What is the best platform for teaching English online?

Choosing the best platform for teaching English online depends on various factors, including your qualifications, teaching style, and desired flexibility. While the online TESOL industry is vast, several platforms consistently stand out for their quality, reliability, and support for teachers. Key considerations when selecting a platform include:

  • Reputation and Reliability: Look for platforms with a strong reputation in the ESL community.
  • Pay Structure: Consider the pay rate and payment consistency offered by the platform.
  • Flexibility: Some platforms offer more scheduling flexibility than others, which is crucial if you are teaching while traveling.
  • Student Base: Platforms vary in their student demographics, from young learners to adults.
  • Support and Resources: Evaluate the level of teaching support and resources provided, such as lesson plans and teaching materials.
  • Technology and Interface: A user-friendly interface and robust technology are essential for a smooth teaching experience.

Research and compare platforms to find the one that aligns best with your qualifications and teaching preferences. Each platform has its unique advantages and requirements, so it is important to choose one that fits your specific needs as an online English teacher.

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Requirements for teaching English online

Requirements for teaching English online

While the prerequisites for online teaching differ among employers, some common elements are often the same. Many online employers typically require completion of a TESOL course of at least 120 hours, as it is the minimal level needed to encompass all the vital aspects of ESL teaching. Further enhancing your prospects, you could also undertake a secondary course centered on the unique facets of online teaching.

Check out our 120-hour TESOL certification course and our 170-hour course with online specialization.

Employers also expect accurate grammar usage, clear and precise pronunciation, and natural intonation. Unfortunately, some have decided not to hire non-native English speakers due to these expectations.

Take a look at our post: Where can I teach English abroad as a non-native speaker?

To teach English online, a fast and stable internet connection is crucial. This won't be an issue for most people working from home, but it is an essential consideration for those planning to work remotely. Some online platforms also require teachers to have prior teaching experience, and it is now quite common for a bachelor's degree in any subject to be a requirement.

Now that we have outlined the primary prerequisites for online ESL teaching, which online platforms should you consider applying to?


  • Requirements: None
  • Pay: Teachers set their own rates
  • Student type: Children and adults
  • Lesson length: The first lesson is always 1 hour, with subsequent lesson length decided between the student and teacher

Preply is a global platform that pairs online tutors with potential learners from over 180 countries worldwide. The platform offers class sizes ranging from private one-on-one sessions to larger groups. However, Preply isn't limited to English instruction; it is a versatile platform where you can teach nearly any language you are proficient in, as well as mainstream subjects like mathematics or art. Preply is favored among digital nomads since it can be accessed regardless of location.

On Preply, students have the autonomy to select their tutor from a range of potential options. When setting up your profile, you have the flexibility to choose your availability and even set your own hourly rate. However, be cautious when starting out - if your rate is too high or your availability too limited, it could be challenging to attract students. It is advisable to initially set a fair price and offer reasonable availability. Once you have established a steady clientele, you can then modify these settings as needed.

EF Education First

  • Requirements: Native speaker or C2 level for non-native speakers, TESOL certificate, bachelor's degree
  • Pay: $10 per hour with potential for increases
  • Student type: Adults
  • Lesson length: 20 to 45 minutes

EF Education First, originally a traditional, in-person educational institution with classrooms in more than 50 countries worldwide, now provides online English lessons. As an established company with a stellar reputation, the selection process for teachers is more rigorous compared to many other online platforms. Prospective teachers must undergo a formal interview, and only those based in the UK and US have the flexibility to work from home. In other regions, teachers are required to work from one of their designated online centers.


  • Requirements: None
  • Pay: $0.17/min ($10.20/hour) with Cambly and $0.20/min ($12.00/hour) with Cambly Kids
  • Student type: Children and adults
  • Lesson length: No set time for adults, 30 minutes for Cambly Kids

Cambly is an ideal choice for teachers seeking a part-time opportunity to supplement their travel budget or earn additional income alongside a primary job. While the pay rates at Cambly may not be as high as on other platforms, it offers flexibility with no minimum hours required, and teaching can be done via a smartphone app. No degree, prior teaching experience, or TESOL certification is needed, making it a fitting platform for those interested in exploring if online teaching aligns with their preferences.


  • Requirements: None for community tutor. TESOL certificate for professional teacher
  • Pay: Teachers set their own rates
  • Student type: Children and adults
  • Lesson length: Trial lesson of 30 minutes. Subsequent lessons between 45 and 90 minutes

iTalki offers two roles: a community tutor, which doesn't require any prior experience or TESOL qualifications, and a professional teacher, which does require TESOL certification and some past experience. While you have the autonomy to decide your own rates, to remain competitive, these should ideally be relatively low. Teachers with relevant qualifications and experience generally thrive better on this platform. However, it's noteworthy that iTalki takes a 15% commission on all payments you receive from students.


  • Requirements: Native English speaker
  • Pay: Teachers set their own rates
  • Student type: Children and adults
  • Lesson length: 25 minutes

SkimaTalk targets students of varying ages throughout Japan. Similar to other platforms, you have the liberty to set your own payment rates. However, you must also effectively promote your services to attract learners. It's crucial to be proactive on the platform and acquire outstanding reviews from your students to secure regular lessons. Although teaching credentials and prior experience aren't explicitly required, they can significantly help you distinguish yourself among the available tutors. To secure a position on this platform, you must possess a passport from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, or New Zealand.


  • Requirements: US or UK native speaker, TESOL certificate
  • Pay: Base rate of $10 per 30 minute lesson
  • Student type: Children from 4 to 12
  • Lesson length: 30 minutes

The StarKid platform, based in Hong Kong, is designed specifically for younger learners. Its curriculum is grounded in Cambridge English and the Jolly Phonics system, which is a specialized approach to teaching English phonics to young students. Lessons are held one-on-one and each lasts for half an hour. There is no requirement for a minimum number of hours, and the compensation rates are comparatively higher than many similar platforms.


  • Requirements: Native speaker from the US, the UK, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or Australia. TESOL certificate, bachelor's degree, and a minimum of a years teaching experience
  • Pay: $15 per lesson
  • Student type: Children
  • Lesson length: 40 minutes

Protostar is a preferred choice for seasoned teachers who are comfortable maintaining a consistent weekly timetable. A one-year contract is required, along with a commitment to routine lessons. Considering potential bonuses, the payment for a 40-minute lesson could go up to $22.


  • Requirements: TESOL certificate or bachelor's degree, A2 level of Spanish or Portuguese
  • Pay: Average of $7 to $13 per hour
  • Student type: Children and adults
  • Lesson length: 1 hour

If you are a teacher without a degree, consider exploring LatinHire. This recruitment agency assigns teachers to various online companies globally. Your expected pay will vary depending on the company you are paired with, but a commitment of at least 16 hours per month is required.

Also read: How do I set up my online TESOL classroom?