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Online Teaching 101: The (not so) Short But Comprehensive Guide

With many projections stating that the global e-learning market is going to reach $325 billion in value by 2025, there is no denying that online teaching has a lot of earning potential. Some online teachers regularly post annual incomes of six figures and others basically built entire online schools!

Although it will take a lot of hard work to get to that point, you’d still like to be one of those that are earning from this growing industry. You have decided to become an online teacher. That’s wonderful! All that’s left is for you to learn how to actually start earning money by sharing your knowledge with others.

Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.


There really isn’t much red tape to becoming an online teacher. Though it helps to have a degree and some certification here and there, these things are by no means absolutely necessary. That being said, let’s go over some of the usual things an online teacher needs to perform their lessons:

Educational Requirements

Again, not necessary but is always good to have as it helps you seem more like an authority on a subject.

  • Bachelor’s degree (it helps if you have it, but it’s OK if you don’t depending on the company)
  • Certification from a specific field of learning (preferably on the topic you wanna teach)
  • Completing an online certification program for teaching. (Tesol)
  • Any other work experience or credentials that increase your credibility to your students.

Skill Requirements

Some personal traits or characteristics that always help in building a connection with your students. You’ll find these beneficial whether your teaching online or in person.

  • Communication Skills.
  • Compassion And Empathy.
  • Patience.
  • Subject Expertise.
  • Time Management.

Technical Requirements

These are the things you ABSOLUTELY need to teach online.

  • A good quality computer. Avoid using your smartphone. You need a solid machine be it a laptop or desktop P.C.
  • High-speed internet. Broadband in a must for video streaming. For reference, zoom recommends at least 3.8Mbps/3.0Mbps (up/down) for 1080p HD streaming. Though, I’d recommend having a little more wiggle room. You can test your current connection if you are not sure.
  • Video Chat Software – Be it Zoom, Skype, or whatever. If you are employed by a platform this will most likely be provided for you.
  • Webcam. Preferably HD. In fact, 4k is even better now days.
  • Microphone.
  • Proper lighting.

What Webcam Do I Need For Teaching Virtually?

Lets start with webcams. This can be a loaded question. There are many excellent brands you can use. If you are starting out, the bare minimum would be your laptop’s built in camera. However, If you want to stand out and have better chances of landing a job you need to seriously consider an upgrade to something more versatile.

But, while good equipment is a must, there’s no need to take out a second mortgage for the endeavor. Think that’s an exaggeration? A high-end webcam, lighting and studio setup can easily run thousands of dollars conservatively. But, it’s not really necessary for conducting online classes.

Your webcam needs to be HD. That’s just a must in the modern post-zoom era.

Logitec c920x

A good starter webcam I recommend would be the Logitech C920x.

It’s on the cheaper end and a bit dated but with a 1080p/30fps resolution, it gives a nice quality image. For under $100, it’s a steal.

Logitec c930

If you can afford to spend a little more you can pick up a Logitec c930.

At around $100 and with a few more bells and whistles that include a better frame rate, you can’t go wrong.

Want to see them in action? Check out YouTuber akaDad compare all 3 side by side

Logitec Brio ULTRA HD 4k Streaming

With technology and broadband speeds on the rise it couldn’t hurt to do a little future-proofing with the addition of a 4k webcam.

Logitec’s Brio is a solid choice when it comes to joining the 4k club. Being backwards compatible with 1080/720 it will give your students a crystal clear image at any resolution.

What Type Of Microphone Do I need?

Again, if your just starting out you may be able to get by with the built in mic on your laptop or webcam. Some model’s have decent noise-canceling properties. But, If you want to take it up a notch and provide cleaner audio for your students (and prospective employers), you’ll need to get your hands on a quality microphone.

As with the webcams, it’s easy to get bogged down in the weeds searching through the many options available. Take a look at any of the audiophile forums and sub-reddits and you’ll see what I mean.

Condense mic’s are a popular choice amongst streamers for their crisp & full sound. But as you browser through the various brands, a word of warning, not every mic is equal. Marketplaces are flooded with low quality condenser mics in the $20 range. While they may suit the needs of a beginner, I personally wouldn’t expect the best sound or longevity from them.

Blue Snowball ICE USB Mic

Instead, this is a solid choice for a beginner on a tight budget.

