Where can I teach English online?
If you thought you had to travel to TEFL, think again. As long as you’ve got a computer (or laptop / tablet), a good set of headphones and a steady internet connection you can teach English online from pretty much wherever you happen to be on the planet – whether that’s Bondi Beach, Bangkok or Bradford.
Once you’ve chosen your location, you can check out TEFL jobs boards, such as LoveTEFL, where you’ll find adverts for positions to English online or you can contact online TEFL companies direct to enquire about vacancies.
Not sure where to start? We’ve picked five companies that each fit a different requirement. We’ve heard decent feedback about all of the online TEFL companies we’ve mentioned (and they’re not paying us to say so!). However, we always recommend that you take time to check out the position thoroughly and to look for reviews from other online English teachers.
Option 1: Teach English online in the UK
Who? EF (Education First)
What’s involved? You’ll deliver 25-minute, one-to-one lessons online to Chinese children aged between 5 and 10, who also attend in-person group sessions in China. EF provides the virtual classroom platform and teaching materials, so you simply need to do a bit of preparation then turn up and teach. You can set your own schedule but EF expects you to offer consistent hours over a 10-week period, to give stability for students. You do get a bonus for repeat bookings though, so this can be a big plus!
What you need: You must be a native-level English speaker, living and working legally in the UK. You’ll also need to have a bachelor’s degree, TEFL certification and an enhanced DBS check plus your own headset, computer and Internet connection
What you get: You’ll be given a 12-month renewable contract, with pay between £8.50 to £12.50 per hour. As an employee of EF, you’ll have access to benefits including a company pension, training and holiday pay.
What else should I know? EF is currently only recruiting UK-based TEFL teachers.
Option 2: Teach English online with a Canadian / US passport
What’s involved? You’ll deliver one-to-one English lessons to Chinese children aged between 4 to 12, via a customised virtual classroom. The company provides all the lesson plans and materials as well as recruiting students – so you pretty much just need to turn up and teach.
What you need: You’ll need a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of one year’s teaching experience to qualify. Teaching and/or TEFL qualifications as well as a North American accent are also desirable. The application process includes an online interview and demo lesson.
What you get: You’ll be given a 6-month renewable contract and can earn around $22 per hour (including bonus) making this one of the better paid online English teaching jobs around. You also have complete control over your own work schedule, although you’ll get more work if you’re available during peak teaching hours.
What else should I know? Right now, you need to be eligible to work in the US or Canada to bag a job with VIPKid – although you can then actually teach your English students online from anywhere in the world.
Option 3: Teach English online as you travel
What’s involved? You’ll deliver one-to-one English tuition to Chinese children aged between 4 and 16. Unlike the first two companies, DadaABC says you can work from anywhere, as long as have a steady internet connection. You also don’t need to commit to an initial 6 or 12-month contract – although you’re likely to get more work if you can stick around. However, if you’re looking for flexibility to weave your online TEFL teaching in with travel, this can be a good option.
What you need: You’ll need a bachelor’s degree, TEFL certification and previous teaching experience. You also need to work a minimum of 10 hours per month (and can do many more!).
What you get: The average wage is around $17 per hour but this varies quite a lot, depending on various bonuses that you may be entitled to.
What else should I know? You can earn additional bonuses based on how many students sign up after doing your trial classes – so the better you do, the more you’re likely to earn.
Option 4: Teach English online as a newly qualified TEFL teacher
What’s involved? iTutorGroup’s website boasts that it has over 30,000 students in 135 countries – which means a lot of different online teaching opportunities for you. The company finds the students and provides the teaching materials – your job is to teach. Unlike many other online TEFL companies, previous English teaching experience isn’t essential, as long as you have a recognised TEFL certificate.
What you need: You must have a bachelor’s degree and either TEFL certification or a minimum of one year’s teaching experience. You must also be able to commit to teaching for at least five hours per week.
What you’ll get: iTutorGroup pay starts pretty low, at $5 per hour but it can go up to around $22 with bonuses. This includes a performance bonus based on student ratings – so the better your lesson, the more you could get paid!
What else should I know? Unlike many of the other online TEFL companies, iTutorGroup delivers online English lessons to adult professionals as well as school age children.
Option 5: Teach English on your own terms
What’s involved? Palfish is a rather different type of online TEFL company. In fact, it’s really an online marketplace that connects up teachers with students of all ages rather than an actual online TEFL school. As such, there’s no set pay rate or required hours – it’s up to you what you offer. The platform works via an app, with most students looking for conversational support including pronunciation and grammar. Once you’ve been accepted as a regular teacher you can also apply to teach their official kids course.
What you need: You must be fluent in English and have TEFL certification. You don’t need to have a degree.
What you get: You set your own pay but Palfish claims that $10 to $18 per hour is the average for a regular teacher. If you become an official course instructor, you can expect pay of up to $22 per hour plus bonuses.
What else should I know? Unlike most online TEFL companies, you don’t need to be a native English speaker in order to teach via Palfish. Fluent English and TEFL certification are the key requirements.
Remember, this is just a glimpse of the online TEFL opportunities out there. Take a look at LoveTEFL’s jobs board to find a whole heap more places to teach English online. Or, download our online teaching companies guide for more information on the best online teaching jobs, salaries and requirements.
Take our 2-minute teaching online quiz to find out if you're eligible to start earning from home as an online English tutor!