Teach English Online for up to $22/hour

I am writing this post as a follow-up to the previous article on “The Best Jobs to Work Online (while you travel!)”. So many people have inquired about how to teach online that it only made sense to expand on it. So, if you are thinking about teaching online, are looking for online work or are new to teaching and don’t know where to go next, then this article is for you.

WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE ARE SUCCESSFUL AT TEACHING english ONLINE?

To teach online, you need to be friendly and patient. Your students need to feel comfortable in order to learn from you. This means they cannot see you flustered or annoyed if they are not understanding something you say. Expect that you might have to explain it in another way or use the vocabulary in an example sentence so that the student understands. As a teacher, you should speak in a slow, clear voice and a neutral tone. And of course, be prepared to smile for hours on end.

If you are teaching for a European or Asian company, you will have to consider the time zone difference. Teaching Chinese students means a 12 – 15-hour time zone difference if you live in the states. This often means very early morning hours (sometimes in the middle of the night) in order to teach at the peak evening times in Asia. Some companies will also require you to work weekends, which are also considered peak days for classes.

Above all, online teachers need to be punctual and reliable. Many companies have very strict policies on no-shows and/or lateness and often won’t tolerate more than two or three instances before terminating your contract.

DO YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE?

You may think you need to have teaching experience to teach online. Not necessarily. You will find hundreds of online English companies popping up all over the world, but the biggest demand is from Asia. There are plenty of companies willing to take native speakers (and non-natives who speak fluently!) and train them to teach online. They will also provide you with pre-made lesson plans. If you can, try to emphasize any relevant experience on your resume that may include training, working in daycares or other childcare settings and being a parent (many of the fastest growing companies teach Chinese children). Since they will provide you with comprehensive training and lesson materials, and the demand for native English speakers is far greater than the supply of experienced ones, you can easily get hired if you have the right personality. However, keep in mind that your compensation will correlate with your lack of experience and/or qualifications. With these companies, you can expect to make $8 – $10 an hour. This is still an excellent option for those interested in working while they travel internationally or stay at home moms who cannot afford childcare. These schools are usually very flexible about time off because you will be assigned class time slots with new students each time, and another teacher can easily cover your lesson time. Examples of these companies are Tutor ABC, Education First and Open English (see below for application links).

Companies that teach Chinese children are among the fastest growing and hire the most teachers.

if you already have experience teaching online

Other companies, usually the better-paying ones (between $10 – $20 an hour), will require experience. They may also ask the teacher to create their own lesson plans instead of providing pre-made materials. That being said, if you are unsure of what to put into a lesson plan, you can always start out at one of the lower paying companies to get your feet wet, and then move up once you feel comfortable as an online English teacher. And again, to keep in mind that while these companies pay more, they do want a larger commitment on the part of the teacher. You will probably be teaching the same roster of students, which gives you the chance to build a relationship with them, but on the other hand, it makes it more difficult to take time off. It can also take a few weeks or months for you to build up a steady roster of students.

SHOULD YOU BECOME CERTIFIED?

Just because you can become an online teacher, doesn’t mean that you should without getting some type of formal teacher training. Yes, companies usually provide their own training, but you may want to consider getting a teaching certificate. Trust me, that as a person who hosts teacher training sessions, you can spot an untrained teacher very quickly. I actually receive a good amount of new students from other teachers who they say seemed unprofessional or didn’t have a plan for the class.

the benefits of certification

A teaching certificate will help you understand the basics of the English language, as well as learning theories, how to make lesson plans and activities which you can use in the language classroom (in-person or online). This is much faster and less complicated than a degree. There are several types of English teaching certificates, and while many will say that the CELTA is the best in the industry, I assume that people seeking online work are usually not in the position to take an in-person, extended course, nor afford it financially. If this is the case, I would encourage you to pursue a TEFL (Teacher of English as a Foreign Language) diploma. This will be accepted by the vast majority of online schools/companies that require them. You can do one in person in several major U.S. cities, or take an online course in as little as a few weeks. You will also have a better chance of getting hired with a higher paying company if you obtain this certification.

