There’s never been a better time to earn money as an online English language teacher. With billions of students around the world learning the language, teaching English online is one of the fastest-growing side hustles.
In this post, we’ll review the top platforms where you can teach English online in 2021. You’ll also learn some tips for maximizing your earning potential and chances for long-term success in this exciting line of work.
The Best Ways to Teach English Online
Here’s a list of the top ways to teach English online:
- Ginseng English
- Magic Ears
- Zebra English
VIPKid connects online teachers with Chinese students who want to learn English. All lessons are conducted on a one-on-one basis, and the online classes take place on VIPKid’s proprietary learning platform. The site asks for a six-month online teaching commitment, but during that time you can work as much or little as you want. It’s pretty flexible.
VIPKid teacher requirements
To teach English online for VIPKid you need at least two years of teaching experience, work authorization for the U.S. or Canada, and a bachelor’s degree. You also need reliable technology, including a quality webcam, headset, and fast internet service.
You can earn $14 to $22 per hour teaching English online through VIPKid. Your actual earnings will be determined by the quality of the demo lesson that you submit during the interview and onboarding process.
BlingABC is a China-based K-12 online teaching and learning community with more than 200,000 students. The company is backed by educational giant New Oriental Education & Technology Group, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
BlingABC offers four curriculum structures that serve different student age groups, from age 3 all the way up through 12th grade. The typical class size is three students, but some group classes can attract as many as thirty students.
From an online teaching standpoint, the platform is different from many of the others on this list because it requires you to commit to a fixed semester-long schedule. So this is not an online teaching platform where you can pick and choose your lesson times. However, if you’re looking for a steady online teaching gig, BlingABC should be a top consideration.
BlingABC teacher requirements
To teach English online for BlingABC, you need a bachelor’s degree and a qualified English teaching certificate (such as the TEFL certificate) or a valid teaching license. Prior ESL teaching experience is preferred but not required. You also must have a neutral accent, and you must pass an initial screening and onboarding process. As for the technical requirements, you’ll need a reliable laptop, webcam, headset, and a fast internet connection.
The average pay for teaching English with BlingABC ranges from $14 to $18 for each forty-minute class. Teachers who have robust experience and who do a great job can earn up to $38 per hour.
Udemy is a course creation and online teaching platform with more than 40 million students. It’s a top choice for savvy instructors because you can set your own rates and design your own course materials. Plus, Udemy can connect you to a massive audience of English language learners.
The only real downside to Udemy is that you’ll have to create your own lesson plans and course materials from scratch. But this shouldn’t be too hard if you have some teaching experience.
Udemy teacher requirements
Anyone is free to publish course material on Udemy, as long as it meets the company’s quality review guidelines.
You can set your own prices on Udemy, so how much you earn depends entirely on how many students you enroll. If you promote your courses through your own referral link, you can receive 97 percent of your students’ revenue. When students sign up through Udemy’s marketplace, the company takes 37 percent of the revenue.
Hellokid provides one-on-one English lessons to Chinese students between the ages of 4 and 16. You’ll earn up to $22 per hour working fixed hours from home.
The company offers free training resources, career development services, curriculum support, and a robust and interactive platform.
Hellokid teacher requirements
Hellokid is open to native and non-native English speakers with certification. The company also asks for online teaching experience.
Hellokid offers $8 to $22 depending on experience and performance.
Cambly is a global English tutoring platform focused on helping students build speaking and listening skills. Students can take courses or practice conversational skills with native English speakers. The site offers one-on-one tutoring, flexible scheduling, and an intuitive app for conducting virtual lessons.
Cambly teacher requirements
Cambly doesn’t have many requirements. For example, you don’t need a bachelor’s degree or English teaching certificate, which most other sites require. You shouldn’t have a problem qualifying if you can demonstrate that you’re a native English speaker and have a great attitude. So if you don’t want to get an official teaching certificate, Cambly could be your best choice.
Cambly pays teachers weekly through PayPal for each minute spent chatting and engaging with students during that prior week. You can make $0.17 per minute (roughly $10 per hour) teaching adults and $0.20 per minute ($12 per hour) teaching through Cambly Kids.
6. Ginseng English
Ginseng English is another site where you can teach English online. The company is seeking flexible, adaptive teachers who can provide engaging lessons. You’ll teach in group settings with students from around the world, using the company’s curriculum.
