Do you love to travel but need a flexible way to earn income on the road? Teaching English online is an amazing opportunity for location-independent income that can fund your travels and then some.
With just a laptop and internet connection, you can teach students all over the world without being tied down to one location. Read on to learn how to get started teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) online and succeed as a traveling teacher.
Benefits of Teaching English Online as a Traveler
Teaching English online comes with many rewards:
- Location independence – Teach from anywhere with an internet connection, whether it’s a beach in Thailand or cabin in the Swiss Alps. Lessons are virtual.
- Flexible schedule – Many ESL companies allow you to set your own hours and accept or decline lessons as desired. Choose when and how much you want to work.
- Travel fund revenue – Online teaching can easily fund travel costs and then some. Teachers typically earn $14 – $25 USD per hour.
- Gain international experience – Build cultural and language skills by teaching students of all ages and backgrounds.
- Grow your skills – Develop teaching, communication, tech and interpersonal abilities. Looks great on a resume!
- Minimal expenses – No commute or work wardrobe needed. Just your laptop and headset. Very scalable income source.
Now let’s explore steps to start teaching ESL online and making money from anywhere.
Qualifications Needed for Teaching English Online
While requirements vary by company, most online English teaching jobs require at least:
- A bachelor’s degree in any field
- Native-level English fluency
- Eligibility to work in your country
- TEFL/TESOL certification
A degree proves you have an accredited education. Excellent English skills are essential for modeling pronunciation and grammar. Legal work status allows you to get paid. TEFL/TESOL shows you’re trained in ESL teaching methods.
Many also require a minimum of 1-2 years of in-classroom teaching experience. While not always mandatory, having prior teaching experience will make you more competitive for online teaching jobs.
Choose a Reputable Online English Teaching Company
There are now tons of online education companies to choose from. Make sure to research and select reputable, high-paying companies like:
- VIPKid: One of the most popular companies, with over 70,000 English teachers providing virtual lessons to Chinese children aged 4-12.
- iTutorGroup: Focuses on a broad student base across China and Taiwan through platforms like Palfish.
- Qkids: Caters to children aged 4-12 years old through its engaging curriculum and interactive platform.
- Preply: Connects you with students all over the world seeking one-on-one English tutoring for personalized lessons.
- 51Talk: Platform focused on providing English lessons to students in China through their Filipino and North American teachers.
- Magic Ears: Award-winning company that uses a rigorous screening process to hire online teachers for Chinese students ages 4-12 years old.
- Cambly: Allows you to teach English to students around the world at times that work for you, with no minimum requirements.
- Engoo: Japan-based platform enabling teachers to provide lessons to Japanese students of all ages and skill levels.
The majority of online English teaching jobs are with Chinese students, but you can also find opportunities worldwide. Thoroughly research each company before signing up to ensure they are reputable. Look for established brands with positive teacher reviews.
Set a Schedule That Accommodates Your Travel Lifestyle
One of the best perks of teaching English online is getting to set your own schedule. Most platforms allow teachers to open slots for bookings based on their own availability.
When building your schedule, carefully consider:
- Time zone differences: Choose hours that aren’t too early or late for students based on time zones. Most demand is for early morning and evening slots.
- Internet availability: Block out times when you won’t have a strong internet connection for video lessons while in transit or exploring.
- Energy level: Teaching is demanding, so book slots when you’ll be most energetic and focused.
- Local activities: Leave your schedule flexible enough to participate in outings or tours if desired.
Many teachers stick to opening 12-28 hours per week, spread out over a few days. This leaves ample free time for travel while still earning good pay. Just be sure to give students advanced notice if you need to cancel or reschedule lessons while traveling.
Determine Your Earnings Potential
One major alluring factor of teaching English online is the earning potential. Pay rates per hour range on average from $14 – 26 USD. Your income will depend on:
- The company you teach for and base pay rates
- Number of hours worked per week
- Incentives, bonuses, and raises over time
For example, a teacher working 20 hours per week at $20 per hour would earn $1,600 per month. Some teachers are able to command even higher rates with experience and excellent reviews.
Bonuses like referral incentives, peak hours pay, and performance raises can also increase your earnings over time. Just be cautious of companies touting unrealistic salaries for inexperienced teachers. Do your research to determine fair pay rates.
While income varies, it’s reasonable to expect to earn up to $2,000+ per month. This can go a long way in popular digital nomad destinations with lower costs of living. With a consistent schedule over many months, teaching English online provides travel-fueling income.
Gain Valuable Teaching Experience
In addition to earning money while traveling, teaching English online allows you to gain valuable classroom experience. The skills you develop will serve you well if you pursue in-person teaching positions.
You’ll gain practical experience in:
- Curriculum planning – Develop engaging lesson plans tailored to students’ levels and interests.
- Classroom management – Manage student behavior and participation in a digital environment.
- Language instruction – Improve abilities in modeling pronunciation, explaining grammar rules, building vocabulary.
- Content creation – Create visual presentations, educational games, quizzes, and more.
- Cultural exchange – Learn about students’ cultures while sharing yours.
The classroom hours you log can be applied towards various TEFL/TESOL certifications. This will make your resume stand out when applying for future English teaching roles.
Best Practices for Online Teaching Success
Follow these best practices when embarking on your online English teaching journey:
- Dress professionally on video calls to establish authority and credibility.
- Make lessons interactive and engaging by incorporating games, props, sharing maps, etc.
- Set rules and class expectations, but also be enthusiastic and develop positive relationships with students.
- Correct student mistakes gently and provide lots of encouragement and praise.
- Track student progress and needs, providing extra help when necessary.
- Set goals for building your skills through continued education courses, workshops, and certifications.
Approach your online teaching responsibilities with passion. With dedication to your students’ success and growth, you’ll build a reputation as a top-notch teacher.
How to Get Started Teaching English Online
If you’re ready to start earning an income teaching English online, follow these steps:
- Make sure you meet basic qualifications like a bachelor’s degree, TEFL certification, and teaching experience (if required).
- Research companies thoroughly and compare pay rates, curriculum, and reviews. Apply to work with reputable platforms that seem like a good culture fit.
- Once hired, create an online teaching profile that makes a great first impression on prospective students.
- Set a weekly schedule that provides the flexibility you need as a traveling teacher.
- Teach trial classes to get comfortable with the company’s platform and style before taking on regular students.
- Treat online classes just as you would an in-person learning environment. Be prepared, engaging, patient, and invested in students’ progress.
- Save and budget teaching income wisely. Determine monthly expenses and financial goals.
- Along the way, continue taking courses to strengthen your skills and expand your teaching niche.
Teaching English online is an incredible opportunity to fund travel adventures while gaining international experience. With a world of possibility ahead, get started transforming your career and making the globe your classroom.