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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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!
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.
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!
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.
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
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
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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