How to Teach English Online From Home + 29 Schools to Apply To
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How to Teach English Online + 29 Schools to Apply To

If you’re wondering how to teach English online, it’s easier than you think!

All you need is a computer and a stable WiFi connection, and you can make money from anywhere in the world!

There is an incredible amount of location-independent jobs around the world, and there are many popular “freelanceable” jobs out there. People are making money online more than ever and finding creative ways to do it.

For me, teaching English online actually changed my life because it’s what started it all for me. I realized there were tons of other ways to make money while traveling. But that’s another story!

Table of Contents

Why Teach English Online

When you think about it, what job isn’t going online nowadays? Teaching English online is just another one to add to the list.

English is the global language of business in our society, and roughly 20% of the world’s population speaks it. That has skyrocketed the demand for English teachers in countries across the globe. For native English speakers itching to find work online, this creates a unique opportunity.

English speakers are needed more than ever, and people are too busy to get lessons at a language center, or perhaps it’s not even offered in their city. That means the online English teacher position has now grown into a full-fledged career, and people like you are needed!

This is what teaching English from home looks like.
Teaching English from home is pretty much like Zooming with an overseas friend.

What Does an Online English Teacher Do?

The concept is simple. You and your student(s) log on to an online platform. It might be a virtual classroom or just Zoom. Then, you have a lesson. You converse. You correct mistakes. You have fun!

People wanting to learn English can schedule a class at any time of the day and converse with a native speaker around the world via an online platform.

This couldn’t get any more convenient for both parties. I mean, unless they make a microchip we can insert into our brain that automatically allows us to speak whatever language we want… Teaching online is the best route to go!

What’s so Great About Teaching English Online?

It’s pretty awesome! Here’s why I loved it…

1. I worked from home.
2. I spoke with cool people around the world.
3. I made my own schedule.
4. I pretty much got paid to simply have conversations.
5. I didn’t have to wear pants.
6. I got to make money from anywhere! (I’ve taught English online in seven countries!)

I currently don’t teach English from home anymore because I now blog full-time. However, I know that teaching English online will be there should I want to get back into it. I can’t recommend it enough!

How to Teach English Online – 7 Steps to Help You Become an Online English Teacher


1. Basic Requirments and Get Your TEFL Certificate

You don’t have to be a “real” teacher to teach English online, but you will likely need a TEFL certificate and a few other things to be considered for a position at an online school.

This is how I used to teach English from home.
An ANCIENT photo of how I used to teach English from home.

If you’ve been trying to figure out how to teach English online, you’ve likely heard the phrase TEFL before. You’ll likely see it many times on your English teaching journey. TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and it’s a certificate most schools require of their teachers.

Not all schools require this, but most do. Especially the ones that pay well. It’s a cheap and easy thing to get online.

Here are a few more basic requirements that most schools look for in their teachers:

Basic Requirements

– Some ESL teaching experience
– Native English speaker (usually)
– Bachelors in any subject (usually)
TEFL certification, preferable unless you have many years of experience or a degree in teaching

👉 TIP

student reading a book outside

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Now, I call these the general requirements. Some might require more from you, or you might get away without having one of them. You will have to check with the particular company.

If you want to teach English online but you’re not a native English speaker or you don’t have a degree, don’t worry. I have options for you too!

RELATED: Choosing the Best Online TEFL Course

2. Make Sure You Meet the Technical Requirements for Teaching English Online

In addition to your TEFL certificate, there are a few technical requirements that most schools want teachers to have, including:

1. A quiet space to teach in
2. Decent computer to work from
3. Headset and a webcam
4. A reliable internet connection

RELATED: Simple Travel Home Office Accessories You Need to Work Comfortably

3. Decide Which Type of Students You Want to Teach

This will vary by company, but your students will range from kids to the elderly who are bored and have nothing else to do.

I don’t want that to sound bad, but I really had 60-70-year-olds who told me they were bored and wanted to learn and talk to people! It was so cute, and they were some of my favorite students.

