Online teaching positions are normally flexible short-term opportunities with around 15-20 hours of teaching a week. Teaching online means you have the flexibility to teach wherever you are in the world – from the comfort of home or in an exotic faraway land! It’s also a lot easier to set your own schedule and fit your teaching hours around your lifestyle. Online teaching roles are aimed mainly at teaching young learners via an online interactive learning platform. But there are opportunities to tutor adults, too.
How Much Can I Earn Teaching English Online in 2023
One of the most common questions when looking at teaching English online is how much money you can earn. Can it only be a side gig, or are you able to make a full-time living? The good news is that teaching English online is a rapidly growing industry, and the success of classroom lessons over the Internet during the pandemic and lockdown has only made this even more popular. Therefore, TEFL-qualified teachers can undoubtedly make money teaching English online. There are opportunities available to build a full-time business that could fully support your income generation, or you could take a more relaxed approach and just use it as an extra income source. This blog aims to offer as much information as possible about the options available to English teachers online and looks at how much you can earn.
Online Tutoring Companies
If you are a newly qualified TEFL teacher and don’t have much experience, the best thing to do is start working for an online tutoring company. Finding clients without a portfolio and the ability to demonstrate your successes will be challenging and take up a lot of time when starting a new business. Online companies provide your clients, and although they take a commission either in the form of an upfront fee or a percentage of what you earn, they will save you a lot of time and effort while you focus on gaining experience teaching English online. It would be best if you guarded against being tempted to poach any of their clients and take them on as your own, as this is deplorable practice and will result in your name being blocked. You will also find that many of them provide lesson plans and teaching materials, which give you a comprehensive view of how to structure your teaching practice, should you decide to take things further and build your own independent company down the line.
The following companies accept applications dependent on their requirements, so we have tried to gather as much information as possible for you.
Cambly offers English lessons to students of all ages. They do not require tutors to have a degree or even a TEFL qualification (although we would strongly recommend against teaching without a TEFL qualification, as you really will be out of your depth). They only accept applications from native English speakers but do not require classroom experience. It’s worth noting that they do not provide lesson plans, so you really would be on your own. They offer an hourly rate of £7.65 or $10.20.
English Hunt is only available to US citizens, who have English as a first language, and you must have a TEFL qualification, a degree and at least four years of experience to work for them. They teach students of all ages and expect a minimum weekly commitment of 10 hours from their tutors. In return, your lesson plans will be provided, and you can earn £10.50/$14.50 an hour.
English Ninjas state that a degree is required, a TEFL qualification is preferred, and they would ideally like teachers to have some classroom experience. Lessons are offered to people of all ages, and you must be a native English speaker yourself. They do not provide lesson plans, and you can and £6.50/$9.50 per hour but must commit to teaching a minimum of 12 hours per week.
Engoo does not require a degree but prefers that applicants have a TEFL certification. You do not need to have any experience teaching English as a foreign language, nor must you be a native English speaker, provided you can demonstrate fluency. Although they do not pay the best, they offer lesson plans and teach students of all ages, which could be an excellent place for a newly qualified TEFL teacher to start. They provide an hourly rate of £2 to £7.20 per hour or $2.80 to $10; there is no minimum hourly commitment.
FluentBe requires all tutors to have a degree, a TEFL qualification and a year of teaching experience. You must be a native English speaker and be prepared to teach students of all ages. There is no minimum commitment regarding your time, and the lesson plans are provided for you. Teachers on this platform can expect to earn £7.20 to £8.70 an hour or $10 to $12 an hour.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and plenty of other companies are out there. It’s worth researching, but these give you a good idea of what you can expect and some introductory earning rates.
Start Your Own Business
If you have appropriate English teaching experience, you may decide to become an independent teacher online. There are lots of factors to consider, but it is possible. You must ensure that you are registered as self-employed with your tax system in the UK. This means registering with gov.co.uk and completing an annual tax return and declaration. You are responsible for paying your tax.
Setting Your Fee Rate
There are several factors to consider when deciding how much you will charge for lessons. You need to consider your qualifications and experience as it is likely that students or their parents, if you are looking to teach younger people, will want to see your portfolio and feedback from other clients. When you’re just starting, it isn’t easy to amass input. Hence, a strong CV with experience in teaching and good TEFL qualifications recognised by an awarding body is vitally important. However, it would be best to guard against devaluing yourself, so finding a fair price is essential.
