Since the pandemic, the world of teaching English online has changed slightly.
You may have heard several Chinese companies that specialise in teaching English online have now banned hiring new foreign teachers.
Although this is true for some, there are still some great companies like Cambly, Preply, and BookNook which you can apply to teach English online.
Hopefully, they’ll all be hiring again soon, so stay tuned, I’ll update this post when I hear any updates.
Calling all travelling English teachers, digital nomads and aspiring online English tutors!
If you’re on the hunt for the best platforms to teach English online, you’re in the right place.
You’ve probably landed here because you’ve heard that one of the best jobs for travel is to become an ESL tutor and teach English online.
You’d be absolutely right! Teaching English online does allow you to be flexible with your hours and travel or live remotely, whilst still making money online.
A few years ago, when we first tried out teaching English online, we were living in Thailand. We were in Bangkok and housesitting for free accommodation, and we started looking for the best ways to make money online, whilst still moving around or travelling.
And teaching English online looked like a really flexible option that fitted in with our lifestyle.
We went with Cambly as they seemed the most flexible platform and don’t require tutors to have a TEFL certificate or a degree specifically in teaching — you just need to have a degree in anything.
However, a quick Google search will show you there are LOTS of online companies you can teach with, as an ESL tutor.
In this blog post, I’ve done the research and we’re going to cover the best online companies to teach English with, what the requirements are and how you can apply.
I’ve also included a few updates on changes in the space of teaching English online, due to the pandemic.
Introduction: The Growing Demand for Online English Teachers
The demand for online English teachers has rapidly grown in recent years, as more and more people around the world seek to learn the language for both personal and professional reasons.
In response, a myriad of online teaching platforms has emerged, offering opportunities for both beginner and experienced teachers to work remotely and earn a competitive salary by teaching English online.
As mentioned before, there’s a wide range of online English teaching companies, each with its own unique perks and requirements.
In this post, I’ll give you a comprehensive overview and comparison of the 10 best online English teaching companies to help aspiring teachers make an informed decision on which platform suits their needs best.
From Cambly, which is best for those starting out and wanting flexible schedules, to Open English, a structured and professional option for teachers who are experienced in business English teaching, there are plenty of options.
Whether you’re looking for a fulfilling career path as an online English teacher or you’re a digital nomad wanting a job that you can do remotely, teaching English online is a flexible and exciting choice.
What are the Basic Requirements for Teaching English Online?
Teaching English online has become increasingly popular, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s an incredibly flexible and fulfilling job and if you work from home or you’re a digital nomad, it’s an excellent way to earn money online.
So, if you are interested in teaching English online, here are some basic requirements you should have:
- Native-level fluency in English: You should be able to speak and write English fluently with proper grammar and pronunciation. Or in some cases, near-native is acceptable.
- A bachelor’s degree: Most online English teaching jobs require a bachelor’s degree, although the subject area may vary.
- A TEFL teaching certificate: A teaching certification such as TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA is preferred but not always required for all companies. Having a TEFL can help you stand out though.
- You are from the U.S., the UK, Australia, New Zealand or Canada. People from these countries are preferred but in some cases, being from any country that has English as a first language.
- Reliable internet connection: A stable and fast internet connection is crucial for online teaching. You should have a backup plan in case of any disruptions.
- Computer and audiovisual equipment: You will need a computer or laptop, webcam, and headset with a microphone to teach online classes. It is important to have a quiet and well-lit teaching environment.
- Good communication and interpersonal skills: As an online English teacher, you should be able to communicate effectively with your students, build rapport, and provide constructive feedback.
- Flexibility and adaptability: Online teaching may involve working with students from different time zones and cultural backgrounds. You should be flexible and adaptable to meet their needs and preferences.
Overall, teaching English online can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience if you meet the basic requirements and have a passion for teaching and helping others improve their English skills.
And we know the top four requirements on the list are the ones people ask the most questions about, so these are the topics we’ll focus on in this post.
Do I Need a TEFL Certificate to Teach English Online?
Yes, TEFL certification has become increasingly important for those wanting to teach English online.
If you need to get a TEFL certificate, I recommend doing an online TEFL certificate with MyTEFL as they’re reputable and legitimate.
While some online teaching companies don’t require a TEFL certificate, having one will give you an advantage when you’re applying to higher-paying companies.
In fact, many ESL companies will hire teachers without a degree or experience as long as they have a TEFL certification.
