How to find work teaching English online

by Erin Honigman
Posted on 1st November 2020

Due to social distancing rules and safety precautions, more and more people are turning to remote work to supplement their incomes. Perhaps you need some extra money, or maybe you’re looking for a way to be more productive with your free time at home. 

If you’re one of those people looking to reduce the economic impact of the coronavirus, then you’re in luck. Teaching English online is a great and ever-growing opportunity to earn money from the safety and comfort of your own home. Furthermore, the demand for online teachers has boomed over the past couple of years, and it isn’t slowing down anytime soon. 

Why Teach English Online?

Even before the global pandemic hit, online English teaching platforms had been increasing in popularity. You might be asking yourself why. The answer is quite simple.  There just aren’t enough in-person teachers available to cover the needs of countries with big TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) markets. 

Besides the high demand for teachers, online English lessons are incredibly convenient. With the simple click of a button,  students can connect with teachers from across the globe. They can participate in an English lesson (and practice social distancing) from anywhere with a strong WIFI connection. 

So, what’s in it for the teachers? Well, first of all, online English teachers have a huge earning potential. Depending on your qualifications and teaching experience, you can earn anywhere from $12USD (£9.25) to $24USD (£18.50) per hour with regular bonuses and exciting pay incentives. Your actual income will depend on the company you choose to work for.  That’s a lot of money you could be making instead of watching Netflix or playing video games. 

Teaching English online also offers the unique opportunity of exchanging ideas and information with someone across the world. You’ll get a sneak peak into the daily life of someone from a different cultural background. And, who knows? After meeting online repeatedly, you might even become close friends with your students and their families. 

Another notable benefit is the flexibility. Teaching English online usually means you are an independent contractor, and it gives you control over your own schedule. You have the freedom to choose how much or how little you want to work each week. You can take a day off as you please, or you can even bring your classes with you as you travel. 

Finally, teaching English online will help you to gain invaluable career experience. Even if you don’t plan on pursuing a career in teaching long term, interacting and working with international students will help your resume stand out in your future pursuits. 

How to Get Started Teaching English Online

As you can tell, teaching English online is a fantastic opportunity, especially during the pandemic.  And, it’s easy to get started. Just follow these simple steps. 

Check Your Qualifications 

The first step to a lucrative career in online teaching is to make sure you have the proper qualifications. 

Most TEFL jobs, both offline and online, require a bachelor’s degree in any field and give job priority to native English speakers. However, you might be able to find work as a non-native speaker if you have strong English skills and speak at a C1 or C2 level (according to CERF). 

Although you don’t have to be TEFL certified in order to teach English online, completing a TEFL course will help you get ahead of your competition. It will also ensure that you receive higher compensation for your lessons. More importantly, a TEFL certification course will provide you with the expertise needed to embark on your new career. You’ll learn different teaching methodologies, how to plan a lesson, classroom management, and other invaluable teaching skills. 

You should sign up for a course from an accredited company, such as the UK’s most experienced TEFL course provider, The TEFL Org. You can opt for a virtual certification course at your convenience, or you can even choose to complete the course in person. For more information, check out the various certification courses offered at 

Christian TEFL also offers a number of certification courses that will qualify you for all kinds of teaching opportunities. Find the course that suits you best at

Make Sure You Have the Right Equipment 

Although it seems obvious, you should double check that you have the right equipment before scheduling a job interview or teaching your first lesson. Other than a functional WIFI connection, you need to have a high-quality webcam. Check your camera settings to make sure you have the proper lighting and an appropriate background for your classes. Depending on the age of the students you plan to teach, your background should be clean and neat or include helpful, appealing visual aids. 

Most online jobs also require a headset with a functional microphone. Communicating with nonnative speakers is hard enough; imagine what it’s like with poor sound quality.  Check that your sound is clear and understandable before you start teaching. 

Find the Perfect Online Teaching Job for You 

Finally, it’s time to begin your job search. With the high demand for online English teachers and the expansion of online teaching platforms, you’re sure to find a job that’s perfect for you. There are a multitude of options to choose from, so do your research and choose a job you’ll enjoy. 

Work for a Company

One easy option is to apply for a teaching job with a renowned company. The benefits of working for an established company are the support and resources they offer their teachers. You’ll still have the freedom to manage your own schedule; however, the hiring process can be a little daunting. You’ll likely have to conduct a demo lesson before you are hired. 

If you’re interested in working for a big company,  you have plenty to choose from. If you want to teach young learners, check out VIPkid. One of the first major online teaching platforms, VIPkid has an extensive curriculum and on the ground operations both in China and South Korea. For more information, check out their website at

If you prefer to teach group lessons, try Whales English. This company schedules classes with groups of two to ten students, so your experience may be more comparable to teaching in a traditional classroom. You’ll also teach the same students for a set period of time, so you can establish a great teacher student relationship and have some fun. To learn more, visit and apply today. 

Work on a Marketplace

Another option is to work on a teaching marketplace. Slightly different than working with a company, working on a marketplace allows you to set your own pay rate. You have more control over your own lessons, and you can advertise your skills in order to attract students. The platform itself will deal with the hassle of payment while giving you plenty of independence. If you’re interested, check out the popular marketplace for online English teachers,

Work for Yourself  

If you want complete and total independence, you can always just work for yourself. Set up your own tutoring business by advertising online through a site like You’ll need to find an appropriate online platform like Zoom or Skype that meets your classroom goals and choose a format that suits your students. 

What Are You Waiting For?

As you can see, there are a wide range of possibilities when it comes to online teaching. With students home from school due to the pandemic, the marketplace for teaching English online is better than ever. It’s the perfect time to start your career and get to teaching English online. 

Erin Honigman is an ESL teacher currently working at the University of Ulsan in South Korea