Teach English Online

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Teaching English Online: everything you need to know

Teaching English online is a great option if you're looking to earn extra money to supplement your income or support yourself whilst travelling. It’s also ideal if you want to be your own boss. If you teach English online, you’re free to choose what you teach, when you work, where you work, who you teach and how much you charge.

How do I get started?

To kickstart your online teaching career you will need to be qualified via an accredited Level 3 or Level 5 TEFL course. If you are already qualified, why not enrol on our 10 hour teaching practice course? It is delivered completely online, making it the ideal introduction to online learning.

TEACH ENGLISH ONLINE

TEACH ENGLISH ONLINE

Your essential guide to Teaching English online

Requirement to teach English online

Teaching English is not the same as speaking English. Our courses are carefully designed to prepare you with the skills needed to turn your knowledge of the language into an ability to deliver lessons about the language, so that you can teach others to speak it or improve their proficiency.

You will need the following:

01. A good grasp of the English language

You need to be a fluent English speaker or have a proficiency of Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Level C2 (‘Proficient’) or above. Take this free 15 minute test to understand your CEFR level.

02. A TEFL qualification

Not all TEFL certificates are created equal. We recommend you enrol on an accredited course, like our Online TEFL Course, Level 5 Diploma (168hrs), if you want to teach online. You’re unlikely to find work if you complete a budget course with fewer hours that is not properly accredited. The TEFL Academy’s Level 5 TEFL Diploma is internationally recognised, regulated by Ofqual (UK government), accredited by Qualifi, and approved by the DEAC (U.S. Department of Education recognised awarding body). We were the world’s first TEFL course provider to have received official recognition from government-regulated awarding bodies both in the USA and the UK!

Check out our full range of TEFL courses here. Enrol today and you’ll also receive 90 hours of additional online learning for FREE, including three top-up courses (Teaching business English; Teaching online and 1:1; and, Teaching young learners), exclusive live access to our weekly one-hour topical webinars designed to support your learning, a TEFL Handbook and a TEFL Resource Pack.

Please note: A Bachelor’s Degree (in any discipline) is sometimes required by companies at their discretion and often there are more TEFL opportunities for degree holders but is by no means required. See Teaching Without a Degree for more information.

03. Equipment

A reliable internet connection, a quiet corner, some good audio equipment and a decent camera are essential if you want to teach online. Luckily, this means you can probably teach anywhere you can take your laptop (in your own home or around the world). As you will be communicating with people who are learning a new language, we recommend you also invest in a few props, which can be extremely beneficial, especially if you are teaching young learners to speak English.

04. Motivation

Teaching English online is probably very different to any job you have ever had, or will have. It’s important to understand that it can sometimes feel lonely. There are no colleagues to talk to. On the plus side, TEFL teachers are a good bunch, and they look out for each other. It’s highly likely that you’ll be able to find a community of like minded teachers wherever you are or wherever you go. Finally, you will need to hustle to get students, which means you must stay motivated until such time that your reputation precedes you.

Demand for online teaching is booming

Online learning is now firmly established as being on par with face-to-face classroom instruction. In some cases, it can even exceed what you might receive offline, if you consider the one-to-one and low-cost nature of learning online. As a result, the recent explosion in online learning has naturally created new opportunities for teaching online, especially teaching English.

Read The Benefits of Online Learning for more information. The expansion of the internet seems to be driving the penetration of the English language into every aspect of people’s lives globally, as they look to consume English-language media, conduct business or simply talk to people from other places. This rapid expansion means a highly motivated and well connected body of students wanting to learn English online will be waiting for you when you graduate from The TEFL Academy. 

Take a look at English Language Teaching Statistics.

Teaching advice from a TTA graduate

Types of teaching English online jobs

There is no single type of online teaching job, there are many. However, the one thing they all require is a TEFL qualification. By choosing our Level 5 TEFL Diploma, you’ll be getting the new industry gold standard qualification, and by enrolling with The TEFL Academy, you’ll be able to graduate after 168hrs study, the fastest route to a TEFL Diploma of any provider.

Once qualified, you can do any of the following:

01. Work for a language company or agency that will find you work

By taking this route, you’re guaranteed to have work and you won’t need to find students yourself, like if you were working solo. Your work is often measured on your students’ reviews, so your relationship with your classroom is essential to your success. Most companies/agencies pay salaries on a weekly or monthly basis.

02. Join an online teaching platform

By creating a profile on an existing platform you can easily be found by students and start working. Platforms vary but the majority will charge a small fee or commission for finding you students.

03. Freelance

You’re your own boss! You choose how much you charge, plus when and where you want to work. You will probably need to spend time setting up your stall, which typically involves making your own website and selecting a way to receive payments. Some freelancers even create their own course entirely.

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Topics and types of online English teaching

English is the global language and as a result TEFL students can be from anywhere, any age, and motivated to learn the language for a range of reasons. These include arriving in a new country, wanting to feel more confident when travelling, working, studying and meeting others, a desire to expand the range and quality of information/media they can access, and much more.

This variety will keep your job as an online English teacher fresh and interesting and ensure a steady stream of students. You’ll be exposed to a diverse range of people, cultures and attitudes, but one thing will be constant – the motivation to learn English, which makes for very engaged learners. These may be:

  • 01. Young learners

    The majority of students will be young learners. They are usually taught in small groups of 4-6 students per class and although they will be learning very basic material, it is vital to keep your lessons fun and creative. Try to incorporate songs, games or use puppets to keep them engaged. Remember, at such a young age, it’s important for you to create a relaxed environment that everyone will enjoy learning in. Read about the differences between teaching young learners and adults.

