Posted on November 25, 2019 | By Lisa Triani
27th Nov 2018
For those of you that think you can’t get a job teaching online without a degree – good news: you can think again! While some jobs in the TEFL world list a degree as a requirement in order to be considered, many do not. So if a degree isn’t the be-all and end-all of online recruitment, how do you go about teaching online without one? Here are some tips to guide you on how to teach English online without a degree.
While having a degree rates as low as third on the list of requirements for teaching online, having a TEFL qualification is firmly in top place. The first step, hence, is obvious: get qualified! If you need information on where and how you can do this, we recommend getting in touch with our sister company, i-to-i.
The value of having someone native-level to practise English with plays a key part in students signing up to online lessons. It means that they can access, from their home or office computer, a world of exposure to the language and support and guidance in learning it from a person in the know. So if you are a native-level speaker, you already possess a big part of the puzzle.
If you speak other languages, have any teaching or tutoring experience or can offer specialist skills (for example if you have a business, medical or legal background to add to your TEFL skills) then be sure to put this in your cover letter as well as your CV when you apply for online jobs. Practical experience in the world of work or study can play a big part in carving a niche for yourself in the field of online teaching.
When you are searching for online jobs, pay close attention to the concrete requirements set out by the employers, before noting the “bonus” or “nice-to-have” features. Check what nationality or accent the job requires – these are things you cannot change – and if a degree is a requirement, move on. It could be a visa requirement or a company policy, but it isn’t worth applying if you don’t have what they need. There are many fish in the TEFL sea when it comes to online jobs.
When you start applying for jobs, make sure your home office set-up includes a stable internet connection, a good camera and microphone and fast WiFi. Part of your recruitment process will be an internet speed test, so you need to be ready to pass all the technical requirements right from the beginning. It is also essential that you have the right personality for working with people from all around the world if you want to succeed in teaching. The fact that the work is online doesn’t change the human element, rather – it combines the human with the technical – and it means that you need to transmit your passion for communication and language across time and space.
When you start to trawl the job sites, you will notice a range of salary offers out there: anything from $8 – $20 per hour and sometimes even higher. It is important that you decide what rate you are comfortable with and also be sure to clarify what amount of planning, preparation and reporting is included in that hourly rate. Generally, there are two kinds of online work: one is through a platform where you set your own rates, create your profile and hope to be booked by students looking for a teacher. In this case, you will generally provide all your own resources and lesson plans. It is a bit like setting up your own business online – so once you have established yourself, you will get students re-booking and recommending you, and you can build your hours and rates from there. Some examples of this kind of platform are: Verbling or italki.
The other kind of online jobs are those where you are employed by a company at a set rate per hour or 40-minute lesson and they generally have an existing platform with their own set of resources and materials for you to use, based on the student’s specific level and needs. They find, sign up and match students with you based on your available time, which you generally set on a weekly or monthly basis and you are usually paid into your bank account at the end of the month. Some examples of this kind of platform are: Cambly, Magic Ears or Open English.
The best thing for experience is, well… experience! There is simply no substitute for it, so once you are qualified, get busy sending out as many dynamic, positive applications as you can so that you can start teaching. Highlight your relevant skills and interests and once you have tried it out, you will be in a position to hone those even more and develop others that you didn’t start out with. The most important thing is that you keep growing as a teacher. In today’s day and age, that includes your technical ability, your flexibility when IT challenges hit (as they sometimes do) as well as your professionalism and care – which are as important when you are teaching remotely as they are in the traditional classroom! Struggling to get some experience, why not check out internship opportunities!
Now that you have considered all of the above, the next step is to start looking for jobs.
Here are a few places to start:
If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy: What is teaching English online really like?