Teaching English online is the new global gig that has become the dream job for so many people worldwide. The ability to work remotely, be independent and get paid to speak English has allowed thousands of English speakers to become successful freelancers. There are a ton of companies that will hire you to teach English online. But which company do you choose? That’s what we’re here to help with with our Ultimate Review of Online Teaching Platforms.
Education has shifted from brick and mortar classrooms learning to virtual study. There are countless opportunities for teaching online. With so many questions to be answered when it comes to teaching English online, let us break it down.
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What are the requirements for teaching English online?
Teaching English online isn’t a “one-size fits all” job. Because of the demand for English teachers, companies will have different entry requirements. This can include some or all of the following:
- Be a native English speaker (a lot of companies tend to prefer neutral accents such as UK, USA, Canada, Australia etc).
- Have a Bachelor’s degree (usually in any subject).
- A TEFL certificate (minimum of a 120 hour course is usually required).
- Some prior experience (especially when working with children).
- A stable internet connection and equipment (such as a headset, microphone and webcam).
The above is not an exhaustive list of requirements, but it gives you an idea of what is needed to be an English teacher online. Although not explicitly stated by companies, you will generally earn more money the more qualified you are. You will also have more options and opportunities for teaching than those who are not experienced or qualified.
Do I need to be a native speaker?
Being a non-native speaker isn’t necessarily a barrier to teaching English online. But with any job, you need to prove you are the right person. Some non-native speakers tend to think that they are already at a disadvantage to native speakers when applying for jobs, but this isn’t always the case.
By being a non-native speaker, not only are you bilingual, but you have experience of learning English as a second language. You have experience of learning a second language from scratch. You may also have a depth of understanding of the English language that your native speaker counterparts may not, as they learnt the language intuitively from birth; so you may have crucial experience that native speakers do not.
An important thing to remember – native speakers do not necessarily make better English teachers, so don’t let being a non-native speaker hold you back!
Do I need to have a degree or a TEFL qualification?
Having a degree isn’t always a requirement for teaching English online. However, some companies do require that their teachers have a Bachelor’s degree in any subject. Even having a TEFL qualification isn’t essential, but it certainly helps!
When it comes to teaching English online, the more qualified you are, typically the higher your earning potential. So if you have a degree, a TEFL certificate and experience of teaching English, you will usually be in the higher wage bracket. If you don’t have a TEFL or a degree, then you’ll generally start off at the bottom of the pay-scale. Remember though, if you want to teach English online, not having qualifications doesn’t completely rule you out.
Companies for native speakers
If you are a native speaker of English and looking for the perfect company for you, read on! We have put together a bunch of awesome companies that you can check out.
With MagicEars, you will be teaching young learners aged 4-12 years old. A TEFL certification is required, however, whilst you don’t necessarily need to have a Bachelor’s degree, you must at least be studying for one. Being a native speaker from either the US or Canada is also a strict requirement. The classes with MagicEars can have up to four students at one time.
Earnings: $20-$26 per hour
Highlights: Instead of booking individual teachers, parents simply book a class. The MagicEars system then assigns the child to a teacher. This is useful if you worry about having regular lessons.
Based in Beijing, this teaching platform allows you to work with Chinese children aged 4-12 on a one-to-one basis. To work with VIPKID, you must be a native speaker from the US or Canada with at least two years experience of working with children. A Bachelor’s degree is needed, but a TEFL certificate is not. You will also have to sign a contract for a minimum of 6-months, but you can work as much or as little as you like.
Earnings: $14-$18 per hour
Highlights: You don’t need to worry about lesson planning. VIPKID sorts this out for you!
With DaDa ABC, you will be teaching young learners aged 4-16 on a one-to-one lesson basis. Although there is no set contract length, you will need to commit to at least 10 hours a week. A Bachelor’s degree and TEFL qualification are required, but you do not necessarily need to be a native speaker. British and American accents are preferred, however.