You might have businessmen and women who are looking to rise up the ranks in their company and need English-speaking skills. Also, you might teach students hoping to study abroad or people who have upcoming travels and are looking to speak English to get around more easily.

There are group lessons where you chat with multiple people, and sometimes it’s just a one-on-one lesson. When I was teaching English online, I would sometimes teach beginner students who knew five and a half words in English! It wasn’t easy, but there are tools out there to help you.

Most companies you are applying for will advertise which types of students they teach, so you can avoid school for kids or adults depending on your preference (if you have one).

4. Figure Out Which Tools You’ll Need to Teach English Online

Depending on which company you work for, you may or may not receive tools that make teaching English easy and fun.

For example, the company I worked for had a PowerPoint presentation in my virtual classroom that presented the lesson I taught. It included grammar exercises, pictures, listening activities, and other features, so I didn’t have to plan very much.

The student could also SEE many things to aid them when they are at a lower level, which is helpful. If your student doesn’t understand a word and sees a picture that your mouse is pointing to, this is an aid to help explain.

Teaching English from home is fun and rewarding.
Teaching English from home is fun and rewarding.

My classroom also included a chat box that really came in handy. If my student was pronouncing something that I simply couldn’t catch, they could type it for me. Or if there was something I wanted to spell out for the student, I could chat back to them so they could hear and see my response.

It also had a notes section for anything else I needed to add, and the student could copy and paste those notes to keep.

Some online classes are simply done on Zoom without much else for tools, but really, all you need is your voice!

Also, let’s not forget about online translators. Do they translate sentences well? Eh, not always. A word? Yeah, it’s not so bad. So, if you can’t get an explanation of a word across, use an online translator in the student’s language to copy and paste it into the chat. Easy.

5. Find a School That Pays Well or Set Your Own Rate

I’m sure you want to talk about money, so how much can you actually earn teaching English online?

Sorry, you’re not going to like my answer but it, of course, depends on the company and your experience. You can get paid anywhere from a few dollars an hour to over $40 USD an hour.

I owe everything to teaching English from home because it helped keep me on the road for YEARS.
I owe everything to teaching English from home because it helped keep me on the road for YEARS.

Some sites pay you hourly and already have a pool of students waiting for a teacher. There are also sites like Tutor Agent where you set your own pay rate, but you must attract the students yourself.

How much you make is going to depend a lot on your availability and which school you teach at, so set yourself up for success!

I prefer going to companies that already have a pool of students to teach online. It makes teaching English online THAT much easier. When you’re trying to work from anywhere, you don’t want to worry about how to attract students.

6. Make a Schedule

So what about the schedule? Some companies require you to have a set time every day, and some allow ultimate freedom, letting you choose your weekly schedule. I had the latter, which was awesome. Again, it depends on the company! There are many jobs out there, so if you qualify, you can be choosy to find the one that fits you best.

Ultimately, most jobs I’ve seen have lots of flexibility. So this is a huge plus when teaching English from home. Whether you’re a night owl or a morning person, you can work whenever you want because there are always students around the globe ready to learn. Even if it’s midnight for you, you can log in and teach someone who’s elsewhere in the world!

Warning: Flexible schedules can be a double-edged sword. You’ll need the discipline to actually get online and teach, and if you’re picking random times on different days of the week all the time, you might lose out on potential long-term students.

So, even if your school lets you pick flexible hours, I recommend picking days and times that work for you and staying consistent for your students. This will help you out in the long run.

RELATED: Can You Teach English Online/Abroad Without a Degree?

7. Apply for Schools

Okay. Now that you have a little more info on how to teach English online. It’s time to start applying for schools. As I mentioned, a lot is hanging on this description, including your schedule, salary, and what types of resources you’ll have available to you. So, choose wisely!

I’ve spent hours researching the best schools for teaching English online, so take a look and start applying!

Teach English Online: 29 Companies for You to Apply To

There are tons of options out there if you want to teach English from home, and it’s important to find a trustworthy company that’s right for you. A few companies have really stood out from the pack in recent years, but below, you’ll find an extensive list of companies to check out.

