How to Teach English Online: Degree, Experience, Equipment & Job-providers

Teach English online is getting popular.

Teaching English online trend has got a momentum nowadays. There are a good set of reasons why native English speakers are opting to teach English online from home. English is one of the widely spoken languages across the world. You’re likely to meet an individual who speaks English in different settings such as school, workplace, traveling, or institution.

 

The English language has witnessed tremendous growth across the world. For instance, in 2006, it was believed that the world had approximately 400 million native speakers, another 400 million use it as a second language, while 600-700 million spoke it as a foreign language.

 

According to the British Council forecast, by 2016, the number of English speakers was expected to be 1.8 million, while in 2020, more than 2 billion people would speak English. The trend is continuing as the non-native speakers surpass the native speakers.

 

As a result of the global demand and the emergence of the internet, individuals invest in platforms where they can share the English language and attract young tutors and learners. This language’s new market is mostly in emerging economies and, thus, the increased demand for native English teachers.

 

Further, the Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), also known as Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), English as a Second Language (ESL), and English Language Teaching (ELT) is one of the fastest-growing educational fields worldwide.

 

The article will tell you more about how you can teach English online and help meet this growing demand.

 

What is teaching English online?

In 2018, the global English language learning market was valued at 35.5 billion and was expected to hit $54.8 billion by the beginning of 2025. This is caused by the increased consciousness of the need for developing English skills, growing globalization building relationships on international platforms, understanding terminology, and gaining employment.

These demands have caused many instructors to switch to teaching English online instead of waiting for learners to enroll in traditional learning institutions to study the language.

Thus, teaching English online is basically teaching English as a second language (ESL) online without traveling across borders to meet with the students. More so, you don’t have to find a classroom to meet with your learners; instead, you teach them online from the comfort of your home or office. However, since teaching English online is a job, you need to be professional and take it seriously, even when working from home.

While teaching in-person requires textbooks and photocopying several worksheets, the online version uses many cool resources such as games, blogs, YouTube videos, and online language apps.

Some of the challenges of teaching English online is that you miss verbal and nonverbal cues that are plenty when you teach one on one or in a real class. The online sessions are basically about listening and speaking; therefore, you need good software, basic troubleshooting skills, and patience.

Further, you and your students are located in different time zones. For instance, having one student in China, another in Nigeria while you live in the US or UK, may force you to work late at night or early in the morning. It’s worse when you have a fulltime day job, which makes it extremely challenging to manage your schedule and time very well without missing classes and work.

 

Who Can Teach English Online?

Teaching English online has helped people to bounce from one country to another while still at home. However, before considering this type of work environment, you need to understand its basic qualifications. For instance, are you a fluent English speaker or a native speaker?

Understanding and speaking English fluently is not enough for you to teach English online. You’re required to hold a legitimate TEFL certificate. The TESOL or TEFL field is growing, thus presenting excellent professional opportunities for native and fluent English speakers worldwide. The terms TESOL and TEFL certification refers to the same thing and can be used interchangeably across the world.

Most online teaching platforms and language institutes hire English teachers with proper training but not necessarily a college degree but a professional-level training. One of the internationally recognized standards requires that holders of professional-level TEFL certification should meet requirements set by leading bodies in this field.

A TEFL certification will allow you to teach English online as a part-time job to supplement your income. You can also teach English online as a full-time job as long as you have a strong internet connection. In most platforms, a teacher can earn $10-$20 per hour, and the teaching hours are very flexible.

Most teachers are making themselves more marketable by enhancing their teaching skills by taking online specialty courses. This can be helpful to non-native English teachers or those without any teaching experience. Other necessary skills that can increase your marketability are excellent interpersonal and communication skills, passionate about teaching students English, energetic, and creative.

 

Who are the Students?

Your students are adults and kids from non-English speaking countries or individuals seeking to improve their speaking or writing skills or relocate to English speaking countries. You can search online for individuals interested in learning English online such as kids from China who are keen and motivated to learn English. However, this can be a daunting task, especially for beginners without experience. People want assurance that they’re getting value for their money.