EQUIPMENT / SET UP

There is a lot to be prepared for if you want to teach online. To begin, you need to have the appropriate hardware, which includes:

  • A recent laptop or desktop computer
  • A USB, quality headset
  • A camera (most laptops have one built in)
  • A strong internet connection (companies typically require between 2 and 10 MBs)
  • A LAN cable if your company requires a hardwired internet connection
  • A backup internet source (a mobile hotspot, local internet café, neighbor or family member’s home, etc.)

You don’t need a top of the line computer to teach online, but do invest in a quality headset that connects via a USB port.

A professional place to work

But you will also need to consider the teaching environment that you have available. You want to make sure that:

  • You are working on a table, desk or another steady surface
  • You are sitting in front of a clean, light colored wall or another background
  • You are appropriately dressed (students will typically see you from the shoulders up, so a nice shirt or blouse is fine)
  • The area is well-lit
  • Your area is free of distractions, such as noise from the television, children, dogs barking, traffic and other interruptions

A TRAVEL NOTE: One of the best parts about teaching online is the freedom to travel the world. But, keep in mind that you need to keep up the standards listed above, especially the strong internet connection. I recommend renting rooms locally, from Airbnb or homestays to get a better internet connection than you would in a hotel or motel.

RECOMMENDED COMPANIES TO START TEACHING ONLINE

It’s difficult to make a comprehensive list of online companies as new companies are opening daily, but here are some of the most common, that are often hiring. You can visit each site to see specifically what they require from applicants:

*Note: Salary information was obtained by present and past employees, as well as recruiters, and should be verified directly with each company.

RECOMMENDED WEBSITES to find jobs to teach online

Thank you in advance for reading the information from this article. Even though this particular one focused on teaching English online, you can also find the same opportunities if you speak another language. There are sought after online positions for Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, German, Russian and French teachers as well. If you have a question or want to add another company or website to the list, please use the form below to leave a comment. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Work Online: The Best Entry Level Jobs

More and more companies are hiring employees to work online. If you are thinking about becoming a digital nomad, or have already made the decision to, then you need to figure out a way to support yourself financially during your travels. Additionally, if you are a stay at home parent, working online can be especially appealing as you can save on commuting and childcare costs.

Many jobs can be done remotely, such as web design, graphic design, APP developers, etc. But, most people don’t have the skills or training (or the time or money to go back to school) to obtain these positions. In this article, I am going to outline the realistic online work opportunities that can get most people on the way to infinite travel. And to be clear – you won’t find any scams on this list or MLM jobs. These are legitimate positions which will help you earn a stable income, as long as you have access to the internet.

It’s important that you don’t get discouraged by the salary estimations listed below. If you are traveling through most parts of the world, you will be making much more than the local salaries (for example, I am currently in Mexico where the minimum wage is about $4 per day). It will allow you to live comfortably and perhaps save a little along the way, depending on your lifestyle.

my recommendations for entry level jobs to work online

  1. Teach English (or another language) online

This is how I make my living as I travel. I teach English and Spanish online. While I have my university studies in language education and teaching with technology, this isn’t a necessity in this field. There are plenty of Asian-based, online English companies that will hire and train native English speakers to teach online. You can expect to earn $8 – $16 an hour with most companies. If you are starting out in this field, I can recommend trying Tutor ABC, Open English (if you are bilingual Spanish/English or Portuguese/English) or Education First. They are the largest companies, with comprehensive training for new teachers and many students. If you enjoy working with children, try VIPKid, which pays a little higher.

  1. Virtual Assisting

More and more VA jobs are becoming available as people are working from home and don’t necessarily have the room to have a live assistant in their home office. Additionally, you may end up working for someone abroad who needs your native English language skills. VAs are responsible for checking e-mails, setting appointments, communicating with customers and anything else an in-person assistant may be asked to do. Pay varies depending on the location of the company but a U.S. based one should pay at least $7.25 an hour.