Earnings: $14-$19 per hour
Highlights: DaDa ABC gives allowances for props when you start working with them!
To work with ALO7, you must be a native speaker from the UK, USA, Canada or Australia. You will need a Bachelor’s degree, TEFL certification and experience is preferred. Students will be aged between 5 and 18 years old.
Earnings: $15-$22 per hour
Highlights: ALO7 provides one-on-one, one-on-three or group online English classes. This variation will keep you from getting bored quickly!
With Fluentify, you will need to be a native speaker with a Bachelor’s degree and TEFL certification. Experience is essential, with 2+ years needed including online and with adults. Having a business related background is preferred. Only 10% of tutors who apply to work with Fluentify are accepted, so it is difficult to get in to.
Earnings: $23-$24 per hour which equates to 10 Euro per session plus bonuses (30 minute session).
Highlights: Fluentify generally tends to focus on speaking lessons for business professionals. This is the perfect fit for you if you want to work with adults only.
Best of the rest for native speakers
|Qkids||$16+||With QKIDS, you won’t have to plan your own lessons, but you will need to familiarize yourself with the materials before each lesson. Only US or Canadian citizens accepted.|
|iTutor Group||$8-$20||With iTutorGroup, lessons are provided. This means you don’t have to prepare a huge amount in advance as long as you familiarize yourself with the lessons beforehand. This company has some of the most diverse learners ranging from kids to retired adults.|
|Englishunt||$14+||One of the more difficult companies to work with. Bachelor’s, TEFL certificate and experience all required. Only accepts US citizens. There are also opportunities to work on a freelance basis with Englishunt to earn additional revenue, including writing, voice recordings and reviewing student essay submissions.|
|GoGoKid||$14-$25||With GoGoKid your pay is based on a credit score system. Simply put, the more you impress and work hard, the higher your earning potential. A Bachelor’s and TEFL certificate is required and prior experience is preferred.|
|Kaifu English||$10-$18||With Kaifu English, students are required to take a test to determine their English language level, so you will generally know what to expect with each student. North American, British and Australian accents are preferred.|
|51Talk (Hawo)||$18-$22||With 51Talk, it is not necessarily essential to have a Bachelor’s degree, but you must be enrolled on a Bachelor’s course as a minimum, which opens up the roles to more teachers.|
|Lingoda||$8-$13||Teaching with Lingoda takes away the stress of having to plan lessons in advance, with all teaching materials supplied. Lessons also take place on the Zoom platform, making it even easier and more accessible. This platform is geared towards teachers who want to work with adult learners.|
Companies for non-native speakers
Not a native speaker of English but still want to teach English online? Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about you! Here is our top companies to work for that hire non-native speakers to teach English online.
With iTalki, teachers are able to have lessons with both adults and children, which is useful for those who don’t have a preference and can be flexible. Teachers also set their own prices, but be aware that iTalki takes 15% in commission after lessons. They do prefer native speakers, but if you are a C2 in English then you shouldn’t have a problem getting started.
Earnings: $10+ per hour
Highlights: iTalki is not limited to just English, so if you are a non-native speaker of English but also want to teach Spanish as a native speaker, then you can do this. There are endless opportunities for teaching on this platform!
With First Future, you could be teaching an individual student or a group of up to six people in a virtual classroom. All lesson content is provided for you, which takes the pressure off you with preparation. A typical lesson would involve going through pre-taught vocab and supporting students to become more confident when speaking.
Earnings: $24-$30 per hour
Highlights: One of the great advantages of teaching with First Future is that you will be on a fixed schedule, meaning you will still be paid even if a lesson isn’t booked during your slot.
Palfish is a company open to non-native speakers which has one of the quickest on-boarding processes. They allow you to set your own rates, but you can earn more if you have more qualifications. Students can vary in age, but it is mostly young learners who use this Chinese platform. The Palfish website is in Chinese, so make sure you are able to translate it!
