There are many ways to earn money working online these days. Teaching English online is one of the many ways to earn money from your computer. It’s how we were able to quickly transition into digital nomad life and earn an income while traveling the world.
The online English teaching world has grown exponentially in the last few years. Just a few years ago, there weren’t that many online English teaching companies to choose from but now there are tons. The surge in popularity is great for experienced English teachers taking their skills online. However, it also brings about scammy companies and less-than-qualified people looking for a get-rich-quick scheme.
In this post, I’ve compiled a list of the best online English teaching jobs. This list will help you cut through the noise and find the best online English teaching job for you.
Why Teach English Online
There are lots of reasons to teach English online! But one of the biggest reasons is that you can earn decent money from your living room.
Teaching English online is a great way to earn money while you travel. We became digital nomads thanks to our jobs teaching English online. We’ve spent the last three years bouncing around to different countries and setting up temporary bases in places like Puerto Vallarta, Medellin, Lima, Santiago (Chile), and Antigua, Guatemala all while earning a steady income.
Even if you have no desire to travel, teaching English online is still for you if you are:
- a stay-at-home mom/dad who wants to earn some extra cash
- a university student working towards a degree
- recently retired but still need something to occupy your free time
- tired of working in an office, want to escape the rat-race, and move somewhere exotic like Bali
Teaching English online (or in general) is very fulfilling work and that’s why I like it so much. It’s versatile – you can treat it like a side-hustle for some extra cash or you can do it full-time and make it your main source of income. And many of these online English teaching jobs are hiring so you can get started right away!
Who Can Teach English Online
Teaching English online isn’t for everyone.
You should be the kind of person who likes people of all ages. Most of the best online English teaching jobs are with kids, but there are also some jobs teaching adults. If you’re not a people person, you’re going to deliver a poor class experience.
You should put in the effort to prepare and give a high-quality classroom experience. It’s also important that you care about your students’ progress, or at least pretend like you do.
If that describes you, then you’ll be a great fit for teaching English online.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about your other skills. Can non-native English speakers teach English online?
The answer is yes if you speak nearly fluent English.
However, it’s highly likely that you’ll earn less than native English speakers. I know, it’s not fair, but I don’t make the rules. Personally, I think non-native English speakers make better English teachers because they understand what it’s like to learn English. It’s actually a terrible language with all its complex vocabulary, grammar rules, and exceptions to those rules. Native English speakers don’t always understand why we speak the way we do unless we’ve taken formal training on it.
Requirements for Teaching English Online
There are some standard requirements that most of the best online English teaching jobs have. They are:
- some teaching experience (it doesn’t have to be in a classroom)
- Bachelor’s degree (it can be in anything)
- a teaching certification such as TEFL/TESOL/CELTA
Many of the online English teaching jobs will list “Teaching experience preferred” in their requirements, but don’t worry if you’ve never taught in a classroom before. They have a loose definition of teaching experience. Any experience that you have with children (or adults) where you were in a supervising role can count as teaching experience.
Most of these online English teaching jobs will require a Bachelor’s degree. However, it can be in anything. I have a BS in Music Industry Studies and Sasha’s degree is in Telecommunications. We’ve both been teaching English abroad and online for the better part of ten years now.
It is possible to teach English online without a degree. Unfortunately, that means you likely won’t earn as much as those who do. I have sorted the best online English teaching jobs below into ones that do require a Bachelor’s degree and ones that don’t.
More and more online English teaching companies are starting to require a teaching certification such as a TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA. In fact, all of the companies based in China now require a teaching certificate due to new laws passed by the government that went into effect in March 2019.
If you don’t have a Bachelor’s degree, I highly suggest you get a TEFL certificate so you have some credentials. It also shows companies that you will take the position seriously and that you know how to teach the English language.
The fastest way to get a TEFL Certificate is to take an online course. There is a wide range in pricing and the number of hours in the courses out there. There are also a lot of things to look out for. I’ve written an in-depth post about the best online TEFL courses to help you decide.
What You Need to Get Hired with the Best Online English Teaching Jobs
You don’t need much to teach English online. Some of these online English teaching jobs may have more things that they would like you to have such as a certain color t-shirt but for the most part, here’s all you need:
- a fast, stable internet connection
- headset with an external mic (like this one)
- some extra props like a whiteboard, stuffed animal, or flashcards
- a bright and cheery attitude
If you wanted to get hired with one of the online English teaching jobs that allows you to teach from anywhere, you would need to get some supplies for your portable classroom. But if you plan to work from home, the above list is all you need.
The Best Online English Teaching Jobs
Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for! This is why you’re here after all.
Here are the best online English teaching jobs. I’ve sorted them based on their requirements but you should still read through them to see if you qualify.