For under $50, The Blue Snowball Ice definitely packs a punch well above its pay grade. This mic features a true condenser capsule built-in at an affordable price. With a 4.6 out of 5 rating from almost 26,000 buyers, it high-quality sound speaks for itself. On top of that, it’s USB powered meaning there’s no need to invest in a mixer board to use it.

This mic comes in both black and white and because of it’s table top stand eliminates the need fora boom arm.

Checkout YouTuber Techne give an honest review and live sound test using this mic.

Audio-Technica AT2020USB+

The Audio-Technica is another solid choice when it comes to condenser mics.

It comes in a bit pricier at $132 for the USB version or $99 for the XLR version if you happen to have a mixing board around. I’ve personally been this mic for years with excellent results. In my opinion, this is about the highest quality of mic you will find in USB before switching over to phantom powered XLR only microphones.

I admit, this may be overkill for the average teacher but it’s a competitive world out there. This could come in really handy should your classes involve singing or musical instruments.

This mic can also be easily placed on a boom arm. That’s the setup we use. We have it placed just off screen so it’s not visible to the viewer.

Check out YouTube Channel The Home Recordings review and sound test this mic. He’ll also serenade you with his guitar in the process. So, win-win!

What Are The Lighting Requirements?

A little lighting goes a long way.

At this point, you have an awesome camera and a dope microphone, now your setup’s almost complete. Except for one things. Lighting! It might not see like a big deal, after all, your talent is the centerpiece. But, when it comes to teaching online, it’s all about presentation and professionalism.

Tips when it comes to lighting
  • Set your laptop on a box – If your using the built-in webcam, elevating your laptop will put you in focus, not above or below the shot.
  • Face a window/Keep the light source in front of you – If you have poor lighting, sitting in front of a window with your laptop allows you to use natural lighting to your advantage.
  • Use an external light source – Adding a light in front of you can smooth out the image and remove shadows. (nerds call this a key frame light.)
  • Adjust your webcam’s color setting – Don’t overlook your webcams built in light settings. Changing setting like aperture and ISO can have a profound impact on your shot.
  • Look for a light that has temperature control – Imperative when attempting to blend artificial and natural light sources.
Ring Lights

Ring lights are a popular way to add a little lighting to your setup without breaking the budget. This type of light is by far the most popular for their ease of use and portability. They can be clipped onto your laptop or freestanding on a tripod. Your camera is then inserted into the center of the ring thereby illuminating the entire shot.

The controls can be used to adjust settings like intensity, angle and color. Some even have removable diffusers that can be exchanged for different colors. This can come in handy for more vibrant color profile.

Free Standing Light Sources

Neewer seems to a popular brand these days. I prefer their LED lights with tripods. You can places them anywhere and are no constrained by having to clip them onto your laptop. Whichever brand you choose, having the ability to change light temperature is essential when trying to blend together your lighting sources.

LED lights are a perfect choice. They’re environmentally friendly, light weight, low power and in most cases can be powered via your computers USB ports.

They are also ideal for desk use due to their small size, they can be placed easily on either side of your computer and directed towards you accordingly.

Take an Online Teaching Course

There is a multitude of online platforms that have courses for you to learn how to teach online. Many of them also have certifications that you can use to boost your credibility as a teacher. You can also take an online course about the subject you intend to teach. This will not only increase your knowledge and expertise about that subject but will also give you an idea about how other teachers deliver that subject to their students.

Oftentimes, places like Udemy, Skillshare, Coursera, and the like not only provide platforms for online teachers but have courses to teach you how to teach online too!

Apart from being a subject-based teacher, you can also branch out to teaching for grade levels. Knowing what type of teacher you are can help you narrow down a niche that you can market yourself towards.

Types of Online Teachers

  • Online English teachers
  • Online tutors
  • Course developers
  • Instructional designers
  • Subject matter experts
  • College-level online teaching faculty
  • K12 online teachers
  • Adult education online teachers

You must also decide if you want to work either full-time or part-time.

Get Your TEFL/TESOL To Teach English Online

If your goal is to become an online English language teacher or tutor, then getting certification may come in handy. This could be especially true if you lack previous teaching experience. Keep in mind that TESOL Certifications are not standardized and there is no such thing as international recognition. It’s always best to checkup on a courses accreditation and student reviews before making any purchase.

