How to teach English online?
This guide covers everything you need to know about teaching English online:
our experiences, what you need to become an online language teacher, how to apply and a list of 30+ online teaching sites with their hourly salary.
Imagine that you could teach from the comfort of your own couch. No need to commute to work every day, you could just stay at home.
You could even travel the world and make money along the way without having to worry about a working visa! All you need is a laptop or a smartphone and a good internet connection.
Niko and I worked as online teachers for more than three years and it brought so many positive changes in our lives as full-time travelers!
There are nowadays many different options to teach English online!
If you want to have a more steady and reliable income, then you should work as a teacher for an online school where you get a contract and a solid weekly schedule.
Keep on reading to find out how to become an online teacher, how to apply for an online teaching job and which online teaching site or school in the list below will suit you and your financial needs the best.
Teaching English online in Morocco
1. Do I need a teaching certificate to teach English online?
This depends on the company you apply for.
Most online schools will ask for a degree or teaching certification but when you want to teach on an app or when you create your own teacher profile, your teaching experiences will be more important.
If you have great communication skills and practical knowledge on how to teach a language, show this during the job interview.
There are some companies on the list below that put more importance on your teaching experiences and excellent language skills than on you having a teaching certificate.
However, most online schools require you have a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate.
There are many online teaching courses where you can get one of these teaching certificates:
- TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language): MyTefl Online Course
- TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages): Internationally Accredited online TESOL courses
- CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults): Online CELTA Courses
See those courses as an investment in your future so you can quit that (office) job you hate and maybe even start traveling the world. You’ll also quickly earn that money back!.
2. Do I have to be a native English speaker to teach English online?
I’ve been an English teacher for many years but I’m not a native English speaker as I’m from Belgium.
So how did I get the job?
I have an excellent level of English and I speak with a clear accent. When I was working as a waitress in Australia, my boss once joked that my English was way 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 how to speak with the right pronunciation and intonation.
Being a native speaker will definitely play to your advantage but it’s possible to become a teacher in a language that isn’t your mother tongue as long as you have the right skills.
Show your language skills 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:
Whenever I applied for an English teaching job, I mentioned that I’ve been learning and speaking English since my childhood. I also emphasized my ESL teaching experiences. As I was able to prove that I had an excellent level in English during my job interviews, I always got hired for the job!
Teaching English in Turkey – 2016
Save money on housing while teaching online!
Check out our guide on how to find free accommodation around the world!
3. The Best Online Teaching Sites, Mobile Apps and Platforms
There are nowadays many online teaching sites and schools. This selection is based on the hourly salary (minimum $10/hour), accessibility and/ or personal experience.
Be aware that the majority of these platforms are located in a different time zone than yours. Double-check if you can work during their operating hours before applying!
And don’t worry if you don’t speak the student’s native language, this is not a requirement.
3.1 Teach English on your phone – The Best Mobile Apps for Teaching English
The advantage of teaching on a mobile app is that you’re not tied to a fixed weekly schedule.
You can take a break from teaching for a few days or even a few weeks. You just teach whenever you have the time or feel like it.
Just keep in mind that you have more chances to get regular students if you’re often available for classes.
The disadvantage of teaching on a mobile app is that you never know how many calls you’ll get on a daily basis so you can’t really rely on a steady income.
One week you might earn up to $250, the other week you’ll only see $20 in your account.
Niko and I started teaching this way while we were hitchhiking through Turkey. We didn’t make loads of money but enough to cover our daily expenses.
What do you need to teach English on a mobile app?
- A smartphone (Android or iPhone),
- Earphones with a built-in mic,
- Access to Google Play Store or Apple Store to download the required app,
- A reliable and fast WiFi-connection
- You don’t need to have teaching certificates (unless stated otherwise) to teach on the apps but you must have a great level in the language and excellent conversational skills.
How do you apply?
First, you have to download and install the app. Then you sign up by using your mobile number.
Upload a profile photo (choose a photo on which you look professional, not the one of that crazy party last night) and write a short bio in which you give more information about your educational background and teaching experiences.
You’ll also have to mention why you’d like this job – don’t say because you want to earn money, that’s pretty obvious.
You might also have to make a short voice or video recording in which you present yourself.
Click the submit button and anxiously wait for a reply. You should hear back from the company within 48 hours.
Once you’re accepted, you can immediately start teaching!
How does it work to teach English on a mobile app?
Go to a quiet space, connect to the app and wait until the students call you.
