Published 26th March 2020
Since the job market is in turmoil these days, we thought we’d share the most frequently asked questions about teaching English online. If you’re at a loose end or are thinking of making a career change, read on and find out if teaching English online is for you. Here are some FAQs about teaching english online.
How do I teach English online?
There are two routes to teaching English online. The one option is to find your own students and teach via Skype or some other platform. This requires finding your own students, creating your own lessons, and dealing with payments and cancellations. Another option is working for a company. You choose your schedule, they find students to fill your open time slots, and they often provide teaching materials. You often teach using their own interactive online platform, a virtual classroom or just your phone. Students pay them so you’ll be paid by the company. You will still have to pay your own tax.
Do I qualify to teach English online?
It depends. If you want to work for yourself, then of course you don’t need any qualifications or experience to teach English online. But it will be pretty challenging to find students and maintain enough students for a solid income. If you teach for a company, it depends on the company. Many require a Bachelor’s degree and/or a TEFL (Cambly, however, doesn’t require either), some only accept teachers of certain nationalities and some only teachers with certain English levels. Application criteria are very clear, so don’t bother applying for a job if you don’t satisfy all of them.
How much can I earn?
If you are a freelancer, you set your own rates. If you are a qualified teacher with experience, you could charge $30 – $50 an hour. The struggle is finding enough students who are willing to pay that. With a company, it can range from $10 to $25 an hour. Again, this is all clear in the application process. Just remember that the base rate is not always a good indicator of income, because there are often easily obtainable bonuses – but then you also have to pay your own tax.
How often do I work?
This totally depends on you and this is one of the beauties of teaching English online. Many companies require you to teach for a minimum number of hours a week but this is usually quite low – about 3. The thing is, these hours might be during their peak times which will vary depending on where your students are. There are many teachers who will work 40 hours a week, which is totally doable, while some prefer to only teach about 25 hours a week. If you really want to earn the dollars and your job doesn’t require any prep you could work as much as you can handle. With teaching online you don’t need to think about commuting so theoretically you can work those extra hours you would usually be in traffic.
Is it better to freelance or work for a company?
Again this depends on what suits you. Generally speaking, it’s easier to work for a company because you don’t have to find your students, your students will find you. This is useful especially in the beginning. If you have a number of years’ experience teaching English as a Foreign Language maybe you already have a student base to work from, then you might choose to go the freelance route. Bear in mind, though, that you will then need to prepare your own lessons and materials, and chase payments – factors you don’t need to consider when working for a company.
What’s the best company to work for?
There are more online teaching companies than you can shake a stick at! The best thing to do is look for articles online which compare the different companies, their rates, benefits and requirements. A few popular options are Palfish, VIPKID, Cambly and Whales English.
If you have any more questions you’d like to ask us, pop us an email and we’ll try answer it for you!