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Let there be no doubt – online education is the future and for those interested in teaching online courses it’s never been easier to start.  While the benefits of teaching from home are easy to see, we’ve found there to be a clear disconnect between identifying opportunities and actually getting started.

This post aims to change that.  

We are going to look at 5 places where you can put your skills to work and even start teaching online courses this week, no matter what your education or experience.

Who Can Teach an Online Class?

The great thing about online education is that there is literally a job out there for everyone.  No matter if you don’t have a degree and have never taught a day in your life or you have 20 years of classroom experience and are just looking to move online, there is a job to match your experience and goals.

The only requirement that permeates every online English teaching job is a technical one: you must be able to get (and stay) online.  Assuming your internet connection can support a video call, you’ll be able to find an online course to teach.

How Do Teaching Online Courses Differ from Traditional Classroom Courses?

There are some distinct differences between teaching classes online versus in a regular classroom and they will affect teachers individually.  For example, seasoned teachers are going to have some habits to break whereas new teachers may be overwhelmed with the opportunity, but will be able to approach it with fresh eyes.

  • Mobility – Perhaps the biggest difference in the eyes of teachers who have stepped foot in both worlds is the limited room in which to move around and conduct lessons online.  At the very least, most teachers are used to having a desk and blackboard that they can use during lessons, but with online classes you’re often left with slides and a 13-inch screen.
  • Interaction – while it’s no secret that plenty of students remain stoic during lessons, expect online teaching to limit your ability to interact with even the best students.  The obvious exception to this is if you’re teaching 1-on-1, but expect most of the talking during online courses to come from you.
  • Classroom Management – classroom management is unsurprisingly more difficult online than in-person and it’s best to have some hard-and-fast rules that you explain and implement from day 1.  

Where to Find Opportunities to Teach Online

Now that we’ve got the requirements and main differences out of the way, let’s dig into the 5 places to start your job search.

Established Online English Schools

teaching online courses schools

It’s predicted that the number of English learners will near 2 billion by the end of this decade and there has been a subsequent explosion in online schools that specialize in English.  Students range from young to old and come from as far away as China to connect with English speakers.

While there are plenty of specialized positions for experienced ESL teachers, English schools are an especially good option for those just starting to get into online course teaching.  Many hire applicants with little to no experience, offer training and provide a good support network of other teachers.

These schools almost always operate during the evening hours of their students so if you’re located in North America expect to work some odd hours to meet the demand.

Who Should Apply: ESL & TEFL Teachers, aspiring teachers or those with limited experience

Average Salary: $12-$22 per hour

Where to Start: Our job board, EF, twosigmas

Universities with Online Courses

teaching online courses universities

With 65% of all college students having taken at least one online course during their academic career, there is no shortage of opportunities for educators with experience in higher education.  The requirements are far stricter than any other option on this list, but those who qualify will be pleased to know they can expect salaries similar to as if they were teaching in the classroom.

In addition, full-time teachers are usually eligible for all the benefits that come with employment, something that the other options on this list will find difficult to match.

Who Should Apply: Professors, state-licensed teachers

Average Salary: Similar to in-classroom courses

Where to Start: Individual university websites, Indeed  

Create-a-Profile Tutoring Companies

teaching online courses profile

Create-a-profile companies are similar to English schools in that they readily hire applicants without experience but the online courses taught vary widely from subjects like Math and Science to specialized topics like yoga and computer science.  The idea is that anyone can signup, create a profile and compete for students with other teachers using things like free lessons, discounts, etc.

Because you set your own prices, there is really no limit to how much a quality teacher can make on these platforms.  The biggest downside is that it can take a while to build up a steady income if your subject is competitive and you might find yourself offering steep discounts just to get some traffic through the virtual door.  

Who Should Apply: Subject teachers, teachers with specialties and those looking to mentor

Average Salary: Unlimited

Where to Start: Wyzant, Cafetalk

Lesson-Hosting Platforms

teaching online courses lesson hosting

A lesson-hosting platform allows teachers to pre-record everything from lessons to workshops and offer them to students a la carte.  Similar to create-a-profile sites, you set your own price and can offer classes on pretty much anything you can imagine.

The great thing about this model is that once you put in the initial work to create the lesson, it can make you money while you sleep.  No, it’s not easy and requires a tremendous amount of planning and preparation, but it is also the most flexible and open channel on this list in that you can literally offer classes on anything you want. 

Who Should Apply: Teachers with skills that fall outside of traditional curriculums

Average Salary: Unlimited

Where to Start: Udemy, Skillshare


teaching online courses youtube

YouTube is about as unconventional as it gets when it comes to teaching online classes, but it has amazing potential if you use it correctly.  If you’re one of the millions of people that only recognize YouTube as the place you go to watch funny dog videos, you might be surprised to learn that it is a search engine with nearly as much upside (for teachers) as Google.

Every day students looking to learn or improve on a subject search for videos on YouTube.  With a bit of research, entrepreneurial teachers can easily set up a channel to target these students with relevant videos that not only provide value but also drive traffic to their own site or profile.

For example, if you’re an oral English teacher and publish daily videos on how to pronounce different words, you can include a link to your teaching profile and website in hopes of attracting the people who watch your videos.

Who Should Apply: Teachers looking for a creative way to attract students

Average Salary: Unpaid

Where to Start: YouTube

Freelance/Start Your Own Company

This approach is a bit more advanced, but as the online teaching industry matures, more and more teachers are looking for ways to work for themselves. Starting your own company allows you to get your own rates, hours, and curriculum but also makes you solely responsible for finding students.

Who Should Apply: Experienced teachers looking for more freedom and control

Average Salary: Varies – you set your own rates

Where to Start: Our friend Jack has a great course called Teaching ESL Online and companies like Uteach help teachers build their own websites.

Wrapping Up

There is really no reason to be on the fence if you want to teach online courses – even if you have little to no experience there is a platform out there for you.  For those of you with full-time jobs, teaching courses from home is the perfect way to make some extra money with very little investment on your part.


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