Don’t worry, there are still some great companies that accept teachers without a TEFL certificate. (Currently, Cambly, Preply and BookNook don’t require you to have a TEFL certificate to apply).
However, with an internationally recognized TEFL or TESOL certificate, teachers can gain expertise in online teaching, business English, and teaching children, and adults.
And taking a TEFL course and working with younger children will provide you with a better understanding of lesson plans and how to run a class.
Ultimately, having a TEFL certificate is a valuable investment for anyone looking to start a career in online English teaching.
Just make sure you do your TEFL certification with someone legitimate.
How Much Does it Pay to Teach English Online?
When it comes to teaching English online, salaries can vary depending on the teacher’s qualifications and the specific job.
Depending on who you work with, online English teachers can expect to make anywhere from $10 up to the high range of $40 USD per hour.
However, the average hourly pay ranges between $12-$25 USD per hour.
Of course, this all depends on whether a teacher is working for an online teaching company or tutoring privately.
Working for a company may mean that you can’t set your own rates, whereas private tutoring allows you to set your own hourly rate.
- At Preply, for example, English tutors usually charge between $15 to $25 per hour.
- At BookNook, you can get $18 per hour plus bonuses, so long as you have 1-year teaching or tutoring experience and have a bachelor’s degree (or enrollment in a teaching program)
- Tutors on Cambly can earn $0.17 per minute or $10.20 per hour for general tutoring sessions, and $0.20 per minute or $12.00 per hour for tutoring children aged 4-15 on Cambly Kids.
While it may not make you super rich, teaching English online can provide a competitive salary with the added bonus of flexible scheduling and being able to live and work from anywhere.
If you’re travelling in countries with a low cost of living like Thailand or Vietnam and living rent-free by house-sitting as I do most of the time, then what you earn from teaching English online can supplement your disposable income, quite significantly.
And the flexibility that comes with working remotely, means you can achieve an excellent work-life balance.
If you’re living in cheap countries like SE Asia for example, can spend your days going for a hike in the cooler mornings, spending your late afternoons teaching English online and then hitting the street food markets at night — or the bars.
Also, with the growing demand for online English teachers, there’s no doubt that salaries will continue to increase in the future. Yay.
Are Teaching English Online Companies in China Still Hiring in 2023?
Ok, so, if you’re in any of the working online or digital nomad groups online, you may have heard that since the pandemic, China is changing their rules about hiring foreign teachers.
It has been reported that several Chinese companies specializing in teaching English online have now implemented a ban on hiring new foreign teachers.
This is due to recent legislation from the Chinese government aimed at regulating the country’s private education sector. The legislation prohibits private ESL tutoring and companies from profiting from teaching school curriculum subjects.
Although the exact extent of the restrictions on foreign teacher hiring is still unclear, many companies have suspended new hires for the time being.
But they will be back hiring soon, so watch this space, I’ll update this post as soon as I hear anything.
Which Chinese teaching English online companies have banned hiring new foreign teachers?
The recent crackdown on Chinese online ESL companies has led many online English teachers to seek alternatives.
However, there are still some Chinese schools teaching English online that are actively hiring foreign teachers.
While companies like GoGoKid, Magic Ears, VIPKid and Zebra English have stopped hiring new foreign teachers, others are growing and require more online English teachers to meet their demands.
Despite the new Chinese legislation banning companies from hiring foreign teachers, there are still good options available with Chinese ESL schools, for English teachers looking to teach online, such as:
- Cambly and Cambly Kids
- All Right
And there are plenty of other teach English online platforms that aren’t affected by the Chinese legislation such as:
- EF Education First
- English Hunt
The Top Online English Teaching Companies to Work for in 2023: Overview and Comparison
As I’ve already covered the basic requirements, TEFL certificates, and salaries to teach English online, let’s check out which online English teaching platforms are the best ones to work for in 2023 and beyond.
The top companies on this list include:
- Open English
- EF Education First
Each of these companies has unique features and benefits, making it easier for teachers to choose the best match for their teaching style, lifestyle and career goals.
1. Cambly: The best company for beginners to teach English online
Cambly is often considered the best online English teaching company for beginners and those wanting flexible schedules.
Our first choice to teach English online was Cambly because they offer the best flexible platform and do not require TEFL certificates or degrees specifically in teaching – just any degree will do.
With no experience and no TEFL certificate needed, Cambly is an excellent choice for getting started.
The Cambly platform allows teachers to engage in short conversational sessions with students worldwide via webcam.
Also, Cambly offers super flexible schedules, which means that teachers can choose their own hours and availability.
