If you’re looking for a reliable and consistent way to make a living from home, there are many places where you can teach English online.
In this article, we show you 24 of those places, and provide lots of expert tips for making a success of online teaching – either as a way to make extra part time income, or as a full-time career.
English is the third most widely spoken language across the globe. It’s also widely considered to be the “global language of business.” What’s taught in overseas classrooms doesn’t always cut it, leading many people to turn to online tutors who speak English as a first language.
This makes sense. Where else would people learn bonkers phrases such as “beat around the bush,” or that “break a leg” doesn’t actually mean that we want people to break a leg?
Naturally this has created a whole host of opportunities for home workers to teach English online.
Let’s get straight into the list of companies. Towards the end of the article, we have lots of valuable tips too – so be sure not to miss those.
Companies That Hire Online English Teachers
With a 4.3 star rating on GlassDoor at the time of writing, VIPKid is one of the market leaders for providing ESL education. Students are typically from China, Japan and Korea – though VIPKid connects students and teachers from all around the globe.
What’s great about VIPKid is that classes are delivered one-on-one to students, and all lesson plans, materials and training is provided.
The only snag is you need a Bachelor’s degree. VIPKid also has quite a stringent application process, which you can read more about in our full review of VIPKid. You can also check out our article on how to breeze through the VIPKid interview process and start earning.
VIPKid pays between $14 and $22 per hour. Apply here.
As many as 800,000 Chinese children aged between 4 and 12 use Qkids to learn English as a second language.
To become a teacher to those young learners, Qkids simply asks that you have a Bachelor’s degree from the US or Canada, a teaching license or certificates, and some prior experience of working with children.
Candidates are also required to submit a video introduction as part of the interview process. Qkids pays $16-20 per hour, with each lesson being 30 minutes. If you’re in the US, the early mornings may be something to grumble about. This is due to the time difference between the US and China.
The first thing you need to know about Berlitz is that they don’t just offer ESL education. So if you choose this option, just be aware that you will need to actively look for ESL specific roles within their “Berlitz Virtual Classroom.'”
As for qualifications, you guessed it – you need a Bachelor’s degree to qualify (and it needs to be from the US).
The good news is that while teaching experience is preferred, it’s not a must. Another benefit is that you have the option of providing one-on-one tutoring, or teaching to a group. Pay is around $14 per hour.
Cambly is one of the more straightforward platforms. You simply log in online and start tutoring people from all over the world. No work minimums. No experience necessary. No jumping through hoops.
The downside is that the system allows people to take free trial sessions, which can mean tutoring less serious students. But does it really matter when you can earn $10.20 an hour without needing any qualifications? Or $0.17 per minute to be more precise, which is how they actually structure their pay.
italki boasts having over 3 million students with 5,000+ teachers. People can teach from anywhere with a headset, computer and internet connection.
What’s different about this company is that you get to choose how much you charge and work according to your availability. For that pleasure, italki takes a 15% commission, though that’s a relatively small price to pay given the extent of the opportunities.
The downside of a setup like this, of course, is that it breeds a ‘race to the bottom’ bidding war, where the teacher with the lowest hourly rate typically gets the most students. You’re also essentially competing against thousands of other teacher profiles, and it’s easy to get lost in the noise. But with the right promotion and a fee that is just right, there’s a lot of potential to do well.
The last thing you should know is that profiles come in two tiers: 1) A community tutor profile where you must simply agree to a code of conduct to sign up and 2) A professional teaching profile where you need to submit documents detailing your teaching experience and training to be accepted.
Of all the platforms out there, this is certainly one of the more complex ones. This is primarily because the pay structure can be rather confusing.
Let me explain: Depending on previous experience, Magic Ears pays a basic rate of $9 to $11 per class. Each lasts for 25 minutes, and is followed by student evaluations. If you meet targets, such as showing up eight minutes before the first class and keeping to schedule, you can earn an extra Dollar per hour.
On top of that, there are performance-based incentives that, if met, can take you to $26 an hour. The problem is that the tiers are not well very explained and the incentives are easily missed, so you have to be really vigilant if you want to pocket the maximum fee.
This system teaches specifically to children aged 5 to 12 in China, and is open to teachers in the US and Canada. Again, you must have a Bachelor’s degree and teaching qualifications, and the application process is quite lengthy (there are six steps in total).
What’s interesting about Preply is that it features a job board that teachers can browse. They apply directly to jobs posted by Preply students. It’s a bit like applying for positions on a platform like Upwork.
There is also a searchable marketplace that lets students view your profile. One of the main selling points is that this platform allows you to be more like the owner of your own English teaching business. At the time of writing they are even in the process of putting together a personal website service that lets you promote your English teaching services online.
