Can I Teach English as a Foreign Language Online?

Getting qualified to teach English as a foreign language by doing a TEFL course and achieving your TEFL certificate can certainly mean you can teach English online for a career. In fact, becoming an online English teacher was a growing trend within the TEFL teaching industry even before the pandemic took hold. Now the online teaching industry has exploded with the demand extremely high for qualified teachers who can teach English online to those who want to learn.
You don’t have to be a native English speaker to be able teach English online. As long as you are fluent in the language then you can teach it. If you are a non-native English speaker and are interested in teaching English as a foreign language online, you can read our blog post here which lists several companies that let you teach as a non-native English speaker and their requirements.
Teaching English online has become a way of life for many TEFL teachers. Many of those who want to teach English would rather move abroad and escape their current environment to pursue something new and exciting. They want to know which countries are open for TEFL teachers so they can go and pursue their passion of travelling. However, because a lot of countries are still keeping their borders closed and restricting who can enter to work, online teaching from home has become the new standard method.

Deciding to teach English online has many advantages and things you need to know to make it your source of living.

Advantages of Teaching English Online

  • The biggest advantage is of course the ability to teach English remotely. This means that you can log on for your classes from any location in the world and start earning money from home or abroad.
  • Even though you might wish that you could get on that plane as soon as possible and start teaching English abroad in a classroom, teaching English online is a great way to gain experience. With the more practice that you get teaching English as a foreign language, the better teacher you will become.
  • Adding teaching English online to your CV is going to look good no matter what type of job you go for in the future. If you’re applying for a teaching position abroad, it will show that you have experience and are a capable teacher who can be trusted to teach the material to a classroom full of students. If you decide to apply for a job unrelated to teaching, it will demonstrate to your potential employer that you’re a proactive person who isn’t shy of responsibility.
  • It’s good money. Taking on a role as an online English teacher will help either supplement your primary income or can become your main source of money.
  • You can choose your own hours. Teaching English online can be a flexible job that you can choose to work when it suits you. You could teach it part-time outside the hours of your full-time job. You could teach your online students in the early hours of the morning freeing up the rest of the day for yourself to run errands or do whatever you want


Teach English Online

The Equipment You Need So You Can Teach English Online

  • A laptop or a mobile phone is what you’ll need to teach English.
  • You need a strong and reliable Wi-Fi connection
  • A pair of headphones
  • A microphone
  • A webcam if you’re using a computer without a built-in camera.
  • A method to receive payments like a PayPal account

Most of the online teaching platform companies require you to teach English through Skype, however, this differs from company to company. Make sure you’re familiar with the technology that the company requires you to teach on so that you know how to use any of the functions when the occasion demands it.

Standard Requirements

There are certain standard requirements that you have to fill in order for you to be able to teach English online. The main thing that you have to do is be able to speak English fluently. The other requirements are:

  • You must be eighteen years old or older
  • You must have a TEFL certificate
  • Some companies ask for previous online teaching experience

Teach English Online

Teaching English Online for a Specific Purpose

Becoming a TEFL teacher who teaches English online from wherever you want is your dream job. So why not teach what you want to teach by becoming a specialist in a particular area. You can learn to teach English online for students who want to learn for certain fields such as hospitality or business. If you have previous working experience or a degree in any industry, then you could combine this with your teaching to carve out a niche for yourself. There are plenty of students studying for qualifications or currently in positions who need help with their English to progress their career. You could help them learn for specifically their industry.

How to Find Online Teaching English Jobs

  • Have your own website and do your own marketing. This will allow you to set your own teaching rates and can work at times that suit you.
  • Get in touch with the HR of businesses that do international trades in foreign countries. Offer them your services, you may get lucky and get a bite to come in and teach a few of the employees.
  • Set up a profile on an agency site where students can reach you to arrange the lessons using the site. You will have to either give the agency a commission rate or pay a fee per lesson.
  • Sign up to an agency who have set rates for the hours you work. You may not have the same freedom with your schedule as you’d like but you won’t have to find students. This is a great way to start off teaching English online and gain some experience.

The 120-hour TEFL Certificate is the minimum qualification that you need to teach English online. If you need some more persuasion to do the course, you can read our benefits to working remotely blog post. Having this qualification will provide you with opportunities to gain employment and make an income.

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.

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. 

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