This is very beneficial for those who need to balance teaching online with other commitments, such as studies or family responsibilities.
Overall, Cambly is an excellent choice for those looking for a low-pressure teaching environment that allows them to earn income on their own terms.
2. Preply: Teach English and other topics
Preply is an innovative online language-learning platform that connects language students with experienced tutors from around the world, for 1-1 lessons.
Preply provides English language learning to students, helping them improve their verbal communication and written language understanding so they can succeed in the professional workplace.
You don’t need to have a TEFL certificate or previous experience to join PrePly, but having both of those things will boost your chances of attracting more students.
As a tutor, you can set your own schedule and decide how many hours you want to work.
The more lessons you teach and the quicker you respond to student messages, the higher your earnings will be.
Tutors with Preply can earn competitive hourly rates depending on what rate you set in your profile, with many English tutors charging between $15-25 per hour.
Preply’s commission rate starts at 33% and does not go under 18%. As a tutor, the first trial lesson a student purchases will have a 100% commission fee, but all subsequent lessons will have a reduced fee.
If students like your lessons, they have the option to book a block or package of lessons with you. This way, you’ll have a few regular students.
As well as teaching English and other languages, you can also teach other subjects like hobbies or art.
3. EF English First: A Large and Established Company with Career Growth Opportunities
EF English First is a top online English teaching company that offers great career growth opportunities.
This platform has a strong reputation and a vast student base, making it a great place to build your career in online teaching.
EF English First’s courses cater to a range of English proficiency levels, making it easier for teachers to find their ideal students.
Additionally, the company has a range of teaching positions — such as teacher trainers and academic managers — that allow teachers to develop their skills and progress within the organization.
So, if you’re an experienced ESL tutor and want an established company with opportunities for growth, EF English First is a great choice.
4. iTalki: A Unique Platform for Independent Teachers and Language Exchange
This platform is different from the others as it allows independent language teachers to teach not only English but over 150 languages.
iTalki is also great for language learners as it offers language exchange options where learners can find language partners to practice speaking with.
With iTalki, teachers set their own rates and can conduct their classes through video calls. You get to be in charge of the lessons and how they are taught.
This platform is perfect for those who prefer independent teaching and want to connect with a diverse set of language learners from all over the world.
So, if you’re looking for a broader approach to language teaching, iTalki might just be what you’re looking for.
5. Verbling: A Supportive and Innovative Community for Language Learners
Verbling is an online language-class marketplace and the perfect platform for those who want to connect with students from all around the world.
As a language tutor, Verbling offers you the opportunity to teach over 80 languages, not just English.
All teaching materials and lesson plans must be created by Verbling tutors.
Compared to other platforms, Verbling has very low requirements for becoming an ESL tutor and their commission rates are much lower too.
The company’s learning sessions are conducted on Verbling Video, its bespoke video chat platform. And tutors should be aware that Verbling is very strict about sticking to this platform and does not allow classes to be conducted on Skype or Zoom.
6. Magic Ears: An Energetic and Interactive Company for Young Learners – Not currently hiring.
Magic Ears is an ideal company for teaching English online to young Chinese learners who are ages 4-12.
The platform boasts of a high-energy, fun, and interactive class style geared towards keeping students engaged and interested in every lesson. Magic Ears provides free training on a wide range of topics from experienced teachers to ensure that all its educators are confident in delivering quality classes.
What sets Magic Ears apart is its mission to narrow the education gap for less privileged children in China by providing affordable, multi-student classes.
If you’re looking to earn a higher income by teaching English online, then consider applying to Magic Ears, which is known to be one of the highest-paying online English teaching companies.
With a relentless focus on the long term, Magic Ears offers excellent career growth opportunities, which is great news for aspiring ESL teachers.
7. Open English: A Structured and Professional Platform for Business English
Open English is a company that specialises in teaching Business English to adult learners.
They offer a structured and professional platform that helps learners improve their communication and language skills in a corporate setting.
The lessons are properly planned, making it easy for tutors to deliver quality teaching. Additionally, if a tutor cannot take up a shift, they can easily drop it for someone else to take.
With its flexible schedule, the job offers the opportunity to earn money while maintaining a good work-life balance.
Teaching English online with Open English can be pretty rewarding and as a tutor, you can expect competitive pay and excellent perks.
8. Skimatalk: No experience required: Teach English online to Japanese students
SkimaTalk is a company based in Japan that connects native English-speaking tutors to Japanese learners in a one-on-one 25-minute Skype lesson.
