Teach English Abroad

Your 2020 Guide to Teaching English Online

  • Teaching English Online
  • What Are The Benefits To Teaching English Online?
  • What Are The Requirements to Teach English Online?
  • Types of Online Teaching Jobs
  • Where To Teach English Online
  • What is the average salary for teaching English online?
  • Top Companies to Teach English Online With
  • What Equipment Do You Need To Teach Online?
  • What Is A Typical Schedule For Teaching Online?
  • How Can I Find a Job Teaching English Online?
  • How To Teach English Online
  • Online Teaching Resources
  • Teach English Online in 2020

Teaching English Online

The demand for learning English as a second language has been steadily on the rise and become an increasingly valuable skill for people worldwide. According to the British Council, there were 1.5 billion English language learners in 2015 – and that number is expected to pass 2 billion during 2020. That’s one out of every four people in the world!

Teaching English online has rapidly become a growing job market within the realm of English learning. Instead of teaching in a classroom, it involves teaching English as a foreign language to a non-native speaker online through a computer with a webcam. While online teaching may seem like a different method of teaching than the traditional classroom style, it is by no means less effective at all! The Internet has created many amazing ways to connect English learners and teachers through e-learning programs and online teaching platforms.

The demand and popularity for online teachers are especially booming in countries like China, Japan, Thailand, and Mexico, where people of all ages are pursuing English – adults, children, and all ages in between. In China alone, there are more than half a million Chinese students taking English classes online from more than 65,000 teachers.

The demand for online English classes creates a great job opportunity for those looking to teach English online. Whether you’re looking for a part-time job to earn extra money, want more flexibility to work from the comfort of your home, or you are a digital nomad wanting a great way to fund your travels, teaching English online is the way to go!

It can be difficult to know where to begin your online teaching journey, but don’t worry – we’re here to help! We’ve broken down your top questions about teaching online, from online teaching requirements and the types of jobs out there, to where you can find the best online teaching job for yourself.

What Are The Benefits To Teaching English Online?

There are many benefits for both students and teachers to use online English learning platforms. Online classes provide a more convenient and cost-effective way to take a class without having to commute. Both the student and teacher can stay in the comfort of their home!

If you’re looking for a job with a great salary and the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world, teaching English online is a great opportunity for you. Here are some more awesome benefits to teaching English online:

  • Ability to work from anywhere in the world - whether you want to live abroad or stay in your home country 🌍
  • Flexible work schedule – most companies let you set your availability ⏰
  • Be your own boss 💪
  • Great salary 💰
  • Gain transferrable skills with online technology 💻
  • Boost your resume through intercultural communication and critical thinking skills ✅
  • Gain teaching experience If you’re looking to teach abroad 🗺
  • Boost your income if you’re already teaching English abroad or need a flexible part-time job 💵
  • Opportunity to connect with people around the world and positively impact their lives by helping them achieve their goals 😄

Did you know that teaching English is also a great boost to your resume? Whether you choose to Teach English Abroad or Teach English online, you’ll be improving your interpersonal communication, public speaking, problem-solving, time-management, and adaptability skills! No matter if you’re a recent graduate or already working, if you’re looking for a step up in the career path you’re pursuing, teaching English will benefit you. Learn more about how teaching English is great for your resume.

What Are The Requirements to Teach English Online?

The requirements for teaching English online will depend on the company you’re working for. For some hiring companies, teachers are required to be a native English speaker and have a Bachelor’s degree, while others might require you to have a TEFL certificate or other teaching experience.

Here are the general requirements for most online English teaching jobs:

Be a fluent English speaker from a native English-speaking company

You will need to prove your English proficiency when applying for an online English teaching job. If you are not a native English speaker but you have a high level of proficiency in English and have a clear accent, many companies will still accept your application.

