The Complete Guide to Teaching Online with Open English


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Teaching online can be both a rewarding full-time career and a nice supplemental income. Partnering with a company like Open English, can serve as a lucrative part-time job, earning you some extra cash on the side. For those of you who have another job or your fair share of personal commitments, it means you have the opportunity to make some extra money making without disrupting your busy life, while still dipping your toes into the ESL world.

If part-time online teaching is something you’ve been considering, then Open English is potentially an excellent pathway. This guide looks into all the important bits and pieces you need to know about Open English, such as how to get hired, what they pay and what a typical work schedule may look like. 

Open English Overview

Founded in 2007, Open English is known as the market leader in online English teaching for all over Latin America, the Spanish-speaking community in the US, and has even started reaching audiences in Spain. It hires native American speakers to work remotely from home with a focus on teaching student production and interaction of the targeted language through its own unique interactive learning platform.

Requirements aren’t too strict to work with Open English, with most qualifications and experience only being preferred, rather than essential. However, at present, they only hire North American native English speakers. 

Working for Open English works well as a part-time job, with teachers asked to commit to a minimum of 10 hours, and a maximum of 26 hours a week. Peak hours are generally in the evening (EST), and classes run 24/7. 

What are the Requirements to Teach with Open English?

To work with Open English, there are some requirements you should meet. Many of these requirements appear to be ‘preferred’ and not essential, so if you don’t meet the ‘preferred’ requirements, it’s still worth applying. You may just find that preference might be given to those who fit the preferred requirements. 

The only essential requirements are that their teachers are native North American speakers, have a passion for teaching and are willing to commit to a minimum of 10 hours a week, as well as the following:

  • Be a native North American speaker with clear pronunciation
  • Prior experience teaching English preferred
  • Online teaching experience preferred
  • Conversational Spanish and/or Portuguese as a second language is preferred
  • A bachelor’s degree or higher in linguistics, education, English, modern languages or literature, or any education-related field, is preferred, but by no means essential
  • TESOL, TEFL, CELTA or equivalent preferred
  • Be able to commit to a minimum of 10 hours each week, including 5 peak time hours
  • Be passionate about teaching

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If you’re not a native speaker from North America, your application won’t be accepted by Open English. Their application form specifically asks for details on your American legal status. If you’re North American but currently living or traveling abroad, you should be able to teach with Open English. For all of you non-North American teachers, check out some of the other online teaching programs, who are laxer on where you come from! 

Technical Requirements

On top of the teaching requirements, you need to meet several technical requirements to work with Open English:

  • Reliable, high-speed internet connection
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Suite
  • Ability to master various online communication and instruction tools, such as those related to learning platforms
  • Be comfortable working in a dynamic environment

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How much does Open English pay?

Open English isn’t famed for its high pay, with the maximum amount listed as being 15 USD per hour. From our research, average pay appears to be between 10 and 13 USD an hour, with teachers being paid via PayPal

How pay is determined isn’t specifically stated anywhere online. Some sources claim Open English ask their teachers to specify their hourly rate during the application process. This amount may then be counter-offered, so it is worth requesting the higher end of the average pay and see what they come back with. They will probably take qualifications and experience into consideration, so bear that in mind. 


In terms of tax, like most online teaching companies, you are treated as an independent contractor. This means you are in charge of submitting earnings and paying taxes. This isn’t as complicated as it may appear, and there are plenty of resources out there to offer guidance, like the IRS website.

What is the Application Process for Open English?

You can apply for Open English jobs through their online application portal. It appears as though you can apply anytime and they may hold on to your application until positions become available. The application process can be broken down into the following steps:

Complete the Online Application

During the online application, the presentation will take you through some information on the company, the classroom experience, and technical requirements. You will then be asked to provide personal information about yourself, including information on your American legal status. Next, you will be asked to provide details on your qualifications, skills, and experience. 