You may get referrals from family members, friends, or partnering with learning institutions. You may also ask your current students to refer their friends and families to enable you to have continuous classes throughout the year.

The best option is to register with online English teaching companies and platforms. As a result of the rapid growth in this field, new online platforms and schools pop up every day. Most of these companies will allow you to teach without a degree, while some allow tutors with a bachelor’s degree to apply to improve their credibility.

Students across the world register with these online platforms and are linked with instructors. Nearly 100,000 online English teaching opportunities are reported every year. As stated, most of these students are adults or students preparing to relocate to native English speaking countries such as the UK, USA, Canada, and Australia, among others.

Some of the popular online English teaching platforms where you can find students are Cambly, PalFish, Lingoda, Verbling, LatinHire, iTalki, Tutlo Preply, and so on.

 

What Equipment is Required?

Besides having a TEFL qualification, an online English teacher needs some equipment. As the name suggests, you need a bit of technology.

The following are the vital tools that you should have before creating an account with an online English teaching company or platform.

 

A Reliable Internet Source and a Backup

A reliable source of internet is mandatory and can’t be overemphasized. It’s a must. One option is your mobile phone data and the use of the hotspot from your device. 1GB of data may support approximately ten of 25-minutes video sessions.

The second option is WiFi, which should be strong enough to run video classes. It should be at least 20 Mbps to avoid causing lags, which delays conversation between you and the students.

You should have a good backup because technology has never been perfect, and even the fastest internet that your money can buy can get out of control.

Another reason for having a backup is that power can go out due to a storm or other reasons, thus interfering with your internet connection. Worse still, you may have forgotten your WiFi bill, and it might get disconnected when the online class is in session. Therefore, it’s important to have a reliable and fast internet connection as well as a good backup internet source.

 

Laptop, PC, or Tablet

Most online teaching platforms require a desktop or laptop computer. A few others allow iPad or smartphone.  No matter the device you’re using, just make sure that it has an updated operating system and the latest Flash version.

 

HD Camera

Today computers have a built-in HD camera that makes it easy for you to offer online English classes. However, you need an HD External camera in cases where your computer doesn’t have a built-in one. The aim is to help the students see you and the learning resources.

 

Ethernet Cord and Adapter

You can connect directly to the router using an Ethernet cord to minimize internet connectivity issues. Still, some latest laptops don’t have an ethernet port, which creates the need to have an adapter that allows you to plug it in.

 

Headset with Microphone

Your online teaching jobs require a headset with a microphone to eliminate weird echo that is distractive to you and your students. Your computer has a built-in microphone, and many tutors prefer to use it rather than incurring an additional cost of a headset. However, it’s only effective if you’re in a very quiet place, thus the need for a headset with a microphone.

Still, some online teaching platforms don’t allow over-head headsets, while others are more flexible. Therefore, you need to understand these requirements.

 

A Quiet and Well-Lit Space

The place where you sit or use to teach English online should be quiet or free from any distractions. It should also have enough light so that your students can see you. For instance, you can sit near a window if you’re teaching from home or in your office. You can also teach from a quiet, well-lit corner in a local library or café.

 

What Types of English Teaching Jobs are there?

Online teaching is also referred to as virtual teachers, remote teachers, or online instructors. The online teaching jobs range from blended courses that are offered fully online or a combination of online instruction and in-person.

The following are different types of online English teaching job opportunities.

 

1.    By Student Age

Kids: There is a new job market in countries that have begun introducing English classes to children at a young age. That means that ESL teachers teach these little ones the alphabets, songs, grow their vocabularies or improve their English.

Middle to High School: These are slightly older kids that are seeking assistance on vocabulary development, literature, and essay writing.

Business English: There are adults seeking help on a particular topic within the English language. You can teach interview skills, resume building, analytics, and so on. Thus, an online English teacher helps learners hone their skills to help them prosper in the world of business.

