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Posted 26 Mar, 2018 | 57 Comments
Posted in: Teaching English, Travel Blogs

The internet is a wonderful thing. It’s opened the door for people to earn a full-time income, or side income from anywhere in the world. Teach English online, learn how to start a travel blog, or become famous on social media and be a brand ambassador for large companies. It’s all possible.

If you’re looking to teach English online, you’ve come to the right place. Here I’m going to list the best online teaching English jobs, how you can find a job with them, and how much money you can expect to earn from teaching English online.

If you’ve been on this blog before, you’ll know we’re all about helping travellers find ways to earn money online so that they can turn travel into a lifestyle. We’ve been travelling since 2008 and thanks to the internet, we’ve been able to earn more money online than we ever did in our well-paying jobs in Canada.

We want to help other travellers do the same thing!

I’m happy to share these top 5 companies to teach English online so that you too can make money from anywhere in the world.

teach english online to chinese students and make money
Teaching English is a rewarding and enriching experience – both in person and online

Who Can Teach English Online?

A few notes before I list the best online teaching English jobs. Almost all of the companies will require the following:

  • Native English speaker, or near native English speaker
  • Solid internet connection, microphone, webcam and quiet space for lessons
  • You have a university degree or you are currently enrolled (in some cases this isn’t obligatory)
  • A TEFL Certificate (in some cases this isn’t obligatory)
  • You’re from Canada or the United States (in some cases all first language English countries)
  • You are enthusiastic, passionate and positive

These are the basic requirements to teach English online, and I will list a few more specific requirements to each company below.

It makes sense that you must be able to speak English at a native level, and that you have a solid internet connection (if you don’t, why would students sign up with you?), but I really don’t think having a university degree in any subject should be a requirement to teach English online, or in-country. But hey, those are the rules.

In most cases, no previous experience is required, but it helps if you have worked with younger children in the past and have taken a TEFL course – which will give you a proper understanding of lesson plans and how to run a class.

Plus, if you have a TEFL certificate, are a native English speaker, have a good internet connection and are enthusiastic, your odds of getting accepted for the job will be much higher. Some of the companies below don’t require a University degree or a TEFL certificate.

Not only is teaching English online a great job for digital nomads and remote workers, it’s also an excellent gig for stay at home moms (or dads!) and retired people who don’t want to do nothing now that their careers are finished.

Want more travel job ideas? Check out our epic list of Travel Jobs that can earn you money while you’re on the road! Or, if you’re not interested in teaching online, or, if you want to combine online teaching with being in-country, check out these teaching jobs in China.

How Much Money Can Online Teaching Jobs Earn?

While you might not become a millionaire when you teach English online, you will earn enough for a life of travel, or it could be a nice addition to your current income. This is especially true if you’re basing yourself in a country with a low cost of living.

For most teachers, this job is coupled with another form of income (such as travel blogging), or at least supplemented with free accommodation through house sitting or some other sort of exchange. While you’re teaching online, you could be taking care of a dog and living in a pool villa in the Caribbean! If you haven’t heard of house sitting & pet sitting, click here to learn how to receive free accommodation around the world while earning income from your online teaching jobs.

teach english online from anywhere in the world
Teach English online from the Caribbean – while receiving free accommodation!

The pay rates differ with each teaching company, but in general, you can expect to make between $10 – $23 / hour. Some of the companies pay per minute, while others pay hourly. In some cases you must commit to a certain amount of hours each week, while in others, you set the teaching schedule.

There’s also the opportunity to earn bonuses and referral pay. Plus, if a student cancels on you, you will receive compensation.

Some companies pay via PayPal, while others do a direct deposit to your bank account.

Best Companies to Teach English Online

There are lots of online teaching jobs out there, but if you want to teach English online, you need to make sure you’re going with a reputable company. There are a couple of standouts right now, but unfortunately for those of you who aren’t from Canada or the United States, you won’t be able to work with those two companies. Don’t worry though, there are more options below.

I’m going to start with the two most reputable and popular companies that hire teachers to teach English online, and then move on to others. If you’re from North America however, there’s no question that becoming a VIPKID teacher is your best option because you can work remotely and the pay is higher.

1. VIPKID – Teach English Online to Chinese Students

VIPKID is an excellent option for North Americans who want to teach English online to children in China. This company came onto the scene in 2013 and has been exploding ever since.

The platform connects Chinese students with North Americans and they deal with the lesson planning, marking of tests and speaking with the parents of the children you teach. When we taught English in China, those were things we had to do on our own, which was definitely a downside!

