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Teach, Enrich, Empower

Online teaching at a glance

If you’ve landed on this page, you must be thinking about starting your TEFL career and joining over 100,000 TEFL teachers working all over the world. Whether you’re a student, graduate, or working full-time in a career that’s not for you – teaching English online is a great option for anyone! One of the most amazing things about online teaching is that you can do it from anywhere in the world, be it your sofa or in a hotel in Bali! You can set your own hours and rates and ultimately decide where and when you work.

To kickstart your new adventure, get qualified with an accredited Level 5 TEFL course and unlock a world of opportunities! It’s not all easy money though, and there are some challenges involved in becoming an online teacher, such as actually getting qualified and of course, the boring paperwork – but it will be worth it, promise! Let’s discuss the requirements you must meet before your bank account can be brimming!



Your essential guide to Teaching English online

Requirement to teach English Online

Let’s start with the basics. Firstly, we must point out that just because you can speak a language, does not mean you can teach it. Speaking a language and having the ability to teach it to non-native speakers require two different skill sets. Furthermore, teaching English as a foreign language in-class differs again from teaching English as a foreign language online, and we’ll discuss this in a moment. Our job, as the World’s Leading TEFL provider, is to provide you with the transferable skills needed to ensure you have the ability to deliver the most engaging English classes both online and in the classroom! So what are the requirements for teaching English online you ask?

To teach English online, you’ll need the following:

01. Fluent English speaker

You have to be fluent in English. Of course, you don’t have to be a native English speaker to get qualified and teach English, however, you must prove your English is above a CEFR level C2, meaning you can understand everything heard or read, all spoken language at a fast, native pace and abstract, structurally complex text and literary writings.

02. A TEFL Qualification

Not all TEFL certificates are created equal. We strongly advise taking an accredited Level 5 TEFL qualification of 168-hour duration when studying to be a teacher. You’re unlikely to find work with a course with fewer hours or a budget course that isn’t properly accredited. The TEFL Academy’s Level 5 course is internationally recognized, regulated by Ofqual (UK government), accredited by Qualifi, and approved by the DEAC (U.S. Department of Education recognized 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. All enrolments on our level 5 course include a FREE top-up course in Teaching English Online & 1:1Teaching Business English, or Teaching Young Learners.

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.

03. Equipment

To teach English online, your students must be able to connect with you, see you, and hear you. Therefore, a strong internet connection, a laptop/ PC, a webcam, and a headset are vital in the success of your online classes! Communication is a lot harder online and as an English teacher, it is especially important to make sure both you and your students can be easily heard and understood. This is where props can be extremely beneficial, especially for younger learners. Furthermore, all of those things won’t matter unless you have a quiet place to teach in! Ideally, you would have a home office with soundproof walls, a fancy coffee machine, and three monitors right? Of course, that’s a little far fetched (but hey, maybe you can build one with your new TEFL income). Any distraction-less corner of your home will do, just stick a sign on the door saying “teaching in progress” and you’re good to go!

04. Motivation

Teaching English online is very different from many other jobs and while it is extremely rewarding, it’s important to understand that it can be very lonely. There are no staff meetings or colleague catch-ups over coffee, and no brainstorming or group lesson planning. Of course, you can reach out to other EFL teachers online, but you can still feel a little isolated at times. This is where motivation comes in. There’s no manager giving out to you if you’re late or don’t show up for your classes, so you must have the intrinsic motivation to want to work, to be reliable and professional and so you don’t snooze your alarm and go back to sleep! That is a key point to note when deciding if you want to teach English online.

Increase in online teaching

Let’s talk about where the industry stands at the moment. It would be rude not to mention Miss Rona, who has absolutely affected our lives in so many ways. As with many industries, COVID has majorly affected the ELT markets all over the world. With lockdowns being enforced and the sudden closure of schools, institutions had to turn to the digital world and get creative in discovering new ways to deliver classes. COVID has resulted in many people being temporarily laid off, or losing their jobs altogether and ultimately given people more time at home than we could have ever expected to have. Millions of people are looking for ways to earn new incomes and exploring new revenue avenues, while working from home has become a requirement for most. With the closure of in-classroom schools, came the increase in demand for online TEFL teachers and it is reassuring to see the huge increase in online class enrollments across educational institutions! The TEFL Academy has conducted an in-depth analysis of the industry, including surveying qualified and aspiring EFL teachers and through this process, we have compiled the most up to date knowledge of the English language market. For many years, growing globalisation and a drastic rise in online learning and education continue to grow the English language market. The language service industry has seen higher growth as world cultures, economies, and the population becomes increasingly interconnected. The global language market has doubled in size over the past ten years, amounting to 46.9 billion U.S dollar industry in 2019. COVID has left many looking for new revenue avenues and more and more people are realising the fantastic benefits of earning money from home (what better way to do so than teaching English online, right?). Something that stood out to us during this analysis, was the professionalisation of the TEFL sector in the job requirements for online teaching. There was certainly a stronger emphasis on qualifications in the online teaching positions advertised, compared to the classroom-based posts. This stresses the importance again of choosing a regulated and accredited TEFL provider and taking a Level 5 TEFL qualification of 168-hour duration to set you up for endless opportunities and success. With the EFL industry being so competitive, you’d be silly to choose anything less!