University students: It involves teaching university students how to write essays. This will help you learn different university systems across the world.

Adults: You can teach immigrants or individuals planning to relocate to English speaking countries to read and write. Although teaching adults can be more complex than kids, you can make great connections with these learners.

 

2.    By Your Workload

Part-time: You can teach English online on a part-time basis according to your availability. These are short-term contracts on the weekend or evenings.

Full-time: You can teach English online on a full-time basis by registering with various platforms. Some sites don’t require a bachelor’s degree or experience but may demand TEFL certification when you don’t have native English capabilities.

 

The Companies Can Help You Get an Online Teaching Job?

There are several online language-learning platforms where you can get an online teaching job. Here are some of the popular companies or platforms. These are a few of the best online teaching companies that pay the teachers the most for teaching online.

 

1.    PalFish

To work with this app-based platform, you need an Android tablet or cell phone or an iOS (Apple). The platform has no preference in terms of nationality for its teaching positions. Therefore, non-native English speaking teachers fluent in the language, excellent interpersonal, and communications can apply.

However, the recent Chinese government changes require English teachers to have a teaching license or a valid teaching certification such as TEFL/CELTA/TESOL to teach with PalFish. Its pay per hour is $10 to $30.

 

2.    EnglishFirst

The company mostly hires native English speakers or teachers with a TEFL certification and a degree. The lessons take between 20-45 minutes, and the students are required to evaluate your performance. Most of the learners in this platform are business professionals, university, and college students.

The pay per hour is $10-$17.

 

3.    VIPKID

The platform hires native-English teachers from Canada, the US, and with a bachelor’s degree. These teaching opportunities are mostly for kindergarten to grade 9 Chinese students.

The platform has a flexible schedule that allows you to work part-time or full-time and select several 25-minute time slots. Teachers earn $14-$22 per hour in addition to several incentives and bonus opportunities.

 

4.    Preply

The tutoring platform offers multiple languages besides English. Therefore, you can teach from anywhere in the world as long as you have a reliable internet connection, webcam, and microphone.

The platform promises features and content that support you to teach more effectively, a worry-free payment system, a steady stream of new learners interested in booking lessons, and constant customer support. The pay per hour can be as high as $60.

 

5.    SayABC

The platform offers English lessons to a group of 4 students, with each session running for 40 minutes for 3 months. SayABC hires applicants proficient in speaking English and holders of a bachelor’s degree. The contract is renewed when you meet the students and the company’s expectations.

The online English teacher earns $15 to $28 per hour.

 

6.    ITalki

The global language learning community links teachers and students to a one-on-one online language lesson. The platform advocates for cultural sharing and human interaction as the primary ways of learning a foreign language.

It has over 10,000 high-quality teachers tutoring more than 5 million students, and approximately 130 languages. The professional teacher type 1 has a bachelor’s degree or university qualifications, while the professional teacher type 2 has no bachelor’s degree but a teaching qualification like TEFL certifications.

The pay per hour rate is $80.

 

7.    Cambly

The platform offers conversational English to learners of different ages. The teacher’s ranking is based on the students’ reviews. Cambly doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree or experience but TEFL certification. The pay per hour is $10.

Please, be informed clearly that these companies are not similar to online course platforms that offer you to create video courses to sell online.

 

How Much Does an Online English Teacher Earn?

Numerous online English companies are hiring English teachers to work either part-time or fulltime. The pay varies based on the following conditions.

  • It depends on the English online platform you’re registered with.
  • The number of hours you’re willing to put in
  • Your experience
  • Your qualification such as a bachelor’s degree or TEFL certification
  • Bonuses and base pay

Further, some companies offer flat-rate, while others allow you to set your preferred hourly rate. Most online English companies pay $10-$40 per hour based on your experience level and qualification.

Besides the pay per hour, the platforms offer incentive bonuses of an extra $1 when you complete 45 and above classes per month.

