I think it is safe to say that at one point or another, we have all been responsible for teaching someone else a skill.
Maybe you instructed a younger sibling, friend, or coworker on how to (or how not to do) a particular task. Or, maybe you have just given someone a nudge in the right direction regarding some social norms or etiquette.
Whatever the case, I think the point is simple: we have all been teachers at some point in our life.
Teaching might not be your occupation, but if you possess a skill that is in high demand and have some basic communication skills under your belt, you can make money online by tutoring.
In particular, teaching English online can be a very lucrative side hustle, and you can even get started without having a degree or prior experience with some companies.
So, if you’re looking for the best online English teaching jobs, this is the post for you!
How Do Online Tutoring Jobs Work?
When teaching English online, you will generally be teaching students from as young as 4-5 years old to high school level students, all looking to improve their English skills.
Additionally, many online tutoring companies cater to the Chinese/Asian market, so most of your students will live in this area.
As an online English tutor, you will pick time slots to teach every week upon being accepted to work for a company, and you will be in charge of working through lesson plans (usually created by the company you work for) with your students.
Lessons are usually taught through Skype or in-house video streaming software, and the amount of teaching you are required to do each week depends on the company you work for.
Requirements For Teaching English Online:
Contrary to what many people think, you don’t need a degree or prior teaching experience to work for some online tutoring companies.
Various companies do require their teachers to possess an undergraduate degree, but your ability to actually engage a classroom is the most important factor (more on interview tips at the end of this post).
Outside of degree requirements, online English tutors must have:
- A strong and stable internet connection.
- A webcam.
- A headset and microphone (this is a must, even if people say it isn’t).
How Much Do Online Tutors Make?
There are a variety of factors that influence your salary as an online English tutor, and different companies also pay varying rates.
In general, for top tier companies, you can expect to earn anywhere from $15-$19/hour.
There are exceptions to this rule, of course, and more experienced tutors may be able to reach upwards of $25/hour through bonuses and reaching the maximum pay cap. Teaching more hours per week with a given company, having prior teaching experience, or having certifications in various fields may also help increase your earnings.
The Best Online English Tutoring Jobs – VIPKID:
VIPKID caters to Chinese students who are looking to learn English from native speakers.
Interestingly, VIPKID was also founded by Cindy Mi, a high school dropout who has lead the platform to currently stand at a $3 billion dollar valuation.
On VIPKID, teachers connect with students for 25 minute lessons that are conducted through VIPKID’s online learning platform.
While you do need a Bacherlor’s degree or higher to be eligible to teach on VIPKID, the money can be worth it. VIPKID tutors earn $14-$22 USD/hour, and you can receive a raise following the completion of your contract and the renewal of another term.
If you are accepted into VIPKID following your interview, you will have to sign up for a 6 month teaching contract.
VIPKID suggests that teachers allow for at least 7.5 hours of lessons per week, which would equate to 15 tutoring sessions. Popular tutoring times are based on Beijing peak times, which include 6-10pm during the week and all-day during the weekends.
Sign up for VIPKID if you are interested and help support This Online World.
PalFish is an online tutoring platform that pays native English teachers to tutor ESL students.
Unlike many English tutoring websites, PalFish is actually a mobile app for IOS and Android, and this is what makes the platform very appealing for many PalFish users.
PalFish allows tutors to either teach lessons and develop their own curriculum or to have a conversation with their student. When you start an individual call with a student, they are charged by the minute.
You are free to set your own schedule, hourly rates, and you aren’t required to have a minimum call length unless you are teaching official lessons and curriculum.
Hourly rates are typically between $10-$18, although you can also earn bonuses which can increase this rate. Just note that PalFish takes 20% commission on every call. The platform pays out in RMB once you reach roughly 200RMB, or $30USD.
Check out PalFish and starting tutoring online!
SayABC is another ESL-China centered platform where you can make money by teaching English without a degree (kinda).
In a nutshell, SayABC is like PalFish; teach 40 minute classes to groups of 1-4 students, and earn an hourly wage.
To work as an online tutor with SayABC, you have to undergo their application process and pass their interview. Additionally, you must hold a degree for teaching contracts longer than 3 months
SayABC pays $15/lesson, with a $6 incentive possibility that is awarded based on performance. So, realistically you can earn $21/40 minutes. Plus, if you work on standby-mode (where lessons are dropped on your suddenly if other teachers cancel at the last minute), you earn an additional $7.
SayABC also pays on the 15th of every month through wire transfer, and you may be eligible to receive a raise if you choose to renew a contract after 3 months of tutoring.
Learn more about SayABC here!
Unlike most online teaching jobs, QKids uses a curriculum that is largely based on games and stories to assist tutors in educating their pupils.
The QKids application process is a tad convoluted, and involves:
- Submitting your resume and availability,
- Submitting a screenshot of your computer specs.
- Completion of 2 demo interviews.
- Creating a 1-2 minute demo video of you reading a children’s story.
- Teaching 2-5 trial lessons (which you are paid for).
QKids also requires their tutors to live in the United States or Canada.
Classrooms on QKids range from 1-4 students, and the game-themed curriculum is provided for you through the platform. Online tutors are paid $16/hour on QKids, and you are required to teach a minimum of 6 hours (12 lessons) per week.
Learn more about tutoring with QKids here.
Cambly isn’t tailored to only serve the Chinese ESL marketplace. Rather, the platform is designed for anyone around the world to improve their English skills.
The interesting part is, on Cambly, you barely even work as a tutor.