Classes are 25-30 minutes each, with a potential earning of $22 / hour.

VIPKID payment information teach english online
VIPKID payment information

Pros To Teach English Online With VIPKID:

  • Work remotely from anywhere in the world
  • VIPKID creates the lesson plans for you
  • VIPKID is a recognized and professional company
  • Set your own schedule to work as many or as little hours as you like
  • It’s high-paying (up to $22 / hour)
  • The students are adorable and well-behaved
  • All classes are 1-on-1
  • Helpful community of teachers and staff of VIPKID
  • You don’t need to speak Mandarin or Cantonese
  • Holiday and seasonal incentive (ie: paid extra for working Christmas)
  • $50-$60 referral bonus

Cons To Teach English Online With VIPKID:

  • It’s only for North American teachers
  • You must have a University degree (in any subject)
  • Only teaching children in China (as opposed to different ages, in different countries)
  • Time change issues if you aren’t in Asia
  • If your internet cuts out for more than 3 minutes, you will be charged with cancellation of a class

Click here to learn more about VIPKID and to apply

teach english online with VIPKID
Teaching with VIPKID

2. Qkids – Teach English Online to Chinese Students

This program is actually very similar to VIPKID, but there are a few differences.

Pros To Teach English Online With Qkids:

  • You don’t need to have a degree, BUT you must be currently enrolled in University
  • High-paying – up to $20 / hour
  • $100 referral bonus for teachers who refer other teachers
  • All materials and lessons are provided
  • Training is included
  • Flexible schedule
  • You don’t need to speak Mandarin or Cantonese
  • Very engaged community

Cons To Teach English Online With Qkids:

  • You must actually be in Canada or the United States
  • No holiday or seasonal pay incentive (ie: no extra pay if you work during Christmas)
  • It’s only for North American teachers
  • You’ll only teach Chinese children (rather than students from around the world, and of all ages)
  • Time change issues since you aren’t living in Asia
  • You must commit to a minimum of 6 hours per week
  • 4 students maximum per class (could be either a pro or a con depending on what you prefer)

Both VIPKID and Qkids are great companies and they both pay their teachers well, but each has their own style. Maybe apply for both of them (or all of them in this article), so that you have a better chance at being hired, and making more money!

Click here to learn more about Qkids and to apply as a teacher

teach english online with Qkids student teacher
Teach English Online with Qkids

3. Cambly – Tutoring Online to Worldwide Students

Cambly is a much more informal teaching setting than VIPKID and Qkids, and there are many differences. The people who you’ll be talking with already speak English at some level and for the most part, they are just wanting to practice their conversational skills.

teach english online with cambly become a tutor
Speak with people from all around the world to help them practice their English

This is a platform where students sign up and pay a fee, and log-in via an app to chat with tutors who are online. Teachers (tutors) can log-in at random, or you can book a shift. Although there are students from all around the world, most of them hail from Saudi Arabia. As of recently however, there has been a boom in South Korean and Turkish students. Here are the pros & cons of Cambly.

Pros To Teach English Online With Cambly:

  • Work online from anywhere in the world
  • No experience necessary
  • No university degree or TEFL certificate required
  • Set your own hours
  • Meet people of all ages from all over the world
  • Can have repeat students who you really get to know
  • Informal setting where you just chat with students about casual topics
  • Lessons and materials are available with Cambly if needed
  • Easy sign-up
  • No contract needed
  • Safety protocols in place (ie: ban student immediately for inappropriate behaviour)

Cons To Teach English Online With Cambly:

  • The pay isn’t very high ($0.17/minute, which is $10.20 / hour)
  • No guaranteed hours
  • It can be tedious to “chit-chat” all of the time
  • There’s a free trial available for new students meaning you may have to deal with a few who aren’t serious about practicing their English
  • There’s the potential for creepy students, especially if you are a female tutor (hit that “ban” button!)
  • You will need to be sensitive to the cultures of many countries, and be aware of what is acceptable to talk about / not talk about

*Note: It was suggested by a female Cambly teacher to not use your real identity when signing up as a tutor. I thought this was a great idea because you’ll avoid having dodgy men from around the world stalking your personal social media profiles. One downside of the internet!