  1. Customer Service/Support

Companies like Amazon, top hotel chains, and United Healthcare are hiring remote agents to handle incoming calls (there are also thousands of sales related remote call center positions available but these don’t guarantee a steady income and most people don’t enjoy selling). You may be dealing with upset customers, making hotel reservations or helping patients with insurance questions, just like a call center employee would in an office. Amazon was advertising their positions just before Christmas at $10 an hour.

  1. Data Entry

If you are somewhat familiar with computers and are a fast typist, then data entry may be a good fit for you. Companies hire people to fill out their software with information on customers, purchases, internal statistics and more. You may have to be trained on their software or it could be in Microsoft Excel or another program that you are already familiar with. Pay varies depending on the company and type of information, but the median wages are around $15 per hour.

  1. Non-medical Transcription

Transcription is the act of listening to an audio and typing what you hear. It’s as simple as that. It does require you to be very fast at typing and detail oriented, but there is a large demand for this type of worker. I have done freelance projects in the past, transcribing YouTube videos for English materials. Other possibilities may be transcribing podcasts, radio broadcasts, television programs and more. Non-medical transcription requires no special training other than an excellent grasp of the target language. Pay is usually determined by the number of words you have to type or per hour of audio, so the faster you type, the more money you will make.

Travel to exotic destinations without having to take off work. 

Options for Certain Skilled Workers

These jobs deserve some honorable mentions, although they may require some type of industry knowledge or training:

  • Medical transcription
  • Medical billing and coding
  • Call center technical support
  • Social media marketing
  • Content/technical writing
  • Translation

Legitimate Job Websites to find Remote Work online

There are many more websites to find remote work, but these are ones that I have experience with personally. You can also find remote positions on big job websites like Monster.com.

  • Ratracerebellionhttp://ratracerebellion.com/ In addition to their big list of work from home jobs, this website has a separate section for call center/customer service jobs.
  • Upwork https://www.upwork.com/ Make a profile and then begin searching. This website has plenty of jobs in each of the categories listed above. In addition, you can easily find online English teaching jobs on this website.
  • Freelancer https://www.freelancer.com This website is best for finding data entry and virtual assisting jobs. You will also have to make a profile to be able to submit proposals.

Equipment/Set-Up

  • A quiet, professional place to work (no dogs barking or children crying in the background if you plan to teach online)
  • A laptop
  • A USB connection headset (I recommend the Microsoft Lifechat LX-3000, which many companies use as their standard equipment, which can be purchased at Amazon.com:

  • A strong internet connection (note: some companies require a hardwired connection with a LAN cable. You can purchase one here:

 

FYI: The above are affiliate links.

Become a Digital Nomad with Airbnb

I guess I was 18 when I was first hit by wanderlust. I took my first trip to Cancun, Mexico to celebrate my birthday with my boyfriend at the time. I immediately fell in love with the Mexican culture and the idea of living in a foreign country. Growing up, my parents never traveled at all. The furthest we went was to the Jersey shore, which, although I have very fond memories of, for the small fortune my parents spent there each year, we could have really traveled. Who knew? Now, thanks to the internet, people are starting to find out how exactly affordable and possible long term travel is.

MOVING AROUND

In the past 7 years that I have been living abroad, I have lived in Guadalajara, Mexico City, Veracruz and Cancun in Mexico, and San Salvador in El Salvador. I have been so lucky to have the chance to live in these amazing cities and travel extensively on my time off. I work online teaching Spanish and English and as an instructional designer – all which require an internet connection much stronger than a hotel typically has. But a recent discovery – Airbnb – has changed all of this for the better. Now, I can work as a travel, change my location often and stay at affordable places short term. Before I had two options, I could rent a furnished room long term, paying a higher rent, or I could rent an unfurnished room and end up having to purchase secondhand furniture and appliances. At the end of my stay, I would go through the hassle of selling all of these items that I have accumulated, usually losing over 50% of the price that I paid for them. Either option was costly and still required some type of commitment, from 3 months to a year, typically.