Ginseng English teacher requirements
Ginseng is selective about who comes onboard. The company prefers teachers who have certificates, master’s degrees, and prior experience — but these are not requirements. If you can demonstrate passion and solid teaching ability, the company could be a good fit.
Ginseng English pays teachers an average of $10 to $15 per hour. At those rates, forty hours of work will pay out between $400 and $600.
7. Magic Ears
Magic Ears is an online English learning platform for students between the ages of 4 and 12. When teaching for Magic Ears, you’ll work with one to four students at a time over the company’s platform. Magic Ears also provides a curriculum, making it easy for new online English teachers to hit the ground running. The company also offers instant bookings and flexible hours.
Magic Ears teacher requirements
To teach English online for Magic Ears, you need to either have a bachelor’s degree or prove that you’re actively in a four-year college program. In addition, you need to be a native English speaker, and you must have both a TEFL/TESOL certificate and a reliable internet connection.
You can earn up to $26 per hour teaching for Magic Ears, which, as you’ll see, is higher than many other platforms.
Qkids is a global service connecting teachers with students between the ages of 4 and 12. The company provides a curriculum, original animated online teaching aids, and dozens of interactive games to make learning and teaching English fun.
Qkids teacher requirements
To work for Qkids, you need to be eligible to work in the U.S. and have a bachelor’s degree. You also need a teaching license or a qualified English teaching certificate (e.g., TESOL, TEFL, ESL, or CELTA).
According to its website, lessons take approximately thirty minutes, and teachers earn between $16 and $20 per hour on average.
GoGoKid connects children in China with English-speaking professionals for a global learning experience. The company offers flexible scheduling and lesson plans, as well as a high-quality learning portal.
GoGoKid teacher requirements
To teach English online for this platform, you need a bachelor’s degree, eligibility to work in the U.S. or Canada, and prior teaching experience. In addition, you’ll need a valid ESL certification from an accredited organization.
You can earn $14 to $25 per hour teaching English for GoGoKid.
italki is a global language learning platform with more than 15,000 teachers and more than 5 million students. The company offers customized learning and a convenient pay-per-lesson rate, along with flexible scheduling for virtually any language.
italki teacher requirements
To teach for italki, you’ll need a valid certificate for teaching a language. Acceptable documents include an accredited language teaching certificate, a university degree in language teaching, a teaching license, and proof of employment at a language teaching institution.
You can set your own rate on italki, but the company takes a 15 percent commission fee based on the revenue collected from your students.
11. Zebra English
Zebra English is a growing online teaching company that serves younger Chinese students between the ages of 3 and 7. So if you enjoy teaching young kids, this platform could be a great choice.
Zebra English teacher requirements
Zebra English requires teachers to be fluent in English, and you must be able to work in the U.S. or Canada legally. Additionally, you need to have a bachelor’s degree or higher and a TESOL certificate. The company prefers teachers with K-12 ESL experience and asks for a commitment to teaching students regularly and long-term.
Teachers can earn between $16 and $26 per hour online teaching for Zebra English.
SayABC provides learning opportunities for students between the ages of 5 and 12. Through its content partnership with National Geographic, the company offers an engaging learning curriculum with interactive songs, games, and video activities.
SayABC teacher requirements
SayABC requires all teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree or higher. You can teach from any country. The application process requires sitting through a live interview and a forty-minute evaluation class. The company has a three-month minimum contract requirement.
With SayABC you can earn up to $17 for a 40-minute class.
SkimaTalk is an English learning platform headquartered in Tokyo, with a student base consisting primarily of Japanese adults. As a teacher, you can plug-in from anywhere in the world using Skype to engage with students. You can set your own schedule and work flexible hours.
SkimaTalk teacher requirements
SkimaTalk is looking for teachers who are native English speakers. The company prefers teachers with prior English instruction experience. SkimaTalk also wants teachers who can demonstrate a commitment to working for the company.
SkimaTalk teachers can earn from $8 to $15 an hour and up to $1,000 per month.
DaDaABC is a China-based education platform that was founded in 2013. The company offers one-on-one online teaching opportunities for Chinese students with English instructors. As a teacher, you can work at your convenience and benefit from a team of coordinators who are ready to assist you when teaching.
DaDaABC teacher requirements.
To teach for DaDaABC, you need a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate. You must also pass a background check. You don’t need to be from the U.S. or Canada and can work from anywhere, making this an attractive option for non-North American residents.
