Whether you’re new to the TEFL career or are a seasoned teacher, there are rich opportunities to make money teaching English online.
Students are choosing internet-based lessons for a variety of reasons, and the popularity of these classes means plenty of jobs for qualified teachers.
Could you become a successful online TEFL teacher? Read on to discover how to make money teaching English online.
What is Teaching English Online?
Being an online TEFL teacher might seem like a strange method of teaching. After all, when we think of teachers, we associate them with a classroom.
However, online classes are a vital part of the learning experience for many language learners for a variety of reasons.
Here are just a few of the reasons why students seek out online classes:
- Students want to practice their English with a native or native-level English teacher
- They’re serious about learning English and want access to more lessons
- They live in remote areas where classes aren’t available.
- They have a busy schedule and find it difficult to get to a physical class, whereas they can easily attend an online class during their lunch break at work.
- Students studying for an exam might not be able to find the intensive support they need in their hometown, and so see online classes brush up.
- This might also be the case for those seeking one-to-one classes when the only lessons in their locality are for groups.
- Students with very specific learning outcomes; for example, a trainee nurse who wants to learn medical English but can only find generic classes in her hometown.
- Students want access to better teachers than those they can find locally, who might not be native English speakers or have good accents to learn from.
- The price of classes might also play into it. A student might seek a budget online class if local lessons are expensive, or if a local class doesn’t seem to be of good quality, a discerning student might seek out a professional online.
As you can see, there are multiple reasons why students might shun a traditional class over online teaching. All of these reasons provide a rich variety of opportunities for TEFL teachers to make money teaching English online.
Who are the Students?
English is the most spoken language in the world, but of the 1.132 billion people who speak it, only 379 million of those are native speakers.
That means there are around 753.3 million people around the world who are learning or have learned English as a second language.
If you decide to make money teaching English online, you will have access to a never-ending supply of students as learning the language only becomes more popular.
Online lessons can vary greatly depending on many factors. The biggest question that teachers need to consider is usually whether they want to teach children or adults.
Face-to-face language jobs are popular for classes of children. The nature of teaching children means that fun, classroom games are a huge part of the learning experience.
As such, you’re more likely to find jobs teaching older children or adults than very young children, but with the increasing popularity of online TEFL classes, lessons for kindergarten aged students are growing more popular.
However, there are online opportunities to teach children and teenagers as well as adults, and some companies will ask you to do both. Some classes are one-to-one, others have small groups of students, and there are also larger group classes where you could be facing a whole ‘class’ of students.
Typically, online students won’t be absolute beginners. Many students who seek online classes are of elementary, intermediate or advanced levels, looking to polish their skills.
This depends on the platform, though, and whatever level you’re hoping to teach, you’re sure to find opportunities.
Requirements to Make Money Teaching English Online
If you want to make money by teaching English online, this is a job that has minimum requirements like any other. The better qualified you are, the more jobs you’ll be able to apply for in good confidence.
Here are some factors to consider before you apply:
- Native English Speaker
Not all schools require you to be a native English speaker, but some do and there’s certainly preference for native teachers.
Some jobs will require not just a native speaker, but a specific accent (e.g. British, Canadian, North American, Australian, etc)
- TEFL Qualifications
Very few opportunities will be available to those without a TEFL certificate. Nearly all require you to have completed this qualification and for the best jobs this will be a minimum requirement.
- Teaching Experience
The best jobs on the market will be looking for candidates who have knowledge and expertise in teaching, either face-to-face or online, but there are also opportunities for those without.
- Bachelor’s Degree
Just like any classroom job, most positions will require you to hold a degree. Legislation has changed in China, the TEFL powerhouse, which previously didn’t require TEFL teachers to have been to university.
- Laptop, Wi-Fi and Headset
Some teaching jobs run through apps which you can use on your smartphone, but most will be based online, either through Skype or their own platform.
You’ll need to guarantee that you have a reliable internet connection (usually they’ll require a download speed of at least 10Mbs and might ask you to prove this), and most jobs want you to wear a headset with a microphone for better sound quality.
- Minimum Availability
Most teaching jobs will require you to teach for a minimum number of hours per week and might specify which days or peak times. Minimums are often 8-10 hours per week, but it’s possible to find jobs with fewer restrictions.
Read also: How This Blogger Makes $10K/Month Teaching Others How to Manage Their Money
How to Find Your First Job
Some online teachers choose to go it alone in the online teaching world and find their own students.
While you can make more money this way as there’s no middle man taking a cut, it’s tricky to find a decent number of students, and you’ll have to prepare all your own materials, too.
Getting a job with a reputable online TEFL provider is the best way to guarantee your income, and also to have lesson plans and materials prepared for you.
Linking platforms, where you’re in charge but the platform facilitates the meeting of students and teachers, can be a good in-between choice.
Some schools will be based in one particular country or cater to a specific age group, whereas others have a wider range.
Do research before applying to check both that you fit the job requirements and that they’re offering the sort of classes you want to teach.
For almost every job, pay varies depending on your experience, qualifications, and availability.
Here are some of the best-known online TEFL companies, as well as platforms where you can organize your own classes.
DaDa (Chinese kids. Minimum 4 hours per week. Requirements: Native English speaker, BA degree, TEFL qualification, clean criminal background check, 1-2 years teaching experience desirable.)
Verbling (Linking platform. Find your own students Requirements: Teaching experience. TEFL preferred. Native Speakers.)
itutorgroup (Minimum 5 peak hours per week. Kids and adults Requirements: Bachelor’s degree or higher. TEFL certificate (or equivalent) OR at least one-year recognized teaching experience.)
PalFish (App-based learning on phone/tablet. Fun classes mainly for young learners. Requirements: PalFish has two different programs. Free Talk: open to non-native English speakers, no qualifications required. Official Kids Course: Native English speaker, TEFL qualification, US/Canada/UK/Ireland/Australia passport.)
VIPKid (Chinese kids aged 4-12. Requirements: A BA degree. US or Canadian citizen (or eligible to work in these countries). 1 year of teaching experience.)
iTalki (Linking platform. Find your own students. Requirements: Native or C2 level proficiency in English. BA degree OR TEFL qualification.)
EF English First (Online and face-to-face. Kids and adults. Requirements: BA degree, TEFL qualification, UK/US citizen)
Preply (Platform. Find your own students. No requirements, but unqualified teachers will struggle to find students.)
Cambly (Linking Platform. Conversational Focus. Requirements: Fluency in English.)
SayABC (Kids aged 5-12. Up to 4 students per class. Requirements: Native English speaker. BA degree. TEFL certificate. 1-year teaching experience desirable.)
QKids (Young learners. Minimum 6 hours per week. Requirements: Eligible to work in the US or Canada, BA degree, TEFL certificate.)
Lingoda (Flexible and no minimum hours. Requirements: C2 or above level of English. TEFL qualification. 2 years teaching experience.)
Whales English (Requirements: Native speaker from US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand. BA degree or above. ESL teaching certificate (minimum 120 hours). At least 1-year experience teaching children)
If you want to make money teaching English online, with the right TEFL certificate you can go a long way.
While many people use online TEFL teaching as a secondary income, it’s possible to live entirely off your earnings by teaching online full-time. What teachers like about online teaching is that it’s flexible and there are so many job opportunities.
Do some research into schools that appeal to you and become an online TEFL teacher today!
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