Just be aware that it’s not just ESL that Preply offers. As with italki, Preply works on a “choose your own rate” basis. The commission can be anywhere between 18 to 33% depending on your time worked. As for qualifications, you don’t need anything to your name to get started, but teaching experience will certainly help to attract people to your profile.
This is a one-on-one system that teaches English to children between the ages of 4 and 16. DadaABC is a company with an impressive web presence and a strong support team. Contract terms run for six or 12 months and the company offers up to $25 per hour, making it one of the highest payers currently out there.
Apparently, DadaABC is “the first online English education company in mainland China to partner with the American TESOL Institute.” The company is partnered with Pearson Test of English Academic, McGraw-Hill Education, Highlights, and National Geographic Learning.
In terms of qualifications you do need a Bachelor’s degree and to be a native English speaker, but you can be based anywhere in the world.
Englishunt give you the opportunity to earn $14.50 an hour teaching English to students from Japan, China and Korea.
Student age can vary, and there are both live video classes and live phone classes. Which you are allowed to do will depend on your qualifications. To conduct a video class, for instance, you have to hold a four-year degree and in most cases a teaching certificate. But for the phone classes, it’s just a two-year degree – no other qualifications or experience required.
There are some rules around working hours, and you have to go through an application process, but it’s not any more arduous than any of the others. You DO have to live in the US for this particular teach English online opportunity.
First things first, you need to know that you have to work a minimum of nine hours a week with this company, between 1800 and 2200 China time. If that doesn’t work with your schedule we suggest you skip past this one! Otherwise, here’s what you need to know.
Based in Toronto, Canada and aimed at US and Canadian ESL teachers, Golden Voice English offers tutoring to Chinese students between grades one and nine. There’s a mixture of one-on-one and group lessons, with each lesson lasting about 30 minutes.
Golden Voice English has quite a long list of requirements, including a minimum of six month’s ESL or EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teaching experience, an ESL teaching certificate, and a degree or diploma. But as you’ve probably realised by now, most of these companies have similar requirements too. The pay is CA$20 Canadian per hour.
British readers will be particularly interested to hear that this company is based in the beautiful English City of Cambridge.
Twosigmas offer ESL learning to students all over the world, including China, so there’s always plenty of opportunities. Children aged between 5 and 12 are currently the most in need of services, but you could end up teaching all ages when you work with Twosigmas.
Naturally, all the usual qualification requirements apply, but they do have an additional request – you have to have a “neutral accent.” If you tick all of the boxes you could earn around $20 per hour.
iTutorGroup employs ESL teachers from all around the world to teach students in Asia. Students are broken into two age groups; Juniors (5-18) and adults (18+), with all materials provided before the sessions.
Tutors get between $18 and $24 per hour, with the potential to earn bonuses. Minimum requirements are a Bachelor’s degree, a TESOL/TEFL certificate or equivalent, OR one year’s recognised teaching experience. You have to commit to 5 hours per week.
This company is based in Germany but has offices based in London, Paris and Madrid. Reportedly, salaries are based on experience, averaging around $10 to $11 dollars per hour.
This payment is at the lower end of the scale compared to some other platforms. However, hours are flexible as the company offers lessons 24/7.
Based in Japan, SkimaTalk recruits ESL teachers from all over the world to help their students “go global.”
If you don’t have a Bachelor’s degree then this is a good option for you, as it’s not one of the requirements.
You also don’t need to have any prior English teaching experience or official training. though it is preferred. All the company asks is that you are committed, passionate and professional. You obviously have to be an English native speaker too, but that goes without saying.
If you’re wondering how much this gig pays, apparently top teachers can earn more than $1000 a month, so this is definitely an option worth exploring.
Global Mate New York is open to English speaking tutors that reside in the US.
This service is predominantly aimed at Korean students aged between 19 and 50, though some learners are even older and the rest are middle or high school students. This is a perfect fit if you would prefer not to teach children and are open to working on a six month contract.
Average pay per hour is allegedly $12 with bonuses available. You can apply as long as you have a four-year degree. You don’t need any previous teaching experience, but it’s better if you have it.
goFLUENT it all about teaching business language to adult learners. It’s a global company with offices all over the world, so is open to Brits and other native English speakers as well as Americans.
Word has it you have to commit to four hours a day during the week, so it’s best to clarify the terms of the contract before agreeing to anything.
Another option if you want to teach English online on the business side is Learnlight. But be warned that the company has quite a strict list of demands.
First you must be able to commit to a fixed schedule for a year, which is perhaps the biggest ask – especially if you are an existing freelancer or homeworker that usually works quite flexibly.
