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How to become an ESL teacher Online – Your key for teaching ESL Online

How to Become an ESL Teacher Online

If you have wondered what it takes on how to become an ESL Teacher Online, then you have definitely come to the right place, because here you will learn everything you need to know, from the beginning to the end on how to become a full time(or part time) Certified ESL teacher and where you can start your own teaching adventure, Lets Begin…

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The Age of Online ESL Teaching

In this day and age, the digital nomad is one of most the absolute dream career, The ability to escape the four walls of a cubicle space and take your work along with you to faraway places used to seem too good to be true, However now, it’s a reality, with several dreamers saying goodbye to their 9-5 desk jobs and taking off on a journey around the world,

One skill that many nomads have and would love to put to use is the ability to speak and teach English as they trot their way around the globe, Though many have been brought up speaking the language, to become an teacher usually does take some (relatively simple) certifications and a few other steps before you are able to start, all of which we will share with you here today,

Many along their journey find, to their surprise, that teaching becomes a passion and something that they thoroughly enjoy, There has never been a better time to start traveling and start earning money while doing it as an online ESL teacher.

Talking Points

We will be discussing these 7 Main talking points outlined here below:

  1. Where to start?
  2. The Wonders of a TEFL Certification.
  3. A few tips for a Killer Resume
  4. Technology & Technical requirements
  5. Online ESL companies to work for
  6. A Future in ESL
  7. A Few Last words


How to Become an ESL Teacher Online – The Journey Ahead

How to become an ESL teacher Online - The Online ESL Journey

Where to Start

You have already taken the first step for becoming an online ESL teacher, and that is by coming here! So, what is it that an online ESL teacher actually does? Well, you work with individuals around the world to help them reach their goals as an English speaker, This could be with either children, teenagers or adults and the curriculum and lesson plans depends on what type of online company you work for, Before we get into the more detailed stuff, let’s talk about the basics for starting out, You’re going to need 4 things to begin your journey:

1. A certification Like a TEFL Certificate which stands for teaching English as a foreign Language
2. In some cases A college degree
3. A killer resume
4. Patience

Companies want to know that you can follow a curriculum and can engage with learners in an interactive and unforgettable way, A TEFL certification course opens your mind up to different ways of leading a class and brings about new ways to start imagining what it would take to teach online(Or Abroad) for a career, Also, almost every company that you apply for will ask for a resume, one that highlights your personality and one that gives a detailed look into what you have to offer your students,

Though you may be able to find some platforms that hire teachers with just a certification, some of the best and highest paid online companies often require that you have a 4-year college degree of some sort, but not all of them, we will talk about some of these top ESL companies near the end of this article,

Last but not least we listed patience, You’ll need to complete the course and start getting used to the waiting game, You may have to go through several interviews and submit a self-introduction video before you’re selected to be an instructor, It is not something that happens overnight but, the process should take no longer than a few weeks(sometimes much faster) once you pass the first steps, Not too bad huh? I thought so too! And it’s eventually all totally worth it.

The Wonders of a TEFL Certification

How to become an ESL teacher Online - TEFL Certificate

If you’ve surfed the web often enough, chances are you’ve once in your life come across an ad for the TEFL course, Standing for Teaching English as a Foreign Language, TEFL is one of the most recognized certifications worldwide and has been around for nearly 60 years with certified instructors spread out all across the world.

With a TEFL certification, you can:

1. Qualify for teaching jobs around the globe
2. Stand out among other applicants
3. Earn a better salary

Unlike other certification courses, TEFL is interactive and attempts to teach through activity instead of hours of lecture. You’ll learn:

Unique teaching methods
One of the best ways to lead your students to success is through a fun and interactive class that doesn’t quite seem like learning, Attempting to do away with boring old traditional methods, you’ll learn how to take material and put a fun twist on it, that comes from your own unique style.

Ways to make grammar fun
The impossible is now possible; grammar can be fun! You’ll have your own grammar crash course along with learning ways to make grammar rules easy to follow and fun to learn, No need to be afraid if you’re not a grammar guru, the course makes it easy and may actually make you like it during the process!

