Teaching English Online in 2020 – 10 Companies That Pay
Looking for new ways to supplement your income? Or better yet, doing it from a tropical island anywhere in the world?! If you're an English-speaker, there are plenty of ways to make money online.
You can teach English to people all over the world – from your computer! Some opportunities have minimum requirements, so you can get up and running the minute you're ready. If you're keen to make good money without leaving your home, teaching English online is the way to go.
Ready to get started? Check out our list of ten companies that pay you handsomely to do it. Then, get teaching!
- 1 Teaching English Online in 2020 – 10 Companies That Pay
- 1.1 Teaching English Online
- 1.2 Companies That Are Worth Checking Out
- 1.3 Freelancing Realities
- 1.4 Now You're Ready to Freelance
Teaching English Online
The Internet offers tons of opportunities for freelancers, from Instagram entrepreneurs to affiliate marketing. If freelancing by teaching and tutoring English sounds more like you, we've got all the info you need right here.
English is the language of business. While Chinese, Spanish and Arabic are also useful languages in today's business world, they don't trump English. People worldwide want to learn English from native or near-native speakers.
That's why, with little more than a computer and an Internet connection, you can start to rake it in, right from your own home. Often, students have a basic grip on English thanks to a teacher at their school or private language center. But, it may be that English isn't their teacher's first language, so they want to practice with a native speaker.
In these cases, you don't even need to be a trained language teacher. All you need are communication skills and a little patience. You might find companies link you to people with already advanced English skills.
They might lack confidence and need some practice. Or perhaps, they're moving to your country for work or study and want to get a better grip on the accent before arriving. These are just some of the many reasons there is an absolute boom in flexible online English tutoring and teaching services right now.
Requirements for Teaching English Online
Teaching English online is a great hustle for stay at home parents, retirees wanting some cash flow or activity, and digital nomads. Companies offering online teaching opportunities generally ask for the following as prerequisites:
- Native or near-native English ability
- Reliable Internet connection, webcam, and mic
- A work-space without loud noises or interruptions
- A university degree – though this isn't standard
- TEFL certification or TESOL certification
- Born in an English-speaking country like the UK, U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa
- Good communicator, enthusiastic, and positive with students
- Previous experience working with children or in a leadership role
As with any other job advertisement, these things are a bit of a wishlist. When companies are having trouble getting enough teachers on the books they can be more flexible.
Another trick is to start with companies that ask less, even though they also generally pay less. Once you've got three months of experience under your belt, apply to roles that ask for more and pay more.
Wages and Conditions
Users of these platforms often rate or review their tutors. For some platforms, the better your rating as a teacher, the more you can ask per session. Pay rates differ between companies.
You can expect to make $10 to $25 per hour. Some companies pay per minute, while others that pay per hour. They'll often ask you to commit to a certain number of hours each week.
There are also benefits built into many platforms, such as paying for your time in cases where the student cancels. You can receive the money via Paypal or direct bank deposit – again, it depends on the company. All the companies on our list ask for some sort of requirement from you, the teacher.
We'd suggest that you make your own list before you start checking them out. What is it you need – in terms of money, technical support, and timetables? Being clear on what your deal-breaker requirements are will help you make an informed decision.
Companies That Are Worth Checking Out
Let's get to the list we promised you! Here are ten companies that will pay you to teach English – some pay you just to converse in English.
We'll look at what you can expect in terms of pay, commitment, and any special requirements for each.
Qkids is a language program for Chinese students. They don't insist on you having a university degree, but they do need proof you are at least in the process of getting one. That makes this a great option for university students looking to make some extra cash.
It pays around $20 an hour and gives a bonus of $100 if you refer other teachers. They provide lesson materials as well as technical support.
They ask that you be in the U.S. or Canada and commit to a minimum of six hours per week. The company only accepts North American teachers. Classes can include up to four students.
2. Western International English College (W.I.E.C.)
The Western International English College certification is your ticket to a world of opportunities. Wherever the adventure takes you, once you graduate from W.I.E.C., you'll have what it takes to earn a living on your terms while changing the lives of your students.
W.I.E.C TESOL and TEFL courses are globally recognized and have the full accreditations needed, opening the door to the best schools and institutions across all continents. W.I.E.C. courses are far more than just a piece of paper. W.I.E.C. courses have been prepared by educators with years of education and experience.
The courses have been designed to arm you with the resources to give your students a solid foundation to begin an exciting new career and to allow you to grow into the future. From the first day, you will feel comfortable in front of the classroom regardless of where that classroom may be. Our courses are highly rated, and our service is well above industry standards.
TESOL/TEFL Certification for under $25
VIPKID is another service for Chinese students, connecting them with North American tutors. The company was founded in 2013, so they've been on the scene for a while. They handle lesson planning, mark the tests, and deal with all communication with the student's parents.
Classes usually last 25-30 minutes and are one-on-one. You'll get $22 per hour. Teachers also receive $1 for every class they are on time for, and $1 extra for teaching more than 45 lessons in a month.
