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Question & answer
Anyone can teach online, although there are many things you can do to improve your chances of success. If you have passion, dedication and good sales and marketing skills (no matter what your existing qualifications or background), you can have a successful career in online English teaching.
When we use the verb ‘teach’ here, you may be confused as to whether you need to be a university-trained school teacher (with a 4 year Education degree) or not. The answer is “No”, you don’t. While qualified (K-12) teachers make up a large portion of the online English teaching community, those from other fields can also be excellent educators, online English tutors, trainers and coaches. We use the word ‘teach’ as a catch-all term for the role, which can be as varied as you can possibly imagine.
You can make anywhere between $100 to $10,000+ a month by teaching online. It really depends on the subject matter you’re teaching, your qualifications, Nationality, and whether you’re working for yourself or as part of an existing online school or tutoring service.
The exact amount of flexibility you will have in your schedule will depend on how you choose to teach but is generally far more flexible than in a “traditional” job. Just like any job, you need to be reliable and consistent but you can control your time much more than in many other positions.
There are often ‘peak hours’ – the times that most students want to learn – usually before and after work for adults and before and after school for children (in their time zone). So, if you want to work in the morning, look for students in a corresponding time zone and vice versa for your evenings.
Theoretically, there is no limit to the amount of hours that you can work, but the majority (80%) of paid jobs are casual or part time (<20 hours/wk), although these numbers are just a guide. The reason being that most TESOL learning occurs outside of classroom hours, so is limited to mornings and evenings. Adult learners are limited by their working hours. Although, if you can juggle multiple time zones and/or build a freelance/marketplace business with regular students and/or groups of students, you can build a full-time income.
You can teach 1:1, in small groups or to entire villages; but the two main groups are school-aged children and adult professionals, with the two largest markets being Asian and European students. If you work for a company, you’ll likely teach 1:1 or a small group of 2-6 students. If you work for a marketplace platform or freelance, you can teach as many students at one time as you want but small groups are easier to manage and to give equal time to. Some students have little to no language ability, while others are near-fluent. The ‘average’ adult students speak some English but want to improve, while young children might need to start with the ABCs.
18 years or older
A fluent English speaker.
TEFL certificate of 120 hours or more.
Yes, you can teach online with no experience but you will likely need to start with an entry-level position in a company and work your way up in the field. If you are confident with sales and marketing, you can advertise yourself independently. We recommend that you study a TEFL certificate and get trained if you’re a beginner so that you start with confidence. You can also search for online volunteering options to ‘get your foot on the ladder’.