How much money you can earn as an online English teacher will depend on a variety of factors. These include your interests, your expertise, as well as what you’re hoping to get out of your career. Understanding your potential income therefore begins with understanding the ESL industry.
English language niche
While you may prefer one-on-one conversation classes over explaining the difference between to call off and to call back to groups of HR professionals, if making money is your aim, it’s important to know the difference between how much you can charge for these types of lessons.
Although considerably more relaxed, the industry-standard rates for conversation classes are £8 per lesson. For Business English, on the other hand, £20 is the norm. Examination preparation and interview coaching, meanwhile, average £15.
This does not mean that you should not pursue your interests as an online English teacher. But you could consider taking on a mixture of the various types of lessons to ensure a decent paycheck at the end of the month.
If you’re still not sold on the idea of teaching Business English, check out roamingvegans.com for some other reasons as to why it could be a great addition to your CV.
Your client base
Regardless of whether you’re on the move, or set up as an online English teacher somewhere in the world, first you must answer two key questions: Where are your clients based? And what are the average rates for English lessons in their country? These will help you figure out how much to charge.
Having clients that are scattered across various parts of the globe isn’t an issue. However, if you don’t do your research adequately enough, it could result in you undercharging for your services. Or worse, you could overcharge and miss out on clients who opted for more affordable rates elsewhere.
Remember that you’ll be facing fierce competition from fellow online English teachers. Your prices should be competitive without being unreasonable. Above all, stay up to date with the global economy and industry trends. If prices everywhere are going up, then yours should too.
Working for yourself
Taking the plunge and working as a freelance online English teacher will mean a lot of additional work, alongside your teaching hours. It can also mean earning more per lesson, without schools or online teaching companies taking a cut.
Setting yourself up for success will require some initial investments of time and perhaps money too. An example of this would be having a website to showcase your expertise and experience for potential future clients.
In addition to this, word of mouth can go a long way, so do your best to hit it out of the park in every single lesson. Staying in touch with past students is also never a bad idea. Ways to do this include sending out monthly newsletters, requesting testimonials that you could include on your website, or even just reviews.
While they may not need a refresher course, it’ll ensure you stay fresh in their memory should anyone ever ask them for an online English teacher recommendation.
How prepared you are?
A big draw for clients will be your combined availability and professionalism. That includes response time to course enquiries, available lesson slots in the week, your ability to reschedule, and the quality of your online lessons.
If you want your students to keep choosing and recommending you, and there is an advantage to have internet connection needs to be excellent, as do your headphones and computer. Competency in terms of your use of online resources and platforms will also be expected.
You should consider your working environment too. Nobody wants their lessons interrupted by screaming children or noisy neighbours. While you won’t be able to control every environmental factor, doing your best to mitigate potential disturbances will go a long way.
By putting your best foot forward, you’ll demonstrate to your clients from the very first lesson that you take your job and their learning seriously. It’s perfectly fine if teaching is just a side hustle for you. So long as your clients don’t feel secondary, you’ll be able to maintain your income stream.
How much you’re willing to work?
Teaching English online means accepting that you won’t be working a typical 9-5 job. Depending on who your clients are, you’ll most likely be filling in the gaps around working days, and school times. If this is something that you are willing to do, you can expect a reasonable salary each month.
Generally, ESL teachers will be the busiest from October to around June, with hours dropping off during the summer period. September onwards is the moment to get your head down and say yes to new projects or courses.
For some teachers, those intensive work months are enough to cover their expenses over the summer, so that they can travel or plan for the following months. If you’d, instead, like an additional cash injection, put some feelers out at schools. There may be students who need to revise their English after a rocky school term or in preparation for an exam.
Work for companies
If going freelance straight off the bat feels a little intimidating, you can apply to some of the various online teaching companies. They will take care of the marketing, and you can focus solely on teaching.
English Hunt is one option for those who also have degrees and offers teachers £12.50 an hour, plus lesson materials are provided. VIPKID also promises the material that you need, however, while you could eventually earn up to £17, your starting wage will likely be considerably lower.
Although you could potentially charge more as a freelancer, the advantages of teaching English online salary offers from many bigger companies come with the bonus of not having to do unpaid work such as planning.
Be sure to do your research on what company might suit you best. Don’t be put off if you don’t have a degree either; it’s not a prerequisite everywhere.
Overall, how much money you can earn as an online English teacher is not a cut-and-dry answer. What there is a lot of in the ESL industry though, is the potential to earn big bucks. Whether that potential is something you decide to pursue, is up to you.