Earnings: $10-$18 per hour
Highlights: One of the best things about working with Palfish is that they have one of the quickest and smoothest on-boarding processes. In addition, if you decide to enhance your qualifications, you will be able to teach more programs.
Amazing Talker is another company that hires non-native speakers, and it also has some of the most relaxed entry requirements. With lessons lasting either 25 or 50 minutes, teachers can set their own rates but must prepare their own lessons. A TEFL certificate is not required, but it is preferred and experience of teaching English previously is important.
Earnings: $18+ per hour
Highlights: With Amazing Talker, teachers have a massive earning potential because they are able to set their own rates. Their top 10% of teachers earn between $18-$76 per hour, so it’s possible to earn big bucks with this company.
No Bachelor’s degree needed
Worried that not having a degree will exclude you from teaching English online? No need to worry – we’ve got you covered with some of the best companies who hire teachers without a degree.
Engoo (Bibo Global Opportunity)
Engoo, also known previously as Bibo Global Opportunity is one of the companies with the most relaxed set of rules for new teachers. As an non-native speaker, this is almost the perfect role. The pay is not life-changing, but if you don’t have a degree, TEFL or experience, then this is to be expected.
Earnings: $6+ per hour
Highlights: The biggest advantage of working with Engoo is that there are very little entry requirements to become a teacher. You don’t need a degree, a TEFL or experience. Just a proficiency in English and the right equipment!
Cambly has some of the most flexible teaching arrangements alongside some of the easiest entrance requirements. No experience is necessary to be a tutor, although you do need to be a native speaker of English. Pay is calculated per minute of teaching at a rate of $0.17, so an hour of teaching would be $10.20.
Earnings: $10.20+ per hour (paid by minute)
Highlights: Cambly’s learners come from all over the world, giving you the unique experience of teaching people from many backgrounds.
Working with Preply allows you to set your own lesson price. However, commission is taken from your earnings. After you have reached a certain amount of teaching hours, commission will be lowered, so the more you work, the less commission you pay. You also don’t need a degree or a TEFL, so this is the perfect company to work for if you are just starting out.
Earnings: $15+ per hour
Highlights: The more you work with Preply, the less commission you pay. So, if you put the work in, then your earning potential can be huge!
Ginseng English is the perfect company for you if you want to work with adults. This role is different to most because you are not teaching one-on-one on Skype. You are teaching a class of students around the world based on a solid curriculum. Ginseng English will look favourably upon experience and qualifications, but is not a requirement.
Earnings: $10-$15 per hour
Highlights: Being able to teach in a business context is a draw for some teachers. Ginseng English works with teachers who feel comfortable in teaching a class of students rather than individual students. This is perfect for those who don’t want to deal with children.
WaijiaoYi is another company that doesn’t have a lot of difficult entry requirements. You don’t need a degree or a TEFL, and you can be a non-native speaker. Again, the pay isn’t incredible, but it can be good if you are just starting your TEFL journey. A lot of the work on this platform happens over the weekends, so make sure you set time aside for lessons!
Earnings: $9-$16 per hour
Highlights: WaijiaoYi is a Chinese start-up that focuses a lot on the dual-teaching method (a foreigner and Chinese native teacher) to conduct English classes in smaller cities across China. This is a different way of teaching for new tutors and can be very rewarding!
Made up your mind yet?
Don’t worry, we don’t expect you to have figured it all out yet! Hopefully this guide has given you more of an idea of what to expect when applying for jobs with online English teaching companies.
The internet really has opened up a world of opportunities for people to make money online. Teaching English might be one of the most exciting and fulfilling of all.
Being able to connect with people from all over the world and have a positive impact on their lives is only one of the benefits. You will be able to learn more about other cultures, more about yourself and discover skills you never even realised you had!
Don’t forget though; teaching English online is hard work. Don’t assume that speaking English makes you the best teacher in the world. It doesn’t work like that – a lot of practice is required, but it is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have.