DaDaABC pays teachers $15 to $23 per hour, and the company requires a time commitment of at least ten hours each month. Add it all up, and you’re looking at between $150 and $230 in monthly earnings or more, depending on how much time you dedicate.
YouTube is much more than a platform for funny cat videos and gaming clips. It’s also a great teaching platform. Put together an English language course and attract subscribers. Then generate revenue from allowing advertisements during your videos.
You don’t need any teaching requirements to upload videos to YouTube. Anyone can open an account and post content. However, if you want to attract subscribers and advertising opportunities, the content has to be top-notch.
The average pay rate is about $0.01 to $0.03 per view. Plus, you can make additional income by partnering directly with advertisers. You can start making money once you reach $100 worth of views.
Tips for Maximizing Online English Teaching Jobs
Here are some top tips for maximizing your online English teaching jobs and income.
Work for multiple services
The key to making money teaching English online is to work for multiple companies. The more platforms you target, the more students you can connect with. If you get good at teaching online, you can potentially turn this into a full-time profession.
Network on social media
A major downside to working for established English programs is that you usually have to pay a commission fee or receive only a tiny percentage of the student’s tuition.
You can potentially earn much more money by finding your own students and coaching them directly. Consider starting a website or Facebook page showcasing your services, and then spread the word on social media. Once you find the right students, charging $50 per hour for private, one-on-one tutoring wouldn’t be out of the question.
Sell lesson plans
A clever way to make money without actually teaching is to put together your own lesson plans and sell them on Etsy or Teachers Pay Teachers. If your lessons are high quality, you can potentially make some extra money while helping other teachers. Check out this course to learn more about selling digital products online.
Offer supplementary content
Another way to maximize your income when you teach English online is to offer supplementary content on social media.
For example, you can experiment with posting content on channels like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. If you build a global audience through fun and engaging content, you can attract companies that may want to partner with you for advertising opportunities. Focus on building your personal brand as an English teacher, and the rest should fall into place.
Set reasonable hourly rates
It’s easy to go overboard when setting your own rates. Many of your students will be residents of countries whose currencies aren’t as strong as the U.S. dollar. So if you charge too much, you might find yourself without any students.
Work peak hours
Many platforms that let you teach English online connect instructors with students in China. Keep in mind that China is twelve hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Therefore, you may need to work either early in the morning or late at night during peak hours to maximize revenue.
If you don’t want to work peak Chinese hours, look for programs that connect you with students in your preferred time zone.
Have a passion for teaching English
Online schools, students, and parents alike want to see enthusiasm — so put a smile on your face! You should have a genuine love of the English language, and you must enjoy engaging with students.
Teaching also takes a lot of patience, and you should be prepared to field not only grammatical questions but also cultural ones. Some students may take online English classes to learn a different culture as well as the language. The best teachers are always up on the latest musicians, writers, TV shows, and movies.
When you think about it, this is a pretty cool opportunity. For example, you may be the first American or Canadian that your students interact with. What better chance to be a global ambassador and break down barriers?
Below are the most frequently asked questions about teaching English online.
Is teaching English online fun?
It can be a lot of fun to teach English online if you’re passionate about working with language learners. Working as an English tutor is a great way to meet new people from all over the world while helping them improve their skills.
As a bonus, you can help someone directly improve their quality of life by exposing them to new social and professional opportunities. Simply put, teaching English can open many doors.
What is a TEFL certificate?
A Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate demonstrates proficiency in teaching English to people in other countries.
Most online English teaching positions require a TEFL certificate, although not all of them do. To find a company offering online TEFL certification so you can start teaching, check out TEFL.org.
Is teaching online language safe?
It’s safe to teach English online as long as you work with a reputable vendor (such as the ones mentioned in this post). As always, it’s a good idea to read reviews before issuing any personal information, especially if the company is based overseas. The last thing you want is to spend your valuable time teaching students and not get paid for it.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a way to support the digital nomad lifestyle, being a remote English teacher might just be the path you’re looking for. It can give you a steady income while you travel the world.
In most cases, the life of an online ESL teacher is flexible because you can work from a virtual classroom or over Skype. Plus, you can usually set your own hours and work part-time, full-time, or on-demand as you wish.
But keep in mind you’ll need to have a quiet place to teach — so don’t plan on hosting your online classroom from the shores of Bali. However, you could set up shop in any hotel room or Airbnb around the world as long as you have a reliable internet connection.
Here’s to finding the English teaching platform that broadens your horizons while maximizing your income.