How Much Money Can You Make Teaching English Online?

 | Teaching House Nomads Blog

How Much Money Can You Make Teaching English Online?


Teaching English online is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to traditional classroom-based environments. This form of schooling allows educators to interact with students anywhere in the world, and usually offers more flexibility and autonomy than a standard teaching position.

The TESOL (teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) process takes many forms. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), for example, involves teaching English to people living in their own countries for use in business, academic or social reasons. Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), on the other hand, is designed to teach people who need to use English throughout their daily lives.


There is an enormous demand across the world for those who can help students achieve their English language goals, whether it’s communicating better with international academic and business communities, engaging in global social media platforms, or simply helping their children with homework. In this article, Teaching House explores how much money you can expect to make teaching English online, as well as the various factors that can influence this amount.


Formats for Teaching English Online – A Company vs Self Employed


If you aspire to teach English, either as a second language or to improve the skills of native speakers, there are several platforms and working arrangements you can choose from. With this in mind, each option boils down to either working for an existing company or pursuing your own business.

Working for an established Company


Working for an established company naturally has a range of benefits. For example, companies typically have their own:


-   Learning management systems with built-in features like lesson plans, grading rubrics and assessments

-   Audio/video content libraries along with textbooks and other written materials

-   Other resources to help teachers manage their workloads and provide engaging activities for students


You will also not have to market or perform regular business administration tasks, and may even be able to choose your preferred hours. Moreover, given the consistent stream of eager students, larger companies may also offer a better salary for an online English teacher, attracting those with families or other commitments who need the stability of a reliable paycheck.


Working as a Self-Employed Business Owner, Freelancer or Contractor


Many large companies require their teachers to follow strict lesson plans to ensure consistency across all online courses. You might feel less fulfilled as an educator when stuck to someone else’s curriculum, rather than developing your own. By designing and running your preferred program, you have the freedom to teach and nurture your students as you best see fit.


What’s more, when teaching students in different time zones as a freelancer, contractor or business owner, you can organise the sessions that best suit your schedule and timetable. In comparison, working with a company outside your country or region could mean difficulties in communicating with colleagues or managers, leading to other challenges that can be hard to overcome.


Whilst working for yourself demands more work and commitment, you may find it delivers the most fruitful results.


What is the Salary of an Online English Teacher?


If you are curious to learn how much money you can make teaching English online, the amount will vary depending on several factors, such as:


-   Your education (degrees and certifications)

-   Your experience level (years in the industry or a similar field)

-   The amount of time you are available to work

-   The geographical region & currency in which you will be paid


The average salary of an online English teacher can therefore be anywhere between $12 - $25 USD per hour, or even higher, depending on your personal circumstances.


Companies may also choose to structure their payments outside of traditional salaries and wages, and instead introduce a selection of incentives alongside a base rate. These incentives could be around longevity in the position to promote retention, or even around class attendance and student feedback submissions.



For example, say a new teacher named Michael accepted a role at a base rate of $17 per hour. Michael then learns that if he receives positive feedback from his students, he will receive an extra $3 per hour, taking his potential earnings up to $20 per hour.

Now that Michael knows how much money he can make teaching English online, he can work out how many hours he will need to work to meet his financial goal of $2,500 per month. By simply dividing $2,500 by the $20 per hour rate, Michael would need to work approximately 31 hours per week or 125 hours per month.


What Skills & Qualifications are Needed to Teach English Online?

Despite your competency with the English language, there are certain skills & requirements you will need to begin teaching online:



●  Communication skills: Building rapport is essential for your students’ success. You'll need to be comfortable digitally communicating with them, as well as effectively conveying your subject matter to build their knowledge.


●  Technological Capabilities: In addition to basic computer competency, online tutors should be familiar with tools used to facilitate education online, such as video conferencing software, discussion forums, and virtual whiteboards.


●  Patience: Online tutoring requires far greater patience and adaptability than the regular classroom. As mentioned above, online classes often occur in other time zones and may have students from different cultures or with varying levels of educational backgrounds. Navigating these complexities requires being able to think on your feet as well as having an understanding that there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution.


●  Organisation: Since online tutoring sessions can occur either one-on-one or in group settings, it's important to have detailed lesson plans and to schedule enough time between lessons to focus on other necessary areas, like preparing materials.


●  Creativity: Unique solutions are often required to get students to learn effectively in an online environment. It can help if you take the time to understand what your students are currently learning in school or their career path to tailor lesson plans accordingly, instead of using generic materials.




Most companies will require certain certificates from accredited institutions proving competency in teaching English. For example, the Cambridge CELTA Online Course available from Teaching House is a flexible alternative to traditional TEFL certifications, providing the resources to help you become a more effective educator, as well as preparing you for the challenges of meeting new learners' needs through online learning. Established English teachers with over two years of experience can then advance their career (alongside their earning potential) by completing the Teaching House Delta Course, which covers ELT methodologies, practices and principles in more detail.


For more information on how to get started teaching English online, please contact us at Teaching House today.

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