Does living independently, working according to when suits you, and being the master of your own salary sound appealing to you? Of course, it does – how could it not?
Surely a job like that can’t actually exist, right? Wrong. You can teach English online, experience all the above perks and more.
Sound too good to be true? Well, read on to learn in detail about online English teaching and how it could be the perfect job for you.
When thinking about teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) – online or otherwise – you should consider obtaining a qualification. A TEFL qualification is usually earned by completing a course from an accredited provider, such as TEFL Org.
Why get certified?
As an aspiring online English tutor, qualification would be very useful for several reasons. Firstly, it would provide you with the training and know-how to confidently lead either one-to-one or class lessons. Winging lessons without prior training is not a fun experience! Another reason: your credentials attract new students. The better the qualification you have the more students will flock to you. Also, if you decide to work for a company, rather than freelance, then you are more likely to meet their job requirements. Most importantly, the better your CV, the more you can charge/the more an employer will be willing to pay.
There are loads of different qualifications and providers out there which can make it tricky to choose.
Some factors to take into account:
- Accreditation: Perhaps the most important aspect of a TEFL qualification is its accreditation. Since there is no standard accrediting organization in the TEFL industry, competitors must find relevant endorsements from external bodies. For example, we at TEFL Org are the most accredited provider in the UK thanks to accreditation from the likes of OFQUAL and the British Accreditation Council. This means you can be sure our courses are of the highest quality and internationally recognized by employers.
- Cost: There is a wide spectrum of costs when it comes to TEFL courses. Things like hours of training, quality, location, whether it’s online, and prestige all affect the cost. Beware of poor quality courses, such as those found on Groupon, that offer extremely low prices for largely unrecognized courses.
- Location: Some courses are taught fully in classes, others online, and some mix the two. It’s important that you choose one that you can access easily – so either within traveling distance or make sure you have access to the internet.
- Hours of training: Generally speaking, the more hours a course has the better the qualification. Of course, this can be off-set if the course is done through an unaccredited provider, but it’s useful to keep in mind as a rule of thumb. The ‘standard’ number of hours sought by employers is 120. You can view our two 120-hour course options here.
On top of the standard TEFL courses, TEFL Org offers a specialized 40-hour Teaching Online course. It’s perfect for anyone looking to start a career teaching online as it trains users on how to create an online presence, prepare lessons, and use the software. Great if you’re hoping for an advantage over other tutors!
So, hopefully, the point has been hammered in: get TEFL certified!
Online English tutors generally have two main paths they can follow: freelancing or working for an agency. Both have their own pros and cons. Read on to find out more.
The most flexible and independent way to teach English online. In other words, you are the boss of your own salary, schedule, and students. Handling so much responsibility by yourself can seem daunting, especially if it’s your main/sole source of income, but the rewards are well worth it if you can manage it.
Schedule and location
Teaching at home, or any location you like for that matter, allows you to avoid the stresses of the workplace. Having total power over your schedule gives you a feeling of freedom that just can’t be matched in a normal 9-5 hour day!
There is a good and bad side to freelancing in terms of pay. On one hand, you largely get to set the terms and rates and, unless you decide to use a specific platform, get to keep 100% of your wages. On the other hand, actually finding students on your own can be difficult and limit their income. Make sure to market yourself well to maximize your gains.
You will need to be able to market yourself effectively. To do so, many freelance tutors set up their own blogs and websites where they can advertise their services. If you want to create a blog then sites such as WordPress or Blogger are free and incredibly simple to use.
Finally, an online teacher must decide on which platform is best to conduct their lessons on. There is a range of options out there, with some of the most popular free ones being Skype and Google Hangouts. These two are both great for anyone looking to offer simple, inexpensive lessons. After all, most people will have either a Skype or Google account.
If you’re looking for something a little bit more advanced, then there are numerous other online tutor-specific platforms that offer a mixture of features to enhance the classroom experience. Some good examples are WizIQ and Preply. Between the two, features include shared whiteboards, access to thousands of students, and the ability to upload worksheets. However, neither are free with up-front payments for WizIQ and varying rates of commission for Preply.
For a Company
Whilst not as independent a way of working as freelancing is, employment with an online teaching business still offers a fair amount of flexibility. The main difference compared with freelancing is that rather than having to build up your own online presence and find your own students, a company guarantees you students or at least improves your chances of landing work.
Here are some online teaching companies:
Connect with a ton of students via iTutorGroup. These guys have a global reach, maximizing the potential number of students you could work with. Pay seems to favor those who are native speakers, but non-natives can find work with them, too.
With SayABC, you can earn up to $19 (£15.2) every 40-minute lesson. They ask that teachers are native speakers, hold a bachelor’s, and a recognized TEFL qualification.
There are many more sites and companies available for you to use out there. Research to give yourself the best opportunities possible!
Kind of a mixture of the other two, job boards represent employers looking for qualified teachers. As a freelancer, these are great places to advertise your credentials. There are countless job boards out there. We recommend having a look at our own for some online teaching positions.
Other large job boards worth browsing are Dave’s ESL Cafe and Tefl Org
If you’ve read all this and decided that teaching English online is for you (you’d be crazy not to!) then browse our selection of courses to get TEFL qualified. If you want to know more about online teaching then read some of our excellent teaching guides here.