The educational industry has always seemed like a location-dependent vocation. But technology has made it possible for teachers to spread their wings and gain the freedom to pursue things like online English teaching jobs.
Demands for online ESL teachers have skyrocketed in the past few decades and it’s now entirely possible to teach English online as a well-paying, full-time job.
If you’re not fully considering teaching English online yet, but are looking for a way to supplement your income on the side, then make sure to take a look at my tips on selling lesson plans online.
It’s a very lucrative sideline gig!
In this article, I’m going to introduce you to some of the best companies to apply for if you’re looking to teach ESL online.
But first, how does this process work?
Starting an Online ESL Teaching Job
What you’ll need to get started as an online English teacher will depend on each individual company you apply to.
Some don’t have many requirements while others have a list of requirements that need to be met before you can teach ESL online.
Here are some of the requirements you might need to fulfill:
- Be a native English speaker
- A strong internet connection and a webcam
- A Bachelors degree (usually doesn’t need to be in education)
- A Masters or Doctorate (if you’re planning on teaching at a college level)
- Teaching experience (can be some tutoring hours or a set amount of hours in a classroom)
- A TOEFL, TESL, TEFL, CELTA or other teaching English abroad certification
- Some companies have specific requirements for your work environment too, like whiteboards etc.
I’ve rounded up 17 different companies that are currently hiring ESL tutors and separated them into two categories.
First, you have your regular ESL jobs and the second list contains companies that allow you to work entirely from an app on your smart phone.
17 Online English Teaching Jobs Currently Available
If you’re an ESL tutor trying to find work, these top 17 highest-paying websites could help you turn this online gig into a full-time career:
The fastest and easiest way to land a full-time job as an ESL teacher is through Flexjobs.
While I update this post as often as I can, FlexJobs adds hundreds of new legitimate job postings daily. They scour the web for you and research the companies and post only legitimate job ads to their board.
At the time of this posting, FlexJobs has over 4,000 active listings in their education category alone.
Italki was founded in 2007 and 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.
DaDaABC offers a real career opportunity for teachers with rates starting at a whopping $25 per hour and chances to increase that based on performance.
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.
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.
Rates run between $14-$22 per hour and can be increased.
Class times are usually around 25 minutes each.
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.
Verbal Planet is one of the oldest 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.
Rates can run as high as $40 per hour.
The downside of Verbal Planet is that they close applications regularly, so bookmark the site to get into the platform once they open.
Any tutor interested 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 and rates run about $15 per hour.
The downside though is you’d have to be online between 4 AM and 7 AM EST.
8. TutorABC (iTutorGroup)
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. Rates start at $10 per hour, but they give performance bonuses and you can negotiate your rates.
As a Qkids tutor, you will be teaching Chinese children aged 4 to 12 through their patented and interactive gaming-based learning platform.
Qkids hire tutors to teach a maximum of 4 kids per lesson, with each lesson lasting a maximum of 30 minutes and at a starting rate of $16 per hour.
They hire native English speakers from the US and Canada and assign them to 6 month contracts, with the chance to continue your contract at the end.
Qkids sets your schedule for you each week and they also pay out attendance and performance bonuses.
TeachAway accepts licensed teachers, university graduates, and ESL instructors.
They offer a big variety of online ESL teaching opportunities, including online English teachers for students ranging from kindergarten to high school, for adult education, college-level online teaching, course developers, and more.
They offer both full-time and part-time online ESL jobs, as well as work for teachers who want to make an extra income over school breaks.
There are different peak class times that teachers can choose from. These usually range between 4:30am – 6.30am PST / 7.30am – 9.30am EST during the week and 5:30pm – 2.30am PST / 8:30pm – 5:30am EST over the weekends.
From what I found, TeachAway offers a competitive salary and performance bonuses.
Landi is another popular option for teaching ESL to students in China.
According to current Landi teachers, the company’s support team is great and the hiring process is fast and frustration-free.
There are usually around 2 students per classroom ranging from ages 5 to 15 and the company requires a minimum of twelve class hours per week. That could be a big time commitment for someone who wants to do this part-time – at least, more so than some of the other options on this list.
Landi reportedly pays around $18 – $25 USD per hour depending on the teacher’s skills and qualifications. They do require a bachelors degree.
If your salary expectations play a big role in your decision-making process then SayABC is a solid candidate to consider. They pay some of the highest rates in the industry, ranging up to $21 for a 40-minute class session.
Class sizes range from 1 to 4 students between the ages of 5 and 12 and teachers can set their own hours.
