Posted on November 27, 2018 | By Isabelle Sudron
01st Apr 2019
Whether you want to travel the world as a TEFL digital nomad or find a way to earn money without leaving your house, teaching English online may be perfect for you. The market for online teaching jobs has exploded in recent years meaning that it’s now easier than ever to make money teaching English online. So, without further ado, let’s discuss how to make money teaching English online…
Minimum requirements to teach English online
Before you jump in, it’s worth checking that you meet the basic requirements. To teach English online, you must be a fluent English speaker and be able to work at times that fit the online English teaching market. This usually means being available for evenings and weekends in the time zone of the country in which your students are based. If you can’t do this, don’t waste your time looking.
While not absolutely essential, you’re more likely to make money teaching English online if you also have TEFL certification, a Bachelor’s degree and specialist training in teaching English online.
Equipment for teaching English online
One of the best bits about teaching English online is that you don’t need loads of expensive equipment to get started. You can make your very own virtual classroom pretty much anywhere. All you need is a:
Finding online English students
Once you’ve got your virtual classroom set up, you’re ready to go. Now you need to find some students! Unsurprisingly, this is a vital step in how to make money teaching English online…
You’ve got two main options. If you fancy being your own boss, you can set up your own online teaching business. You’ll have complete autonomy over when, what and how often you teach, as well as how much you charge. However, you’ll also be fully responsible for finding students, creating your courses and managing all the paperwork.
Your other alternative is to look for a job with one of the existing online English schools. They’ll provide the students and online platform – and often the course materials too, which means that you just need to turn up on time and teach. On the downside, you’ll have less flexibility about who and when you teach and will probably earn less per hour than if you’re working for yourself.
When you’re starting out, it can be worth accepting the restrictions of working for a language school while you learn the ropes of online teaching jobs. However, there’s no right or wrong – it’s a personal choice of what will work better for you.
Teach English online through a company
If you do decide to work for a company, it’s important to be aware that average wages vary a lot depending on the company you’re working for, the types of lessons you’re delivering and the number of hours you work. It’s fairly common for a company to offer a base rate of pay per lesson and then top this up with bonus payments for aspects such as starting and ending on time or delivering above a certain number of lessons a month.
As a rough guide, expect anything from between £7.50-£17.50 ($10-$23 / €9-€20) per hour as a base rate, with around £0.75 ($1 / €0.90) per hour on top for each bonus payment. You’re likely to be on the lower end of the pay scale when you start out. However, if you’re a trained TEFL teacher who’s able to commit at least 15 hours a week to online teaching then you can work your way up fairly quickly.
The best place to start looking for work with an online teaching school is on TEFL jobs boards. Alternatively if you’ve identified a particular company that appeals, check out their website and apply direct.
Teach English online independently
If you’ve decided to go it alone, it’s up to you how much you charge. However don’t pick a number at random. You don’t want to either price yourself out of the market or appear too cheap to be true – and you do need to earn enough money to make teaching English online worthwhile. Research what other online tutors in your area charge and the services that they offer, then decide if you want to pitch yourself as a quality top-end provider or undercut your competitors while you build up your client list.
To get the clients rolling in:
Ways to make more money teaching English online
It’s a pretty simple equation – teach for more hours and you’ll get paid more money.
However, what happens when you run out of hours in the day to teach or you want time off for little things like eating and sleeping? Luckily, there are a couple of other ways that you can increase the money you make from teaching English online without giving up on food and sleep completely.
Offer specialist classes
A good way to move up the pay scale is to offer specialist classes, such as Business English or IELTS / TOEFL exam classes. If you can add this to your CV, you’ll also move up a couple of notches in the pay scale at an online school. And if you choose to go it alone, rather than going through an online school, you can charge more per hour and focus on niche marketing to take your slice of the market.
Create your own course
Once you’ve been teaching online for a while, another great way of supplementing your income is to create your own online course. You will need to invest some time and money into building the course and hosting it online. However, once it’s up and running, English language students can buy and access your course without you being present.
Which means you can keep making money from teaching English online, even when you’re asleep. Now that’s what we call a good job!