How to manage a classroom
A lot of Things happen in classrooms and the inexperienced teacher might not know how to handle them, In this part of the course, you’ll learn from experienced instructors who have dealt with it all, Learn what to do, how to react, and how to stay calm in any classroom event.

Different learning styles
One of the best tools you’ll gain from the course is the ability to adapt, Learn how to take lessons and make them easier or more difficult for students when needed, Learn how to deal with students with different levels, helping them to get the most learning ability from their time with you.

Lesson planning
A teacher’s best friend is a lesson plan, You’ll learn the importance of planning along with ways to keep organized that will help you enter into your classes confident and well prepared, Some Online ESL companies have these prepared for you and others allow you to create your own, either way you can always add your own creative touch.

How to create materials
Learn how to make lessons come to life by creating fun materials to go along with each lesson, Use these to enforce the grammar rules of your class or to drive a conversation forward, You’ll be able to bring out the inner-crafter by working with paper and other materials to create items for little to no money at all, and they’ll be your students’ favorite part of all.

This is definitely the most well-rounded way to launch your knowledge as an instructor, The course is taught in an intensive manner mixed with lecture and interaction along with actual teaching hours, This will help you confidently enter your first teaching job, coming in with a bit of experience under your belt. There are 2 options, both online and in-person, each one coming with their own advantages.

TEFL Course Online
This is a self-paced option where you will have all the time you need to complete the required hours(Which is a 120 hours TEFL Course for most schools and companies), These are all expert instructor-led Courses that can be played, read, paused and saved to your convenience, coming with all the information needed to complete a successful certification.

TEFL Course In-Person
These are usually intensive, requiring daily attendance over the span of 4 weeks. Day to day you’ll be immersed in the world of teaching both through lecture and interactive activities. This course is recommended, especially for the experience that you leave with as you work with other like-minded individuals. Get inspired from each other’s work and create something you never thought possible during your intensive TEFL course.

Click here to check out some of the best and affordable online and In-Person TEFL Courses available world-wide

A few Tips for a Killer Resume

How to become an ESL teacher Online - Resume

Once you have your TEFL done and your certification in hand, you’ll want to update (or actually begin) your resume. This is an important document, one that will be sent along with your certificate to every company that you apply with. We don’t mean to add pressure but, your resume could be your make or break detail. It is always best to highlight your reasons for standing out in the crowd and your unique reasons for wanting to teach English as a second language. It sounds intimidating but no need to worry, just take a breath and follow these few suggestions.

1. Watch for Formatting
This part is a piece of cake, especially in this day and age. A quick Google search will provide you with the perfect template for your resume, one that highlights your style in the process, Choose one to your liking, one that looks professional and fun and one that will clearly represent you as an individual, Keep in mind an effective resume is usually one page, so make sure to use your wording and spacing wisely.

2. Adapt your Objective
Your objective statement is a very important declaration of your reason for applying for a particular position, Don’t be afraid to tweak it with every company you send it to, especially since every company has a different motto, Make it stand out and make it unique to you, attempt to capture bits of your personality as you state your skills and your reasons for being a perfect fit for your company of choice.

3. Education/Experience
This is where a lot of people get lost and confused, unsure of what to add, Those that have vast educational and work experience will need to deeply consider the highest and most valid parts of their working career and highlight them, Begin with the highest level of education and the most recent job and continue from there, creating a summary of you as a professional,

If you are a fresh college graduate just starting out, Be open, Honest and write a clear and inspirational description of yourself, that you are a quick learner and when given the chance, that you will make a great teacher!

4. Consider your Skills
Another part that is easy to get carried away with is the skills section, Yes! we all have a lot of skills and yes, companies do want to hear about them but, don’t get too detailed, Put an emphasis on those that are relevant to the position you’re applying for, only adding more in the case that you need to take up more space.

Keeping these 4 things in mind will help you create a killer resume, one that is surely to shoot you to the top of the pile, You can always edit and tweak your resume with every company you apply with, attempting to be the most competitive and attractive candidate you can possibly become.