SayABC has an exclusive partnership with National Geographic Learning’s ‘Our World’ and offers pre-prepared lessons to teachers.
13. Magic Ears
This company prides itself on being one of the more open and friendly job sites for teaching ESL online. Teachers don’t have to compete for jobs as the site books classes for you.
Their website is really informative and offered all of the info one could need. They show how the hiring process works, how the lessons work, and which times you could be teaching.
With Magic Ears, you’ll be teaching to students in China ranging in ages between 4 to12 years.
They pay between $18 – $26 USD per hour on average.
4 Ways to Teach ESL From Your Phone
In the past, ESL students needed to sign up for classes and work with instructors in face-to-face arrangements. Nowadays, with the advancement of mobile technology, ESL instruction can occur via smartphone using different mobile apps.
What that means for you is that you can now earn money as an ESL instructor directly from your smartphone. That’s right: Thanks to the continued advancement of smartphone technology, you no longer need a computer to make money as an ESL instructor.
You can download specific ESL mobile apps to your smartphone and use them to tutor students via video and/or audio chat.
Your tutoring time is compensated by the minute and, depending on your skill level and past experience, could grow to as much as $45/hour.
So, which apps pay you for ESL tutoring?
This learning platform was created in China and is supported by both Android and iOS systems.
Once you download the app, you generate a short interview video that assesses your English-speaking capabilities. Following approval, you can start accepting student requests.
In the case of NiceTalk, most of the students will be native Chinese speakers who arrive via the app’s video chat function. You need to work with your phone to make sure it can accept video chat requests and stream them at a normal conversational pace.
NiceTalk pays you a defined amount of $10/hour for your talking/teaching time.
Keep in mind that most of your conversations will not last an entire hour- luckily, NiceTalk also pays by the minute. The app will also tack on bonuses to your account if you work with students during peak hours, which in the case of Chinese students is 11 pm- 6 am.
As a new user, you’ll receive a $10 bonus just for signing up with NiceTalk.
You are able to cash out of your account once you reach $20.
PalFish enables you to set your hourly rate from as low as $4.80 to over $45 per hour.
Incidentally, your pay is denoted in yuan, not dollars. However, the app will convert your pay to your local currency upon cashing out.
There is a short verification process that you’ll need to undergo before you can start working with students.
That process involves writing a 200-word description of you and your teaching style and posting a photo of your face.
You also need to post a voice recording so that students can discern how you speak- and more importantly, if you speak clearly enough for them to understand your words.
Unlike NiceTalk, you aren’t stuck earning a specified rate per hour or minute; with PalFish, you can set your own rates and earn as high as $45/hour.
Also, there is no set payout minimum.
This app pays 17 cents/minute or $10.20/hour.
You work as little or as much as you wish, and any money you earn is automatically sent to your Paypal account twice a month.
You can also sign up for two-hour shifts, which guarantees a certain amount of money for your time. Payments are made once a $20 threshold is reached.
Students can peruse tutor profiles and ‘ping’ those tutors that they want to interact with.
If the tutors are otherwise occupied and/or miss those ping(s), they are redirected to other tutors. You can opt to pick up the pings that are missed by other tutors for extra money.
Once you register with Cambly, you will be prompted to fill out your profile and record a video.
The more teaching experience/certifications you can list on your profile, the greater likelihood you’ll have of being pinged by students for tutoring.
Students can also leave reviews on how well they thought you tutored them.
If you accumulate a lot of positive reviews, you’ll increase your chances of being pinged.
This app will pay you $15 per each completed hour (as opposed to minute) and the chat sessions are conducted over Skype (which is available as an app for your smartphone).
SkimaTalk even offers you a range of lesson plans so that you have a template to go by during your sessions.
Just like with Cambly, your students can leave reviews about you and your teaching style. Good reviews will lead to more students.
To get started, use your Facebook account or email to register with SkimaTalk. Fill out your profile information, including both your photo and a descriptor of your teaching style, any applicable experience, etc.
SkimaTalk will then assess your English reading abilities with a 19 question test.
Assuming you pass, you’ll be able to start accepting and talking with students almost immediately.
Is Teaching ESL Online For You?
Becoming an online ESL teacher has many benefits attached, and could be one of the best ways to balance work and life while helping young minds all over the world.
Being an online teacher can be extremely rewarding, but there are other teaching-related options out there for those who want more.
If you’ve decided that this is what you want to do, then make sure to check out these great options and let us know which one you end up choosing!