The requirements vary to a large degree, so the list is divided into three categories to make things a bit easier for you – companies that require a degree and TEFL certificate, companies that don’t require a degree, and companies that allow non-native English teachers.

WAIT! An Important Change to Teaching English Online in China

This is a must-know if you plan on applying for any company based in China. The landscape for teaching English online in China is rapidly changing, and some of the companies below may be affected by new laws and regulations.

Basically, the government is attempting to ban online English teaching and tutoring for kids. These new regulations haven’t fully gone into effect yet, but you may want to keep this in mind as you select which schools you are applying for.

Luckily, there are plenty of online schools that teach English to students in other countries too. If you really want to teach English to Chinese students, you now basically have two options – you can teach English online to adults, or move to China and teach English in person.

No matter what, if you want to teach English to Chinese students, you’ll need the following:

Platforms based outside of China are not affected by this policy but make sure you always read the company’s specific requirements carefully.

RELATED: Teaching English in China: How to Get ESL Jobs in China

Native English Speakers With a Degree Can Teach English Online From Home With These Companies

1. VIPKID

(Most popular online English school right now! I have tons of friends who work here)

  • Avg Pay: $14-22 USD/hour
  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, eligible to work in the U.S. or Canada, 1 year of teaching experience
  • TEFL certificate a HUGE plus but not required
  • Lesson plans provided for you
  • Huge bonus and incentive opportunities
  • More info on how to teach English online with VIPKID here.
  • OR check this post on being a VIPKID teacher from my friend who has been working with them from the beginning and now helps hire VIPKid teachers.
VIPKID is a popular way to teach English from home.
VIPKID is a popular way to teach English from home.

2. EF Education First

(This was the main company I taught with circa 2012-2015)

  • Avg Pay: Earn up to $20 USD/hour
  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, fully fluent in English (C2 or above), non US-entity bank account, desktop or laptop with a camera
  • TEFL certificate required
  • Create your own schedule
  • Lesson plans provided for you
  • More info on how to teach English online with EF Education First here.

3. Dada

  • Avg Pay: Earn up to $15-25 USD/hour
  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, 1 year of teaching experience, US/UK/Canada/Australia nationalities preferred
  • TEFL certificate required
  • Create your own schedule
  • Teach the same students
  • More info on how to teach English online with Dada here.

4. Magic Ears

  • Avg Pay: Earn up to $22-26 USD/hour (base pay $9-11 USD per 30 minutes)
  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, some teaching experience preffered, native English speakers from the U.S. or Canada, requires high-energy teaching style
  • TEFL certificate required
  • Lesson plans provided
  • Group classes up to four students
  • More info on how to teach English online with Magic Ears here.
Magic Ears is a great resource for how to teach English online.
Magic Ears is a great resource for how to teach English online.

5. Cafe Talk

  • Avg Pay: $8-25 USD/hour (teachers set their own rates)
  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, native or near native English
  • TEFL certificate not required but recommended to charge higher rates
  • One-on-one lessons
  • Free registration
  • Teaching material and resources not provided
  • More info on how to teach English with Cafe Talk here.

6. QKids

  • Avg Pay: $12-16 USD/hour
  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, 2 years of teaching experience, eligible to work in the U.S. or Canada
  • TEFL certificate required or willing to obtain
  • Group classes up to 4 students
  • Teaching materials provided but recommended to have your own teaching props as well
  • More info on how to teach English online with QKids here.
Qkids is another useful website for teaching English from home.
Qkids is another useful website for teaching English from home.

7. HAWO (Formerly 51Talk)

  • Avg Pay: Earn up to $22 USD/hour
  • Requirements: BA degree or enrolled as an education major, some teaching experience, native English speaker, experience in the U.S. or Canadian education systems
  • TEFL certificate preferred
  • Create your own schedule
  • Assistance from their support team
  • More info on how to teach English online with HAWO here.