Some days you’ll receive a lot of calls and make a decent amount of money, other days can be very quiet.
Some students might call you for an hour, others will only call you for 5 or 10 minutes (don’t worry, you get paid by the minute).
It’s important to build a relationship with the students so they will call you 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.
Tip: 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!
The Best Mobile Apps for Teaching English Online:
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.
Your students will be young children aged 4- 12, adolescents and/or adults, depending on the preferences you set in your profile.
The hourly rate is $10 USD, paid by the minute. Weekly payments happen through PayPal.
You can earn from $20 – $200 per week, depending on your availability and the number of calls you get.
We used this app for about 6 months and were pretty happy with the results.
Palfish works very similar to NiceTalk and is also based in China.
The only difference is that with Palfish 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 from $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 that the more you charge, the fewer students you’ll have!
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!
The Cambly app is very similar to Tandem. You can teach your native language to students from all around the world.
You don’t need to have a teaching certificate but you need to be a native speaker in the language you teach.
Teachers are paid $10.20 per hour.
Teach any language you want with the app of italki, providing you have a certificate or a degree in teaching.
You set your own hourly rates and choose your own schedule. Just know that there are already a lot of English teachers on this platform so there’s a lot of competition here.
3.2 Teaching Jobs in Online Schools – Best Online Teaching Websites
Teaching for one of these online schools and websites requires a weekly commitment for a period of at least 3 to 6 months. You’ll also have to sign a contract.
You have to submit a weekly schedule in advance with a minimum of available hours during the operating hours of these online schools.
The advantages are that you can count on a steady weekly wage, you often get compensation when the student doesn’t show up for the booked class and you get paid training.
Most companies have their own lesson plans so you don’t need to prepare your own classes.
The only disadvantage is that you’re tied to a schedule (although you’re the one who creates is) but that’s a just minor problem if you’re a traveler and like to go on spontaneous trips.
What do you need to teach for an online school?
- A laptop or computer (Windows 8 or + is often required) with a fast processor (most companies use their own online classrooms and you’ll have to install one or more software programs), a headset and a webcam.
- Fast and reliable internet connection is a must! It’s a requirement to have a wired internet connection or a high-speed WiFi-connection. 10Mbps or more for both downloading and uploading will be required. You’ll be asked to take a screenshot of the results of your internet speed test.
- A working space where it’s quiet and where no-one will or can interrupt you while teaching (lock those doors and keep the neighbors away!).
- You’ll most likely need a bachelor’s degree in any field and/or a TEFL/TOSL/CELTA certificate.
How do you apply for an online teaching job?
Fill in the application form on the website or email your CV with a cover letter (I included the links/email addresses per company). Someone from the HR department will get back to you and invite you to an interview.
You’re sometimes also asked to give a demo class in which they’ll assess your teaching skills.
Once you’re accepted, you’ll get a (paid) training and you’re ready to start! This whole procedure shouldn’t take longer than one or two weeks.
How does teaching English for online schools work?
The company arranges the bookings of the students for you.
All you have to do is check your schedule regularly to see when you have to teach and be on time for your class.
Even though most teaching materials are provided by the company, you’ll have to prepare the classes a little.
The lessons are usually a mixture of conversations and grammar. See it is a private one-on-one or group class but this time you’ll be teaching in the school’s online classroom – that’s why you’ll need training.
The Best Online Schools and Teaching Websites
Hujiang is based in China and is the company for which Niko and I taught English for about 3 years.
You need to have previous teaching experience, a college degree, and a TEFL certificate (or TOSL or CELTA) to apply for this job.
If you pass the interview, you’ll have to install their virtual classroom and follow a (paid) training to learn how to work with it.
They require availability for a minimum of 10hours per week (one class lasts 25 minutes). The hourly rate depends on your experience and skills, which varies from $10 to $22 and you’ll get paid every two weeks through Payoneer.
You can apply for the kids (K12) or the adult program. Hujiang has its own lesson materials so no need to make your own classes.
If you’re a trained teacher with native level language skills and you can make yourself available to teach weekly a minimum of 8 hours for at least 3 months, then I highly recommend Hujiang! I was teaching an average of 20 to 40 hours per week.
The website of Hujiang is in Chinese. You can email Hujiang at [email protected] to inquire if there are currently any teaching positions available.
VIPKid, based in China, is very similar to Hujiang.
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.
You can apply here.