Online Teaching Sites Requiring a Bachelor’s Degree
North Americans Only
VIPKID – This is our top recommendation. Based in Beijing, Forbes ranked them the #1 work from home job in 2019 as they have paved the way for online teaching. You must be American or Canadian. You will earn a base pay of $14 – $18 per hour with opportunities for incentives that can raise your wage to as high as $22 per hour. They offer a flexible schedule with no minimum requirements.
Check out our review to learn more about teaching with VIPKID.
Magic Ears – The students are Chinese kids ages 5-12 and the pay is $18-$26 per hour. Classes are 25 minutes and the curriculum is already prepared for you. There will be up to 4 students in each class. You must be from the USA or Canada and hold a Bachelor’s Degree and TEFL/TESOL certificate.
GoGoKid – This Beijing based company is very similar to VIPKID. Classes are 1-on-1 for 25 minutes with lessons provided by the company. You’ll teach Chinese students ages 5-12. The base pay is between $7-$10 per class with the opportunity to earn bonuses. You must be a native English speaker from the USA or Canada, have a Bachelor’s degree in anything, and a TEFL certificate.
All Native English Speakers
DaDa (formerly DaDaABC) – Also based in China, the students are 5-16 years old. You’ll teach around 15 hours per week and earn up to $25 per hour. You must be a native English speaker from any English speaking country. They make the lesson plans, you simply teach them. Contracts are 12 months and you must give them your availability and commit to it for the duration of your contract.
SayABC – Owned by VIPKID, the SayABC platform was launched in 2018. They are also based in Beijing. The students are Chinese kids ages 5-12 years old. Classes are 40 minutes and have up to 4 students with lessons provided by the company. Their courses last for 3 months and you’ll teach the same students for that duration. Their curriculum was partly developed by National Geographic. Total pay including bonuses is $21 per class. You must be a native English speaker with a Bachelor’s degree (or in your final year of university) and a TEFL/TESOL certificate. 1 year of teaching experience is preferred but not required.
Whales English – The students are Chinese, 5-15 years old. Classes are 50 minutes with 2 – 3 students and lessons are provided by the company. The pay is $18-$30 per class with opportunities to get large bonuses. You must be a native English speaker from North America or the UK with a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL/TESOL certificate (or willing to get one). I’ve read nothing but positive things in Facebook groups about this company. Everyone who teaches for them seems to love it.
ALO7 – This Shanghai-based company hires teachers from the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. You must also have a Bachelor’s Degree and a TEFL/TESOL certificate. The pay is between $15 – $22 per hour with many different incentives for extra pay. Classes are either 25 or 50 minutes. They have 1v1, 1v3, and group classes. The students are Chinese K-12. The lessons are provided.
EF (Education First) – Earn up to $16 per hour with one of the oldest and most respected brands in private language teaching. EF is one of the only US-based online teaching companies. You must live in the US or UK and use a hard-wired computer. You can make your own schedule and incorporate your own teaching style. A Bachelor’s degree and prior teaching experience are also required.
Native and Non-Native English Speakers
iTutorGroup (TutorABC) – This Taiwan-based company hires teachers from all over the world. A TEFL/TESOL certificate and a Bachelor’s Degree are required. They offer classes 24/7 with provided lessons. Their students cover a wide age range from children to adults.
Online Teaching Sites That Do Not Require a Bachelor’s Degree
North Americans Only
Qkids – They require at least an AA degree but a Bachelor’s degree is preferred. This company will hire people who are currently enrolled in a university, working towards a Bachelor’s degree. If you are not working towards a degree, you must have a plan to get a TEFL/TESOL certificate. You must be from, and be living in, America or Canada. You can earn up to $20 per hour. Lessons are provided by the company. They are based in China.
All Native English Speakers
Cambly – This is one of the most well known online tutoring companies. You can set your own schedule and tutor both kids and adults from all over the world. This is a great company to add more hours to one of the Chinese companies. It’s easy to get started. Just sign up on their website and record a short video. The pay is $.17/minute, totaling $10.20 per hour. Don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back right away. I’ve heard it’s taken them upwards of 8 months to get back to some applicants. They are hiring on an as-needed basis but they will get in touch if you’re qualified…. eventually.
Hujiang – This is one of the larger online English teaching companies in China with students ranging from children to adults. You must be a native English speaker with a TEFL/TESOL certificate OR a Bachelor’s degree. Experience teaching children is also preferred. The starting salary is $16 – $20 for the K12 Kids program, with bonuses and salary increases available if teachers perform exceptionally well. The video classes are 25 minutes long and lesson materials are provided to use on their teaching platform. They have two different programs; the K12 program for kids and an adults program. Their website is all in Chinese so to apply you can email your resume to [email protected]
Skimatalk – This company is based in Japan. It is a teacher marketplace. You make a profile and set your own pay rate. 20% of your pay goes to Skimatalk. You take home 80% of your earnings, minus PayPal fees. Students are from all over the world. You do not need a teaching certificate nor prior experience. You simply need to be passionate about helping students and reliable. Click here to read their FAQ’s for teachers.
