Imagine that you could teach from the comfort of your own couch. No need to commute to work everyday, you could just stay at home. You could even travel the world and earn some money without having to worry about a working visa. All you need is a laptop or a smart phone and a good internet connection. We started teaching languages online about ten months ago and it really changed our game! Now we would like the same for you!
In this post we’ll write an honest review about our experiences, what you need to become an online teacher and a list of companies and platforms where you can apply for jobs.
OUR EXPERIENCES SO FAR
If you read How to earn money while traveling you’ll know that we have done all sorts of jobs around the world to maintain our nomadic lifestyle. It was really fun to work in exotic countries, meet people in various workplaces and gain a lot of new experiences and skills. The downside was that we often had to change jobs, mostly because our visa was expiring or because it was a seasonal job. Then we had to look again for a new place to live and work. In the beginning it was fun and a big part of the adventure but after a while, in our case five and ten years, we became tired of this. It felt like walking in an endless circle. We wanted to find a job that was more steady, where it didn’t matter in which country we were and for which we didn’t need a working visa. That’s when we heard about online teaching and decided to give it a go.
During the past ten months we’ve made a lot of research and tried out several platforms. There are different options to teach online and we sum them up for you in a list at the end of this article. You can choose an online company depending on your preferences. If you want to teach occasionally to earn some extra money on the side, we suggest to use the mobile apps or the websites where you create your own teacher profile. If you want to earn a steady income, then you better work for an online school where you work under a contract and have a solid weekly schedule.
If you’re interested in teaching online (but we guess you are if you’re reading this article), have a look at the list and see what suits you and your financial needs the best. Don’t worry if you’re not a native speaker or have a degree or certificate in teaching, even then you can work as an online teacher.
DO I NEED A DEGREE OR CERTIFICATE TO BE AN ONLINE LANGUAGE TEACHER?
It depends on the company you apply for. Most online schools will ask for a degree or certification but when you want to teach through one of the mobile apps or when you create your own teacher profile, your teaching experiences will be more important. If you have great communication skills and know how to teach a language or another skill, then you’ll be able to find work as an online teacher. A degree is eventually just a piece of paper and I’ve learned more about teaching by doing it than during my teacher training. Niko doesn’t have any degrees or qualifications and he’s a genius at teaching people a new language in a short amount of time!
Show your social and language skills during the application and/or interview. We mention a few companies in the list below where having experience or being a native speaker is more important than having a certificate or degree.
DO I HAVE TO BE A NATIVE SPEAKER?
Also not necessarily.
Niko and I both mainly teach English but we’re not native English speakers. I’m even working for a company where it was a requirement to be a native speaker. So how did I get the job? Because my level of English is similar to that of a native speaker. My Australian boss once joked that my English was better than his. I had to learn all the grammar rules, so I know how to pass that knowledge on. By spending time in English-speaking countries I also learned the right pronunciation and intonation.
Being a native speaker will definitely play in your advantage but it’s also possible to teach a language that isn’t your mother tongue. Show your language abilities during the interview and if you’re level is as good as that of a native speaker, you’ll get accepted.
A little tip if you’re not a native speaker: I always mention that I’ve been speaking English since my childhood and I emphasize my teaching experiences more than the fact that I’m from a country where English isn’t the official language. During my interviews I could prove that my oral skills were as good as that of a native speaker and I’ve always been hired for the job!
And finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for:
ONLINE TEACHING COMPANIES AND PLATFORMS
There are many online teaching platforms. I selected the companies (click on the name to go to their website) which I think are worth applying for concerning wage (minimum $10/hour),accessibility and/ or personal experience. Be aware that the companies might be located in a different time zone than yours. Double-check if you can work during their operating hours before applying!
TEACHING THROUGH MOBILE APPS
How does it work?
Download and install the apps from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store on your phone. Then sign up by using your mobile number, upload a photo, submit a short bio and make a short voice or video recording. If you’re accepted, you can start teaching straight away. You can choose your own teaching hours but know that with these apps, you’ll have to wait until the students calls you.
Some days you will receive a lot of calls, other days can be very quiet. Some students might call you for an hour, others will only call you for 5 or 10 minutes. It’s important to build a relationship with your students so they will call back or schedule classes with you. Most students want to practice their conversational skills so you don’t really have to prepare any classes but you have to be able to talk about a lot of subjects.
When you meet students for the first time, ask a lot of questions, find out what they’re interested in, let them talk a lot, correct them when needed and make them feel comfortable. When they like talking with you, they will call you back. We like this way of teaching because it’s casual and you’ll learn a lot about the students and their cultural background. You might even make a few new friends!
