to stress and fatigue. It’s also worth mentioning that most online tutoring jobs don’t offer benefits. So to become an online English teacher, you’ve to be committed and ready to challenge yourself.
2. Can I make a living teaching English online?
It is possible to make a living teaching online by planning carefully how many hours you want to work, who you want to work with, and how much you want to be paid. Once again, reputation and specialization are keys, and these two things can unlock more benefits in terms of money, allowing you to make a living teaching English online.
Use more ways to promote your teaching business, make sure you are visible, and use marketing to promote what you do. And do not forget to improve constantly also in terms of leadership, to give your current and potential students the knowledge they need. In this way, you’ll also build a successful and profitable career out of your teaching skills.
3. Is teaching English online worth it?
There are pros and cons of teaching English online, but if you’re looking for a job from home that allows you to be flexible, this may be a good choice for you. Make sure you do it at your best and always improve to get the best out of it and make sure it will be worth it.
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