Is Teaching English Online Worth It?

If you’re an English native speaker making a career change or looking for a part-time gig, there’s a good chance you’ve either heard about or considered teaching English online.  “Is it worth my time teaching English online?” —you may be wondering.  

Whether you are an experienced educator or looking to start teaching English online with no degree, you’re in the right place to have all your questions answered!

Why is Teaching English Online So Popular?

If you are curious about why teaching English online is so popular, here’s why.

Due to Covid-19, schools worldwide shut their doors to physical classes. The global education industry fully embraced technology in 2020, making it the unofficial year of online tutoring. Since then, teaching English online has grown into one of the most in-demand remote jobs.

In today’s world, teaching English to international students is the perfect way to get into the world of education and teach abroad.

Teaching English online is a splendid way to earn an income from home. Bear in mind, that private English tutoring is a price many parents willingly pay for students’ entry into elite schools and universities.

Additionally, online English tutors enjoy work-life balance, flexible schedules and the ability to work from anyplace in the world.

Since most online English teaching companies provide lesson content and goals, online English educators do not have to devote much time to lesson planning. Educators review the lessons ahead of class time. Then they focus on how to implement the material and motivate the students.

Working as an online English tutor is also an excellent opportunity to gain teaching experience while learning new skills, which will attract higher compensation offers.

Online teaching gives educators the opportunity to connect with students from all over the world and learn about different cultures without having to travel.

What Are The Requirements To Teach English Online?

There are minimal start-up requirements to teach English online. With a laptop, headsets, solid internet connection, a distraction free workspace and a certification or two, anyone can become an English educator in their own virtual classroom. 

While you will certainly need some prior experience in education to be a successful online English educator, unlike in-person teaching employment, you may not require a teaching degree or license. Getting started with some companies only requires a university degree in a related field, and most require no professional training.

In any case, certifications are essential for retaining clients, building credibility, and protecting against government policies, such as China’s new after-school policy. Following this, most English online job sites in the country now require formal TEFL certification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) of at least 120 hours. In contrast, some other companies require IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) certifications.

As online English tutors don’t have a regulatory board as a distinct profession, there are no specific laws regarding them. However, educators may be subject to certain laws and regulations depending on where they are located and where they are teaching.

In any case, certifications are essential for retaining clients, building credibility, and protecting against government policies, such as China’s new after-school policy.

Due to the lack of international structure, online English educators face limited job security, motivating them to upgrade. The resultant effect is the growth of the industry.

Online English tutors further benefit from having a degree of technical expertise to navigate technical issues. As a result, teach English online tutors’ trainings have expanded to cover online conversions, and in some cases even online havoc, as core subjects.

How To Teach English?

There are many factors to consider when getting started in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Do you intend to specialize in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) or Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL)? Are you better suited for Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL) or Teaching English to Adults (TEA)? Are you planning to engage in one-on-one tutoring, group classes or corporate language training?

Dedicate time for ample research because it will guide you to select the right opportunity.

As the regulated age for English education lowers globally, young learners are recognized as students aged 5 – 12. The highest demand for remote English educators for this age range is recorded in the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Southeast Asia. 

For online English educators working with young learners, the major hurdle is often that they tend to have a short attention span and a lot of physical energy. The following tips will help you engage and motivate your students:

  • Move quickly from activity to activity.

  • Supplement curriculum activities with brightly colored visuals, toys or objects to match the ones used in the stories you tell/ songs you sing.

  • Involve the students in making visuals related to the lesson.

  • Use stories and content familiar to students’ culture and language proficiency.

  • Establish classroom routines in English.

For educators who prefer teaching ESL online to adults, be sure to use these tricks to connect with your students for a seamless learning session:

  • Remember to engage using open body language.

  • Utilize break out rooms for icebreakers to foster collaboration amongst students in group classes.

  • Incorporate visuals into every lesson.

  • Keep the language simple and inclusive.

  • Break up the lessons and pause periodically to check for understanding.

How Much Can You Make Teaching English Online?

Payment conditions depend on your agency or company. Online English educators might earn hourly, per class or even per minute.  Conduct sufficient research to understand the terms before signing any contract.

Hourly rates vary depending on your qualifications, the company you work for, the base rate, bonuses and your availability to work.

If you have a teaching certification, the pay can be great. Qualified educators are paid the highest rates and are in highest demand at online English teaching companies. This is because experience improves bargaining power.  According to Glassdoor, online English educators annually earn an average of $45,166 USD.  But remember, online English educators’ salaries depend on their qualifications and the specifics of the job.

For fresh starters or part-time educators, the average salary may be between $12 – $15 USD/hour. With additional credentials, that range can increase to an average of $20 – $25 USD/hour. More experienced educators can expect a pay closer to $18 -$40 USD/hour.

Sounds too good to be true? It is absolutely possible for educators who make the extra effort to upskill and remain marketable as they gain more control over their employment contract.

The online English teaching industry booms every year, generating opportunities as well as challenges for educators. Some challenges include inconsistent bookings and early work hours. However, considering the endless perks, including appealing incomes, flexible schedules, professional development and even the ability to work remotely while traveling the world, teaching English online is worth totally it!   

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