Hold a Bachelor’s Degree in any subject

Most companies do require you to hold a Bachelor’s degree, but if you don’t have one don’t worry. Several companies allow you to teach online with no bachelor's degree, like Cambly, PalFish, SkimaTalk, and Lingoda. These companies do have other requirements to meet, such as having a valid teaching certification like TEFL/TESOL/CELTA or teaching license and being a native English speaker. Check the company details carefully when you are applying to make sure you meet the requirements.

Be TEFL/TESOL Certified

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. These certificate acronyms essentially are the same – they are both courses you can take to be properly trained in teaching English to non-native English speakers.

You don’t need to have a degree in education or have prior teaching experience to take a TEFL or TESOL course. Most TEFL courses must meet an international standard to be accepted by education companies and government programs. These standards include:

  • A minimum of 100 hours of coursework
  • A minimum of 6-20 hours of live teaching practice and observation
  • An accredited curriculum taught by a qualified instructor

Learn more about earning a TEFL certificate.

These are the general requirements for most online teaching positions, but they will vary from one company to another. Make sure to double-check the requirements when researching different online teaching companies.


Tip! If you don’t have a Bachelor’s degree, make sure to emphasize your great communication skills and practical knowledge on how to teach a language during an interview.

Types of Online Teaching Jobs

There are many types of online class teaching opportunities. These classes vary depending on how many students are in a class session, the age of students, and the different subjects being taught online.

Class Size Types

  • One on one sessions: In a one on one session, a teacher will meet with a student in a private lesson. This allows for quality student/teacher talk time and a more personal online lesson.
  • Small groups: Other online lessons will be taught to a class or to a group at the same time. While this is less individualized for the students, it allows for lots of classroom interactivity in a lesson and plenty of student engagement.

Student Age

  • Corporate Training Online Teaching: Many organizations and companies are looking for online trainers to facilitate online training to their employees and members and offer many courses related to medical, clinical, safety, and commercial training.
  • Higher Education Online Teaching: Many colleges and universities are looking for qualified teachers to teach online courses for undergraduate students. If you have a Master’s or PhD, you might be a great candidate to teach these students. The University of Phoenix is one of many universities looking for online teachers.
  • High School: Many high school students are looking for online tutors to teach a variety of subjects. Some student make be learning English as a foreign language, and others may need extra classes for SAT preparation and other college preparation tests.
  • Young Learners: Online learning for kindergarten through middle school is booming, especially in the EFL field because many parents want their children to start learning English from a young age. With plenty of online learning platforms like VIPKid, teaching young learners online is easier than ever.

Types of Classes and Subjects

English is the most popular subject to be taught online. There are many different types of online English classes taught. The most common classes include:

  • General conversational English: These are generally the most common types of classes designed to help students with vocabulary, fluency, and overall oral English language.
  • Business English: These lessons are usually for older students or adults in the professional workplace who need to communicate in English. They focus more on business language, writing proposals and emails, making presentations, etc.
  • English Examination Lessons: Many students are wanting to study abroad and need to prepare for their IELTS, TOEFL, or other English language proficiency tests and need an English class dedicated to.
  • Demo Lessons: Before students sign up for lessons, they will have the opportunity to try a sample class with a teacher.

Many other subjects besides English are also like Math, History, Science, and Other Languages. Learn more about all the types of online teaching jobs

Teaching with an Online Company vs. Teaching Independently


When you work with an online teaching company, you apply to teach for an established company. They already have a prepared student base, learning curriculum, company policies, and so on. There is usually less preparation needed on your end, but you are subject to their rules and teaching hours and need to meet their teaching requirements.

Teaching English Online Independently

If you want to have complete control over your schedule, curriculum, and salary, many people decide to teach English online independently. You are responsible for finding your own students and building your online presence. If you teach independently, make sure you have a clear teaching niche and know who you want to teach, how you want to teach, and what type of class you want to teach. Many independent teachers will create their own website and social media platforms to develop their online presence and find new students. It is harder to build in the beginning but helps you have complete flexibility and control on your online teaching career.

Where To Teach English Online

Teaching online gives you amazing flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. Whether you’re looking for a part-time online job near you in your home country or wanting to pursue the digital nomad like and work abroad while traveling, there are plenty of options.