Generally speaking, many companies look for a minimum of a 120 hour course TESOL certification.

What’s TESOL you might ask?

TESOL stands for Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language. You may also hear the acronyms TESL and TEFL which stands for Teaching English as a Second Language and Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Tongue tied yet? Don’t worry, it can be a bit confusing.

For the most part, TEFL is an outdated term with TESOL being used more and more in an interchangeable fashion. Wikipedia has a breakdown on the various differences if you want to learn more.

But always remember that these certifications are not globally standardized meaning some employees may accept them, while others may not. If in doubt, check with the company you intend to work for first before choosing a course.

Do I Really Need A Tesol?

This is a difficult question to answer. Ask any Tesol course provider and they are all sure to recommend it. A bachelors degree and actual teaching experience undoubtedly carry more weight. That said, if you have neither or just one another certification to add to your resume, it couldn’t hurt. Not to mention that many of the online teaching platforms require it.

Being that the no two Tesol courses are the same and that accreditation can vary from place to place, I personally wouldn’t spend an arm and a leg. If you want to spend more, go for a higher end certificate. Many places routinely run sales (sometimes upwards of 85% off) so it can be beneficial to shop around a bit and compare prices before pulling the trigger.

Now that that’s out of the way, onto the list!

Cambridge CELTA Tesol Certification


Cost: $2,795

Celta (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Certifications are the gold standard when it comes to English teaching certificates. Due to the pandemic, the course is now done 100% online.

In addition to being online, with over 350 center’s worldwide, you’ll also be about to get some hands-on experience. This can be a valuable asset in the post pandemic world should you decide to shift to in class settings in the future. And even if you only plan to teach online, having the benefit of receiving real time experience and feedback can easily help you hone your skills while giving you a leg up on the competition.

The Celta includes 120 hours of study. While the price tag can be steep, if you’re looking for something internationally recognized, then this is probably as close as you’ll get to it.


Cost: $710 ON-SALE for $397 as of this writing

Bridge is another excellent choice when it comes to your Tesol certification. They offer both a 120 & 150 hour course. One interesting advantage to this certificate course is that you can earn college credits and possibly a pathway to towards a Master’s Degree at one of their partnering universities. Some of which include The American College Of Education, Texas A&M University, Huntington University & more.

As far as accreditation goes, they are accredited my ACCET, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. They also hold various other accreditation and affiliations, making this course another excellent choice. This is a point that should be taken into consideration if you are an American citizen as many of the online Tesol courses only carry various forms of U.K. accreditation.

The TEFL Academy


Cost: $500 ON-SALE for $230 as of this writing.

The Tefl Academy offers Both On-Campus and Online courses as well as a blended learning options. Their course consists of 168 hours of DEAC-approved coursework and 20 hours of in classroom training should you choose the combined certification.

One interesting option to note in that they offer a stand alone 10 hour practice teaching course certificate. This could come in handy if you already have a Tesol but would like to gain a little real world peer-to-peer experiance. At the moment it costs $73, originally $160.



Cost: $479 ON-SALE for $239 as of this writing appears to be one of the most popular TEFL/TESOL certification website with courses ranging from 40 hours up to 168 hours, for a level 5 TEFL certification (which is regulated by the English-government). The company’s address is located in the U.K. is accredited by The British Accreditation Council, which posts regular reports on their accreditation status. In addition, I was also able to verify that they are accredited by ODLQC (Open & Distance Learning Quality Council), an independent organization. They are also registered with the U.K. Register of Learning Providers. They have a webpage with further accreditation information.

They have a lot of information on their website which you can benefit from whether you purchase their courses or not. Their blog for one. It’s updated weekly and full of information helpful for the new and experienced teacher alike. Looking for employers? They have a directory of jobs you can browse by country.

Cheap Tesol Certificates

As I mentioned earlier and as you’ve probably noticed had you researched the various TESOL certificate providers thus far, accreditation is not standardized. Nor are they internationally recognized. Because of this, I think it’s worth listing a couple of the cheaper Tesol Certification Program options aswell.

Options are all over the place when it comes to these certificates. Some say you get what you pay for. Others however, will tell you it doesn’t really mater so long as you have a 120 hour certificate. Maybe you don’t have a few thousand laying around to drop on a cert? Or due to the economy (or whatever), your idea of a luxury meal is ramen-ala-candle light. Or maybe you’re just plain cheap like me. Whatever the reason, here are a few Tesol providers for dirt cheap prices.