NiceTalk is a company based in China where Chinese students contact teachers to practice their English conversational skills through video calls. You might also get students who want to learn or practice other languages such as French, Spanish, German,… if you mention this in your profile. The age of the students can vary from kids to adults. The hourly wage is $10, paid by the minute. Weekly payments happen through PayPal. You can earn from $20 – $200 per week, depending on your availability and the amount of calls you get.
Palfish works very similar to NiceTalk and is also based in China. The only difference is that with Palfish you have voice calls (no video so you can teach in your pajamas) and you choose your own wage. Palfish pays by the minute and you can set your rate from 0.5 to 5 RMB (Chinese Yuan) per minute which equals $4.80 to $45.60 per hour. The average rate is 1.5 RMB per minute, which is equal to $13.80 per hour. Just remember: the higher your rate, the less students you might have!
Based in China. Boxfish is looking for teachers to teach Chinese children and students conversational English. They pay $20/hour. You can apply by this job link. I haven’t tried this app yet but the teaching method looks similar to NiceTalk and Palfish.
Based in Germany. With this app you can teach any language you want to students from all around the world, providing you have the right certification. You can choose your own schedule and set your own hourly rate. Keep in mind that when you set your price, you’ll have to give a percentage to the company. Students have to pre-pay for the lessons they book with you so the advantage here is that if the student doesn’t show (which can happen sometimes), you’ll still get paid!
Based in South Korea. Same principal as NiceTalk, Palfish and Boxfish but I couldn’t find information about the hourly rate.
WORKING FOR ONLINE TEACHING SCHOOLS
How does it work?
Online teaching schools will often require a bachelor’s degree in education and/or a TEFL/ CELTA/ ESL certificate. You’ll likely work under a contract for at least three to six months. During that time you must be available every week to teach a certain minimum of hours during their operating hours, depending on your contract. They arrange the bookings for you and most of the time they provide you with their own prepared lesson material. Most schools use their own classroom software that you’ll have to install and you’ll also get a (paid) training to learn how to work with it. Some schools offer lessons on Skype. The advantage of teaching for these companies is that you can count on steady hours – which you can choose yourself as long as it’s during their operating hours – and you’ll receive a solid monthly income.
Hujiang is based in China and is the company for which I’m currently teaching English. You’ll need a degree or certificate to apply for this job. If you pass the interview, you’ll have to download and install a software program called CC Talk and you’ll have to follow a (paid) training to learn how to work with this virtual classroom. They require an availability for a minimum of 8 hours per week (one class lasts 25 minutes). The hourly rate depends on your experience and skills, which varies from $9 – $15 and you’ll get paid every two weeks through PayPal.
You can apply for the kids (K12) or the adult program. Hujiang offers their own lesson material so no need to prepare classes. If you’re a trained teacher with great English language skills and you can make yourself available to teach weekly a minimum of 8 hours for at least 3 months in a row, then I highly recommend Hujiang! Just be aware that you need a stable and high-speed internet connection.
You can apply by sending an email and your CV to: email@example.com
This company is based in Canada and teaches English to Chinese children through one-on-one and group video classes. All the lesson material is provided and you’ll get a training to learn how to work with the program. You’ll receive payment on a monthly basis. You must have a minimum of three months teaching experience if you want to apply. I couldn’t find info about the hourly rate but it definitely looks like a company worth checking out!
Based in New York, this company teaches English, Spanish, French and other languages to adults. They offer 15-30 hours/ week but I couldn’t find more info about the hourly rate. Seems to be worth checking out though! You can apply here.
Based in the US and Europe. The teachers give language classes through a virtual classroom. You can apply to teach any language, even when you don’t have previous teaching experience. Wages are around $15/hour.
Barons English is looking for online English teachers who live in the UK and can teach adults, college students and children who live in South Korea, Japan and China. The lessons are one-on-one on Skype and last 25 or 50 minutes long. They require that you’re a UK resident and have a degree in education. Wage unknown.
TwoSigmas offers one-on-one classes to primary school children from China. The classes are given through an online video chatting system. They require an availability of minimum 7.5 hours per week. The hourly rate can be $20/hour, based on experience. You have to have a native English speaking ability, ESL teaching experience or certificate.
A Russian online school who offers English courses to Russian students. The hourly wage is $10 and the lessons are given on Skype. Experience and/or qualifications are required.
Skylearn offers group and individual English courses to students from Brazil. You have to be a native English speaker and they require that you’re a university or college degree holder. They offer a training on how to use their system and teach online. You can choose full-time, part-time or flexible hours, each lesson is about 30 minutes long and you’ll get paid by the hour (pay unknown).
Lingua Airlines is an online English school based in Moscow who offers one-on-one Skype lessons to Russian students from all ages. The hourly wage is $10 – $20/hour, based on experience, and you have to teach a minimum of 15 hours a week. The applicant must be a native English speaker and certified to teach English as a second language.