Second, you need a minimum of two years’ teaching experience. Last but not least, you need a teaching certification, such as TEFL. If you tick all of those boxes and the schedule doesn’t bother you, there’s potential to earn around $14 an hour.
What’s unique about Mango Languages is that there is the option to work with them part time, full time, or on a freelance basis.
This means you can get the salary and all the benefits of being an employee. This means you get all the perks of being employed whilst enjoying working from the comfort of your own home. Open to all ESL tutors with a degree and teaching certificate.
If you’ve heard of Pearson you’ll likely know that they are also a publisher of academic textbooks, amongst other things. You can teach ESL through them too (business English, largely).
The company pays $14 an hour if you’re providing one-on-one tuition, and $17 for group classes.
Rosetta Stone offer ESL tutoring in addition to their famous language learning courses.
The company pays tutors between $10 and $15 per hour to teach English online. They largely hire from the USA and UK, but they do also recruit from other native English speaking countries if you have a degree and some teaching experience.
In terms of working times, they follow a fairly rigid schedule and you might be required to commit to a minimum amount of hours a week.
One of the fastest growing online English teaching platforms out there, SayABC will pay you up to $17 for each 40 minute class.
The work involves teaching small classes of children between 5 and 12 in China. Ideally you will have a Bachelor’s degree, but apparently this company also accepts students who are close to completing their studies.
Landi English uses a student-centered teaching method called Peer Study, based on CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning).
Benefits include stable bookings, a referral bonus and a set curriculum – not to mention an hourly rate of $16 to $21.
A degree and teaching certificate is required but teaching experience is only preferred, not a must. If this sounds like a good fit for you, then start the five-step application process today.
If you want to earn money for chatting about something you love, Cafetalk is definitely the platform for you!
Unlike most English teaching sites that provide a set curriculum, you can choose to teach Japanese students about less academic topics such as music, art, fashion and so on. This is because students get to pick a category that interests them.
Categories do include business, academic tutoring and IT and programming, so there is still the option to provide tutoring on more scholastic subjects. What also makes this company stand out from the crowd is that lessons can be anywhere from 10 minutes to 120 minutes. You can also teach on weekends and during the holidays if you wish to.
For these reasons, coupled with average pay of $20 plus per hour, competition can be fierce between tutors on this platform.
Based in New York, Voxy provides ESL tutoring to students all over the world. You need all the usual qualifications, certifications and experience, and you may need to work on the weekends.
If that’s not a problem you could earn up to $15 an hour, complete with paid orientation and incentive programmes.
How to Avoid Scams when Teaching Online
This is something we need to address. Sadly, there are companies out there that will try to scam you. It’s just the way of things.
To help make sure it doesn’t happen to you, we’ve put together a few tips on warning flags to look out for on job ads. You’ll also find some more general tips on avoiding online scams here:
– If a job ad is vague and full of poor English, that’s not good. A company that expects you to teach English should know the language and have people around to proof-read their content!
– If there is ever any talk of you having to pay the company money, run! That’s not how these jobs should work. Along the same lines, some scammers will send money and then expect you to wire back a small portion. This can be indicative of money laundering, or a scam in which people get money through cancelling/disputing transfers.
– If there is no screening process or interview, that’s a problem. Teaching English online is a huge responsibility. You’re often educating other people’s children. A legit company will want to check you, test you and vet you. If a job seems to magically fall into your lap, it’s probably not a legit gig.
– If the pay is too good to be true, it’s most likely a scam. If the school is offering double or triple the industry standard, that’s a major red flag.
– Email addresses should show the domain of a company, not Gmail, Hotmail or another free email service. It’s not a 100% sign of a scam, but it’s a possible red flag. Check the emails listed on the company’s website and see if the domains match up.
– Look at a company’s website before applying. Does it look professionally made? Does it provide concrete information on the application process? Bonus points for real photos of students and teachers!
– Also, take a look at sites like GlassDoor and Indeed to read reviews on each company.
IMPORTANT: Although we’ve taken great care to research these opportunities, we’ve obviously not worked for all of these companies. You MUST do your own due diligence and proceed with caution.
Learning to Teach English Online
Remember, one of the best ways to find legit opportunities is being exactly the kind of candidate that companies and students want to hire!
This means having in-demand teaching abilities. Click on the links below to explore some relevant training courses and get started.
Top Tips and Your Questions Answered
Is Teaching English Online Legitimate?
Teaching online is a legitimate way of making money. There are plenty of reputable and genuine companies taking on ESL teachers to provide teaching to students.