Technology & Technical requirements: Teach more Effectively

Now let’s get to the more technical requirements, Obviously, traveling the world is much easier and doable than ever before as the world becomes more and more connected, Taking your work with you is easy but, you’ll want to be sure to have a few things to make sure you’re giving the best and most quality classes at all times, Some of them are investment pieces that are well worth the money and will be one of the key factors to increase your salary and number of students in no time.

How to become an ESL teacher Online - Requirements


1. A good internet connection
Though most places like hostels, hotels, and cafes are equipped with WiFi, it is always a good idea to be extra prepared. The digital age is upon us and having your own hot-spot is simple and affordable. This will make sure that no matter where in the world you are, you’ll be able to teach your class without interruption. Companies often require that you do a broadband test to make sure that your connection is strong enough to stream across the world, making it of utmost importance.

2. Skype account(Most of the time)
Starting out, there are so many companies that set your first interview via Skype, Make sure to set up an account beforehand, it is easy and free. After the interview, you may be working with some companies that work with Skype accounts or you may contact your own personal set of students that you’ll want to teach online, Either way, Skype is an amazing platform for video chat that also comes with the convenient chat box in order to type anything you’ll need to effectively hold a class.

3. A Webcam
Most laptops and tablets nowadays have a camera incorporated but, you’ll want to make sure that the video is crisp and clear, Don’t give fuzzy and blurry classes, give classes with a sharp and clear picture that more students will flock to, You can easily buy an affordable high quality camera, Most are lightweight and can easily connect to your portable device without any fuss.

4. A headset
Also embedded into most portable devices is a microphone, However, investing in a headset is a great way to improve the quality of your classes. Apart from that, there are some companies that require the use of a headset when teaching, Headsets vary in price; however, most will do, They make you sound clearer and help cut out a lot of the surrounding background noise that could be a nuisance during a class, Let your students hear you loud and clear with the use of a headset.

All of these are of utmost importance, especially when you’re just starting out, Some online companies may ask you for a demo (a.k.a. a tryout video) or self-introduction video where you are tested for your teaching skills and clarity of voice, It is important for your students to be able to see and hear you clearly for the best interactive classes. Plus, the better the impression you make, the more students and that always means more money!

Once you have your certification and your equipment up, then you’re usually ready to start, you can start your search for the perfect job in one of many online platforms, Where exactly should you go how do you begin and which online companies are very profitable? We’ll share that with you in the next part.

Online ESL companies to work for – Your Adventure Begins

So, you’re all set up and ready to go but where should you even begin? Good question, especially considering the hundreds of online platforms out there all claiming to be the best(But usually just paying a minimum wage…), A good starting point is to ask yourself what type of students you’d like to teach, Would you rather teach adults? Teenagers or Children? A combination of both?

As you answer each question, you can narrow your search and begin applying with the companies that offer you the type of job and flexibility you’re searching for, Before we set you off on your own, we’ve narrowed down our top 3 platforms for ESL instructors that you’ll definitely want to check out.

How to become an ESL teacher Online - Online ESL Companies

1. Preply
Preply is great for newcomers but is also a great platform to learn and grow from. You can set your own hours and your own rate, increasing it along with your experience level(even earning beyond $40+/h!),

With this platform, you can create your own profile and have students come to you or branch out on your own to find students, there are students of all ages, from children to adults, This is a great way to grow and learn the ropes, with more students coming your way, the higher your rating gets, so give it your best shot every class and watch your income grow!

Click here to learn more about Preply

2. Landi English
A higher paying platform, Landi is a good starting point though it is a bit more on the strict side. You’ll need to follow a curriculum and you’ll need to be sure to dedicate a minimum amount of 12 hours per week. Scheduling is strict and holidays can be a hassle to get off but, that shouldn’t get in the way with the minimum requirement, Not to mention bonuses come fairly frequently for top teachers each month! This is a platform for mostly children making it great for those with a passion to teach young ones.

Click here to learn more about Landi English

3. Magic Ears
The best thing about this platform is that they handle all the technical stuff for you, including the booking and scheduling, This is a simple and hassle-free site that welcomes instructors and students like family, Your schedule is yours to set, adjusting and tweaking it to your liking,

You’ll be teaching Beijing times so depending where in the world you are, that could be very early or very late, However, once you see the money-making opportunities, you will probably not mind the irregular times! Plus, classes are all about interaction and fun, encouraging games and songs during class time to promote a fun way for children to learn.