FINDING A BETTER OPTION

Now that I have discovered Airbnb, I can not only travel the world, I can do it much cheaper than before, and I am also able to vet the place before I commit. Using the website, I can search for the city and the dates that I need accommodation, just like on a hotel website. I can then limit my parameters a bit more by choosing my price range and must have amenities (for me Wi-Fi or connected internet is a necessity for work). Then, it gets even better because I can see pictures of the properties and read reviews from past guests. If you are like me, who incessantly reads Tripadvisor’s reviews before booking any vacation, this is a huge plus.

READ THE REVIEWS

As you may have guessed – not all properties are created equally. Some are built in ways that feel more private and in others, you can hear every time someone washes a dish or flushes a toilet. Not to mention our furry friends – does the property have a friendly, nonchalant pup or will it be barking up a storm each time you walk through the door. These details are important for people who make their living online. We need a quiet space that allows us to teach classes, have phone calls with clients and work without distractions. This is where the reviews are the most helpful for me, they give me a chance to feel out the property and its owners.

A recent stay at a room in downtown Cancun cost just $23. The property had over 1,000 glowing reviews.
The Cancun room even included a private terrace. Unfortunately, we were just staying for the night and didn’t get a chance to use it.

MY FAVORITE EXPERIENCES

Since last year, when I discovered this amazing service, I have stayed at 6 different properties, ranging from a quick night to sleep to a week on vacation to a whole month to explore a new town. In Hollywood, FL, I stayed in a retired woman’s trailer, near the mall and the airport, for less than $30 per night. Comparable hotels in the area were $80 and up. She was a sweet old lady and we celebrated the day she happened to take her U.S. citizen exam. She gave me advice on local places to eat and see and her home was impeccable.

Then, going away for a romantic weekend with my husband, we decided on Antigua, Guatemala. Anyone who is familiar with this colonial city knows that it is quite pricey by Central American standards. We ended up choosing a property about 5 minutes away from the central square for $17 per night. It was my husband’s first time in this type of accommodation and he loved it. We had our own private bathroom, use of the kitchen, TV, internet, towels, shampoo and everything else you would expect at a hotel.

Then, finally, I decided on some longer term stays and I made an even more amazing discovery: weekly and monthly discounts. Many property owners will give steep discounts for weekly/monthly stays. I’ve seen monthly discounts as high as 70% off but usually, they are in the 30 – 50% range. Weekly ones are less, maybe 10 – 30%, but still helpful if you are on a budget.

As I write this article, I am staying in an Airbnb property in Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico. The home is gigantic, with 2 floors, 4 bedrooms and each bedroom has its own bathroom. It has a swimming pool in the courtyard, a balcony overlooking the sea, two game rooms each with a pool table and foosball table, an upstairs bar and kitchen area for guests, and downstairs is fully furnished for guest use as well. The owners both work from home so they are always around for questions or issues. Since I am staying the whole month I got that wonderfully step discount and my total payment was $281! To be on in front of the beach with 20 mg internet, weekly cleaning and no utility bills…. Yes, I will take it!

I PLAN TO KEEP GOING

My next adventure will begin on March 17th. I am headed to Veracruz, Mexico for 1 month and will stay in, you guessed it, an Airbnb. This property is much smaller, it is one rented room out of a two bedroom apartment. My roommates will be university students. But it has all of my necessities, privacy, a strong internet connection and is one block away from the most popular beach in town. It is also walking distance to the market and downtown areas. My price for the month was a little higher at $309, but I will be staying there over Semana Santa, which is Mexico’s version of Spring Break.

MORE THAN JUST SAVING MONEY

Personally, however, it’s not just the money saving opportunity that makes Airbnb an amazing service. It’s the personal experience and interaction that you have with the homeowner. Many are social, love meeting people from different countries and cultures and practicing languages. It’s more similar to staying with a host family than at a hotel – but of course with all of the privacy you need to continue to be productive and make money as you travel.

TRY IT FOR YOURSELF

If you would like to try Airbnb for the first time, please use my referral link. You will save $25 off your first booking, which is more than enough for a one night stay in many cities, and I will get a credit as well (so I can keep going!): www.airbnb.com/c/sarat398 .