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 To: Find Your First Online Teaching Job
What you’ve heard is true: there’s a lot of interest in teaching English. While the online learning industry has grown year after year, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in unprecedented demand. Online education has become a requirement for students and teachers worldwide, and a new influx of teachers was required to meet the vast educational needs. Every year, an increasing number of TEFL Institute graduates go on to teach English online. With more people than ever looking for ways to earn money from home, it’s understandable. As a result, there is a greater need for qualified teachers. However, with so many teachers going online, standing out has never been more critical. If you want to teach English online right now, you should ensure you get the best start possible. How do you go about doing that? Of course, you read this guide to finding your first online teaching job!
Step 1: Get TEFL qualified
This cannot be stressed enough: if you want to teach English as a foreign language, you must obtain TEFL certification. If you want to teach English online, there are plenty of great courses to choose from, and your CV will be incomplete without a stand-out TEFL certificate.
So, what are the necessary qualifications for the position? Let’s talk about it:
Level 5 or 120 hours?
The Level 5 TEFL or 120-hour qualification is the best option for getting started in English teaching, whether online or offline.
Why? It’s that simple. Both provide the foundation you need to teach English as a foreign language. Both look great on a CV, and while Level 5 takes 168 hours, it is Ofqual-recognized and highly regarded!
What are the primary distinctions between Level 5 and 120-hour courses?
The 120-hour course is perfect if:
- You have a minimum of a BA degree – in any discipline
- You have some previous teaching experience
- You’re a native English speaker with a passport from the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa
- You’re seeking work in a country with high demand for English teachers
Whereas a Level 5 has the advantage if:
- You don’t hold a degree
- You haven’t taught before
- English isn’t your first language/you don’t have a passport from one of the seven countries listed above.
- You aim to work in a country with a competitive jobs market or online.
- You want the most comprehensive training available
Check out our guide on 120-hour vs Level 5 courses to help you decide which entry course is best for you. In any case, you’ll have the necessary certification to begin teaching English!
Have you completed your Level 5 or 120-hour course but want to study something specific to online teaching?
Advanced training will get you there. A 30-hour Teaching English Online course will significantly improve your chances of getting started in your online English teaching career. If you understand the theory but need some practice, there is a course: Online Teaching Practice.
While Advanced TEFL courses aren’t necessarily a deal breaker, consider them a post-graduate degree. The BA is great for standing out in the job market, but if you want to stand out, having extra qualifications will continue you.
If you’ve studied something specifically for Teaching English Online, let’s face it: employers are only sometimes eager to take chances. They want people who have done the reading and practice; if you have a certificate to show for it, that’s even better. That’s even better!
Step 2: Get your application ready
You are now qualified. Are you prepared to enter the job market?
Not entirely: the next step is to complete the application. A couple of key points here: when it comes to CVs and Cover Letters, it pays to tailor them to each job opening. It sounds time-consuming and, honestly, a little tedious – but we need to emphasise more how important the personal touch is.
So, submit your applications! Are you prepared?
Put together a great CV!
What does the ideal CV require? If you have volunteering experience before (or from the time of) studying for your TEFL qualification, stick it in. Are you a non-native English speaker who can demonstrate excellent English proficiency through school exams, the IELTS, or any other means? Place it there.
Even if you have not gained prior teaching experience, your CV must sell you as a teacher.
Highlight your credentials and any relevant experience you may have gained in previous jobs, such as training, presenting, or mentoring.
It should go without saying, but it can’t be stressed enough: proof, proof, proof! Grammar and spelling errors will not help you when applying for teaching positions.
Stand out with a strong cover letter
Again, the cover letter is an essential factor in applying for jobs, which we’ve discussed in depth in this Cover Letter guide. We’ll give you time to read it, but if you want a quick summary, writing the perfect cover letter consists of 10 steps.
First, find out to who you’re applying. Use details from the job description and key terms in your cover letter. The company wants to know that you value them enough to want to work for them. Then, and this may seem obvious, address the cover letter to the appropriate person. Try to find out the name of the faculty head, for example. A friendly introduction will set you apart if no names are given.
Then it’s time to demonstrate your abilities. Consider it a puzzle, fitting your qualities around the person’s specification or job description. Why should they employ you? Make it abundantly clear.
Don’t just concentrate on your credentials. Of course, they’re essential, but employers want to know why you pursued those qualifications and how they’ll affect you as a teacher. Bring in other experiences, such as giving presentations, coaching colleagues, or working with children. Then, check to see if your cover letter is neat; is all the text the same size? Is there any misspelling or grammatical error, and does it scan well? Don’t try to cram too much in either.
Of course, proofread. It’s terrible news if you can’t demonstrate a solid understanding of English in a cover letter for an English teaching job. Keep it short and to the point; don’t ramble. Again, personalise each job opportunity because employers will know if it’s a generic statement about you and your abilities.
Be true to yourself! Some personality goes a long way, and you can easily give employers a sense of the positive, motivated, and fun person you are without being too zany. Finally, include your contact information because you presumably want a response!
Our guide will point you in the right direction if you want to learn more about formatting, tone, and the other essential aspects of your cover letter.
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.