If there’s a booming industry in remote work that isn’t a technical industry, it’s teaching. Well, to be fair, it’s teaching English to kids in the developing world, in the main. While those advocating for multilingualism will be distraught – the world has pretty much settled on English as the international language for business and commerce and now everybody wants to learn it.
However, that’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of other forms of remote teaching work out there too. So, let’s take a look at how to find remote work in education or teaching of all kinds.
How To Find Remote Work Teaching English As A Foreign Language
If you want to teach English as a foreign language then the bar is set very low, indeed, though the lower the entry criteria, the lower the salary too.
There are plenty of online companies that allow you to sign up and get teaching with just a college degree and sometimes an ESL teaching certificate too. Most of them require no experience and there are even a couple that accept teachers without a degree too.
The downsides of this work are that it, generally, only pays you for time online and sessions tend to be short 15-20 minutes maximum. So, if you get $25 an hour, you can maybe only run 2-3 sessions an hour which works out at more like $12-$18 an hour, you’re not paid for waiting around between calls.
It can also pay dreadfully – some of the worst online providers are paying as little as $5-$6 an hour of teaching. We assume that most of their hires are not EFL speakers but rather ESL speakers.
We also need to be blunt about this; it can be much harder for non-white English speakers to find work on these services. This isn’t because the services are racist so much as their customers are racist and want “white faces” as part of their fees.
VIPKID – The First And Biggest
VIPKID’s one of the oldest TEFL companies online. They were formed in 2013 and connect teachers with mainly Chinese students. Their maximum rate of pay is $22 an hour but they only deliver classes of 25-30 minutes in length. So realistically, you’re not going to make $22 an hour with VIPKID.
We’d also note that when you get under the hood of things, the pay rate is variable and consists of several bonuses. It’s possible to make as little as $12/hour (accounting for between-session breaks) with VIPKID too.
You can sign up with VIPKID to start teaching at any time. If you are considering working as an online English teacher – you might want to try it on for size before you quit any other work you have. It’s not for everyone.
QKids – No Degree Needed
The good news is that you don’t need a degree to work with QKids, the bad news is that if you don’t have a degree you must be enrolled on a degree program and whichever way things go, you must be based in North America – you can’t be overseas while you work.
They pay up to $20/hour which is good as far as these things go. All students are young Chinese kids. The biggest issues are that they pack 4 kids into a class and because you’re teaching Asian kids from the US… time zones are a pain.
Cambly – Open To Everyone
The best news about Cambly is that you can be from any country with English as a first language and not just North America. However, the pay sucks – it’s $10.20 an hour maximum. They offer no guaranteed hours either.
Teachers support mainly Saudi children with a few Koreans and Turkish kids too. The signup process is simple and Cambly does, at least, provide lesson materials. Most work is just a casual chat.
iTalki – Multilingual Teaching With A Twist
iTalki lets you teach other languages as well as English. It also allows you to set your own rates and it takes a commission of 15%. However, the highest rates are $25 which – after they’ve raided the pot – leaves you with about $21/hour. So, you’re not getting rich teaching on iTalki.
It’s worth noting that a lot of their “community tutors” are picking up… $12/hour. Your only required qualifications, however, are that you speak the language you teach at a native standard. You have to develop your own lesson plans for iTalki.
EF Education First – The Best Site For UK Citizens
EF Education First Online is considered to be the easiest place for English speakers from England to get work. Rates are pretty terrible with $19 or £12.50 the maximum rate though you can get a payment for referring other teachers to them too.
Whether you’re from the UK or the USA, they won’t let you live overseas – you have to stay in your own country. You have to have a bachelor’s degree AND a TEFL certificate. You’ll be teaching Chinese people and that means working some really odd hours.
Sadly, this is pretty typical for Teaching English as a Foreign Language online. If you have no other opportunities, you can get by on this kind of work but from secondhand knowledge – it’s exhausting and the burnout rate of teachers is very high. Which is why they are always recruiting.
There are other ESL teaching online opportunities but most of them are worse than those offered here.
How To Find Remote Teaching Work As A Professional Educator
Now, before you get too far into this – when we say “professional educator”, we mean someone with actual teaching qualifications (or possibly professional training qualifications). A plain old bachelor’s degree won’t make the grade here and it’s not worth trying to persuade these employers otherwise.
Colorado State University
Believe it or not, Colorado State University hires remote lecturers and Adjunct Faculty all the time. They do require that you remain in the United States if you want to teach online for them, though, so don’t start planning your life in Thailand, just yet.
Edmentum is a United States-based online learning platform that supports schools and school districts. They regularly hire remote workers but once again, they expect you to remain within the United States while you work.
This is another language teaching organization but one which teaches Americans other languages, unlike the ESL work – it’s decently paid, and instructors are treated well as long as they are appropriately qualified. Once again, though, it’s US-based only.
Pearson develops tools and services for educators, and it won’t come as a surprise that this distinguished company has moved into the online space too. They have a wide variety of online teaching roles available and you can teach music or math online with them.
University System of Maryland
USM is a big believer in remote education and that means plenty of remote work is available for tutors and professors. Once again, though, we’d expect this work only to be available if you are based in the United States.
If you’re not feeling any of those companies or you’re based outside of the US, you can always check out the job boards:
We didn’t find many remote teaching jobs on Working Nomads when we looked but they do appear to have had some in the past.
It’s definitely worth a look if you need work. Check out Working Nomads here.
When we took a look at the remote teaching jobs on Glassdoor we found a lot of ESL jobs and a very few other kinds of teaching work. However, some of the rates offered were much higher than those with the ESL companies above which suggests they want qualified teachers rather than just graduates with a TEFL certificate.
We liked the look of some of the remote work we could find on Remote.co. They don’t get a lot but there were both teaching jobs and training jobs with reputable brands to be found. There was no sign of the ESL industry, either.
The biggest presence in recruitment online, Indeed, has plenty of remote teaching jobs. It’s hard for us to determine whether you need to be a resident of the US for most of them but it certainly seems that way. However, they have a good range of work and regular vacancies.
Edsurge is a specialist job board that focuses on Edtech opportunities. We don’t know how many of their jobs are remote, but this is a great resource for teachers and trainers looking to cut their teeth in the technology field.
If you’re an experienced education professional with education qualifications finding remote work for teachers is not too hard. There are enough positions out there that you’ll eventually find something that suits your skill set and interests.
If you want to teach English online, it’s not hard to find opportunities, but beware – the money sucks, the hours suck, and burnout rates are huge. You might want to find a fallback plan if you intend to be a digital nomad in the long-term.