  • Teach Online in your home country

    oMany people want the opportunity to teach online from home as a way to earn extra money or have a flexible schedule. You can teach part-time from home, or find a full-time job.

  • Teach English Online While Working Abroad

    If you’re already teaching English abroad in another country, becoming an online teacher is an easy way to earn extra money and continue using your teaching skills.

  • Teach English Online in China

    China has a huge demand for online teachers! Whether you’re living and working in China already, or want to teach online for a Chinese company, there are many companies looking to hire online teachers.

What is the average salary for teaching English online?

The salary for online teaching will vary and depends on the website you use, your teaching experience and qualifications, and the current job market. Most companies offer a flat hourly rate for teaching online, which ranges anywhere between $10 – 40 USD, with the average being around $12/hour. Some companies will let you set your own hourly rate with students and offer bonuses based on student reviews.

If a company lets you set your own rate, make sure you do some research and don’t price yourself too far above the market, it might be more difficult to get students in the beginning. You’ll need to show that your qualifications and lessons are worth the higher price.

Other common questions related to money and online teaching:

Receiving Payment for Online Teaching

Depending on the company you work for and the country you live in, you will either be paid via PayPal or via direct deposit into your bank account. The transaction fee is separate from your payment and will need to be covered by you, so make sure you calculate that into your net salary.

When Will You Get Paid?

Every online teaching company will have different policies for how often you will be paid for your online teaching classes. It could vary and be monthly, weekly, or immediately after the lesson ends. Make sure you are aware of your online teaching company’s rules and know when you will be paid and how often it will be.

Will You Still Be Paid if There is an Internet Disconnection?

When teaching online, having a speedy and reliable internet connection is very important! Your student is depending on you to be available during their lesson time – it’s what they’re paying you for, after all, and if your internet cuts out they are missing valuable lesson time!

Online teaching companies will have different policies for internet problems. Some may cut your pay based on how many minutes your internet cut out. Check your companies’ details carefully to make sure you understand what their policy is.

Paying Taxes for Online Teaching Jobs

Most online teaching companies will treat their employees as independent contractors. If you’re from the US, for example, you will receive a 1099 form with all of your earnings reported. Taxes are typically not withheld by companies, so you will need to make sure to consider that when working online and set money aside to make sure your taxes are covered. The taxes may be different depending on your country of residence. Be sure to check the details with your company and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Top Companies to Teach English Online With

If you’re looking for a great company to teach online with, consider one of these options.

*These pay rates and work requirements may change, so refer to their company website for the most current details.


VIPKid is an online classroom where more than 700,000 young students learn English from 100,000 teachers. The average salary is up to $22/hr (broken down into $7-$9 per 25-minute class, plus incentives.) You can sign up for a 6-month minimum contract and work as many or as little hours as you want. A bachelor's degree is required.

English First (EF)

Headquartered in the USA and founded in 1965, English First offers positions year-round to teach kids or adults online and has a salary ranging from $13-16 per hour. English First requires that teachers are from the UK or the US and a Bachelor’s degree and TEFL certification are required.

Dada ABC

DaDa is one of the highest paying online teaching companies, with a salary ranging from $15-25 per hour! Founded in 2013, Dada offers schedule flexibility and the opportunity to work from anywhere in the world. Teachers are required to have a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate (or equivalent).

Englishhunt Inc.

Englishhunt Inc. is an industry leader in live video English education learning. Based in South Korea, Englishunt Inc.'s teaching programs incorporate EFL learning methods with high-quality video technology. Their students are primarily based in South Korea and Japan, and pay on average $14.50/hour.


Lingoda is a leading online language school that provides over 6,000 adult students with more than 7,000 live classes per week. Lingoda offers a variety of languages to learn, such as English, German, French, and Spanish, and lessons happen in small groups or in private classes.

iTutor Group

iTutorGroup is a global leader in the online education industry, and teachers are paid $18 – 24/hour, along with the opportunity to earn bonuses. Teachers are required to teach at least 10 peak hours per week, and Bachelor’s degree, TEFL Certification (or its equivalent) are required.