8. Ringle

  • Avg Pay: $17-20 USD/hour
  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, eligibility to work in the U.S. or U.K., experience as an educator or in a similar role
  • TEFL certificate not required
  • Flexible hours with no minimum requirement
  • Lesson materials provided
  • More info on how to teach English online with Ringle here.

9. Voxy

  • Avg Pay: $10-$15 USD/hour
  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, native English speaker, 3 years teaching experience
  • TEFL certificate required
  • Paid training
  • Teaching materials provided
  • More info on how to teach English online with Voxy here.

10. NeuABC

  • Avg Pay: Earn up to $18 USD/hour
  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, those with a background in teaching preferred, native English speaker from the U.S. or Canada, must be available for a minimum of 4 hours per week
  • TEFL certificate required
  • Create your own schedule
  • One on one classes
  • More info on how to teach English online with NeuABC here.

11. English Hunt

  • Avg Pay: $16 USD/hour
  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, 4 years of teaching experience, U.S. citizen, U.S. bank account
  • TEFL certificate required
  • Curriculum provided
  • One on one classes
  • More info on how to teach English online with English Hunt here.

Those Without a Degree Can Teach English From Home With These Companies

No need to panic if you don’t have that golden certificate saying you have a university degree. You can still work from anywhere teaching English online without a degree in hand.

After hours of research with the help of Google and scrolling through online threads, I made a list of around a dozen companies that don’t require you to be a college grad. For the ones stating a TEFL is required, it literally says that on the website. Don’t assume the others will let you skate through without one though. Having a TEFL is always a plus to have and makes you A LOT more marketable.

Some companies require experience but the bright side is many of them pay their teachers more. You can work with another company or perhaps teach English abroad to gain valuable experience. The key is here is that no degree is required. And that’s the main thing we’re looking for.

12. Cambly

  • Avg Pay: $10.20 USD/hour
  • TEFL certificate not required
  • No minimum hour commitment
  • More info on how to teach English online with Cambly here.
Cambly is a helpful resource for how to teach English online.
Another pro for Cambly is that their website is user-friendly.

13. Lingoda

  • Avg Pay: $8-12 USD/hour
  • TEFL certificate required
  • 3 years of teaching experience
  • More info on how to teach English online with Lingoda here.

14. Open English

  • Avg Pay: $8-13 USD/hour (up to $15/hour)
  • TEFL certificate required
  • 1 year of teaching experience
  • More info on how to teach English online with Open English here.

15. iTalki

  • Online marketplace where freelance teachers list their own prices
  • TEFL certificate highly recommended
  • Important for your profile to stand out due to high demand for English teachers
  • More info on how to teach English online with iTalki here.

16. SkimaTalk

  • Set your own pay rate, the company charges a 20% fee of rate
  • TEFL not required but recommended
  • Create your own schedule and work as many hours as you like
  • More info on how to teach English online with SkimaTalk here.
Skimatalk is another website you can use to teach English from home.
SkimaTalk is another website you can use to teach English from home.

17. Tutlo

  • Avg Pay: $9-11 USD/hour
  • TEFL certificate required
  • 6 months of teaching experience
  • More info on how to teach English online with Tutlo here.

18. All Right

  • Avg Pay: $8-12 USD/hour
  • TEFL certificate required if you don’t have a degree
  • Non-native English speakers welcome
  • More info on how to teach English online with All Right here.

19. Allschool

  • Teachers set their own rate
  • TEFL certificate not required but recommended
  • 1 year of teaching experience with children
  • More info on how to teach English online with Allschool here.

RELATED: How to Teach English Online Without a Degree

Non-Native English Speakers Can Teach English From Home With These Companies

For non-native English speakers, I know what you’re thinking. Am I automatically shuffled out of the market just because I wasn’t born in an English-speaking country? Absolutely not!

This industry has advanced light-years from when I first got started, and luckily, many of them have more flexible requirements, and you do not HAVE to be a native English speaker.