Click here to Learn more about Magic Ears

There are so many more online companies to choose from but with these 3 you’re well on your way to finding the perfect online platform for yourself, Before filling out any application or providing any of your personal details, be sure to confirm that the company is legitimate, Though it is not so common, there are websites out there that are on the hunt for sensitive information and hide behind a language platform mask,

It is always a good idea to start off and gain some experience keeping your options open for other platforms, Every one is different from the next with some offering more perks or more pay than others, Over time, you’ll begin to realize the things you like and you don’t like, all the while gaining notable experience to add to your resume.

Make Money Online by creating your own successful online business the Easiest way!
Make Money Online by creating your own successful online business the Easiest way!

A Future in ESL

Beginning a career as an ESL professional is a great way to set off on an exciting journey around the world, It provides you with a great way to earn a sustainable income that requires little to no equipment at all, Though many don’t see it as a long-term career, the truth is, it can be a very good one, The more experience you gain the more of an expert you become in teaching, helping you climb up the ladder to bigger and better prices per class,

As the years pass and your skills sharpen, you can start charging more, listing yourself as an expert instructor, Some of these instructors are earning upward of $50 for a one-hour class, only needing to work few hours per day or per week,

Other instructors take a different road and begin to teach others their methods, They do this by selling courses on how to teach or creating a mini-course that beginners can enroll in. There are a ton of ways to take your knowledge gained and turn it into a lifelong career, one that will keep you moving from place to place without ever having to worry about money along the way.



A Few Last Words

Becoming an ESL teacher online is an exciting thought, It gives you the chance to break the mold and work from anywhere around the world, The pay is great and the required hours are for you to choose, making it the perfect job to take with you as you trot the globe,

Taking off and starting your own journey toward a career as an ESL teacher should now be easier and clearer than ever, Starting with a TEFL course to earn the proper certification, you can take the first step to getting your first job, As you make your way from destination to destination, taking a skill with you that can be watered and fed, developing into something that can bring you a small fortune and opportunities along with it,

The days of cramped up office spaces and living the 9-5 life are over, and a career as an ESL teacher can be just the thing to break you away, Happy Teaching!

Thank you for taking the time to read this article and we hope that it was of great value for you, if so, then it has done it’s job, We wish you much Success and happiness in your life’s adventures, we wish you A Life Of Greatness.

Any Questions or Comments? Then feel absolutely Free to comment away here below in the Comment Section!


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18 thoughts on “How to become an ESL teacher Online – Your key for teaching ESL Online”

  1. This is excellent information for those who might be looking to get into obtaining an ESL certificate so that they can start teaching English online. Working from home is a great way to ensure flexible hours, no commute and no boss hovering over you!  You have provided some great background information that takes you through the entire process and is really outstanding. One company I haven’t heard of is Preply. I’m impressed by the age range of clientele and that you don’t have to act like a clown (lol so true from what I’ve heard about most of the others). I appreciate the reference here and I will definitely check it out further through your link, great post!

    • Glad to hear that this article was helpful for you Pentrental,

      Yes, it’s true that With Preply you don’t have to act like a clown or even sing silly songs, however there actually are teachers who like doing that, so it’s a good thing that you have a choice, 🙂

      Thanks for your input and i wish you a happy Teaching Adventure!


  2. hello, i really want to first appreciate your effort in putting this great website together and writing this article. i have tried so many times to apply for an online teaching course for esl teaching, the problem is that even with the right qualifications i still get rejected. with your tips i’ll try again

    • Hi Benny,

      I’m sorry to hear about your rejections,

      My advice would be to keep investing in your own education, improving your own English and then try to Apply again, perhaps for Preply? They are quite open to most teachers,

      I hope this helps!

      I wish you much Success,


  3. This was an informative article.  I have read another article about online teaching, but this one is more specific.  The pointers that you give on how to get started and the various ways to make teaching sessions interesting were fun and imaginative.  The tips for writing a resume were helpful. I am going to check out the ESL companies you suggested.  thanks for offering them as a starting point.  I have a post graduate degree in education but really have been reluctant to wade into the world of being an online educator.  Your article has made it seem possible. 