What else do I need to be able to teach Engish Online?

Like many markets around the world, the effects of COVID have had a major impact on the ELT markets globally. With schools being closed and working from home becoming the new norm for the vast majority of the workforce, institutions had to be more innovative than ever and devise new ways to deliver classes to ensure their students could continue to learn and keep up with course work during these crazy times. The closure of in-classroom schools did not lower the need for TEFL teachers around the world, but instead, schools have switched to online learning methods. In the last few months, there has been rapid growth in the online education industry. Online class enrolments have dramatically increased across educational institutions and the amount of students taking at least one online class is now at 32% – the highest we’ve ever seen. There are hundreds of thousands of online teaching jobs available online, and the need for online teachers continues to grow while the travel restrictions remain across the globe. For instance, VIPKid alone now employs 65,000 teachers that teach over half a million Chinese students online. VipKid is just one of the many online teaching platforms Interested in finding out more? Check out our Blog for more information!

Teach, Enrich, Empower

Advice from online teaching Brand Ambassadors

Read our graduate’s online teaching success stories where they have shared their experiences and tips for online teaching.

Type of Online Teaching Jobs

There are a couple of different avenues you can take when teaching English online, but one thing is certain, whether you freelance or join a language company – you must get TEFL qualified! Not to toot our own horn or anything, but when it comes to getting your qualification, you truly cannot choose a better course than our Level 5 online course as not only will you be certified to teach online, we will also provide you with a certificate to teach in-class too! We’ve thoroughly compared every course on the market and with a FREE 30-hour top up course included, it’s a no brainer for anyone who wants to be in the best possible position for employment after qualifying.

As a qualified TEFL teacher, you could:

01. Work Directly For A Language Company Or Agency That Will Find Teachers’ Work And Set For You A Teaching Schedule.

The pros of this are that you have guaranteed work, it is easier to get booked for lessons as you are given students, rather than having to source them yourself as a freelancer would. Your relationship with your students is very important in these cases because often you are given bonuses based on students’ reviews of you and students can choose to use you for more lessons or change to another teacher. Most language companies pay salaries on a weekly or monthly basis and you’ll be provided with a payslip to reflect this.

02. Join An Online Networking Platform

Add yourself and your qualifications to an existing agency database where EFL learners can easily find you. There are also multiple platforms where students advertise for tutors, for example, We also have companies like Cambly: a digital networking platform that allows students from all over the world to connect with native English speaking tutors for things like a conversation.

03. Freelance

Freelancing means that you’ll be able to choose how much or how little you work, set your desired rates of pay, and essentially, become your own boss! You can put yourself out there by (1) Creating your own website from scratch and promoting yourself to the masses! This can look more professional but it can take some time and can be costly if you opt to hire a developer. Or (2) Creating your own course and selling it on an open platform. As a freelancer, you’ll need to set yourself up some common payment sites such as PayPal and TransferWise so that you can accept bank transfers from your students.

Our Blog

Topics and Types of English you can teach

There are many different types of people who may be looking to learn English online. The variety in your students is what keeps the job interesting as you constantly have to adapt to different demographics. You will be interacting with different types of people from all over the world and from different backgrounds. Let’s talk through the different types of learners you could encounter, you’ll need to be familiar with this so you can plan lessons appropriately.

  • 01. Young Learners

    Young Learners equate to the majority of English language 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. Why not incorporate songs, games or have a puppet show to keep them engaged and interacting with one another? Remember, at such a young age, they probably don’t yet see the value in learning English, they are just doing as their parents say, so it’s important for you to create a relaxed environment that everyone will enjoy learning in. You can read more about teaching Young Learners here.

  • 02. Teens

    Many young teens, especially in China, will want to take online English classes to assist them in their English lessons at school. As we know, teenages can be challenging to handle at times, but they are a rewarding group to teach. Get to know your students, what are their likes and dislikes? Appeal to their interests and personalities and let them contribute to discussions and voice their opinions. Above all, be careful not to treat them as children… don’t be that guy!

  • 03. Adults

    Nowadays, more adults are realising how convenient it is to learn English online. It is easy to log on for an hour before or after work and there’s no need to take days off work and commute to a language school. Adults are mostly taught in 1:1 lessons, as they each are at different stages in their lives with different abilities. Remember, adults can lack confidence and be embarassed to make mistakes, so praise and encouragement will go a long way. The majority of adult students will be learning General English, but this can vary and some adults require English lessons for specific purposes.

  • 04. Students

    Many students will sign up to online English lessons in order to improve their English language skills to keep up with their academic workload, or to pass exams requiring English proficiency. You will need to particularly work on academic skills with your students in this case. Students often have busy time schedules and a hefty workload, so it is a good idea to get creative and try to make your classes less daunting by teaching the academic material in a not-so-boring way. Find out what is their chosen field of study and look for resources related to what they’re learning in school, so that the material they learn with you will be applicable and relevant to their school life.