You can make another $100 by referring other teachers to them. All of these little incentives add up. There are also some penalties, though.
The company books all classes in advance. If you cancel with less than 24-hours notice, they deduct money from your pay. If the student doesn't turn up, you still get the full class pay.
You don't need to speak any Mandarin or Cantonese, and they'll even reward you for working on Christmas day. They ask for a university degree in any subject, and will only accept North American teachers.
Voxy is a US-based company with students from five continents. They require teachers to have an education or linguistics degree, or TESOL, plus a few years of teaching experience.
You have to commit to 15 hours of teaching a week to get this gig, focusing on peak hours – though they offer a bit of flexibility there.
The classes focus on task-based learning and are tailored to each student's needs. They pay you for orientation and have various incentive programs to keep you teaching more hours and with the highest quality. You'll receive 24/7 admin support when teaching with Voxy.
The classes can have a mix of students, so you might have one class where the students are joining from eight separate countries. This is exciting but also challenging to manage.
Italki is a language teaching platform where tutors set the fee for classes. It's not only for English teaching, so if you're also a native speaker of Japanese, Russian, German or Spanish, you can offer classes in these languages too. You run the lesson yourself, using the materials you choose.
You can connect with students via Google Hangouts, Skype, Facetime, or another video conferencing program you prefer. Professional teachers usually charge $25 an hour, while less experienced tutors ask for approximately $12.
The company takes a 15 percent commission from all your lessons, and you'll need to come up with your own lesson plans. That costs you money by taking up your time, so it's certainly something to factor in.
TESOL/TEFL Certification for under $25
6. Continuing Education Services
Continuing Education Services (CES) is less of a language learning platform and more of a recruitment agency. They match English tutors to companies that need these skills. As such, pay varies greatly according to the hiring company.
They ask that you be a native English speaker, with a TESOL or TEFL certificate. They have a list of tech requirements you'll need in order to make the classes as professional as they'd like.
EnglishHunt has offices in Korea and USA. Their requirements shift a bit depending on the number of teachers they have at a given time. Right now, they are only accepting U.S. native English speakers.
They offer English classes to adult Korean students over the phone – you download the softphone software to your computer. EnglishHunt pays $2 for 10 minutes of teaching time, from a curriculum they provide.
They offer two shifts: Mon-Fri from 6 am to 9 am, or 6 pm to midnight Korean time. This company asks that you have an American bank account for deposits, and a TEFL or TESOL certificate.
Cambly looks for tutors to teach in informal settings. The remuneration is $0.17 per minute. That adds up to around $10.02 per hour – which isn't bad for a relaxed conversation.
They pay their tutors using PayPal and don't ask for any set schedule or minimum hours of teaching a week. Easy timetables, easy payments – win-win!
TESOL/TEFL Certification for under $25
Lingoda is a German company. They focus on providing online classes that are just like a traditional classroom. You'll need to have Skype on your computer to work with them.
They will pay you depending on your experience, which can vary from $10 to $11 per hour. Lingoda offers classes over a 24-hour schedule. This means you won't need to worry about syncing to Asian time zones – which is the case for many other companies.
TwoSigmas is a UK-based company that hires ESL tutors for one-on-one classes for students.
The students you'll interact with on the platform are from all over mainland China. They're usually between five and 12 years old.
The company prefers teachers with experience in working with young kids. They also ask for a university degree in education or linguistics.
In return, they provide 24/7 tech support and pay a hefty $20 per hour, scaled slightly to experience. They want teachers with a fast Internet connection, audio/video conferencing abilities, and a quiet workspace.
TwoSigmas ask that tutors have the legal right to work in the UK, the U.S., or Canada. With some luck, they'll extend this to other English-speaking countries in the future.
We are lucky enough to be living in the digital age where you can make worldwide money right from your home – or from anywhere else in the world that you have in mind. But we need to talk about finances here, just for a moment.
Don't get us wrong, there is nothing like being your own boss. But you'll need to do some planning before quitting your job. We suggest having a savings fund that's enough to cover three months of expenses.
As you start to rake it in freelancing as an English teacher, divvy your earnings up. Make some for spending, some for a rainy day. It's also a good idea to plan your retirement, at any age, especially as a freelancer.
We also encourage you to double-check the tax obligations you'll have as a freelancer, especially when making money online. A little research now can save you big and costly issues in the future.
So, do some sums to work out how much you'll need to make each week to meet your current expenses and savings goals. Work out your expenses, debts, and your ongoing tax and retirement percentages. Get some cushioning cash in a bank account that's not too easy to access.
And voila – time to get freelancing!
Now You're Ready to Freelance
Who knew you could make money from a skill that comes easy to you – your native language! The way we see it, you've now got everything you need. You've got a solid list of ten companies that will pay you for teaching English online.
You've got some advice about how to live in financial comfort as a freelancer. We've even told you about side hustles for some extra freelancing dough. What's left?!
You're now ready to freelance!
Find this article helpful? We have lots more advice on ways to make cash online on our blog. To get wise on how to make a digital freelancer life work for you, check it out today!
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