Historically, children from affluent families around the world are taught the English language by tutors who travel from the U.S.A., United Kingdom, Canada, and other native English-speaking countries. These teachers were paid handsomely (plus travel expenses included) at the time, which meant not everyone could afford to learn English.

Today, the internet has made learning ESL (English-as-a-second-language) affordable and convenient to both teachers and students. Any native English speaker with internet access, teaching skills and video chat can connect to students from all over the world.

If you’re an ESL tutor trying to find work, these top 10 highest-paying websites could help you turn this online gig into a full-time career:


• Founders: Kevin Chen and Yongyue Jiang
• Launched: 2007
• Headquarters: Shanghai, China
• Age of Students: Any
• Requirements: Native speaker of the language you’re teaching
• Top reason to choose italki: Not exclusive to the English language
• Rate: $5 to $40/hour

Italki is more of a teacher marketplace. You can teach any language you want, as long as you’re a native speaker of that language. The best thing about italki is that you can decide your own rate (other ESL websites have a tier system based on experience or rating). Teacher rates range between $5 and $40. As Chris Rush revealed in his guest blog post, he earned over $2,200 teaching 71 lessons within 90 days.

2. DaDaABC

• Founders: Zhi Hui and Dennis Lee
• Launched: 2013
• Headquarters: Shanghai, China
• Age of Students: Kids ages 5 to 16
• Requirements: Must be a native English speaker with a Bachelor’s degree
• Top reason to choose DaDaABC: It’s a 12-month contractual position
• Rate: Starts at $25/hour (increase based on performance)

DaDaABC offers a real career opportunity for teachers. Three types of one-on-one classes exist – trial (14 minutes), elective and major classes (last from 30 minutes to 1 hour). DaDaABC provides teachers with a curriculum and platform, where they teach the same kids months at a time. This is a huge advantage to the learning process, since teachers don’t have to get acquainted with new students at every class.


• Founder: Cindy Mi
• Launched: 2013
• Headquarters: Beijing, China
• Age of Students: 4 to 12
• Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in any field; Resident of Canada and U.S.
• Top reason to choose VIPKID: Classes are short (about 25 minutes each)
• Rate: $18 to $21 per hour

VIPKID may have only been launched in 2013, but this startup has already raised $125 million and is now home to 8,000 teachers and over 100,000 students. The difference with VIPKID compared to other ESL websites is that the company has its own curriculum that teachers follow and children are also taught American culture on top of speaking proper English.

4. PalFish

• Founder: Henry Huang
• Launched: 2015
• Headquarters: Beijing, China
• Age of Students: Any
• Requirements: Strong English speaking skills
• Top reason to choose PalFish: Set your own rates
• Rate: $13 to $45

PalFish is a web-based teaching platform with iOs and Android apps available that connects Chinese students to native English-speaking teachers. The requirements are more lax compared to other ESL websites on this list, but the maximum rate per hour you could earn is at $45. Plus, you can also earn a $3 commission by referring either a student or teacher to the site.

5. Voxy

• Founders: Paul Gollash and Gregg Carey
• Launched: 2010
• Headquarters: New York, USA
• Age of Students: Aimed at college-level and professionals
• Requirements: ESL certification or teaching certification in any subject
• Top reason to choose Voxy: For U.S. based teachers
• Rate: Starts at $18 per hour

This top-rated education app occasionally opens up its job listing for certified teachers of any subject. However, the job is only open for U.S. citizens. Rate starts at $18/hour with complete benefits, despite being a remote position. Teachers who speak Portuguese or Spanish earn higher rates.

6. Western Wise

• Founder: Emily Roberts
• Launched: 2014
• Headquarters: Iowa City, U.S.
• Age of Students: 5 to 14 years old
• Requirements: TEFL/Celta certificate or 3 years ESL teaching experience
• Top reason to choose Western Wise: Part-time, but with 6-month contract
• Rate: $15 to $22

Western Wise is another Chinese to English teaching platform, which make it easier for tutors since they meet the same class and students every time. Requirements are tougher: ESL tutors commit to at least 1-year of work and must have standard North American accent, a TEFL/Celta certificate, a language degree, or at least 3 years experience teaching ESL. Their website is aimed at students (written in Chinese), so if you’re interested as a tutor, you may apply as a tutor by filling up this form.

7. VerbalPlanet

• Founder: Andrew Moore
• Launched: 2006
• Headquarters: United Kingdom
• Age of Students: Any
• Requirements: Pass approval process
• Top reason to choose VerbalPlanet: Reputable company
• Rate: Starts at $10 to $20, but can go as high as $40+ (tutors dictate pricing)

Verbal Planet is one of the earliest ESL learning website on this list. It allows tutors to create their profile and dictate their own pricing, but Verbal Planet must first approve your profile based on teaching qualification and experience. Students choose their tutors. Classes last up to 45 minutes. The downside of Verbal Planet is that they close applications regularly, so bookmark the site to get into the platform once they open.

8. SkimaTalk

• Founders: Koji Shimizu and Ted Smith
• Launched: 2012
• Headquarters: Berkeley, California, USA
• Age of Students: Any
• Requirements: Strong English-speaking skills
• Top reason to choose SkimaTalk: Open for anyone (even without certification)
• Rate: $15/hour

SkimaTalk is an ESL teaching program that accepts native or near-native English-speaking tutors to guide non-natives one-on-one on Skype with grammar, pronunciation, and other nuances of the English language. Tutors are given reviews in return for every class completed. SkimaTalk offers $15/hour to teachers, but deducts money from your account and slaps you with a penalty for every absence and tardiness without notice.

9. Englishunt

• Launched: 2000
• Headquarters: Seoul, Korea
• Age of Students: Any (Japanese market)
• Requirements: At least 2-year degree from a recognized institution for general tutors; teaching certification for video programs
• Top reason to choose EnglisHunt: Set your own hours; 10 to 20-minute classes
• Rate: $14.50/hour

Any tutor interesting in the Japanese culture, you’d learn from your students by working for Englishunt. Tutors here work part-time with an average workload of 8 to 12 hours weekly. The best thing about Englishunt is that classes only last a maximum 20 minutes. The downside though is you’d have to be online between 4 AM and 7 AM EST.

10. TutorABC (iTutorGroup)

• Founders: Dr. Ming Yang and Dr. Eric Yang
• Launched: 2004
• Headquarters: Taipei, Taiwan
• Age of Students: 22 to 65 years old
• Requirements: 4-year degree on any major; Fulfill 15 sessions weekly,
• Top reason to choose TutorABC: Schedule flexibility, stable company,
• Rate: Starts at $10/hour with performance bonuses; Negotiable starting rate

TutorABC is a well-known ESL company that offers schedule flexibility since classes are available 24/7. Most students are Asian, but all are adults, so if you’re better at teaching kids, this may not be the platform for you. TutorABC is known to give tutors performance bonuses based on student rating.

The Bottom Line

If you’re new to teaching ESL online, these top 10 websites helps you get the necessary experience, skills and customer reviews to replace an 8-to-5 job.

Once you’ve built a portfolio enough to start your own website, you could sell your teaching services directly to students. It removes the need for a middleman and fees associated with the company. You also get total control of pricing, curriculum offered, number of students, and other elements of the ESL teaching business.

Join the Discussion

  • English Teacher
    English Teacher

    I was recently hired by Voxy and wanted to point out that they did not offer $18/hr, but $15.

  • Tia

    Tutor Abc’s rate DO NOT start at $10. Neither are they negotiable .
    Their base rate are $2 – $7.50 per class .

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