However, there are companies that are NOT legitimate. Hopefully with the tips we’ve given you – and your own resourcefulness – you will be able to determine which ones are legit and which ones aren’t.
Can I Make a Living Teaching English Online?
The potential is definitely there for ESL teaching to be a full-time gig. You can make a decent living if you have the right credentials.
It can make some time to reach that goal. But with a bit of patience and lots of hard work, there’s no reason why you can’t carve out a career – or perhaps just a sideline – as an online ESL teacher. One idea is to work for two or more companies, which is perfectly doable. As far as we know, most company’s contracts contain no limits on who you can work for.
How Much does it Pay to Teach English Online – and Who Pays the Most?
The pay for online English teaching can vary significantly. Some companies $10 per hour or less, while others can offer up to $30 per hour, taking into account bonuses and incentives.
Some English teaching websites allow you to choose your own hourly rates, but take a commission. In terms of who pays the most, DadaABC is certainly amongst one of the highest payers.
Can you Teach English Online without a Degree?
Most teach English online websites require you to have a Bachelor’s degree of some kind. However it doesn’t always need to be a teaching degree.
There are some exceptions to this rule. Companies such as Cambly and SkimaTalk take on English teachers without degrees, but the pay is usually lower as a result. If you’re currently in the midst of a degree, don’t rule yourself out – there are companies that accept students who are near completion or their studies, or in possession of a foundation degree.
What Qualifications do I Need to Teach English Online?
To teach English online, most companies require you to have a Batchelor’s degree. In addition most companies need you to have completed a TESOL or TEFL course.
Basically this is just a certificate that says you’re qualified to teach English as a second language. A general teaching certificate may also be required, depending on the company, and you invariably have to be a native English speaker.
How do I get TEFL Certified?
You’ll be pleased to know that it’s neither difficult nor time consuming to get TEFL certified. All you have to do is find a course that suits your needs and preferences. You can carry out the work online, in person or through a combination of the two.
We recommend that you reach out to a few providers before you make your decision and where possible find out as much as you can about the service. Customer reviews and word of mouth feedback (if you know anyone that is TEFL qualified) can be really helpful with this. Websites such as MyGoAbroad also allow you to compare programmes.
It’s also not a bad idea to reach out to some of the English tutoring companies about it, because it may be that they can offer some assistance in this area. Some even provide the training themselves. VIPKid, for instance, has its own course that is available through their teacher portal at no extra cost.
However you choose to approach it, be sure not to waste any time getting started. The longer you take to gain your certification the longer it will take to start earning money!
Do Online English Teaching Companies Provide Training?
Most English teaching companies companies provide some form of training, whether that be video training or via other online media. This ensures you’re fully prepared for the task ahead and gives them peace of mind in your knowledge.
What Equipment do I Need for Online English Teaching?
The most important equipment for teaching English online is a laptop or desktop computer. Phones and tablets are usually a no go and you need enough memory and processing power to prevent time delay and lagging.
Apart from that you will need a headset, a webcam (if it’s not already built into your computer) and very fast internet! Many tutoring companies will ask that you have a certain internet speed, and some will even request that you are directly linked to broadband with an Ethernet cable to ensure maximum connection stability.
In terms of teaching apparatus you don’t necessarily have to use anything else other than the material provided, but it can help to go the extra mile and use props such as flashcards and a whiteboard.
For younger students you can even use things like puppets and stuffed animals, or include music. The sky really is the limit. Just remember that the more effort you put in, the better the feedback will be from the students. This can make all the difference to how much you get paid!
What is the Interview Process Like?
The interview process varies from company to company, but to give you an idea of what to expect here’s an example of how it can play out:
- Application: First you set up an account online providing details of relevant experience and so on. This is to check your eligibility. If you don’t have the right credentials at this point, you won’t make it to the second step.
- Demonstration and mock class: If the first step is successful you might be expected to demonstrate your skills or carry out a mock class – or both! The demonstration aspect might just be you having a live one-on-one interview. Some companies may ask that you provide a recording of you reading a story or introducing yourself. This is just so they can gauge your personality and your command of the English language. As for the mock class, it’s exactly what it sounds like. But don’t worry, some companies will allow you to repeat the mock class as many times as necessary to pass.
- Documentation: At some point in the process you will also be expected to upload any relevant documents, as well as a drivers license or some other form of identification.
- Background check: It is perfectly normal to have a background check carried out on you before you are allowed to teach. If it’s not something they insist on, then perhaps they’re not the best company to work for. It’s there to protect the students, after all.
Hopefully we’ve given you more than enough information to get started. All that’s left to do is for you to get your qualifications in order and begin your ESL teaching journey today. Good luck!