51talk is an online Teaching Platform based in the Philippines and offers English lessons to young Chinese learners.
The lessons are provided, you set your own schedule and you’ll earn $15 – $22 per hour.
You need to be a native English speaker, have a minimum of one year of experience in teaching children and have a bachelor’s degree.
Having a teaching qualification and certificate is an advantage. You can apply here if you’re living in the US, UK or Canada.
A few readers have told me that 51talk is a great company to work for!
Hawo American Academy is the newest Online Education platform from 51Talk, based in China.
Teachers will teach group classes that are 45-minutes long to students in China.
I didn’t find specific info concerning the hourly rate but I suppose it’s similar to 51talk as it’s a platform from the same company.
The requirements to teach for HAWO are also the same as for 51talk: you need to be a native English speaker, have one year of experience in teaching children and have a bachelor’s degree.
Having a teaching qualification and certificate is a preference.
You can apply here if you’re living in the US, UK or Canada.
EF is based in Switzerland and offers online English classes to children and adults around the world.
The lessons are provided, you set your own schedule and the hourly rate ranges from $12 to $19. Each class takes 25 minutes.
You need to be a native English speaker with a Bachelor’s degree in any field.
You also have to have a 40 hour TEFL and experience in teaching.
You can apply here if you’re living in the US, UK or Canada.
Learnship is based in Germany and offers Dutch, German, Spanish and English language classes to business professional students.
You need to be available for a minimum of 15 hours per week but you can make your own schedule.
You are paid per class, which can range from 45 minutes, 60 minutes and 90 minutes and the payment is between €15 and €26 per class.
The requirements are that you have a native level fluency and a foreign language teaching certificate.
Previous professional and/or teaching experience will play to your advantage.
Send them an email to find out how to apply and what languages they are hiring for now.
I’ve read a few reviews about Learnship and it seems to be a very professional and good company to work for!
Le Wajiao is based in Beijing and is Chinese for Happy Native English Teachers. This online school provides English lessons for K-12 students in China.
The requirements are that you have a bachelor’s degree in any field, at least one year of teaching experience (having an ESL or TEFL certificate is an advantage), speak with a native level of English and have access to Windows (for the teaching software).
The hourly rate ranges from $15 to $23, you get paid monthly and you need to make a commitment to teaching at least 18 hours weekly during at least one year.
You can apply for a teaching position at Le Wajiao here.
This company is based in the USA and offers tutoring services to English-speaking students all over the world from primary to high school.
The subjects vary from math and science to language arts. Teaching happens via Skype.
Aim4a-tutor hires internationally, as long as the teachers are prepared to work hours that suit students from Europe, North America or Australia.
They require teaching experience and a bachelor’s degree in the subject taught.
You can send your resume to [email protected] Rate: $10 – $15/hour.
Wonderkids is an online English teaching platform for Chinese students aged 5 – 15 years old.
They require a weekly commitment of at least 5 hours and you can teach as many hours as you want.
The minimum duration of employment is 6 months.
You don’t have to be a native speaker but you must be fully-fluent with a neutral accent, at least 23 years old and have a minimum of one-year teaching experience.
Classes are given through a special video calling software.
Wonderkids currently provides 6 types of lessons: General English, Writing, Reading, Phonics, Science and Social Studies. They provide resources to make your own lesson plan for General English, Writing and Social Studies classes while the other classes have already complete lesson plans.
The majority of the classes are one-on-one and last 45 or 60 minutes.
Hourly rate ranges from $14 to $25, paid every month through PayPal (and they cover the fees). You can apply here.
DaDaABC is based in China and is an online education platform that provides one-on-one English lessons to children aged 5 to 16. Teachers are required to have a
native level of English and a bachelor’s degree and they need to be available at least 4 hours per week for a minimum of 6 to 8 months.
The classes on weekdays are given between 6 pm and 9 pm (Beijing Time) and on weekends between 10 am and 9 pm.
The company provides teachers with lesson materials.
Hourly salary is between $16 and $25. You can apply here.
If you’re interested in working for DaDaABC, check out DigiNo, the dedicated resource for DaDaABC online teachers!
Tutor ABC is one of the online education platforms of iTutorGroup that offers English lessons to Taiwanese students from the ages of 22 to 65.
They also have a junior platform called tutorJr where you can teach children from 6 to 18 years old.
Teacher requirements are that you have a TEFL or TESOL certification, a university degree or previous ESL teaching experience and the willingness to commit to a weekly working schedule.