Complete any Additional Steps

Once complete, your application will be reviewed and may be held until a position opens up. You may also be asked to complete an online interview or video recording. 

On-board Process and Training

If selected and offered a contract, you will then complete an on-boarding process. This involves mandatory training to help you to become more familiar and confident with the Open English platform and teaching methodologies. 

Start Teaching

Once everything is completed, and your application processed, you should be assigned shifts so you can start working!

What is the Work Schedule for Open English?

The schedule for Open English works well with those of you looking for part-time work, especially if you have an already busy schedule and are looking for available hours during the evenings.


Teachers must be available to work a minimum of 10 hours each work, with a maximum of 26 hours a week. Hours are not guaranteed and can vary seasonally. 

It appears as though you state how many hours you want and then specify your availability in advance. The class schedule is set every week. This is a slightly different setup to some of the other online teaching platforms, like Palfish, where you can just go online when you’re free, click on “Start Tutoring” and wait for students to call. However, it does mean that you know in advance when you’ll be teaching, which can be pretty helpful when trying to balance teaching with other aspects of your life. 

Open English also offers a convenient shift drop/pick-up system, where you can trade your classes with other Open English teachers. This means less opportunity to cancel on the students and a chance to earn some extra money if a shift needs picking up. It appears as though there is a platform to do this through Open English, although some resources online claim that there is a facebook group set up by teachers which makes the swapping even easier…

Understanding the Open English Teaching Platform

The Open English teaching schedule is active 24/7, with virtual classrooms available to students every hour of the day. These live, online lessons are given to small and intimate class sizes. Teachers self-assign and host the small group sessions through Open English’s unique learning platform.

Sessions are normally focused on student output and interaction with the language. During the class, teachers have live conversations with the students, providing immediate response, guidance, and feedback. Teachers may be expected to give feedback on writing samples. You are also encouraged to bring your individualized pedagogy and experiences to the lessons.

Open English offers two different topics for students to choose from daily, as well as two formats – classic instruction or informal conversation. The courses are built in a fun and creative way, with videos, games and advanced speech-recognition tools.

Open English Reviews

Becoming an Open English teacher is a great way for ESL teachers to earn some extra cash on the side, without having to step outside the house! The advanced schedule makes it easy to fit other commitments around the job and the requirements aren’t too strict either! 

If you’re after a more full-time teaching post, it might be worth checking out other online teaching programs. But if you’re happy with an almost guaranteed 10 hours a week, Open English is an excellent choice.  

Reviews on the company are pretty mixed. The flexibility of the work, the shift drop/pick-up system, and the students get a positive write-up. The big downside that keeps cropping up is the low pay. Another is the fact that Open English tends to hire in batches. You may be lucky and apply during a hiring spree, but if not, you may have to wait a while to be offered a contract. 

If you do fancy joining the Open English team, why not start the application process today at their online application portal


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7 Responses

  1. I am a Canadian living in Puerto Vallarta. Can i work for Open English. From glancing at the application it does not appear so.

  2. Must you have a certain age to work for OE?
    And also, is there a problem if I don’t have ANY prior experience in teaching?

    1. I don’t believe there is an age limit as long as you meet the all the requirements (same goes for experience).

  3. I have been working for OE for five years and US citizens living in the US are employees and receive W2. If you live abroad, you are an independent contractor.

    1. So if I understand correctly I can apply / work for OpenEnglish as an American citizen who lives in Costa Rica? Thanks I’m advance for your clarification on this. I ask but I have also worked as an ESL contractor for Chinese companies. I’m really considering OE because of Trump’s EO and the uncertainty of working for Chinese companies in the very near future.

  4. Hello Emma. This is a great article. I am glad that I found it.
    You mentioned that there is an Open English Facebook group where members of this group are Open English teachers and they are able to communicate with each other. They are able to talk to their fellow colleagues to swap classes when they needed certain hours off. Can you let me know the name of that Facebook group, please?


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