Click here to learn more about Cambly and to apply 

4. Italki – Teach English Online (or any other language!)

Italki is completely different from the 3 companies and programs I listed above. With Italki, you set the pay rate that you will be charging your students. If there’s a language that you are fluent in (English, Japanese, German, Russian, etc.), then you can apply to become a teacher of that language. You will be in charge of the lesson and the platform it is taught on (Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts).

The rates you should charge are based on your previous experience, your credentials, your student feedback and what others are charging to teach online. From what I can see, the professional teachers are charging around $25 / hour, while the community tutors are charging around $12 / hour. Basically, if you price yourself out of the market, you won’t have any students.

You must be a native speaker in the language you are choosing to teach.

teach english online by using italki and make money

Pros To Teach English Online With Italki:

  • You are in charge and set your own fee and your own schedule
  • You decide what you teach
  • Classes are 1-on-1
  • Teach English Online and Work from anywhere in the world
  • There are 2 types of profiles – professional teacher or community tutor. You must show certifications to be considered a professional
  • The platform deals with payments and assists with student issues

Cons To Teach English Online With Italki:

  • They take a 15% commission on your completed lessons
  • You need to come up with the lesson plans yourself

Click here to learn more about Italki and to apply

5. EnglishHunt – Teach English Online (or by phone) to Korean Students

The online teaching jobs available with this company varies, but right now they are looking for native English speakers who are from the USA to teach Korean business students. You’ll be speaking by phone, but via softphone technology downloaded to your computer.

Pros To Teach English Online With EnglishHunt:

  • It pays $2 per 10 minutes
  • You will be teaching adults
  • The curriculum is provided
  • 2 shifts to choose from: Mon-Fri 6am to 9am, or 6pm to midnight Korean time (you don’t need to be available for the entire shift)
  • You can teach English online or by phone and work from anywhere in the world

Cons To Teach English Online With EnglishHunt:

  • For United States residents only (but can be living abroad)
  • Must have an American bank account for salary deposits
  • Their software isn’t compatible with Apple products
  • You must have 48 hours of college credits or an TEFL/ESL certificate

Click here to learn more about EnglishHunt

teach english online with Englishhunt company

Now You Can Teach English Online

I hope that this article inspired you to teach English online, either as a full-time job, or as a side hustle. Except for VIPKID, Qkids and EnglishHunt who require North American teachers, the other two are fair game for any nationality and in some cases, you don’t even need to be native English speaking. Teaching English is a rewarding and enriching experience. Check out the companies above and get started!

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Written by

Dariece is a co-founder of Goats On The Road, and together with her best friend, travel partner and love of her life, Nick, she’s been travelling the world since 2008…experiencing some of the least visited corners of our planet. She loves meeting new people and learning about the unique cultures of our world. Her advice has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider and Forbes.

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57 thoughts on “Teach English Online: Get Paid With These Top 5 Companies

  1. Great information here, so thanks for that.
    A little disappointed with the requirement to be from either Canada or US for some of them, particularly as a native English speaker from England (it’s amazing how many people don’t realise England English) but hey ho!

    1. Don’t get discouraged! I work for VIPKID, and I wish we hired a more diverse group of staff members. I know that there are a lot of other companies out there, so there are definitely good opportunities to be found, keep searching.

    2. your accents are way too thick to for non-Native speakers. Hence, American and Candian–they have neutral accents for the most part. (except deep south and northern Canada)

  2. I teach with VIPKID, and I love the company! It was interesting reading about the different opportunities. I’ve heard a lot about Q-kids and Cambly, as a lot of our teachers use these companies to fill their schedule when they first start out. Many prefer VIPKID for the pay and one on one classes in the end, but my sources might be biased!

  3. Because I’m hearing impaired, teaching verbally isn’t an option due to my strong accent and poor lipreading skills. I was wondering if you (or anyone else) have seen any demand for ASL teachers online?

    Thanks!

  4. This is such a super article. I have taught English abroad before but never considered taking this online. Definitely a great way to supplement the digital nomad lifestyle though, will definitely be looking into a few of these companies!

  5. I taught English in China for 2 years (pre-k, kindergarten, and then at an extra curricular school on the weekends). I loved it and am interested in teaching online. Since you work for VIP Kids (you collective for those who have mentioned working for/with them) what is the true time commitment like? What do you dis/like? I’m very interested.

  6. Thank you for all the info you provided. I went through the process with VIPkids ( long and time consuming , buying educational aids and props) regrettably even though I was told I did very well on the interviews and mocks I was not hired. I strongly felt it was because I was black , sad but true. Thanks again

    1. I was also told that I did very well on the interview and that they liked my credentials (high GPA double major), but I was declined.

