Are you looking for a flexible online job that allows you to travel the world? Or are you just happy to make some money with a side hustle?
Teaching English online is a great way to do either of these things. Teaching online allows you to set your own hours (so you can sleep in as long as you’d like) and make money wherever there is a decent internet connection.
Teaching languages online seems like the perfect job for many language enthusiasts, so I wanted to write an article that would tell you a little bit more about this unique opportunity.
There are many reasons why teaching online can be the ideal job for you, whether it is because you want to make some extra bucks or you are looking for a way to finance your international lifestyle.
Here is why teaching online is awesome
You can teach anywhere
Maybe you have your mind set on an idyllic beach on the other side of the planet, or maybe you like to be able to go work without having to put on pants. Either way, teaching languages online allows you to bring in the money from literally any place with an internet connection.
Simply make sure you have a decent webcam and decent audio quality and a good wifi connection, and the world is your oyster.
Oh, this also means there is absolutely no commute time. You work the hours you work, and the rest you can spend doing whatever you feel like.
You are able to set your own hours
Most websites work with a schedule where you can simply fill in your available hours, and students can book with you within those possibilities. This means you can adjust your working schedule to your own preferred hours.
Not much of a morning person? Sleep in and start working somewhere in the afternoon.
Prefer to have Monday off? Sure, why not?
You decide what teaching hours work best for you.
Simply put, you can work anyplace, anywhere, anytime.
You can set your own rates
This won’t be the case right from the start. Like any job, you have to settle in before you can demand the big bucks. But most sites allow you to set your own rates, so as you get more proficient in your teaching and more students leave positive reviews confirming what a great teacher you are, you can adjust your rates accordingly.
You can set your rates higher, maybe earning a little less overall but also making less hours, or work more hours while charging a little less and earning more on a monthly basis.
It’s up to you.
Cool, you’ve convinced me. Where do I apply?
There are multiple websites where you can apply, depending on what language you are intending on teaching. Each website has it’s own demands, language offering, etc, so I will list as many as possible and I would simply pick out the one that is best for you.
I will try to make the information as clear as possible, but if something is not clear there might be more information than what I could find, so either keep on googling or reach out to the company in question if you have any more specific questions.
Requirements for any websites may include a high school or university degree, previous teaching experience, a TEFL certificate, or maybe an online interview.
More importantly, I have mostly included the ones that offer a wider variety of languages. When you have a specific language in mind you could always look online to see if there are any specific websites for you out there.
Without any further ado, here are your best options.
Hourly rate: $ 10 – $30
“Verbling’s mission is to empower people all over the world to become fluent in a foreign language. While our core team is based in San Francisco, the teachers and students who make our mission possible are spread across six continents.
Verbling is an online platform where language learners can take lessons with professional teachers. Our in-house staff vets every application from prospective teachers. Only those teachers who meet rigorous standards are accepted, ensuring high instruction quality for our learners. As a result, the average learner rating for a Verbling teacher is 4.9 out of 5.
Our lessons take place over video chat, so people can learn wherever they may find themselves. Adding to convenience, our language teachers are available 24/7, covering all timezones globally. Ninety-five percent of our members rate their likelihood of recommending Verbling to a friend between 7 and 10 out of 10.”
Hourly rate: $10 – $30
“We believe that the key thing that is missing from language education is people. We built iTalki to make human connections between language learners and language teachers. On our platform, you can find a teacher from the US to tutor you in English, or a person in China to practice Chinese with you.
We believe that everyone can become fluent in any foreign language with a teacher.
iTalki now has a global community of over a million language learners and more than a thousand language teachers, studying over a hundred languages. Hundreds of thousands of paid language lessons have taken place on iTalki, and every day, more and more students and teachers are discovering how quickly they can learn with personal online lessons.”
Hourly rate: $14 -$22
“VIPKID provides an international learning experience to children in China between the ages 4-12. Headquartered in Beijing, the company offers fully immersive one-on-one English language instruction provided online by highly qualified teachers. The curriculum is based on the U.S. Common Core State Standards and uses a flipped-classroom approach to foster creativity and critical thinking skills.”
As mentioned above, this website is mainly for teaching children, so that is something you have to be prepared for. However, most of these kids already have a fair base in the English language, and your goal would be to help them grow even further. Classes are either by the hour or by 30 minutes.