  • 02. Teenagers

    Many teenagers, especially in China, will want to take online English classes to assist them with their lessons at school. As we know, teenagers can be challenging to handle at times, but they are a rewarding group to teach. Get to know your students personally. Appeal to their interests and personalities and let them contribute to discussions and voice their opinions. Don’t treat them like children.

  • 03. Adults

    More and more adults are turning to online learning to improve their English. It’s quick, easy and increasingly normal to hop online from home for many tasks, including education. Most of your adult learners will be taught one-to-one, which can make for really rewarding teaching but you may also be directly exposed to some of their fears and anxieties around learning something new. Some encouragement will go a long way. Most adults will be learning general English but some may want to specialise and improve their knowledge of something specific such as business English.

  • 04. Students

    Many students will want to improve their English to keep up with their academic work or to pass an exam based on language proficiency. They are likely to be busy, so on a schedule and with a potentially well defined, even limited, focus. It’s a good idea to get creative so that your classes are more accessible and fun. It often helps to have a knowledge of their chosen subject, so that you can speak directly to their own experience.

  • 05. In-company

    Many companies, especially international ones, require their staff to speak English. As the lingua franca, English is the language of business and great for customer service roles too. Teaching in a company can come with very particular requirements for language, such as working in law or finance, or simply improving participation in meetings or an ability to read and write emails or have better telephone conversations. It’s normal in this case to teach groups of people, which tends to make your lessons more interactive.

  • With that being said, there are also many different types of English you can teach online. The type of English you teach will depend on your students and their preferences. See our quick summary below of the main types of English that you’ll need to know in order to teach English online:

  • General or conversational English

    This involves supporting students to improve their fluency and correcting common errors. Classes can be unstructured, without a clearly defined outcome such as an exam. You should always follow a syllabus but you’ll soon establish your own way of managing this informal environment whilst getting to know your students.

  • English for exams

    There is one end goal in mind here – passing the exam. Your students are all working towards this common goal so they are often more motivated and eager to succeed. As a teacher, your flexibility is limited as you have an exam date to work towards and you are strictly sticking to a curriculum.

  • Business English

    These types of lessons are usually business etiquette orientated and cover topics like making presentations and writing emails and proposals. As a business English teacher, you can opt to specialise in one particular industry such as Marketing and tailor your lessons to be more specific, or you can teach more generally.

How much can I earn if I teach English online?

When you start your career in teaching English online, the amount of money you can earn varies depending on multiple factors. For example, whether or not you have a degree, your experience level, if you’re freelancing or working for a company, if you’re a native speaker or not – the list goes on. If you are a fluent English teacher with no experience, you could expect approximate earnings of $20-$50 per hour to start. As an online teacher, you are only paid for the hours you teach, therefore you are in total control of your earnings. Some online teaching companies will let you choose your own rates, and if set rates apply, they can vary especially between regions.

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How to land your first online teaching job

Now that you’ve done all the hard work and you’re qualified with a TEFL course, it’s time to secure your first job.

Now that you’ve done all the hard work and you’ve got your Level 5 Diploma from The TEFL Academy, it’s time to secure your first job.

Interviews can always be daunting, but the good news is, with online English teaching jobs, the interviews are online – no more sweaty handshakes. At the TEFL Academy, when you graduate, we will provide you with everything you need to excel in an interview and give you all the tips and tricks to get ahead of the competition. The best advice we can give is to smile, look confident and be informed. As the marines say- “fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” Preparation is key and feeling knowledgeable and confident will help calm those nerves!

Teaching English online is very different to teaching in a classroom. Even if at first it seems a bit unnatural, we promise after a few classes you’ll get the hang of it. When you join a company or online teaching platform, one of the requirements is to upload a demo video. These are vital as they’re the reason companies will hire you. Use them to your advantage as a means of showcasing your personal teaching style, remember both companies and students can see them. 

Finally, setting up an online classroom is something we’d really encourage. You can read our pro tips here.

Good luck out there and don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter for news, advice and information as well as all the goings on and latest job opportunities from the wonderful world of TEFL.

 

Teach English Online FAQ

If you are enrolled or have completed one of our TEFL courses, then get in touch with our student services team and we can send you job boards specifically for online tutoring. You can also check on our exclusive online teaching jobs board.

It can be easier when starting out to work for a company as they will source your students for you. With freelancing, you’ll have to build up your student base on your own.

We recommend choosing an accredited course of 168-hour duration in order to give you the best possible experience and to open the door to more opportunities.

Yes. Many people make a sizeable salary as an online TEFL teacher, you choose how much/ how little you teach so you have the power to use it as your only source of income.

Online teaching is super flexible! Some companies require a minimum of 6-8 hours per week, but the total amount is up to you. It can be a great side gig or you can have open availability to work full-time.

This will vary from company to company. Some will do a bank transfer to your account while others will arrange to transfer into a PayPal account.

You will need a strong internet connection, a webcam, microphone, computer/laptop, or tablet.

If you are a first-time English teacher, you should probably count on making $10 - $25 per hour to start.

You’ll need to be TEFL qualified and be a fluent English speaker (some companies will require a BA degree).

 

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Accreditation Partners

The TEFL Academy was the world’s first TEFL course provider to receive official recognition from government regulated awarding bodies in both the USA and UK. This means when you graduate you’ll hold a globally recognised Level 3 (120hr) Certificate or Level 5 (168hr) Diploma, meaning you can find work anywhere and apply for jobs immediately.

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