Are they worth it? In the end only you can make that call. So, do your own research and you be judge.

International Open Academy


Cost: $119 ON-SALE for $14-19 Via Groupon

Groupon Link

International Open Academy offers a 120 hour Tesol Certification which is accredited by The CPD Certification Service and You can view their info accordingly. Their product page for their Tesol course boasts 300,000 graduates with a passing score.

The course consists of 10 modules as outlined on their website covering a wide range of topics including Reading, Logistics, Lesson Planning to Getting a job once completed. A passing score consists of answering at least 55% of questions correctly on the exam.

World Tesol Academy

Website: World Tesol Academy

Cost: $118 But Runs sales as low as $34

This certification website offers a 120-hour course that can be completed online. They claim their course is accredited by The CPD Certification Service and Accreditat Accreditation for which I was able to verify by looking them up on each website respectively. The U.K. based CPD Certification service, on it’s website boasts training providers such as Oxford, Cambridge, The London Stock Exchange and more. Accreditat, also U.K. based, claims to be registered with The U.K. Registry of Learning Providers for which I was able to verify aswell.

Where to Find Teaching Jobs

There are many routes you can take when becoming an online teacher. There really isn’t a shortage of job opportunities for online teachers, especially ones who teach English. There is a whole market online built around those who can effectively teach English to foreign students. Below are some of the places you can find a job as an online teacher:

  • Teacher Record – An excellent resource & job board for English teaching jobs. Be sure to join their Face Book page as well.
  • TEFL Job Links – A very extensive list of English teaching jobs categorized by country.
  • Another TEFL Job links – Not as extensive but worth a look.
  • ESL Boards – An online English Teaching job board website where employees often post positions.
  • iTutor.  This platform is the most demanding one in terms of time and requirements but is also the highest-paying one. You can earn anywhere between $1,500 to $3,000 a month as a teacher on the platform.
  • Indeed, Jobstreet, and LinkedIn. Of course, you could always look for online teaching jobs the old fashion way. Many job-hunting sites have myriads of postings from companies all over the world looking for online teachers. Some of them have no prior requirements needed!

Online Tutoring Companies (Non ESL Only)

This is a list of places that have tutoring opportunities for a wide variety of subjects. Note that ESL only companies are in a separate list below this one.



Pay: $7-$13 Per Hour (Varies depending on the subject mater & your background.)

  • Native Level English Speaker
  • Expert In Your Field
  • Criminal Background Check
  • Proof of Academic Achievements
  • Webcam, Microphone, High-Speed Internet

Headquartered in chili, LatinHire provides tutoring opportunities for professionals all over the globe. Available subjects include English, Marketing, Economy, IT, Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, Accounting and more. It’s worth mentioning that the majority of information I was able to find on this company has been oriented towards their ESL subjects.

Teacher sentiment seems relatively positive for this company.

What’s The Hiring Process Like?

After applying to become a tutor – should you qualify – you will be contacted to complete the application process which involves a check of your credentials and possible a background check. Turn around time from when you first apply seems to run between one week to up to 4 months depending on their backlog.

It should be noted that a number of tutors reported that the interview consists of one Spanish question. It’s unclear whether or not Spanish is required but a basic grasp of the language may be preferable in any case.

How Easy Is It To Get Students?

From what I can tell LatinHire does all the scheduling and provides you with students. How many you get may depend on the subject mater and tutor availability.

What Are The Classes Like?

Classes are conducted with up to three students per 25 minute class. Lesson material is included and given to the teacher beforehand. Classes can be monitored and feedback may be provided to the tutor to allow them to better hone their craft.

What Is The Pay Like?

While it’s difficult to guesstimate pay, according to glass door the average pay is $7-$13 Per Hour. However, I believe it’s prudent to note that the majority of responses are from language tutors. So, it’s conceivable that other tutoring subjects may have a different base pay.

Payments are made via direct deposit.

Checkout YouTuber Stephanie Smith walk us through the application process.

English Teaching Jobs (ESL Only Companies)

With both established & aspiring teachers looking for a side hassle online, teaching English has become a big business. China, among other countries have an insatiable demand to both native & profession English speaking teachers and tutors. Undoubtedly, native speakers carry a premium in this competitive market. However, If you are well versed in your trade and have good speaking skills, with a little persistence your sure to find something here.