The company hires native speakers of English from the U.S., the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland to teach adult students from Japan and South Korea.
The lessons are typically 25 minutes long and the number of classes you teach is up to you. And as a tutor, you can earn up to $8 per lesson using SkimaTalk’s coin-based payment system.
With very few requirements to get started, SkimaTalk is a great option for those who want to teach business English to adult students.
And it is one of the best platforms for new online English teachers as it does not require previous teaching experience or Tefl certification.
When compared to other ESL companies, SkimaTalk may not offer as many career growth opportunities, but it has super flexible schedules and a decent payment scheme.
So if you prefer a more laid-back teaching environment and see yourself helping students improve their conversational skills, SkimaTalk is the perfect platform.
9. BookNook: Help children improve their reading skills
Teaching English online with BookNook, a California-based education technology company, is a little different than the ESL platforms you’re used to.
This job will be less about teaching English online and more about helping young children learn reading comprehension and literacy skills.
With BookNook’s online learning platform, experienced U.S. tutors teach reading comprehension and literacy lessons to groups of 1-4 students.
You’ll work with K-8 students from various backgrounds and help close the early-learning gap by teaching them reading and math skills. As a BookNook tutor, by engaging your students and enhancing their self-confidence, you’ll help them learn to read.
The team at BookNook is welcoming, and they provide comprehensive training and support to their tutors to make sure you have all the tools you need.
The tutoring process is straightforward, with no live interviews required for applicants.
And tutoring at BookNook pays $18 per hour.
The platform uses reading-level data from partnering school districts to place students into appropriate learning groups.
By emphasising small group learning, BookNook ensures that students receive the individual attention they need to improve their reading skills.
Overall, teaching English online with BookNook is a great way to make a difference in the lives of young learners and earn great money.
10. English Hunt: Teach English online to Korean students
As one of the top online English teaching companies, English Hunt provides a unique opportunity for teachers to connect with Korean students and help them improve their language skills.
With a focus on teaching business English, English Hunt offers a structured and professional platform for both experienced and beginner teachers.
And English Hunt creates the lesson plans for you!
By providing teaching materials and curriculum, English Hunt lets teachers focus on delivering effective lessons to their students without the added hassle of lesson planning.
The pay rate is attractive too, with an average rate of $16 per hour.
Tutors must have a degree in any subject and a TEFL, TESL or other teaching certification. (Or 4 years of teaching experience can replace the degree).
And although you can be living anywhere, you do need to be a U.S. resident.
As demand for English language skills continues to grow in Korea, teaching with English Hunt provides a rewarding career opportunity for those passionate about helping others succeed.
Can I Teach English Online Without a Degree?
If you are passionate about teaching and have the required skills, then teaching English online is a feasible option without a degree.
The good news is that many ESL companies will hire English teachers, even if they don’t have a teaching degree or prior experience. However, some major online teaching companies do require a degree.
By completing a TEFL certification, you can increase your chances of getting hired.
Online tutoring companies like Preply, Berlitz, and Learnlight accept teachers without a degree.
On iTalki, an individual can start teaching as a Community Tutor, where they can fix their own hours and set their own pay.
Therefore, I’d suggest that you do thorough research before applying to any online tutoring platform to find the one that suits your requirements.
Tips for Success: Can I Teach English Online?
So if you’ve read this far, and you really want to pursue a career teaching English online, here are some important tips to keep in mind.
- Firstly, it’s important to ensure that you meet the requirements of the platform you choose to work for.
For example, many companies require a TEFL certificate and teaching experience, while others have no experience or certification requirements at all.
- Secondly, it’s important to have realistic expectations about the salary you can earn as an online English teacher.
Pay varies widely depending on experience and qualifications, but can range from around $10 per hour for non-experienced teachers and up to $40 per hour for highly-skilled teachers.
- Lastly, it’s important to adopt best practices for effective online teaching, such as creating engaging lesson plans, using digital tools or teaching resources to keep your students interested, and communicating clearly with your students.
Final Thoughts on Teaching English Online
And there you have it, our comprehensive review of the best companies to teach English online in 2023.
I hope this has provided you with valuable insights and information to help you make an informed decision on which teaching platform is right for you.
Whether you’re a seasoned teacher or just starting out, these companies all offer great opportunities to teach and connect with students from all over the world.
As always, I recommend doing your own research and weighing up your options before making a final decision.
Happy travels and happy teaching!
Alial Travel Gal 🙂
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