    • Hi Anastazja,

      I’m pretty sure that most Online companies will accept you, especially with a degree in education, which is highly valued in the ESL Teaching World,

      You can definitely become an Online ESL Teacher if that is what you desire, It’s Possible!

      If you have any questions, feel free to ask away, I’m Happy to help you out, 🙂


  4. THIS is something that is genuinely interesting and informative for me. I speak three languages and technically, English is my second language. I think that because it wasn’t my first language, I really wanted to have a better grasp of its nuances.
    A TEFL certificate seems completely plausible, and you laid out how to go about it really well. I have your site bookmarked and will definitely be back!

    • If you are fluent in speaking English, then you can in most cases teach it as well!

      Teaching Online and especially teaching English Online is a very Popular and lucrative job, it’s a real work from home job and with a TEFL Certificate, a lot of folks are able to become Certified teachers and can teach English Online or onsite abroad, You can definitely give it a try!

      I wish you much Success,


  5. Hi, 

    Really good article, my sister has a TEFL Certification as she was she recently returned from teaching English in Thailand for a year. She’s reluctant to go back in to the “rat race”. So this could be an ideal opportunity for her, I had no idea that you can do ESL teaching online, I’ll get my sister to check this out!

    • Hi Nate,

      Definitely feel free to pass this over to your sister, She would most likely be interested(And anyone else who wishes to teach English from home)!


  6. Wow! Very good article, especially for me. I am indeed looking for ways to work online. And thank you very much for this post, so that I can try to become an ESL Teacher. Especially as you wrote that there is potential to earn $ 40 ++ / hour. It seems very interesting.

    I am very interested in being able to try to become an ESL Teacher, because I think today is the era of technology and information. Where 60-80% of information is in the form of English. So, like it or not, everyone who wants to compete in the world, must mastering English. Plus, lots of people don’t want to spend extra time and money to attend classes physically, so online is the most interesting way of learning.

    Apart from that, the chance will be greater if you are a native who masters other languages ​​(Spanish, French, or Chinese). I think being an ESL Teacher Online is a must try.

    But, by the way, is it necessary to pay for membership to register as a teacher on the website you mentioned?

    • Hi Kylie,

      If you have mastered a Language(or even a certain subject or skill) well enough, then you can Most likely teach it as well, having the proper certification, like a TEFL Certification can definitely also help you along your journey,

      It’s totally free to join any of these online companies, in most cases, it will be the students paying the online companies tuition fees and the company’s will provide you with a salary based on how many hours you have taught + any other additional bonuses,

      If any online company does ask or require you to pay them money, don’t do it, it’s most likely a scam, joining an online school should always be Free..

      If you have anymore questions, feel free to ask away, 🙂

      I wish you much Success,


  7. Hello there, I must admit that I enjoyed reading through this guide on how to become an ESL teacher online. English is not my first language but I wanted to be good in the language though I am not planning to be an English teacher. I tried searching how to learn English online, that was when I came across the acronym TEFL. I never actually bother to know what it means; now I know.

    I must admit that I’d love to take the course base on all u have read about it in this page. I want to be a teacher in other fields and the knowledge I will get would enable me to do massively well. Thanks for the tips to creating an amazing resume.


  8. What a wonderful post! Your post is tempting to become an online teacher.

    I heard about online teachers but did not have any idea where to begin with and which platforms to use. 

    I’m wondering, how many students can be in the classroom? And how long takes to receive the TEFL Certificate?

    Thanks for sharing the tips and giving advice on how to start teaching online. Great article.

    • The amount of students in one class varies from platform to platform, but most group classes are around 4 to 8 students and there are also private 1on1 classes,

      The amount of time to complete a course also varies from trainee to trainee with an online teaching course, some finish it within two weeks to a month, others may take longer, an onsite(In-person) TEFL course usually takes around 4 weeks and is done in a group, it’s also a very nice an usually a more realistic experience!

      I hope these answers satisfied your Questions,

      I wish you much Success!



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