Do you want to teach English online — to pad your income or work full-time, from home or location-independently while traveling?
We’ve got you covered! Here’s everything you need to know to start your career as an online ESL teacher.
Become a VIPKID Teacher
Hi, I’m Molly
As a veteran VIPKID teacher and ESL blogger, I’m excited to help you start teaching and answer all your questions along the way.
If you’d like to be an online teacher for VIPKID, read my comprehensive step-by-step guide first where I’ll guide you through the process.
VIPKID is one of the biggest and most popular online teaching companies. Teach Chinese kids and make up to $22 per hour! These guides tell you all about the requirements and benefits, help you to pass the application process and start teaching in no time.
Online Teaching Supplies
Computer, webcam, headphones, some props… you don’t need a lot of stuff for your online “classroom” but reliable equipment is vital to delivering lessons professionally. In our buying guides, we recommend high-quality yet affordable online teaching supplies.
More Tips for Teaching English Online
Learn more about the opportunity of teaching online from home: How to find jobs, how to deliver great lessons and deal with the pitfalls of technology.
Head over to our ESL Resources section to find more teaching guides and resources.
What is Online English Teaching?
Teaching English or ESL (English as a second language) online can take a number of forms. It’s become incredibly popular worldwide in recent years because it lets language learners worldwide easily connect with tutors.
Some people look for highly trained tutors or native speakers, while others just want someone they can practice conversing with through the internet.
People teach all age ranges, from young children just starting to learn English to business people working to improve their speaking skills.
You can work with students all over the world: Chinese high schoolers, immigrants who’ve recently come to the U.S., South Korean children, adults in the Middle East.
As an online English teacher, you can also decide how much control you want over the back end of teaching: curriculum development, marketing, and pay and class structure.
Some online English teachers work for companies that manage everything except teaching the class itself, while others take total control of all aspects of their teaching business.
Teaching English online may seem kind of weird at first, but once you find out a little about it, it sells itself. Because there are so many routes to teaching English online, the job can really look whatever you want it to look like. Once you try it, you won’t want to miss the undeniable benefits.
Jobs are Abundant
There’s a high demand for native English speakers to teach online, so it’s relatively easy to get a job teaching.
If you don’t have any teaching experience or training, no problem. Most companies will train you, and some will even pay you for training hours!
Although the demand for non-native speakers is lower, you’ll still find plenty of opportunities to teach provided that your English is good.
Flexibility: The Job Works for You
Teaching English online is a fantastic option for anyone who wants flexibility and a mobile workplace. You can teach anywhere with a stable internet connection, and you can set your own hours.
Also, you can work as little as much as you want, meaning that you can make the job work for you. Whether you’re looking for a new full-time job or a side hustle, online English teaching can work for you.
The Job is Meaningful
Perhaps the most surprising benefit of teaching English online is the relationships you’ll make.
Because you work one-on-one with students, you get to form relationships with children across the globe, and you get the satisfaction that comes from watching children grow and learn as a result of your instruction.
You’ll also learn teaching skills that will serve you well on paper and theoretically if you ever decide to live abroad and teach ESL in person.
The General Requirements
Because new online teaching companies are popping up every day, there are literally innumerable opportunities to teach English from home.
Requirements for teaching vary by employer, but by and large, companies require teachers to have a bachelor’s degree and either be a native English teacher or speak with native fluency.
Most companies don’t require a TEFL/TESOL certificate, but they encourage it, and you may be paid more highly if you have a TEFL certificate, a teaching certificate in your home country, and/or teaching experience.
If you teach ESL online through one of the major online teaching companies like VIPKID or DaDa, you’ll generally make $14-26 an hour.
Some companies pay teachers a flat rate, while others set your salary according to your teaching experience and performance in your interview.
So, let’s say, if you teach 30 hours a week at $20 per hour, you’ll earn $2,400 a month. Not bad, isn‘t it?
How to Get Hired by an Online Teaching Company
The hardest part of building your online English teaching career is getting started. Working for a company is definitely the easiest way to get started teaching online, and probably your best option if you’ve never taught online before.
If you decide to work for an online teaching company like VIPKID, you’ll go through an application process and then the company will offer you a salary when they give you a job offer.
At that time, you’ll sign a contract, probably for somewhere between 3 and 12 months. After your contract period ends your position will be reassessed and assuming you’ve performed well you’ll renew your contract and may be offered a raise.
It’s a great idea to teach through a company when you first start out because they’ll provide support and help you get started.
Here are the 12 best companies to teach English online to Chinese students (which is the biggest market by far).