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Teaching ESL Online- What You Need To Know About Teaching Online

Updated on January 2, 2016
How to teach ESL online as a freelancer.
How to teach ESL online as a freelancer. | Source


ESL Simply means, English as a Second language. This is a program for students whose mother language isn’t English. ESL is often used for non-native speakers who are in a country where English is widely spoken. Since English isn’t their mother language, some non-native speakers find it very hard to communicate with native English speakers which is why the program called ESL was developed to assist students to learn English so they can communicate effectively with native English speakers.

This article will discuss the online job opportunities for English teachers in teaching English in the comfort of their own home. In addition, this will also highlight key pointers on what teachers need to know to get started with this online career path.

What Does This Job Do?

Being an online English teacher allows you to work anywhere, anytime you want, like a freelancer. Your responsibility, of course, is to teach English to ESL students and that could be achieved online through Skype calls.

In conducting online classes, As mentioned above that you need a system called Skype and a stable internet to be able to teach English to ESL students. But, what to teach?

It depends on the student's English proficiency level which would be determined at the beginning of the class. Some ESL teachers work with a company who gives them the number of students that he or she can handle while others single-handedly find their own students via paid advertising, social media, or other platforms.

The learning materials are supplied if you decide to work with a company. But, if teachers decide to host their own tutoring business. It is highly essential to obtain sufficient learning materials suitable for students from beginning to advanced English proficiency levels. There are rich learning materials out there from E-books, worksheets, podcasts, and even Youtube videos. Since teachers will be running an online teaching business, you need to find the right materials of best quality to teach in class.

What Are The Qualifications To Help Me Succeed?

There are no specific certifications needed for this job nor do you have to have a bachelor’s degree in teaching. I have seen myriads of English teachers on the web that they aren’t qualified teacher, rather they are native speakers from English-speaking countries. Though not a teacher, they still have the ability and the passion to teach English to English learners.

There is, however, a competitive advantage if you have a teaching certification to add some spice to your resume. A teaching certification known as TESOL, which stands for, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language, and TEFL, which stands for Teach English to Foreign Learners. There are a few more teaching certifications, I reckon. I have heard of CELTA. But, I haven’t got so many details about it. ( Please click on here for more information. )

Though not a native speaker, and my major is a far cry from that of teaching, still I managed to get certified as an ESL teacher.

How Much Money Do Online ESL Teachers Make?

I have been asked of this question numerous times. My answer is, it depends. You work as a freelancer, and you are definitely in control of how much you are willing to charge your students. But, of course, it depends on what you can offer, since I am a non-native, but perfectly bilingual with neutral accent, I started out as little as $4.00/hour in my novice days. It would be unrealistic ( Prolly a bad idea ) to charge students $10.00 to $15.00 when you don’t have much to offer.

However, it took me a year ( But, you can probably do this way sooner than me. ) to increase my prices as I have gotten the hang of teaching English online.

For native speakers, I have seen qualified teachers charge about $25-$35/hour. For non-native certified English teachers charge more or less $8.00-$10.00. ( Also, because of the currency thing! )

How Do You Get Students?

Ah, another common question. I worked for a company before, and they slashed a huge portion of cash from my $4.00 ( Makes me flinch thinking about it ) so I decided to play the lone wolf and put myself out there and decided to start my own online English teaching business. I built my own website, made contents like crazy to bring students in, advertised myself on social media both paid and free. It took me a while to do this, but I got it! Damn, I finally got it!

In my next following posts, perhaps I can share with you guys how I did it. So stay tuned.

Oh! By the way, before you go..

Do you want me to write how I built my online teaching business?

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Got Questions For Me? Drop me a comment.

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    • Jadeofheart profile image

      Jadeofheart 23 months ago

      Native speakers are definitely feeling the pressure here since non-native English teachers charge at a much lower price compared to them. I completely understand how they feel. However, it's because of the weak currency in Asia that non-native English teachers are able to charge that low, but still offer quality teaching. My two cents is, you charge the price on what you can bring onto the table. In my noob days, I earned as little as $2.00/hour because I didn't have much to offer. Now, I have three years plus experience and counting so I have much to bring into the game ^^

      Preply is a great site. I worked there before. ^^

      Thank you for your comment :)

    • profile image

      DiaaAttia 23 months ago

      I can only imagine the pressure. These rich-lings spend thousands (milliions?) just to find a tutor that they think is up to their mega-rich standards. I wonder what the qualifications are? I got my son's tutor from ( ) and as long as he keeps my son's grades up, I'm a happy customer.