Here are just a handful of places you can apply:

20. Preply

  • Online marketplace where teachers set their own prices
  • Company charges a 18-33% commission depending on the number of completed lessons for each student. Avg pay is about $15-25 USD/hour
  • TEFL certificate & teaching experience recommended to gain more students
  • Native & non-Native English speakers can apply
  • More info on how to teach English online with Preply here.
Preply will help with how to teach English online.
Preply’s website

21. Palfish

  • Set your own pay rate. Avg is $10-18 USD/hour but some teachers charge upwards of $30 USD/hour
  • TEFL certificate required
  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • App based platform so you’ll need an iOS or Android phone/tablet
  • Teach individuals and groups
  • Non-natives with neutral accents encouraged to apply
  • More info on how to teach English online with Palfish here.

22. Fluentbe

  • Avg Pay: $10-12 USD/hour
  • TEFL certificate required
  • 1 year of teaching experience
  • Available for PolishCzech, Slovak, Spanish, Portuguese and Hungarian native speakers
  • More info on how to teach English online with Fluentbe here.

23. Rype App

  • Avg Pay: $9-11 USD/hour
  • TEFL certificate not required but preferred
  • 1 year of teaching experience
  • Accepts non-native English speakers
  • Minimum commitment of 10 hours per week
  • More info on how to teach English online with Rype App here.
Rype App is an excellent resource to teach English from home.
Rype App is an excellent resource to teach English from home.

24. Learnlight

  • Avg Pay: $12-14 USD/hour
  • TEFL required
  • 2 years of teaching experience
  • Must commit to minimum of 10 hours per week for at least 1 year
  • Non-natives must prove proficiency in language taught
  • More info on how to teach English online with Learnlight here.

25. Verbling

  • Teachers set their own rates
  • TEFL certificate & teaching experience preffered
  • Non-natives must prove proficiency of English language
  • More info on how to teach English online with Verbling here.

26. Engoo (formerly known as Bibo Global Opportunity)

  • Avg Pay: $2.8-10 USD/hour
  • TEFL certificate & teaching experience not required but recommended
  • Non-natives must prove proficiency of English language
  • More info on how to teach English online with Engoo here.

27. Apollo

  • Avg Pay: $15-23 USD/hour
  • 120-hour TEFL certificate & Bachelor’s degree required
  • Non-natives must prove proficiency of English Language
  • More info on how to teach English online with Apollo here.

28. Learntalk

  • Avg Pay: $4-15 USD/hour
  • Pay is based on three teaching brackets determined by qualifications (Language Tutor, Experienced Instructor, Professional Teacher)
  • TEFL certificate only required for top bracket of Professional Teacher ($12-15 USD/hour)
  • Non-natives must-have neutral accent
  • More info on how to teach English online with Learntalk here.

29. TutorABC

  • Avg Pay: $8-11 USD/hour but those from English speaking countries can potentially earn over $20/hour
  • TEFL certificate required or willing to obtain it
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Teaching experience and native English speakers preferred
  • Non-natives with a neutral accent can apply but base pay is more favorable to native English speakers
  • More info on how to teach English online with TutorABC here.

RELATED: How to Teach ANY Language Online

My TOP TIPS for How to Teach English Online

I “worked” the system in a way that I found benefited me the most. These are the best tips I can give for how to teach online from home if you’re in a similar position as I was.

How to Maximize Income Teaching English Online:

  • I worked at a school in Thailand for one semester to gain experience of teaching ESL abroad. This experience is sometimes needed to get a good online teaching job!
  • I wanted to make even more money during my second-semester teaching in Thailand, so I started teaching online as well. I had many gaps in my “real school” schedule, and I would schedule online teaching hours to fill up my schedule. I made way more money this way and didn’t waste those annoying gaps in between my classes.
  • When I really wanted to make money from anywhere and not be limited to Thailand, I freed up my schedule by leaving my actual school there and worked for multiple platforms as an online English teacher. In case some weeks were slow on one platform, I’d up my hours on the other. Simple!