The location of your students also needs to be considered; you need to look into the average salaries. For example, a student in Vietnam couldn’t afford the same as someone from Sweden. Make sure that you after accurate and current currency exchange rates on all of your adverts. Different lessons are also worth various amounts. Students expect to pay more for specialist lessons such as business or exam preparation and pay less for conversational English. Finally, think about how much you want to earn at the end of the day. No one starts a business making their optimal figure, and it can take time to achieve the income you desire. Still, you need to have one eye on it and understand how this translates to an hour of your time to ensure you are challenging enough or that a full-time position teaching English online is even viable. This is one of the reasons why many English teachers online choose to start their business, at least as a side gig and continue with their current salaried job.
What Types of Lessons Could You Offer?
Conversational English – Starting £8/€9
As we’ve already mentioned, this will likely be one of the cheaper lessons you offer. However, it can also be invaluable if you’re new to teaching as there is not as much involved in planning the lessons, setting homework and marking work. These lessons aim to increase confidence when it comes to spoken English. Most of your teaching will be verbal, which means there is less emphasis on the correct use of grammar. The good news is that conversational English is always in demand, and although you may start off charging the bottom end of the rate, popular English teachers can increase the hourly rate over time.
Exam Prep – Starting £15/€16
Non-native English speakers often seek exam preparation to qualify for Cambridge proficiency, TOEFL and IELTS. These are English qualifications usually required by universities and jobs. Again, these are in demand, but to teach them, you must first understand each qualification’s assessment and exam criteria. It would help if you could acquire some past papers or find out what questions are in the exam to help them prepare. It will be a solid addition to your portfolio if you can successfully support your students in obtaining these qualifications.
Interview Coaching – Starting £15/€16
Another service often requested from non-native English speakers is interview preparation. Thinking on the spot at an interview is daunting, as we all know, but even more so if English is not your first language and you must translate as you go. They will be looking for you to help with common interview-type questions. Like talking about themselves, and highlighting their achievements, strengths, and skills they can bring to the role. These lessons require a lot of role-play, where you play the interviewer and help them answer your questions.
Business English – Starting £20/€21
Teaching business English online is probably the most lucrative way to earn money. But you must prove that you can offer the standard of lessons your clients will seek. Again you will be mostly tutoring people working either in the UK or liaising regularly with businesses in the UK and improving their English skills to communicate effectively in business. It helps to understand business practices in the UK. You will need to do a lot more preparation work to create the perfect lesson plan for each client after you have found out exactly what they want to achieve.
Trial Lessons – Starting £1/€1
There is merit to offering a trial session, but don’t be tempted to offer them for free. A small charge, even £1, can prevent time wasters who otherwise would fill up your time looking for free tuition and never actually convert to becoming a proper paying student. Also, do not offer an entire lesson but 20 minutes as a taster of the task. You must be strict and keep the job on time and focused.
Other Things to Consider
Offering students a discount when they block-book their lessons is a great way to increase income and your schedule. You could provide 10% off if they book and pay in full for ten lessons. This works well for committed students, who will be happy to do so. As previously mentioned, ensure you are advertising in the correct currency for potential students. The most common way of getting paid when teaching English online as an independent tutor is using PayPal, which is secure and international. You need to bear in mind that you will receive PayPal fees. But it makes a great way to invoice your students and have a record for your tax return.
Once you have established a reputation and can demonstrate your online value as an English teacher, you can consider raising your fees. You may lose a couple of students when you raise prices, but this is less likely to happen if you provide them with value and quality lessons.
Finally, to be a successful independent English teacher, you must market yourself and stand out. Plenty of hints and tips are available online, and social media is a great place to start. You can join Facebook groups with other independent English teachers and learn from them. You will also find groups where resources for teaching and lesson plans are shared. Try and find accessible marketing areas to start with, but accept that you may need to pay for advertising at some point.
Most online TEFL companies will ask for a minimum of 120 hours of TEFL training and teaching practice. Some online companies may ask their teachers to also have a bachelor’s degree. This is particularly true for Chinese companies, as it’s a government regulation (no matter where you are living).
You will more than likely need high-speed internet, a computer with an HD webcam and a headset if you want to teach online. If you have the choice of a video calling platform for your online lessons, Zoom is a good choice. It gives you a clear view of your students. You can also share your screen and create separate rooms for group work in lessons.
If you have no experience in teaching online, a good idea is to get some teaching practice in as employers may ask for “experience” hours, which are unpaid. You can alternatively complete our 10 Hour Virtual TEFL Course, which has a section focused on teaching English online.
You can add our 30 Hour Teaching English Online Course to any primary course to boost your knowledge and skills. The teaching English online course is a huge benefit because it prepares you to enter the online tutoring world – and looks great on a CV, too!
Then there’s our Professional Online Expert Course. This is a specialised online teacher qualification that gives you the skillset and the confidence to hit the ground running. This package includes the 120 Hour Advanced TEFL Course, 30 Hour Teaching English Online and the 30 Hour Teaching Young Learners to give you an edge in a competitive market.