Hourly rate: $10 – $30
“Founded in 2006, Verbalplanet.com is an award winning language training and tuition service which facilitates online language classes between language learners and native speaking language tutors around the globe using the Skype internet telephony service.New technologies continue to make enormous changes to the way people learn modern languages. Whilst we are a ‘high tech’ service, we are proud to be championing an innovative approach to learning a foreign language with a very ‘human’ side, and one which focuses on what we believe learning a foreign language is all about”
Languages: Not sure, but it appears they do more than just English
Hourly rate: $10
Now, this isn’t actually a teaching but more of a tutoring website. Unlike most others, you get paid by the minute, not by the hour. They don’t require any experience, so it is a great place to get started if you have none.
Languages: English, German, French, Spanish
Hourly rate: Unsure, but the website looks quite legit, and reviews from employees seem positive
Lingoda is a very tight looking website that offers group sessions for people learning one of the above mentioned languages.
“Languages bring people together and build bridges between cultures. Learning a language is like learning to see the world through different eyes.
Our goal is to make learning easier and more accessible. Not everyone has the possibility to attend traditional language schools and in addition there are many inconveniences and discomfort involved, such as: time spent travelling back and forth to school, being forced to learn at fixed times, progress is either too slow or too fast, the learning content is completely generic and classes can be very expensive, especially to learn with a native speaking teacher.
Our main motivation is thus helping people achieve their goals and to provide our students with the high-quality learning experience – all that with the advantages of flexible online teaching.”
Hourly rate: $16 – $20
QKids is a Taiwan based company aiming to connect native English speakers to Taiwanese kids. They unfortunately have some requirements which don’t make this a suitable option for everyone, but if you do meet these this might be a great opportunity.
These are their requirements:
- Native fluency English speakers who are based in United States or Canada
- Earned a degree or currently enrolled in a university program
- Although not required, those with any prior teaching/early childhood experience preferred
- Digital literacy, outgoing personality, and consistent passion in class
- Available to teach a minimum of 6 hours (12 classes) per week
But what if I only know one language?
Knowing multiple languages obviously gives you a great advantage because you will be able to understand the process your students are going through. However, being exposed to a teacher that only addresses them in their target language might also benefit your students.
As long as you know what you are doing and you can offer some value to your students, knowing multiple languages is certainly not a must.
Some tips on landing a job
Get some experience
You might try tutoring some kids near you to help you get some experience in the field. Try asking some of your nieces and nephews, hang up a local ad, or ask around in a school nearby. You can even offer some classes for free or for a reduced rate just to get some recommendations and experience that will help you rand an online job.
Know your strengths
Before becoming a teacher you have to make sure you can actually offer something to your students. Most websites will ask you to make a profile. Before doing that think to yourself – what am I good at?
Are you good at explaining grammar? Or are you better at correcting their pronunciation?
Different students may have different needs, so telling them what you are good at may help convince them you are the teacher they want.
Make an appealing video
Most websites allow you to make a profile, so make sure it’s actually appealing. When making a video, make sure you seem kind but also state your experience and dedication to the students.
As mentioned in the previous point, make sure you know your strengths (and focus on those)
Getting certified, depending on the website you’d like to teach at, is not a must. However, it will definitely help as it will attest to your skills, both in the area of teaching and the language you are trying to learn.
For English, the TEFL certificate is fairly well-known but can often be pricy. However, there is a way to get certified for less than $40. A certificate can also help you land a job teaching at a school abroad.
Getting certified for cheap
This certificate can easily set you back a couple of hundred dollars, which means your plan to make money requires some investment up front. This may not be a feasible investment for everybody.
Luckily, there is a way to get your certificate and start teaching online without having to make a major investment before.
On American Groupon you can find tons of TEFL courses that include a certificate, plus help in finding a job that are only $39. In hours of teaching, you can earn easily earn this back in 2 – 4 hours, depending on what and where you teach.
For this you do need an account on the American Groupon. This really is only a matter of creating a new account, and the fact that you don’t have an American address doesn’t really matter. Your name and email address are enough to get access.
You can outsmart the payment system by paying with a PayPal account. Your PayPal account can either have money on it already, or you can hook it up to your credit card or bank account. Either way, just using your PayPal login is enough to pay.
Before purchasing any course I would try and look at all the reviews on whether it is legit or not. The courses changes frequently and there are multiple people offering, so it is hard to say something about the quality of all of them as I have obviously not checked every single new posting.
However, the course I attended was excellent and helped me a great deal with landing a new job as an online teacher. Groupon generally offers legit deals, so I wouldn’t be too worried generally, but just to be sure it’s great to see reviews on the exact course you are about to take.
Do you have any other language learning/teaching sites to add to this list?