A Word Of Caution about ESL Companies

This list only contains ESL platforms that either actively match students to available teachers or have their system designed in such a way that insures teachers acquire students with minimal effort. There are a number of companies that do not do this, where once accepted they expect you to do all the promotion or you get practically get zero students. You won’t find them listed here.

In my opinion if you’re having to do your own promotion, you may as well do it running your own website instead of advertise for a company that pays you by the hour.

Working for the companies below will feel more akin to a typical work/employer relationship in that once you are accepted, you will start getting students to teach very quickly. Sometimes, the same day depending on demand.

Note however, that unlike a typical employee relationship many of these companies hire their tutors as independent contractors. What this basically means is that it’s your responsibility to pay your own taxes and of course no benefits are included.

New China Education Regulations

For those not in the “know” China has begun a massive education crackdown in regards to curtailing after school tutoring and foreign influence. In fact, they have since outright banned it. This has put many jobs in jeopardy and have forced more than a few companies out of business over night.

Where the ESL industry will land in the next year is anyones guess. But, it’s safe to say that ESL companies that cater to a more global audience as opposed to those that deal primarily with Chinese students have a better chance of weathering the storm.

For this reason, many of the companies listed here have students in countries other than china.

Native Speaking Only ESL Companies

The following companies prefer either native English speakers or native level English speakers.



Pay: $20-$25 Per Hour

  • Native English Level Speaker
  • U.S. or Canada Work Authorization
  • Bachelors Degree in any field
  • Webcam, Microphone, High-Speed Internet

Starkid is based primarily in HongKong. As such, may be less affected by Chinese regulations. Some key points about this ESL company is that tutors report high earnings and high booking rates. They are a smaller learning platform so do no hire as many teachers as some of the others. As such, may have a longer waiting list for new hires.

What’s The Hiring Process Like?

Once you’ve applied to become a teacher someone from Starkid will reach out to you to complete the interview process which generally involves conducting a demo class.

How Easy Is It To Get Students?

On this platform students and parents do not pic the tutor. Instead, students are assigned by the company to teachers based on their availability. This results in higher initial booking rates for teachers. If however, a student likes the assigned tutor they have the option of sticking with that tutor thereby converting them to a regular student.

What Are The Classes Like?

Classes are typically 30 minutes long an are designed in a structured one-on-one learning setting. They prefer a commitment of at least two days per week.

What Is The Pay Like?

Pay is between $20-$25 per hour. Converting students into regular students gives bonuses on top of the base pay. Payment is distributed monthly via PayPal.

Nil English


Pay: $10-$20 Per Hour

Nil English caters predominately towards Koren students.

  • Native English Level Speaker
  • TESOL Certificate
  • Bachelors Degree
  • 1 Year Experience
  • Webcam, Microphone, High-Speed Internet
What’s The Hiring Process Like?

Once you’ve filled out your information via this form,

How Easy Is It To Get Students?

Students are assigned by the company. Tutors must dedicate with a minimum of 10 hours per week to teach.

What Are The Classes Like?

Classes are setup to be one-on-one and range from 10 minutes up to 60 minutes depending on the lesson. Student’s can be anywhere from children to adult professionals with varying degrees of fluency in English. After each class the tutor is required to give feedback so that the student can improve.

What Is The Pay Like?

Pay is between $10-$20 per hour with raises available every 3 months.


Pay: $14-18 per hour

  • U.S. or Canada Work Authorization
  • Bachelors Degree in any field
  • 2 Years Teaching Experience Preferred
  • Webcam, Microphone, High-Speed Internet

With their flexible set-your-own-hours scheduling, VIPKid would be advantageous to U.S. or Canadian teachers looking for online income. Or, anyone who holds a bachelors degree looking for some side income. But, it’s also worth noting that while hey allow you to set your own hours, with the majority of their students being in china, you will still have to consider the time difference carefully. They also provide this handy time zone chat to aid you.

Teacher reviews seem positive for the most part with an emphasis towards good pay and overall ease of use. Read one redditor’s account of working 3 months with the company.

What’s The Hiring Process Like?

