Teaching English online generally requires all the same skills and knowledge as in-class teaching, although you will also need to be confident with the technology involved. Some online teaching platforms operate their lessons via their own software, while others operate using general communication programs such as Google Classroom or Zoom.
If you choose to go down the online teaching route you will find that there are just as many different potential scenarios as there are in traditional classroom teaching. You might find yourself teaching only kindergarten children or only adults, or any other mix in between. Your lessons might be strictly one-to-one or you might have groups of various sizes. Specialized courses such as business English are also a common option.
What qualifications and training are needed?
As online teaching covers much the same ground as working in a classroom, the qualifications required by employers are typically the same. However, because there are so many different companies involved in online TESOL the exact requirements will vary from one to the next. It is still possible to find positions that require nothing more than the ability to speak English, although these are now few and far between. In most cases a recognized TESOL certification is now a must. You will also be in a stronger position if you also have a qualification that is specific to online teaching.
What equipment do you need?
The basic technical requirements laid out by most online ESL providers is a PC or laptop, a good quality headset and microphone, and a stable internet connection. These requirements would be exactly the same if you choose to work independently. You will also need to have a suitable communication platform available such as Zoom, etc. During the job application process companies will routinely check your internet setup to ensure it meets their criteria. One final thing you will need is a quiet location in which to deliver your lessons.
How do you get a job teaching English online?
There are three main ways of gaining employment teaching online:
Working for a company
As there are many hundreds of online teaching companies active in countries worldwide, there is no shortage of options in this category. Simply complete a quick online search for Teach English Online and you will instantly find a range of companies to choose from. You can then contact the ones that interest you and send them all the information they require to get the ball rolling. As you would imagine, the entire recruitment process is typically completed online.
Working with a profile company
This option is for people who want a bit more freedom than what you get working for an online company, but do not want to go fully independent. Profile companies basically host your profile on their site for a fee. Students visit the site and choose which teacher they want to go with based on their profile. If you follow this route you can get significantly more exposure to potential students than if you were to go it alone.
This is the right option for you if you want to have complete control over who you work with, when you work, and how much you charge. You will need to find a way of recruiting your students and you will also be responsible for all lesson planning and curriculum work.