A first time English teacher without experience but with a TEFL certification is paid $10-$20 per hour. The open-marketplace type of companies is an ideal starting point because they allow you to set your preferred rate. However, they will deduct a certain percentage as a fee.

Therefore, an online English teacher working 5 hours per day for 5 days at $20 per hour will earn $500 per week. The teacher will earn $2,000 and $1,400 after paying a 30% tax in a month. The number of hours that you need to commit is 100 hours, which is less than what a traditional teaching job requires.

If you choose to work part-time where you commit 1 hour for 2 nights and 3 hours on weekends, you will earn $100 for the 5 hours you spent teaching. You will earn an average of $400 and a net of $280 after paying a 30% tax that month.

Therefore, an online English teacher’s earning is based on the platform’s pay per hour and your schedule. Teaching English online can serve as a serious income opportunity or a light income booster.

 

Can You Teach English Online Without a Degree?

You can teach English online without a degree but not without TEFL certification. There are still very few platforms accepting native English speakers without a certificate; however, it’s important to put seriousness into your professional development. You can put in some time and money since there are several TEFL courses that you can choose.

Once you have the TEFL from an accredited institution, you can begin making applications to platforms that accept applicants without a degree. That means you should register with a platform whose criteria you satisfy to avoid wasting your time.

 

Can You Teach English Online without Experience?

Today, many people are working and learning from home by choice, due to the COVID-19 pandemic or other circumstances. Teaching English online is one of the popular options, especially if you’re passionate about languages, have infinite patience and interest in education.

However, you might be asking whether you can teach English online without experience. Several platforms accept English tutors without any experience but with other requirements such as TEFL certification or a bachelor’s degree.

One such platform is Education First (EF), which has international branches globally. Although you don’t need any experience, you must have a TEFL certificate, a bachelor’s degree, and a native speaker. Instead, the platform provides all the training materials for your lessons.

 

Conclusion

English is a dominant language that is widely spoken across the globe. It’s estimated that nearly 2 billion people can speak English, as many non-native speakers learn the language for education or business purposes. As a result, teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) online market has grown significantly and is expected to reach $54.8 billion by 2025.

To teach English online, you need to register with platforms teaching the language to kids, college students, or adults. Most companies require demand a bachelor’s degree, while others are needs a TEFL certification. Further, some companies prefer native English teachers while other hires non-native English teachers with or without experience.

You need a fast and reliable internet source, a laptop or PC, HD camera, headset with microphone, ethernet cord, and adapter as well as a quiet, well-lit space.

The average pay per hour in most platforms is $10, and your monthly salary depends on your schedule or the number of hours you’re willing to commit.

 

References

British Council. (2013). The English Effect. Retrieved from https://www.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/english-effect-report-v2.pdf

CEFR Language Exam Resource Centre. (2020) Why the ESL Market is set to boom in the next 10 years. Retrieved from https://cefrexambot.com/esl-market-due-boom-next-10-years-part-1/

GrobeNewswire. (2019). English Language Learning Market to grow at 7.1% to hit $54.8 billion by 2025 – Insights on Recent Trends, Size, Share, Growth Opportunities, Key Developments, and Future Outlook: Adroit Market Research.

Retrieved from https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/07/26/1892347/0/en/English-Language-Learning-Market-to-grow-at-7-1-to-hit-54-8-billion-by-2025-Insights-on-Recent-Trends-Size-Share-Growth-Opportunities-Key-Developments-and-Future-Outlook-Adroit-Mar.html

Harrow House International College. (2020).The growth of the English Language.

Retrieved from https://harrowhouse.com/growth_of_english_language.html

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Md. Zahid Hasan

Md. Zahid Hasan

Md. Zahid Hasan is a BCS Cadre officer, the author of the book ‘THE CADRE’ and the founder-writer of ‘PassiveTeacher.com’.
He is an ardent researcher and experimenter on passive earnings from Passive Teaching.

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