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How to Make an Extra $800 a Month Teaching English Online

How to Make an Extra $800 a Month Teaching English Online

Want to know where you can teach English online? I got you covered!

I taught English online for 3 years with a company called VIPKid. Unfortunately, they are no longer accepting teachers based outside of China due to new government regulations. 

Never fear! You have plenty of other options. 

Teaching online was the first job I had where I realized you could make money from your laptop, working from anywhere. 

It served as a bridge between my attorney job and current career as a full-time travel writer. 

Teaching English online is a great idea for anything seeking to be location independent. Here’s how you can get started.


Why should you teach English online? 

Teaching English online is an appealing profession for many reasons. 

First, chances are if you’re reading this you already speak English on a daily basis, so you’re comfortable with the subject. 

You can work from anywhere and set your own hours. This makes it an ideal job for anyone looking for part-time or evening work, or just a lucrative side hustle. 

It’s online so no one needs to know you’re doing it (not even your current job) and you don’t have to waste time or money on a commute. 

The pay is steady and bookings consistent provided you do your job well. It’s also fairly easy to get into a routine with this job and feel comfortable with the lessons you’re teaching. 

In many cases, the curriculum and materials are provided for you — all you need to do is take a child through the lesson without needing to worry about grading materials afterwards or coming up with lesson plans. 

Classes are between 25-60 minutes so the demand on your time and impact on your schedule is minimal.

How much money can you make teaching English online?

Paycheck and envelope

The rates of pay will vary depending on the company and your experience but can range from $10-$30/hour. 

Many companies will have a policy in place to determine raises based on the number of classes you teach or bonuses depending on the reviews you’re given.

Some companies make it so you set your own rates. 

In general, teaching younger kids is more lucrative than teaching teenagers or adults. 

My first month teaching English online, I hustled. I was up at 2am to do classes before work. I’d work through the night on weekends. I made about $1800. 

I quickly found that wasn’t sustainable, however, and my earnings averaged anywhere from $800-$1,000/month while I was still working my full-time desk job. 

If you do this full-time, you could make $3k+/month. 

What are the requirements to teach English online?

Baby playing on computer

Usually, teachers are required to be native English speakers. 

Experience with children is preferred but not necessary. If you have children, ever babysat siblings or even have past tutoring experience from a high school community service project, mention it. 

Teaching experience is preferred but can sometimes work against you if you’re set in your ways or have high expectations regarding compensation.

Most companies want you to adopt their teaching style and have a cap on what they pay new teachers so be flexible. 

In the event you have no experience teaching or with children, emphasize your education or certifications. 

You do not necessarily need a TEFL certificate to teach online but when you don’t have a degree, it can be helpful.

Some programs will allow you to apply without a degree or TEFL, some will require both. 

Note that a TEFL certification is a significant monetary investment, usually anywhere between $500-$2,000, so I only recommend it for those looking to make teaching their full-time job.

Do you need a TEFL certificate?

Screen that says "never stop learning"

A TEFL certificate is a way of showing employers that you’re qualified to be an English teacher and have been trained to that end. 

It allows you to bypass traditional degree requirements. 

While it is most commonly required by schools hiring you to live and work abroad, it gives you a leg up when applying to digital teaching positions and can even help you negotiate a higher salary.

Typically, it takes 120 to complete an internationally recognized TEFL certificate, which translates to 4 weeks full-time and 12 weeks part-time.

You can find courses and offerings with less hours if you want to work your way up to the full certification.

You can also add to your studies, from 190 to 300 hours for level 5 courses and master diplomas. 

I suggest researching different programs to find the best fit for you. 

Where to teach online

laptop and flowers

Ready to start applying for jobs? Check out these companies who are still hiring:

This company allows you to teach about any subject and teachers really have fun with it, from folding origami to a Harry Potter places class. Tutoring is done on Zoom and rates are suggested to be set at $10-15/hour per student. The more students sign up, the more you make. There are no degree or TEFL requirements. 

Cambly pays roughly $10/hour and has no degree or certification requirements. Students are usually adults. They hire native English speakers from the USA, Canada, UK and Australia. 

iTalki has 2 types of professional teachers — those with a degree and those with a TEFL certification. Teachers set their own prices, usually between $8-$10/hour. 

Palfish specializes in children under 12. There is no degree required but you need to have a TEFL certificate. Teachers make between $10-$18/hour. 

Lingoda teachers make between $8-$12 an hour. No degree is required. You must have at least 2 years of teaching experience and hold a TEFL certification. 

Amazing Talker pays between $15-$25/hour for each 50-minute class. There is no degree or TEFL required but either helps. Must be a native English speaker.

Magic Ears pays up to $26 an hour. They do require that teachers be at least pursuing a degree to qualify for employment and ask for proof of enrollment. They offer their own TEFL course for $20.  

Preply offers group classes on over 100 topics including languages, school courses, and arts. Teachers set their own rates, between $10-$15/hour. There is no necessary degree or experience. 

If you’re ready to get started working online, teaching could be just what you’re looking for. 



Sunday 24th of January 2021

Well I am a mechanical engineering student at the American University in Cairo with a good accent. I find this worthy to try but how can I apply?

Jen on a Jet Plane

Monday 1st of February 2021

VIPKid only accepts native English speakers but there are several other companies you could apply to work with!


Tuesday 19th of March 2019

Are there time slots for the evening (Eastern Time)? I'm a full time teacher and leave my house at 6:30am and arrive home around 5pm.

Basundhara Ghosh

Thursday 15th of February 2018

I wish I had an American accent, but oh well :P I might pass on this info to my American friends :)

Jen on a Jet Plane

Sunday 18th of February 2018

I know, that's the one unfortunate requirement, but there are so many alternative companies that don't have that restriction! It's definitely a good option to research :)


Thursday 15th of February 2018

This sounds wonderful! I'm glad you've researched it in detail. And I hope you find a lot of use with it.

Jen on a Jet Plane

Sunday 18th of February 2018

Thank you, so far it's been just what I needed!


Thursday 15th of February 2018

Oh wow this sounds like a wonderful opportunity. Too bad I don't have American accent, I've got the Canadian/Polish one!!! Is this only for Americans or is there a Canadian counterpart?