Other Online Teaching Companies

There are countless other online teaching platforms where you can find a great position. Check out this list of other top companies where you can apply to be an online English teacher.

Company Salary Requirements Description
VIP KID Up to $22 USD/hour Hiring native-English speaking US/Canadian applicants with a bachelor's degree
English First between $12 and $19 hourly A bachelor's degree along with teaching or some sort of related experience is required. It's also preferred if you have a TEFL certificate or are committed to getting one. Teaching English to adult or kids
Dada up to $25/hour Hiring native-English speaking applicants with a bachelor's degree Teaching English online to Chinese students (kindergarten to grade 9)
English Hunt Around $20/hour Hiring applicants from the United States with 48 college credit hours or ESL certificate Teaching English on the phone to adult students in Korea
Cambly $10.20 USD per hour Cambly looks for native English-speakers from the USA, Canada, UK, Australia as well as some other countries. No degree necessary. With Cambly you have short chat sessions with students from around the world - students are more often than not adults.

What Equipment Do You Need To Teach Online?

It’s pretty easy to get started teaching English online! You will need:

  • Desktop Computer or a laptop
  • Webcam (most laptops have built-in cameras now)
  • Internet connection: High-speed internet works the best. Some schools will have a requested internet speed requirement (usually at least 10 Mbps). You can test your internet speed here.
  • Microphone (many use a headset to help with the audio quality)
  • Teaching software: Many companies will have their own teaching platform. If not, you will need an outside software like Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, or WeChat which gives you the ability to video chat.
  • A quiet and comfortable space to teach: make sure you are in an area that won’t be loud and will allow you to teach and connect with your student!

Check out some other great hardware recommendations for teaching English online.

What Is A Typical Schedule For Teaching Online?

The hours you work as an online English teacher depend on the company you work for and how many you would like to teach. Most companies give you the flexibility to teach part-time or allow you to teach full time if you’d like to earn more money.

If you are searching for a flexible teaching job, many companies let you teach as many or as little classes as you want. Other companies will have a minimum number of teaching hours required every week.

Full Time

If you’re teaching full-time online, your work week will be similar to if you were teaching in a real classroom. You’ll usually have several classes blocked in one time, with a break for lunch in the middle of the day. Depending on the company or school you work for, you may have different days off. Some teachers will work Wednesday – Sunday work weeks, as during the weekend students will have more availability to take online classes.

  • Example of a Full-time Online Teacher Schedule
  • 8:30 am Wake up and prepare for the first class at 9am. Walk over to your computer, set up, and check your internet connection and hardware.
  • 9:30am – 10am First online class
  • 10:00am - 10:30am Break
  • 10:30am – 11:30am Two 30-minute online classes back to back
  • 11:30am-12pm Break
  • 12:00pm – 1pm Hour long class
  • 1pm – 2pm Hour long class
  • 2pm – 3:30pm Long break: time for the gym, running errands, grabbing a snack, or a nap!
  • 3:30pm – 5pm 3 back to back classes
  • 5pm – 6pm Break
  • 6pm – 7pm 2 more back to back classes
  • 7pm – 7:30pm Finish student reports and follow up with students

*Note: every company will have different hours and class lengths! Some teachers prefer to schedule their day with more breaks between classes so they have a longer work day, while other teachers prefer more back to back classes to finish the work day sooner.


If you’re teaching part-time online, you usually have already decided to work for a company that lets you choose the hours that are most convenient for you. Many teachers who have other jobs will decide to work a few hours during the evening or on the weekends.

See more about what it’s like teaching English online:

How Can I Find a Job Teaching English Online?

There are lots of online teaching companies and e-learning platforms hiring online teachers. With so many companies offering different class types, salaries, and teaching hours, it’s important to think about the kind of online teaching job you want.