      I think it’s also because I have a darker skin tone.

      1. interesting..I was wondering if the company would discriminate against people of darker skin. As asian are known for discrimination for that reasonThank you for sharing your experience.

  7. Hi, I work for VIPKID and I started May 2018. It started off very well for me since some teachers had no classes the first month. March 2018 I made 575 USD, April 2018 May 2018 I made $1182 USD = $1500 CAD, May 2018 $1894 USD and June, I’m hitting close to $ 1700 USD which is great because I’m Canadian…eh! It’s gone so well for me I recommend it.

  8. French tutor It is possible to definitely visit experience while in the work you are writing. This segment wants all the more passionate freelance writers such as you who aren’t afraid to cover where did they believe that. Continuously go after your heart.

  9. I hold a teaching certificate in Georgia in social studies, special needs and learning disabled. I specialize in teaching special disable and special needs children at all levels. I would love to contact you to see our if our goals can be compatible to in moving forward to help children reach their full academic potential.

  10. Thank you for writing about this lifestyle! I am definitely interested in following in you guys’ footsteps and pursuing this way of living. I do have a question. I realize having quiet, undisturbed teaching times might be difficult. What internet service/system is best to have while on the road?

  11. I have just graduated as a TEFL teacher and want to work from home online. I live in South Africa. Please let me know if you have any jobs available.

    Thank you kindly

    Debbie Worth

  12. As an IMPORTANT note for anyone looking into English Hunt, I just looked into them and they say that Apple/Mac computers are NOT compatible with their programs. So, if you only have a Mac like I do, you won’t be able to work with English Hunt.

  13. Thank you for this…it is very informative and relevant. I’m gearing up to apply to teach online so this is great. It reaffirmed that VIPKID is still a leader in this fast moving field of teaching English online.

  14. Thanks for the information.

    Although, English teachers from England don’t have much to work with using this list.

    Are there not more inclusive suggestions?

    Verbling or DaDaABC to discuss?

  15. Hi Dariece,

    This is a very helpful article! Thanks very much! Has a lot of information I was looking for. Unfortunately, i could be branded as not a native english speaker “technically”, since I hail from India.

    Will still give it a try at one of the companies that do not require us to from Canada/U.S.

    Thanks again

  16. Greetings from Sri Lanka!
    I would need a piece of advice if you don’t mind. I am a Romanian citizen, however I have been teaching English at mostly all levels for all my life, namely ever since graduating from an English intensive study high school. I have a University degree in communication and a masters in public relations, none being of much help, I guess, when it comes to teaching. I have also taught Italian, Spanish and French all languages I am fluent in. I am interested in teaching mostly English and Italian, however of what i read here, most of these companies would require native speakers. I believe they should consider the level of English and experience rather than being a native speaker. With all due respect to everyone, I had an English native speaker teacher from USA in high school, brought especially for conversation, whose grammar was incorrect, vocabulary poor and knowledge scarce. Besides, speaking and teaching are two very different things. Being a native speaker of any language does not make anyone a good teacher. This being said, I would really appreciate some advice as to which companies I could apply for online teaching jobs. Thank you in advance!

  17. i am a retired social worker. i have masters in management. English is my only language. i am from Johannesburg in South Africa.

    interested in online teaching

  18. It is somewhat of a shame that a University degree is required for a couple of these programs. My wife has been a teacher’s aid in a Private School for the past 13 years. She does not have college training. Primarily she has had the duty to teach preschoolers (3 and 4 years old) to read. I am proud to say that by the end of each of those school years at least 95% of these children smile ear to ear as they realize that they have for the first time formed words into sentences and have “read” what was set before them.

    1. Yes, it is a shame since the degree doesn’t need to be in the field of education or something similar. But, it’s the law in China to have a university degree, and in many countries.

      Warm regards,
      Dariece

  19. I recently applied for iTalki, and was rejected. There wasn’t a lot of useful info in the email I received:

    “Unfortunately, your application was declined for one or more of the reasons below:
    Due to the large volume of teaching applications we receive, we are not able to accept every application, and regret that we must decline your application at this time. We will contact you if we would like to review your application again in the future.”

    Should I try to reapply? Are there best practices for being accepted into these programs, or what each of them consider when making a decision on a teacher? I don’t have any experience teaching, but have Bachelor’s degrees in both Psychology and Economics. Would getting my TEFL certificate be overkill, just to start teaching online?

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