To work with Cambly, you simply need to be a native English speaker and have access to a computer with a webcam.
Like PalFish, Cambly is all about connecting native speakers with those trying to learn English so they can have simple conversations. No lesson plans or strict classroom time slots here!
Cambly tutors earn $0.17/minute, which equates to $10.20/hour.
If you’re looking for a relaxed online ESL teaching job, Cambly is the company for you!
Learn more about working as a Cambly tutor here.
DaDaABC is another online tutoring job that connects native English speakers with Chinese students.
Tutors working for DaDaABC require a bachelor’s degree, and tutoring contracts are either 6 or 12 months long.
The application process is fairly straightforward, and interviews are conducted via Skype if you make it through the initial application stage.
Once accepted, you are required to teach at least 2 hours per day on at least 2 days of the week during specified time slots. Classes range between 30-60 minutes on DaDaABC, and teachers generally earn $15-$25/hour based on average rates I have seen on Glassdoor and other job boards.
Learn more about DaDaABC here.
GoGoKid is another ESL-Chinese focused platform, and is currently one of the higher paying online tutoring gigs around.
GoGoKid requires that their tutors possess:
- A native level of English speaking ability.
- A bachelor’s degree or higher.
- 1 year of previous teaching experience.
If you are accepted into the program, all that’s left to do is sign a 6 month contract and begin teaching!
GoGoKid doesn’t have weekly hourly work requirements, and you can set your own schedule based on time slots in Beijing time. English tutors on GoGoKid earn between $14-$25/hour (depending on your rating, which fluctuates based on your reviews and timeliness).
You can also earn 60% of your base pay just by setting your availability during peak times and waiting for students to attend your class.
Learn more about GoGoKid on their website.
ITalki isn’t a pure ESL website and tutors are free to teach whatever language they are qualified for, but this is still a great option for anyone looking for an online teaching job.
ITalki also splits their teachers into 2 categories: professionals, and community teachers. Professional teachers require accredited teaching certification, whereas community teachers just need to be native speakers for their language of choice.
Teachers are free to set their own price on ITalki, and professional teachers can generally set higher rates (upwards of $15 per half hour!)
The application process for ITalki isn’t too complex, so don’t be afraid to check out their website and apply!
NiceTalk is an app that similar to PalFish, and allows native English speakers to earn money by chatting with students.
In this app-based online tutoring platform, tutors can earn up to $10/hour just for talking with ESL students. This is a lower earning rate than other platforms, but there is much less responsibility and you can set your own schedule to suit your needs.
If you get turned down for other online tutoring jobs, this could be a decent backup plan!
SameSpeak allows online English teachers to earn $10 per half hour for teaching ESL students, and you can be as young as 16 to work with this company, making it a great side hustle for kids.
SameSpeak also provides all their lesson plans for their tutors, and pays out via PayPal once you have accrued $100.
You don’t need a degree to teach English with SameSpeak, but note that they are currently experiencing a surplus of tutors and are slow to hire.
Magic Ears is one of the more competitive online teaching jobs to secure because they are pretty much the highest paying company in the business.
English teachers with Magic Ears can earn $22-$26 per hour, enjoying the freedom to work with a flexible schedule from anywhere in the world.
The application process for Magic Ears is fairly straightforward, although you have to sign a minimum 6 month contract to work with them.
You can teach English without a degree with Magic Ears, but your odds of being accepted greatly increase if you have certifications or prior teaching experience.
Tips For Securing An Online Teaching Job:
I actually applied to teach with VIPKID to have a backup side hustle plan and to learn more about the process. I wasn’t accepted, but I now understand what it takes to be hired for these sorts of jobs.
Before you have your first interview, here are some things you can do to increase the chance you get hired:
Make a student-friendly space – You’ll be teaching students as young as 4-5 years old, and these companies want to develop a solid reputation with parents. Create a teaching space in your home that is bright and inviting. Basically, transform a wall of your house into a grade 1 classroom and you’ll be good to go.
Buy props – Go to the dollar store and purchase some basic props that you can use to reward your students for good work. Young students respond well to reinforcement, so buy some gold stars or trophies to flaunt in front of your webcam when a student does well. Happy and sad cutouts can also be handy.
Test your webcam/setup – Ensure your lighting is on point (I got dinged quite significantly since it looked like I was tutoring from inside the Gulag).
Practice your TPR – TPR stands for Total Physical Response, and is a method of using gestures to accompany words to help reinforce learning in ESL students. This sounds easy on paper, but it’s very trick to consistently get right when your evaluator is staring at you through a webcam and pretending to be a confused 4 year old.
Don’t be afraid to Google things like ‘VIPKID tutor tips’ or to research how successful online teachers have joined the more competitive companies. There is a wealth of info out there on how to increase the chance of getting into these jobs, so do some reading!
Sometimes, starting a side hustle can seem intimidating because it can be hard to find the right skill/knowledge to apply.
However, sometimes skills we take for granted like our ability to speak our native language can provide an opportunity to make money…It all depends on how you can add value to another person at the end of the day!
If you are good with kids and have some patience, online English teaching jobs can be a great side hustle idea.
For college students in particular, tutoring ESL or other subjects can be a great way to make money while you are in school.
You will probably have to tinker with a few of the tutoring platforms I mentioned in this article to craft a schedule that works for you, but every hustle has some growing pains!
Best of luck, and happy tutoring!
If you want to check out some other great money making side hustles, I recommend reading my post on the best gig economy jobs!
Catch you guys in the next post!
Tom is a 22 year old recent college graduate from Canada with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and marketing. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!