  • 05. In-company

    It is often the case that some adults may need to improve their English skills to help them with their jobs. It could be that they work in customer service and need to be able to converse with customers better or handle complaints, or they could work in a bank and are struggling to grasp some terminology in work, or they could just generally need help with writing emails and participating in meetings! Companies usually pay for these lessons and so they are compulsory for the staff, which can certainly affect their enthusiasm and motivation to learn. Group classes are usually held in this case and although the material might not be the most exciting, it is your job to make it as engaging and as interesting as possible.

  • 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 helping students with their fluency and correcting any common errors. The classes are usually low stress as many students don’t have a certain goal in mind, unlike when they are preparing for an exam. The teacher will follow a syllabus but the classes can be quite laid back as the main goal here is proficiency in conversation!

  • 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.

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How much can you make as an Online Teacher?

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 native English teacher with no experience, you could expect approximate earnings of $15-$30 USD (€12.50 – €25 EUR) 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.

One of the great things about online teaching is that you don’t need to worry about correcting or giving homework, staff meetings or lesson planning as lesson materials are provided! Often, teaching in a classroom where you are on a monthly salary, paid holidays and sick leave, will pay better than online teaching. However, many of the perks of online teaching such as the money and time you save commuting to a classroom, the flexible hours and the convenience can make up for the lower level of pay.

If you don’t believe us, read our teacher’s stories and see how they’ve turned EFL teaching into their sole and steady income while they surf the waves in Thailand or surf the web in the comfort of their home!

We wrote the book on the world of TEFL!

A world first! The definitive guide to teaching English in countries worldwide.


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How to score the perfect 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.

Interviews can always be daunting, but the good news is, with online English teaching jobs, the interviews will be held over Skype – no more sweaty handshakes! At the TEFL Academy, on completion of your Level 5 Course, we will provide you with everything you need to excel in an interview and give you all the tips and tricks to get you 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!

As we’ve previously discussed, 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 watch them to aid their decision! Check out our step-by-step guide on making the most kick-ass demo video! It’s crazy to think that 55% of our conversation is body language, while 38% is tone of voice. This means that when making your demo video, and when actually teaching, you have to be extra expressive, ensure your body language can be easily read (smiling, hand gestures) and keep your tone of voice lively and upbeat. Nobody wants to listen to a monotonic robot over Skype!

Finally, setting up an online classroom is something we’d really encourage, or is often required as an online English teacher. The TEFL Academy will fully equip you to do this, we’ve got your back, so don’t panic! This involves creating a quiet, bright space that is conducive to effective teaching and learning. You don’t need to break the bank to do so, find a quiet corner of your house, gather your equipment and props, sit with a wall behind you and voila! Of course, the students can see your background so decorate it accordingly, i.e. with colourful numbers or shapes for young learners.

Psst… You can read the rest of our tips here.

Pro tip: If you are currently completing or have completed a TEFL course with us, please don’t hesitate to contact student services for CV and cover letter assistance.


You've got a TEFL job! Now what?

First of all, Congrats! Give yourself a pat on the back because clearly, all of your hard work and efforts have worked and you’ve bagged your first online teaching job!

Time to get some resources together and start teaching! Working in the digital space as an online English teacher, all of your resources will be online. Unlike in-classroom teaching, you don’t have a staff room full of information or a tea-stained activity book bursting with ideas, instead it’s all available in front of your eyes on the world wide web! We’ll fill you in on all of our tech faves such as Miro, Scholastic and Diigo once you’re qualified and get your first job and our customer support team are there to guide you with whatever difficulties you may encounter.

With any job, issues can arise from online teaching, but like we said, that’s what we’re here for! Our team has years of experience in this industry and are on hand to help you every step of the way (that’s why we’re the world’s best TEFL provider!) The main problem you could face is time zones. Living in Canada teaching Chinese children on their time zones can inevitably be quite tricky unless you’re an owl. The reality is, if this is the nature of your new job and you can’t teach students more aligned with your time zone, you’ll just have to train your body to sleep at different times than you’re used to (or go back to your old job in Tesco with a 2 hour commute in the rain…). Motivation is a key factor in the success of your online teaching career. Think of it this way, in your personal life, if you’re motivated and productive, say you attend the gym, cook a nice meal from scratch and work your 8 hour shift – how do you feel? Productive, organised, like you could conquer the world? Exactly. The same applies when working. If you organise your classes for the week, stick to your schedule that you have printed out on fancy paper and get along with your students – you’ll feel motivated to do the same thing next week, and the week after that! Therefore, your students will love you and you’ll have so many lesson bookings that you’ll need to clone yourself. It is all about balance though, make sure to look after yourself so you don’t burn out, then you’d be no good to anyone! We have plenty of secret tips for staying motivated, ok not so much a secret as they’re publicly announced on our blog, but whatever. Truth be told, you’ll struggle to find a job with more freedom and flexibility than teaching English online gives you. And you’ll certainly struggle to find a TEFL provider with more accreditations, that gives better qualifications and that will give you more opportunities than The TEFL Academy.

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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