The hiring process is relatively straightforward. After signing up and providing the necessary documentation, you’ll be required to teach a short demo lesson based on the materials provided to you. If all goes well, you’ll be asked to teach a mock class with a current VIPKid teacher that will help to orient you to the platform specifics. If after that, you meet their requirements you will be provided a contract to sign in order to start teaching.

How Easy Is It To Get Students?
What Are The Classes Like?

Classes consist of one-on-one learning in 25 minute sessions. All teaching materials will be provided for you. You will however, have the option to review and prepare for the lesson 6-12 hours prior to the class. Classes take place on their platform and communication with parents is done by the company. More information is available in their blog to better familiarize yourself with the platform. One post in particular highlights a teacher’s first day of teaching.

What Is The Pay Like?

As an Independent Contractor teachers are responsible for paying their own taxes according the their local, state and federal laws. The base pay for VIPKid is $7-$9 per class with each class being 25 minutes long. Each contract is 6 months long with renewals offered at their own discretion.

Watch YouTuber Alejandra Londono speak a bit about her experiences with VIPKid

Magic Ears

Pay: $15-$26 per hour

  • Native Level English
  • Bachelors Degree (Or Proof you are perusing one)
  • 120 Hour Tesol Certificate
  • Teaching Experience Preferred
  • Webcam, Microphone, High-Speed Internet

Magic Ears could be an excellent platform for student teachers still perusing a degree since they allow teachers that are in the process of attaining a bachelor’s degree to teach. They do require a 120 Hour Tesol Certificate that you will have to attain elsewhere as the $20 Tesol Certificate program they previously offered has since been discontinued.

It’s worth noting that some teachers have stated that Magic Ears can be rather strict on class structure and teacher etiquette. Others seem to have the same sentiment in regards to being micromanaged. Conversely, there are also a number of positive reviews. Read one redditors account after one month with the company.

There was a regulation update regarding Chinese students on October 15th.

What’s The Hiring Process Like?

Here’s what to expect after signing up. You’ll be required to record either a 3-5 minute demo video or take place in a live interview. After-which, you’ll participate in a trial class. Once a background check is completed and if you meet their expectations you will be offered a teaching contract. Contracts are 6 months with no minimum teaching requirement and are renewed based on Magic Ear’s discretion. They have a YouTube channel that might help you familiarize yourself with their format.

How Easy Is It To Get Students?

Most teacher reviews state that once they open slots in their schedules they are booked in short order.

What Are The Classes Like?

Magic Ears classes consist of between one and four students per 25 minute class. After-which, you have 18 hours to leave an evaluation of the student. Coursework is provided by the platform but preparation is still essential as in every teaching job. Students do not choice teachers on their platform. Instead, Magic Ears randomly assigns students to teachers based on availability.

What Is The Pay Like?

Like most platforms, Teachers are considered independent contractors. Which means it’s up to you to pay taxes on your earnings as you are not considered an employee.

Pay ranges from $15-$26 from what I can tell. Payments are made on the 10th of each month fro the previous month via PayPal.

Watch YouTube’s Online Teacher Dude go in-depth about Magic Ears.


Pay: $10.20 (Cambly), $12 (Cambly Kids) per hour

  • Native Level English
  • Webcam, Microphone, High-Speed Internet

Cambly doesn’t have quiet as many requirements as other teaching platforms on this list. In fact, they don’t require a bachelor’s degree or even a Tesol Certificate. From the research I’ve gained, the only requirement I’ve found is that you posses native level English skills. Thought, If you do posses other requirements it might be worth mentioning during the hiring process anyway. This may be another good option for students to gain experience teaching or teachers looking for a side gig.

What’s The Hiring Process Like?

After signing up, you’ll be asked to submit a demo video along with completing any necessary documentation. Once approved, you will began tutoring students. The process appears to be relatively easy and straightforward. Turn around time can be measured in as little as 24 hours depending on their backlog.

How Easy Is It To Get Students?

Reviews seem varied on how easy it is to find students on the platform with more weight given to Cambly Kids in that regard.

What Are The Classes Like?

Unlike other platforms that have structured lessons, Cambly is geared more towards casual conversation. Basically, you get payed to gab! Since Cambly has students from all over the world, they offer a very flexible schedule for tutors. No minimum commitment is required.

One redditor gives an account of their first 10 days on the platform.

