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Teach English Online: Qualifications, Opportunities, and Challenges

In recent years, teaching English online has become an increasingly popular and in-demand career option for those with a passion for teaching and a strong grasp of the English language. As online learning has been widely adopted due to the ongoing global pandemic, the demand for English teachers who can offer virtual lessons has grown exponentially. This provides an excellent opportunity for aspiring teachers or those looking for a change in career to start a fulfilling, flexible and potentially lucrative profession. Unlike traditional classroom teaching, teaching English online offers the benefit of working from anywhere in the world with a stable internet connection, making it an attractive option for those who enjoy remote work or travel. Additionally, online teaching allows teachers to create a customized lesson plan, work flexible hours and have one-on-one interactions with their students, offering a more personalized learning experience.

Qualifications and Requirements to Teach English Online

Before getting started with teaching English online, candidates need to have certain qualifications and equipment. Here’s what you need to know about the qualifications and requirements:


  • Native, or fluent, in English – a requirement of nearly all online English teaching jobs
  • A Bachelor’s degree in any field – for most online English teaching jobs
  • Certifications – some companies require a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA certification specifically for teaching English as a second language
  • Prior teaching experience – some companies have a minimum teaching experience requirement, while others don’t require it


  • A stable internet connection – this is a must-have for online teaching
  • A laptop or desktop computer, often with specific hardware/software requirements depending on the platform you’ll be teaching on
  • A webcam and microphone – to see and speak with students
  • Headphones or earbuds – to minimize background noise in your surroundings when communicating with students

Candidates who meet these qualifications and requirements can move on to the next phase – applying to tutoring companies and finding students to tutor solo.

What qualifications do you need to teach English online?

To teach English online, there are various qualifications that you may need. Here are the common ones:

  • Native-level expertise in English language
  • Teaching certification or a bachelor’s degree in Education or English
  • TEFL or TESOL certification
  • Prior teaching experience, preferably with online teaching experience

Several websites and products offer TEFL or TESOL courses, including TEFL Org, International TEFL and TESOL Training (ITTT), and BridgeTEFL. Obtaining a teaching certification or a bachelor’s degree can be done through formal education institutions. It is essential to research the specific requirements of different schools or online teaching platforms before applying for a teaching position.

Finding Job Opportunities and Platforms to Teach English Online

Online English teaching jobs provide a flexible way for teachers to work from home and connect with students around the world. There are several online platforms and websites that offer job opportunities for English teachers. Here are some options to consider:

Online Platforms for English Teaching Jobs

Platform Name Features Pros Cons
VIPKid – Offers English immersion lessons to children in China – Scheduled lesson times – Must have a Bachelor’s degree
– Must commit to teaching at least 7.5 hours a week (minimum)
Qkids – Offers online English classes to children in China – Flexible hours and no minimum lesson commitment – Must be a native English-speaker from the USA or Canada
– Must have a Bachelor’s degree
EF Education First – Offers language immersion lessons to learners of all ages – One-on-one or group lessons available – Must have a Bachelor’s degree
– Must commit to teaching at least 5 hours a week (minimum)

Other Options for Finding Online English Teaching Jobs

  • Visit online course providers websites such as Coursera, Udemy, and edX to apply for different English language learning courses
  • Search for private teaching opportunities by advertising your services on websites such as Craigslist, and Upwork
  • Research local English language schools and international companies that may have openings for online English tutors

While each platform has different requirements, the most important requirements are being a fluent English speaker, having a Bachelor’s degree and the ability to work from home.

How can I promote my English teaching online?

There are several ways to promote your English teaching online. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Create a website to showcase your services and include testimonials from satisfied clients.
  • Utilize social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to share content, run ads, and engage with potential clients.
  • List your services on tutoring marketplaces like, Chegg Tutors or Wyzant.
  • Create online courses on platforms like Udemy or Skillshare and promote them through social media and your website.
  • Guest post on relevant blogs to establish yourself as an expert in your field.

Preparing for an Online English Teaching Session

Teaching English online requires some preparation, including creating insightful lesson plans and promoting engagement during class time.

Creating Lesson Plans

When creating an online English lesson plan, the following tips should be taken into consideration:

  • Plan ahead: Start creating lesson plans one week in advance.
  • Know your audience: Get to know the students you will be teaching, assess their level of proficiency, their personalities, and their learning styles.
  • Select a specific theme or topic for each session: This will aid in making your lessons clear and directed.
  • Include interactive activities: Engage students and promote critical thinking by creating interactive sections, such as group discussions, surveys, or debates.

Conducting the Virtual Classroom

When conducting a virtual class or session, the following strategies should be taken into consideration:

  • Create a positive first impression: Begin with a warm greeting and introduce yourself before moving to the lesson. This creates a friendly atmosphere and a good rapport.
  • Be clear and concise: Use short sentences and appropriate vocabulary when teaching English online. This makes it easy for students to understand.
  • Use visual aids: Incorporate images, videos or graphics to explain difficult concepts or reinforce learning.
  • Encourage participation: Ask questions regularly and engage students’ participation to maintain their attention and to reinforce learning.