Native and Non-Native English Speakers
PalFish – This is a mobile app that allows you to teach on your smartphone or tablet. You have the option to teach a provided curriculum to kids from 6-9 pm Beijing time or teach free talk lessons to adults whenever you’re available or both! You must be a native English teacher to teach the kids but the free talk teacher position is open to non-native English speakers. A TELF/TESOL is required. Pay is between $16-$20 per hour. The kids classes are 1-on-1 for 25 minutes. Click here for instructions to apply.
italki – This is an online tutoring platform where adult students choose their teacher. You create a profile and set your own prices. It’s up to you to figure out how to rank at the top of the list of teachers. There are a couple of options within the platform as well as a few other tips and tricks to know. You must also create your own lesson plans but you can teach anything you want from business English and test prep to casual speaking practice.
Preply – This is an online platform similar to italki. You set your own hours, rates, and time zone. Then students search for teachers who meet their requirements. You can also teach other subjects or languages besides English. Your profile position is determined by four main factors: your availability, reviews from students who took lessons with you on Preply, the quality and detail of your tutor profile, your response time to requests and student messages. You create your own lesson plans but you can choose what areas of English you want to teach i.e. business English, IELTS prep, conversational, etc.
Amazing Talker – Similar to Preply and italki, you will make a profile, set your own rates, hours, and lesson plans. The company then matches tutors to students. Classes are 25 or 50 minutes with your own lesson materials. You can choose what ages you want to teach. The students are from all over the world. Class times are available 24/7. You must be a native English speaker or speak English fluently in order to apply. You can also teach your native language if you’re not a native English speaker. A teaching certificate such as TEFL or TESOL is a plus but not mandatory. Previous teaching experience is required.
Nicetalk – This is an app similar to PalFish. It’s meant to make it as easy as possible for Chinese English learners to connect to tutors so they can practice their speaking. Students can choose their tutor or request a random match and the company will choose a tutor based on ratings and other factors. You can work whenever you want. Pay is per minute with a full hour of tutoring earning you $10. You must have a fluent level of English. A TEFL/TESOL certificate is a big plus but not required.
Choose the Best Online Teaching Job For YOU
There you have it! That’s our list of the best online English teaching jobs.
But how do you choose the one that’s best for you?
First, think about exactly what you are looking for. Do you need more flexibility? Or are you okay with a fixed schedule? Next, write down the pros and cons of each online teaching job that you qualify for. Finally, do some research and see what other people are saying about these online teaching sites.
I’ve done a ton of research and these are the most reputable online teaching sites but everyone’s experience is different. It’s good to aware of the experience other people have had with these online teaching companies. Just remember that everyone’s experience is subjective.
It also doesn’t hurt to apply to multiple online teaching sites. Many teachers who teach ESL online teach with multiple companies to keep things fresh and round out their teaching schedule.
The Best Online English Teaching Jobs for Travelers
As I mentioned at the top of the post, teaching English online is a great way to earn money while you travel. It can also support you if you want to try living abroad.
Inside my video course Teaching for Freedom, I show you how to do just that.
First, I teach you how to identify your existing teaching experience. Then, I walk you through the teaching techniques that will help you nail your interview with any online teaching job of your choice.
Next up is the most robust module of the entire course. I introduce the best online English teaching jobs for traveling and living abroad complete with a full video walking you through the application process for each company. The following modules teach you how to fill your schedule and set up your portable classroom.
Finally, you’ll learn our “Wander-Planning” technique so you can maximize your travel fun AND earn great money at the same time!
It’s totally cool if you’re not ready to make that kind of investment, though! You can get started with my FREE eBook “How to Live Abroad and Travel the World as an Online English Teacher.”
It’s packed with actionable information that you can use to get started right now. I’ve also narrowed down this list into the best online English teaching jobs for traveling and living abroad.
If you’ve been daydreaming about steering your life in a different direction so you have more FREEDOM to do the things you love, this could be the perfect way for you to jump-start that new lifestyle!
Whether you want to work from the road or home, teaching English online is a great way to do just that. I hope this post has helped you find the best online English teaching job for you!
This is a living post that I update often. I always have my ear to the ground in the online teaching world in order to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information. So bookmark this post and check back often!
If you download my ebook above you’ll also be subscribed to our Traveling Teacher newsletter which means you’ll never miss an update about an online teaching job.
Thank you for reading to the end! If you have any more questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help you out.