What Is The Pay Like?

Pay is sent out via PayPal every Monday. Unlike other platforms Cambly pays per minute which works out to around $10.20 per hour and $12 per hour for Cambly Kids. This can have its pros and cons but given that the platform has very little in the way of teaching requirements it’s most likely on par with other platforms in this regard.

Watch YouTuber KeystoneEnglish talk about his experience as a Cambly Tutor.

Non-Native Friendly ESL Companies

The following ESL platforms either have no requirement for native only speakers or have been known to higher tutors and teachers that speak English as a second language. This list may be more beneficial if you are a teacher or tutor from a country other than the united states or the U.K.



Pay: $2.40-$10 Per Hour

  • Age 18 +
  • Proficient in English
  • Desktop or Laptop
  • Webcam, Headset, High-Speed Internet

Engoo is an online ESL tutoring company with a large swath of it’s students hailing from the Philippines and Japan. Which, possible means they will be less affected by Chinese regulations. They do require that you be proficient in English. However, they are known for hiring tutors that are not native to English speaking countries with their website showing tutors from over 70 countries.

But, be aware that It has been mentioned from current and former tutors that non-native tutors receive a lower pay rate. This is somewhat to be expected given the low requirements to become a tutor.

Glassdoor rates the company with 3.4 out of 5 stars.

Read one redditor’s account from working for this company for 5 months.

What’s The Hiring Process Like?

Applying to become a tutor is a relatively straight-forward process. Once registered, you will have to undergo a hardware and connection test to insure that your computer is up to par with their technical requirements. Once completed their team will reach out to you for the next steps where you will receive training material in order to conduct a demo class with. After that, if you’re approved, you start teaching!

How Easy Is It To Get Students?

Tutors report that your bookings correlate with your rating in their system. However, it doesn’t seem that their tutor pool is so over saturated that you won’t get students at all unlike other platforms that have been omitted from this list. New tutors report decent booking that increase or decrease with the ratings they receive from students. While other tutors report being booked solid despite their rating.

What Are The Classes Like?

Classes are taught one-on-one with students in 25 minute intervals which is the industry norm. The classes are structured learning courses with material being provided to you. Students can range from kids to adults with no minimum in hours that you must set.

What Is The Pay Like?

As stated earlier, it appears that native English speakers get payed more at about $10 per hour or $5 per class. Non-native speakers report lower earnings. Some as low as $2.40 per hour.

Listen to YouTube’s Jazz Bella discuss the Engoo application process in detail.

Open English


Pay: $13 Per Hour

  • Previous teaching experience
  • Proficient in English
  • Portuguese or Spanish Skills helpful
  • TESOL Certification
  • Webcam, Microphone, High-Speed Internet

Open English caters to the South American population. They have a vast network of tutors and students. Tutor sentiment for this company is generally favorable.

What’s The Hiring Process Like?

Once you apply for a position and provide your information, the company will contact you with further steps.

How Easy Is It To Get Students?

You work 2 hour shifts at a time. During that time the company assigns you students at their discretion.

What Are The Classes Like?

Classes range from 20-45 minutes depending on the setting. You are provided material by the company. Each class is either one-on-one or group learning with up to 6 students. Students can be anywhere from children up to adults depending which platform you are on. They also run Openenglish Juniors and Openenglish Centers. Zoom is used for conducting classes.

What Is The Pay Like?

Pay appears to be $13 Per Hour flat.

Watch YouTube’s TeachingWithSmiles talk about her experience with OpenEnglish.

Develop and Sell Your Own Courses

While much of this article is geared towards those that teach either one-on-one or via group chat online, one shouldn’t overlook the power of passive income. As any good teacher knows, knowledge is a valuable asset. What could be better than teaching a class once and selling it multiple times?

What Is Passive Income?

Simply put, passive income is whereby you produce a product once (in this case, a course), and sell it multiple times thereby earning income passively on each sale. Sounds easy right? I won’t lie, it’s not a walk in the park and it’s not for everyone. It takes a keen eye for detail and persistence. But, If you’ve got a knack for recording and editing videos, or are willing to learn, this may be right up your alley.

How Does It Work?

First, you’ll need to come up with an idea for a course or series of courses. It’s better to sell a course rather than an individual class. Once you have a plan and have developed a course outline, you can begin to record. Here are some tips for developing your course.