Following these tips can help to create effective, engaging and, well-organized lesson plans while also promoting a better learning environment.

Don’t forget to check out Google for some great English teaching resources!

How do you prepare a lesson for online teaching?

Preparing a lesson for online teaching involves careful planning and execution. Here are some steps to help you get started:

  • Outline the learning objectives and goals of the lesson.
  • Select appropriate teaching material, such as videos, images, or interactive activities.
  • Create an engaging presentation using a platform like Google Slides or Prezi.
  • Design exercises and assessments aimed at helping students learn and retain content.
  • Plan for student engagement and interaction, such as through breakout rooms or chat features on video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
  • Test out the lesson and troubleshoot any technical issues before teaching it to your students.

Keep in mind that there are also websites and products that can help you create and deliver online lessons, such as Edpuzzle for interactive videos or Nearpod for assessments and interactive activities.

How Much You Can Earn by Teaching English Online

Online English teaching can be a flexible and lucrative career path. There are different payment options to consider when presenting salary expectations for online English teaching positions.

Hourly Rates

Some of the most common payment options for teaching English online include hourly rates. These rates depend on several factors, including your experience, your certifications, and the platform or employer.

Commission-Based Salary

Other platforms offer commission-based salaries to online English teachers who work as independent contractors. This means the teacher only earns a percentage of the payment that the platform receives for every class.

Bonuses and Incentives

Incentives are also available for online English teachers, ranging from performance-based bonuses to promotions or other benefits.

Potential Earnings

A full-time online English teacher can earn between $1,500 to $4,000 dollars per month. The amount earned depends on the frequency of courses taken, the time dedicated to teaching, and the hourly rates or salary structure.

Overall, teaching English online can be an efficient and lucrative career that offers flexibility and freedom to those who pursue it.

How much do online English teachers charge per hour?

  • The cost of hiring an online English teacher can vary based on many factors, such as experience, qualifications, teaching style, and location.
  • On average, online English teachers charge between $15 to $30 per hour.
  • However, some websites and platforms offer different payment structures such as fixed prices or subscription models that can impact the hourly rate.
  • If you’re interested in hiring an online English teacher, it’s best to research different platforms and individual teachers to find the most suitable and affordable option for your needs.

Challenges and Drawbacks of Teaching English Online

Like any job, teaching English online has its challenges and drawbacks. It’s important to consider these before diving into this career path.

Technological Issues

Since teaching English online requires technology, technical issues are bound to occur. This can cause disruptions or delays during classes or meetings. To address this drawback, teachers must ensure they have reliable internet connections and technical equipment.

Time Zone Differences

Many English students are overseas, which may translate to differences in time zones when teaching. Teaching during odd hours of the night can result in lifestyle changes, like sleep disruption.

Lack of In-Person Interaction

Students and teachers teach English online, which means that there is no personal interaction. This means it can be difficult to pick up on mannerisms, body language, and other nonverbal communication.

Stressful Environment

Teaching English online can be a stressful job, as teaching hours may be from the comfort of one’s own home. This environment can make it difficult to separate work from personal life.

In conclusion, teaching English online can be an exciting and rewarding career for those looking for flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere. However, it’s essential to keep in mind the challenges that come with it, such as technical issues, time zone differences, lack of personal interaction, and a stressful environment – all which can affect the success of the career.

How can I start teaching English online?

Here are some steps to get started teaching English online:

  • Evaluate your qualifications and experience in teaching English
  • Research different platforms and websites that offer online teaching jobs, such as VIPKid, Teach Away, and Gogokid
  • Create a strong online teaching profile and resume highlighting your experience and qualifications
  • Prepare for your teaching demo and interview
  • Secure a stable and reliable internet connection and a quiet teaching space
  • Start teaching and gaining experience


Teaching English online is rapidly becoming a popular career choice for educators, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic made physical classrooms near impossible to attend. It allows them to work from anywhere, choose their own hours, and contribute to an international community. However, there are many considerations that come with this profession, such as educational qualifications, technology requirements, and communication issues.

As long as an online English teacher is educated, experienced, and adaptable, teaching English online can be an excellent and flexible career path. Teaching English online provides multiple opportunities for educators who want to earn money, travel the world, meet people, and make a significant difference in the lives of their students.

In summary, before becoming an online English teacher, make sure that you have the necessary qualifications and technological resources. Check whether you can handle time zone and schedule differences, lack of personal interaction, and stress in your work environment. If you can, then teaching English online may be a perfect fit for you. The demand for online English teachers is only expanding as the world becomes more digital-focused, and it is an excellent time to get started.