How to Make Teaching English Online Easier:

  • Get a good headset and make sure your internet is stable! There’s nothing worse or more awkward than having tons of internet issues during your class. You also run the risk of not getting paid if the quality was so bad that your class was pretty much nonexistent.
  • Open certain websites before class. Many schools will have the topic or a specific lesson already prepped for you, or the students have asked for a particular subject. Open browsers that reflect what the students want to study to have it ready. This can be used as an aid, provide quick examples or as a worksheet for them to read or do with you in the classes.
  • Have Google Translate open in the background for every class. You’ll need it at some point!
  • Close programs and browsers that you don’t need so your computer isn’t bogged down with unnecessary programs slowing down your computer and eating up that precious internet bandwidth you need for class.
  • Sometimes you’ll have multiple classes back to back – make sure your workstation is comfortable, you have a large glass of water, you’ve eaten enough to power through the next few classes, and go to the bathroom before starting class!

The purpose of this post is to show you there is an option to teach English online and make money from anywhere!

It’s a way people can make extra money from home or possibly make it their full-time job. If you’re between jobs but have the requirements, this could be a great way to still earn money while on the hunt.

And of course, the reason why I had this job… To keep on traveling!

These jobs are only becoming more and more abundant with the growing need for English speakers. 

Check out more jobs you can do online!

I hope this post helped you figure out how to teach English online!

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19 Comments

  1. Hi Nina
    I am a lawyer in South Africa exploring a move away from the pressures and politics of legal practice in this immensely troubled country. I have two bachelor’s degrees (law, and arts majoring in English literature and psychology), and I have lectured for two semesters in law subjects to undergraduate students which probably am0unts to two lectures a week for a cumulative eight months, so I’ve not quite made the one year teaching experience requirement. (As a lawyer I spend hours a week teaching my clients about how the law works in reference to their cases and problems, which is ironic).. Anyway be that as it may….
    Do you know if there is a narrower TEFL course which focuses specifically on training a person to teach online as opposed to in a classroom ? It might save me some time, although I recognize that ultimately it will be best to do the full 120hrs you recommend, especially if I want to keep my options open longer-term.
    REgards
    Paul Misselhorn

  2. Thank you Nina for this brilliant article! 🙂

    Unfortunately I am having trouble finding a job as online english teacher because I’m not a native speaker!
    It seems to be irrelevant having studied foreign languages for AGES (got BA’s and MA’s degrees) and actually being a polyglot!

    I am able to fluently speak 4 languages in total! 😀

    Any advise?

    Thank you again!

    1. Totally agree! I’m unfortunately not sure :-/ However, you could potentially freelance (I have an article on it). You could just work for yourself. You can speak other languages, so find people who you can communicate with in their native language and offer English lessons. There are websites (google them, I don’t know them but I’ve seen them before) where you can essentially market yourself and set your own price etc… a bit harder as you need to prove yourself and get the ball rolling but it can be done!

  3. Thanks for the information I could teach English, but I would like to teach Spanish as a second language or Italian. Any recommendation? Thank you!?

  4. Hey there,

    I know this is random but have you heard of anything like this but for maths teaching?

    Thanks

  5. You are so wonderful! Thank you for this! I will keep this in mind! I don’t have my TEFL but I am a Registered Dietitian by day and have taught at a college and teach nutrition-related courses. My population of patients are fairly illiterate so I am use to getting creative!

  6. Hi Nina,

    Thanks a lot for sharing your experience! Can you tell me please what online company you worked for?

    Thanks!

  7. Hi Nina
    I’ve taught band in public schools for 10 years. No experience teaching English. Would I still need special training? How part time can you do this? Say a couple hours per week or would it need to be more? Thanks!

    1. Hey Mary, not sure I think you’d need SOME experience teaching as a second language. That was a requirement for everything I have applied for. The certification is so easy to do and you’d only need a few months of experience to start applying. I had only four month experience. For hours, every company is different. I worked for a place that only required 10hr a week.

    1. Hi Theresa! Not unless you have a lot of experience with teaching to begin with and even then, you need the 120hrs to get the certificate that can get you a work permit abroad. Click “learn more” under the courses to read more.