They offer various working schedules that are personalized to your availability. I couldn’t find details about the payment but a woman who read this article mentioned that their base rate is $8.50 per 45 minutes.
Click on this link to start the application process.
Read the review of Magda in the comments below to get more information about teaching for Tutor ABC.
Allright is a US-based company that offers one-on-one online English lessons to Russian-speaking kids aged 5 – 16.
You need to have native English fluency, preferably also speak Russian, a teaching certificate and a bachelor’s degree.
You need a laptop and webcam and you’re expected to work at least 8 hours per week during peak hours in Moscow (4 pm – 9 pm on weekdays and 11 am to 9 pm on weekends).
The hourly rate starts from $15, paid weekly via PayPal.
You can apply by using this form.
Acadsoc is an international online ESL company that provides standard ESL courses to Chinese learners (children to adults) using their own online teaching system.
You have to be a fluent English speaker with a neutral accent and know the basic principles of teaching English as a second language.
They prefer teachers with a certificate in teaching English as a second language.
Hourly rate is not known but they promise a good base rate (which should be no less than $10 – $15) and teaching during the evening or weekend shifts are paid more.
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.
Voxy is based in New York and offers English classes to students from all around the world.
The classes are given one-on-one or in a group via video chat.
The teachers are required to be native English speakers and certified teachers.
They need to have at least 3 years of teaching experience and a degree in education and Voxy has a preference for candidates who have multiple foreign language skills.
The teachers are expected to be available at least 15 hours per week between 1 am -11 am (EST) and 5 pm – 12 pm (EST).
Hourly rate is based on your experience but it shouldn’t be less than $15/hour. Training is paid.
On this page, you can find all the info on how to apply.
Pagoda is a language institute based in South Korea that is now hiring teachers to give online English classes to Korean adults by phone and video.
You need to be a native English speaker (they will ask your passport as prove), have a bachelor’s degree in any discipline and be available to work from Monday to Friday (6 am – 10 am and 6 pm – 12 pm Korean time).
The hourly rate is $14 (phone class) or $16 (video class).
You can apply here.
Hugo English is an online learning service provider based in Beijing and offers one-on-one English classes to Chinese children aged 5 – 16 through an online classroom.
The job requirements are that you have to be a native English speaker, have experience with teaching children and have a TESOL or TEFL certificate (or any equivalent).
Your laptop needs to have video and audio capabilities.
The hourly salary is between $14 and $22. Apply here for an interview.
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.
You can apply here for Barons English.
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 a minimum of 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 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 that offers one-on-one Skype lessons to Russian students of 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.
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.
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’s 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.
Find more ways on how to make money while traveling! Here’s our Ultimate Guide to find a job abroad!
3.3 Be your own boss – Online Teaching Platforms
How do online teaching platforms work?
Register for free on the online teaching platform and create a teacher profile. You set your own hourly rate and availability and students contact you to book classes.
The competition is sometimes high, depending on the subject you want to teach, 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 make 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!
Native monks is a global language learning community that connects students and native tutors and provide a great platform for learning all popular language.
This online teaching platform looking for tutors in all languages to work from home using Skype.
Native Monks helps students from around the world learn over 130 languages from the comfort of their home with a dedicated tutor online.
If you are a language teacher with command over your language, register with them here and start taking classes for students from all over.
You can set your own price per lesson in USD, get paid directly to your bank account or through PayPal in USD and you set your own schedule as per your convenience with no fixed timings.
You can teach various subjects on this online platform: from languages, maths, history, and biology to programming, music and arts. The classes are taught on Skype.
You can sign up to teach any language you’re good at and the lessons are taught in a virtual classroom.
More online teaching platforms:
- First Tutors
- Wyzant: various subjects but only for American Citizens
- Fluentify: requires 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
Do you work as an online teacher and/or have experience 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’ve found a job on this list!
Disclaimer: We like transparency! We use affiliate links in this article which means that if you sign up for some of these platforms, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. See it as a small donation so we can keep this blog running and save the money we earn with teaching online for our travels 😉
Read more about our (digital) nomadic lifestyle:
- How to make money while traveling the world – The Ultimate Guide to finding a job abroad
- What are the best jobs that pay you to travel the world
- Why I decided to leave the grid and become a nomad
- What you need to know before you quit your job indefinitely
- The best countries to live and work as a digital nomad
- The Ultimate Guide to finding free housing and accommodation around the world