  • Plan first, record last- Sit down and plan out the course before you start to record. This way there is a concise message throughout.
  • Draw your course outline visually – Once you have the outline down often times making a visual representation of it allows you to see if in a different perspective.
  • Know your audience – Have a target audience in mind and don’t deviate from it. It will make sure course easier to understand and better to market later on.
  • Be Authoritative On Your Subject – Often times perspective students are faced with having to choose between similar courses. If you can show that you are an authority on the subject mater, it’ll give you a leg up.
  • Add Visual Cues – Learn to integrate graphics into your course be it a slideshow, charts etc. to help hold the student’s attention.
  • Find a friend to test your course – What are friends for if not for playing the part of guinea pig now and again? If someone tackles your course from the perspective of the student, it’s often easier to see faults or issues often overlooked during the planing phase.

Where Can I Sell My Courses?

So you’ve developed your own course? That’s excellent! Now lets see if you can make some money from it. There’s a number of websites that allow you to post your courses on. Be sure to read the requirements as not all of them will be identical and some may insist that your course only be listed on their website rather than multiple places at once. Here a few of the most popular websites.

UDEMY Instructors


Udemy is aimed at providing courses for adults and students in a wide variety of subjects from Health & Fitness, Education, Productivity, IT, Business and much more. Note that Udemy does not offer courses for children at this times or any courses on their restricted course list. They also provide marketplace Insight to get an idea for what type of courses are currently in demand.

If you think you have what it takes the become an Udemy Instructor, they have a webpage for more information.



Similar to udemy, teachables allows you to sell pre-made courses to students. However, with teachables you have a bit more control over your data and students. But, this comes at a cost. You are responsible for marketing your own products. Teachables charges teachers a monthly fee for their services.



Skillshare is another popular website which allows teachers to create and upload classes. Royalties can then be earned based on student involvement. Resources are also available to help budding teachers with the platform.

Other Methods To Earning Money as an Online Teacher


This is where you go if you’re looking to be a lone wolf. The market is extremely competitive but you get to decide how much your rate is. If you manage to get a nice client base, there’s no saying how much you can earn.

Sell Lesson Plans and Resources

Sites like Teachers Pay Teachers let you sell your lesson plans and resources to other teachers to use for their own lessons. This is a great way to supplement your online teaching income with some passive income on the side.

Write and share an educational ebook

Online teaching does not always mean having to teach in a Zoom classroom. It could also mean writing out a textbook and making it available for purchase on an ebook market like Amazon kindle.

Build your own online school

This might need a little capital and time to fully execute, but if you manage to get a specialized online school up and running, there are limitless potentials. This school can be filled with ready-made courses you prepared or even feature other instructors paying you a commission. There’s no saying how much you can earn!

How Do Online Tutors/Teachers Pay Taxes?

Because most online teachers and tutors are classified as independent contractors the burden of paying taxes falls squarely on their shoulders. This varies depending on your country and jurisdiction. It’s always best to consult a tax professional as they will be up to speed on what requirements you must meet. The IRS also provides information for filling self employment taxes.

Here are some tips that might come in handy when tax time comes around.

  • Keep Pay Stubs – Always keep tract of your pay stubs so you can calculate your total yearly income
  • Use Excel Spreadsheet – Use a spreadsheet to make calculations of your income easier.
  • Keep all Documentation – Make either a digital or hard copy file of all the documentation you receive from your work. This can aid your tax professional in determining your tax liability.

These links may be helpful for further reading.

Quick Recap and Conclusion

Let’s review all that we have learned so far:

Though credentials and degrees help boost your credibility as an online teacher, you can still be an online teacher without all that.

It might help to take an online course on how to be an online teacher. You also need to decide on the type of teacher you wanna be and whether or not you can do it full-time

There is no shortage of places where you can find online teaching jobs. Some of them have no prior requirements needed.

Some of the other ways you can earn as an online teacher is by selling your teaching resources, writing ebooks, and offering your service on Fiverr. If you’re ambitious, you can even open an entire online school!

And those were the things you needed to know about starting as an online teacher. Online teaching is a very lucrative line of work if you know how to market yourself and give quality courses to your students. Though earning the big bucks won’t be easy at first, with the right information, it does not have to be an uphill battle to get your career going.

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