Blazaar is a company from Spain with an own teaching platform. They are looking for English, German, French, Italian, Russian, Arabic and Spanish teachers. You can choose your own hours and set your own hourly rate. The pay starts at $12 per 45 minute class.
A language learning platform based in Spain. They hire teachers who can speak English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Mandarin and Japanese. As teacher you must have a minimum of two years language teaching experience and be in the possession of a foreign language teaching certification. Know that you have to commit yourself to a fixed scheduled with a minimum of 10 hours per week for a minimum of 1 year. The salary varies from €10/hour for individual classes and €12/hour for group classes.
If you have experience in teaching Cambridge and/ or Trinity ISE exams (you don’t have to be a native English speaker) and you can communicate in Spanish, then this might be a teaching job for you. OS Connect is based in Spain. When you apply, you have to state your availability and how much you want to get paid per hour.
Based in France, this company is looking for Business language teachers (English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Portuguese and Dutch). You have to be a native speaker, have a teaching certification and at least one year of experience in teaching adults. Salary unknown.
A Polish online language school who offers one-on-one or group classes using webcams and applications similar to Skype. They are currently recruiting new teachers to teach English to Polish adult students. They require that you have at least one year experience of teaching adults. You can choose your own working hours and the salary is around $10/hour.
Pudtree is recruiting teachers to teach one-on-one English to Chinese children from 5 to 12 years old. The duration of each lesson is 30 minutes and the pay is $17 – $22 per hour. They require that you have a minimum of one year kid English teaching experience, a bachelor degree or above and that you’re a native English speaker.
Enlai has a platform that connects native English speakers to young Chinese learners. You must have teaching experience and a certificate. You have to provide your own monthly schedule to the students and their parents to book classes and the hourly rate is a minimum of $16, paid monthly.
VIPKid, based in China, looks very similar to Hujiang, the company that I’m currently working for. They offer a 6 month contract in which you teach English to Chinese children for a minimum of 7.5 hours per week at a rate of $14 – $22 per hour. They also provide prepared lesson plans and they require that you have K12 classroom experience in the US or Canada and a bachelor’s degree in any field.
Best Teacher is an online English tutorial company in Japan who offers English one-on-one and group lessons to Japanese students. They also want you to edit, listen, record and reply to recorded voice memos. The salary is “well-paid” and the monthly payments are sent via PayPal.
Update: the salary is 340 Japanese yen for a 25 min lesson, which means 3 USD. Not very “well-paid”.
Eigox is an online English school based in Japan and is currently recruiting English tutors to help Japanese students study English on Skype. Each lesson is 25 minutes and you can schedule your own classes. Their only requirement is that you’re a native English speaker. The pay per lesson is 600 yen (=$ 5.5) but new tutors will receive 300 yen for the first 10 lessons. Payment is made monthly on PayPal.
This Japanese company offers private English classes to Japanese students. The lessons are given on Skype and are about 25 or 50 minutes long. They offer a salary of $9/25 minutes or $18/50 minutes paid monthly on PayPal. They require you to be an American English native speaker with a bachelor’s or master degree, and teaching experience in English.
Samespeak is a company based in New Zealand who offers English classes on Skype . They pay $10 per half hour and payments happen weekly through PayPal. You don’t have to be a language teacher. They only require that English is your first language.
CREATE YOUR OWN TEACHER PROFILE
How does it work?
You register for free on the website to create a teacher profile. You can set your own hourly rate and availability. Students can contact you to book classes. The competition is sometimes high but it is definitely worth a try. The more languages and/or subjects you can teach, the more likely you’ll find students. There are even websites on which you can offer your services as an art or music teacher.
We made profiles on some of these websites and got a few bookings. It’s a good option to earn some extra cash on the side and who knows, you might be lucky and receive many bookings from new and returning students! Make sure you have an appealing profile and an affordable hourly rate. Be aware that some websites might charge a commission fee!
- Langu: this is a brand new company which looks very promising. You can sign up to teach any language you’re good at and the lessons are taught through a virtual classroom.
- Pratify : a set rate of $10.20/hour for a video lesson and $8.40/hour for a voice lesson
- First Tutors
- Wyzant: various subjects but only for American Citizens
- Fluentify : requires an availability for at least 15 hours per week
- Cafetalk: here you can also register as a music or art teacher
- Lingoda : sets an hourly rate of €8.50
- Tutoragent: teach any type of subject
- Find A Tutor : teach any type of subject
- Online Academy Society : teach any type of subject
Do you work as an online teacher and/or have experiences with any of these companies? Do you know other interesting companies that I can add to this list? Please leave a comment below!
I also would love to hear it if you found a job through this list!