Published 24th March 2020

Can You Really Make a Living Teaching English Online

So, can you really make a living teaching english online? Being a digital nomad is a dream for many people. Working online means you have the freedom to work wherever you want and not have to worry about a daily commute, petrol costs or changing out of your pyjamas (but we totally recommend that you do!). If we were to believe everything we saw on Instagram, being a digital nomad is exciting and glamorous – and not very hard work. Of course we all know by now to take social media with a pinch of salt, so is it actually possible to make a good living working online and is it as good as it looks? 

One of the most common ways to work online is to teach English as a Foreign Language online. We decided to track down a few online TEFL teachers who could dish the dirt on what life is really like teaching English online. 

The Sunkissed Spiritualist

Sarah from The Sunkissed Spiritualist started working for Palfish in April 2019. Though she first worked as a TEFL teacher in a classroom, circumstances led her to finding out more about teaching online and she discovered Palfish. She teaches 3 to 5 hours a day, 5 days a week. With Palfish you teach Young Learners in China so, because of the time difference, she starts at 4 or 5am but is finished work usually by 9 in the morning, leaving her plenty of time to investigate wherever she may be (most recently, Central America). 

See Nic Wander

Nicola from See Nic Wander has been teaching English online since 2017. She teaches Young Learners in China with VIPKID. Her students are aged 4 to 12 years old and the lessons are 1-to-1 and 25 minutes long. In her first month of working, she taught 120 classes for a total of 60 hours and made $1 100. She spends her days teaching online, travelling the world and blogging about her teaching and travels. Which sounds like a pretty good deal, doesn’t it?

Powerful Mothers

Katie from Powerful Mothers teaches English online with Whales English. She has also taught with Dada and UUABC, where she earned $17/hour and $25/hour respectively. She enjoys her current working situation because Whales English has a very supportive teaching community and a great training programme. What’s interesting about Katie is that she is a single mom with two kids – but she still manages to travel the world with her family, largely thanks to her work teaching English online. 

Can You Really Make a Living Teaching English Online
Can You Really Make a Living Teaching English Online?

Remotely Working

Matt has been a digital nomad since 2017. He has a range of online skills but he spent some time teaching English online with Cambly. With Cambly, teachers have conversational English “lessons” with adult language learners in Dubai, UAE, South Korea, Taiwan, Mexico and a lot of other countries. While Cambly does not pay as much as some other companies ($10.20/hour), there is no lesson preparation needed and no materials because it is conversation-based. Plus you don’t need a degree to work with Cambly. Matt now runs Remotely Working, a site which helps people just like him find the perfect online gig for them – and lives in Vietnam. 

There you have it, proof that there are real people out there teaching English online and living their best lives. What you might have noticed is that teaching English does not consume their every waking moment. They travel, blog and pursue their other passions, because teaching English online allows them to live the life they want to live.

  1. I am a teacher in the school system approaching my retirement. I have ESL and FSL qualifications through the education system and an MEd, so I am wondering how a course like this builds on prior learning? Is it a necessary qualification in order to work on-line or abroad? Is there somewhere I can see some of the content before committing to purchasing?
    Thanks for any clarity you can offer.

    1. Hello, upon successful completion of the Level 5 TEFL course, you will be qualified to teach online worldwide and in-person worldwide except for Ireland, Canada and Malta. Please note: some countries will require you to have both a TEFL certificate and a bachelor’s degree in any subject for visa purposes. A degree is not required for online teaching although some employers may prefer this. My colleague has sent you an email with more course information. 😊

  2. I really love teaching English so very much but I do not obtain a Degree. Please advise on how to go about continuing with my passion of teaching English without a degree.


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