How to freelance as an online English teacher

Teaching English online as a freelancer is super popular within the world of online TEFL and there is absolutely nothing stopping you becoming one too. As a freelancer you’ve got the freedom to be your own boss. You set the rules: work when you want, how often you want, from wherever you want and charge as much as you want – sounds dreamy doesn’t it?

What are the requirements of a freelance online English teacher?

To be able to teach English online, you’ll firstly need a TEFL certificate. If you’re just starting out, we’d recommend taking a course that includes specialist training in teaching online, such as our Level 5 300 Hour Online TEFL Diploma. Teaching experience, a degree and a second language might help you land students, but they’re certainly not a requirement.

What are the technical requirements?

To start off with, you’ll need at least a laptop or PC, a headset (optional), a webcam and a strong internet connection. You’ll also need video conferencing software such as Skype or Zoom to be able to conduct your lessons. Once you start gaining more students, you might also want to think about props, document sharing software and customer management software too.

What type of lessons can I teach as an online English teacher?

The most common lessons to teach online are general or conversational English, but you can teach any type of English online, depending on what your students’ needs are. The more specialist your lessons are, the more you can charge for your service. For instance, if you were to teach business English or exam preparation, you’d be able to charge more than if you were to teach conversational English.

How many students will I have in each lesson?

Generally speaking, most freelance online English teachers teach on a one-to-one basis as it’s easier to find these students. Group online English lessons are more common within agencies and schools.

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How many hours will I work as a freelance online English teacher?

One of the great things about freelancing as an online English teacher is the freedom it gives you! You truly are you your own boss, so it’s completely up to you how many hours you work. Of course, the more hours you work, the more you’ll earn. You’ll also need to consider the time zone your students are based in as you’ll need to be online at a time that suits them. This could sometimes mean working evenings or weekends.

How much can I earn?

Again, just like the number of hours you’ll work, you can decide how much you charge for your online lessons. If you’re just starting up as a freelance online English teacher and trying to gain a customer base, we’d suggest looking into how much other freelancers are charging for their lessons to get an idea. If you’re teaching the more general side of the English language, a good starting point would be around $15 per lesson, with this increasing with the more experience you get. If you’re going to be teaching specialist areas, you could set your starting rate as anything from $30+.

How do I get started as a freelance online English teacher?

Firstly, you need to get TEFL qualified. With our Online TEFL Courses, you can get qualified easily and completely online! Once you’re qualified, you need to get a vision for your business. What type of lessons do you want to teach? How much do you want to charge? What will your cancellation policy look like? What times are you available to teach? How and where are you going to get students from? Thinking through these and other questions will help you create a clear strategy of what your online teaching business will look like.

Where can I find students?

Lots of freelance online English teachers set up their own websites, do their own advertising and use word-of-mouth to build up their customer base. There are lots of online groups, forums, and social networking groups that are available in every country that you can start advertising your services on. You ‘ll find a lot of these groups already have posts from students looking for online English tutors, all you need to do is showcase what you can offer them to gain them as a student. Once you get one student, you’ll find getting additional ones a lot easier.

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