A helpful way to narrow down your search is to make a checklist to help you decide what you are looking for with an online teaching job. Here are some important things to consider when making your checklist:

  • 1. What are your qualifications and each company’s requirements? Do you have a bachelor's degree and are you planning to take a TEFL course?
  • 2. What age do you want to teach? There is a big difference in teaching young learners and teaching adults! Young learners will be more focused on learning vocabulary and basic English skills through activities, games, and songs, while older learners will focus on more in-depth speaking, writing, and reading skills.
  • 3. What kind of Teaching schedule do you want? Are you looking for flexibility with your weekly lessons? Are you wanting to teach part-time or full time? Many companies have different requirements for how many hours you can teach and how you will schedule your classes.
  • 4. What is the salary? What is the starting base pay like? Will you be paid by the hour or by the number of lessons taught?
  • 5. Is the job location dependent? Are you wanting to work online in your home country, or wanting to work from anywhere in the world? Some companies may have time zone or location requirements, while others don’t mind where in the world you are as long as you are available to teach.

After you’ve created your job checklist, you can begin searching for online teaching jobs, and then compare companies that fit your qualifications and requirements. There are many great websites and online platforms where you can search for online teaching jobs, such as Indeed and Monster, or you can apply directly with specific companies online.


Tip! When applying for online teaching jobs, make sure you have an updated resume ready to send out. You will probably need to do an online interview as well – check out these Expert Tips for Acing an ESL Job Interview.

Video: ESL Interview Demo Lesson - How To and Tips to Get the Job!

How To Teach English Online

So you’ve applied for an online teaching job, interviewed for the position, and accepted the job – great! Now is the next step in the online teaching process – actually teaching. If it’s your first time teaching online, you may have some questions about how to best online teacher you can be and connect with your students through a computer screen.

Before You Start Teaching Online

  • Make sure you are familiar with your company’s online teaching platform so you know all of its functions and benefits.
  • Prepare for your classes: while most teaching companies will have a prepared curriculum, you will have to prepare for the lesson you are going to teach beforehand, whether it’s going over the lessons, adding in extra teaching resources, or preparing a game
  • Make sure your lesson has a clear learning objective or goal
  • Test your internet connection, microphone, and computer to make sure you will not have any technical difficulties

Check out this video – 5 Tips for New Teachers

Tips for teaching English Online

Once you start your lesson, it’s time to put all the preparation to work! But don’t stress – the most important thing is to create a comfortable learning environment for your students. Here are some tips to help with your lessons:

1. Connect and Engage with Students Online

Students can’t see you face to face when you’re teaching online. This doesn’t mean you can’t still connect with your students! Be enthusiastic and show your emotions through your voice inflections and facial expressions.

2. Get To Know Your Students

Learn more about your students’ interests, language goals, and skill level. This will help you prepare lessons and know how to best engage and teach your students. You’ll also learn what they need more help with, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how long they take to complete activities. Every student is different and unique!

3. Plan Ahead But Be Flexible

When teaching a new online lesson, it may not always go according to your plan. You may need to adjust your lesson depending on your students and their reaction to the lessons. Be flexible and prepare some backup options in case the lesson needs to be changed.

Here are some more Do’s and Don’ts When Teaching ESL Online for the First Time.

Online Teaching Resources

Many companies will provide a curriculum and teaching resources for you to use in your lessons, with very little prep work needed on your part. It’s a great idea to incorporate your own lesson ideas as well, though, and bring in your own fresh ideas, props, and visuals to aid your lesson and engage your students more.

Teaching Resources to Use in Lessons

Flashcards: Use flashcards with numbers, words, and pictures


Market and Whiteboard


Sticker chart



For more online teaching resources, check out We Are Teachers and ESL Games.

Teach English Online in 2020

Teaching English online is a great opportunity to create your own schedule, earn a great salary, and work from anywhere in the world! Whether you’re a first time ESL teacher, or you’ve taught in a classroom before but not online, teaching English online is a lucrative job with many benefits that will help you achieve an incredible work and life balance.

Ready to get started teaching English online? Check out these available jobs and apply today!