Can you make a living teaching English? 

Hmm, good question. 

Well, here’s your answer- Yes! You can make a living teaching English. 

That might sound absurd, but it’s true. 

Because of how commonly we use English in daily life, we forget that there are many countries whose first language is not English. 

Well, the good news is that you can fill this gap. You can help them by teaching English and simultaneously earning a living. 

Countries are always looking for English teachers, especially the ones where English is not widespread. For instance, take China. Less than 1% of Chinese speak fluent English. This is partly because Chinese vocabulary is entirely different from English vocabulary. 

Let’s dive deep into how you can start teaching English online to international students and join the list of earning, high-income professionals teaching English. 

Is Teaching English Online The Right Option For You?

Before you even get your certification and pack your bags, it’s essential to understand whether teaching English in a country is the right choice for you. 

Question #1: What Does “Teaching English Online” mean?

Teaching English online means where you will use digital technology to connect with your students. Forget boring worksheets or paperwork, as online teaching eliminates all those time-consuming, tedious tasks. 

But there’s a hurdle that is tech issues. Teaching English online is all about listening and speaking. So, if you or your students face issues in listening correctly due to a bad microphone or a speaker, then the end result is never good. However, you can easily combat this by getting high-quality online teaching equipment. 

Another thing about teaching English is that you and your students would operate in different time zones. For example, if you are in the USA and are teaching someone from Taiwan, you would have to teach too early in the morning or too late at night.

Question #2 Do I want to teach adults or children? 

Yes! You get the choice here. It’s a deciding factor for many English teachers. Why? Because you will be spending a lot of time with your students. So, make the right choice here. 

Teaching kids may be your best bet if you love working with kids and feel energized by then. However, if the opposite is true, it might be good to teach adults. 

Question #3: Do you have enough startup costs? 

Sorry to break it to you. Even teaching English abroad online comes at a cost; here are some expected startup costs that you will encounter: 

  • TEFL Certification costs between $1,000 and $2,500 for a fully accredited online or in-person class. It’s worth it. 
  • Stable Internet Connection: If you work through the company, the speed requirements will vary from company to company. Moreover, many companies also require wired internet s like Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi connections.
  • A good quality webcam, microphone, and headset. Investing in a good quality microphone, headset and webcam are worth it! You don’t want to sound low and scratchy when teaching your students.

How Big Is The Market For English Language Teachers?

teaching English abroad

One answer: Ginormous!

According to the census conducted in 2020, there were 2 billion English language learners worldwide!

What does this mean? It’s a clear answer that English teachers are in high demand as almost every country’s second language. 

For example, let’s consider China. Almost 300 million Chinese people popularly learn English as their second language. That is the population of the US. It can be easily predicted how much these countries need an English teacher for learning purposes.

Now that you know the demand for English teachers abroad, it’s time to answer another question. Which is, are you eligible to teach English in foreign countries? 

Who Can Teach English Online To International Students? 

You are dead wrong if you think you need to be a teacher to teach English! Whether you are a college graduate or changing your career doesn’t matter. You can teach English. 

Here’s what you need: 


2. Bachelor’s degree (any major) 

3. ESL certificate (like a TEFL) with a minimum of 100 hours of study. 

4. Teaching experience or License is good to have. (optional).

That’s all you need! 

A TEFL certification is an internationally recognized professional qualification that certifies that a person has a license to teach English as a foreign language. It is one of the basic requirements that one needs to secure a job teaching English online and teaching non-native English language students. 

Another requirement is a bachelor’s degree from any institute with significant subjects.

Best Countries to Teach English Online In 2022

#1. China 

China never stops wowing the world. Be it the Great Wall of China, the Yangtze River, or the Forbidden City. But why teach in China? This is because, as a global powerhouse, China is becoming aware of the importance of learning English for performing business and international trades. 

Parents here highly value native English speakers from top countries and want their children to have promising career opportunities in the future. As a result, even with no teaching experience, you can start teaching English in China and make a difference. And not to forget about salary – China is one of the highest-paying countries for teaching English. 

Chinese online teaching companies:

#2. UAE 

The UAE region is the modern-day example of a global confluence and commercial powerhouse, with an inhabitant that vastly outnumbers the native Emirates. Because of all the international mixing, English has become the country’s unofficial predominant language, generating a profitable business model for English language teaching. 

Companies hiring online English tutors: 

  • Douroosi – Based in the Middle East, the company offers one on one sessions to young students. 

#3:  South Korea 

Thanks to technological developments, South Korea is currently one of the best countries to teach English in Asia. Many South Korean parents want to teach their children English to have better career opportunities. Hence, you will also find several online teaching opportunities here through job boards. 

Korean online teaching companies:

#4. Vietnam

Vietnam is another country with tremendous demand for English teachers.

Thanks to its rapidly growing tourism industry, everyone from hotel workers to business owners is keen on learning English to serve foreigners. Another reason to teach is its young generation. The young adults have fallen in love with English-speaking countries and their world in their desire to understand English movies and music. We’re sure you will love teaching English to Vietnamese people.

Teaching English Online Versus Teaching English In Person – What’s The Difference?

Let’s understand how teaching English online differs from teaching English offline in the classroom. After this, you can make your call. 

Factor #1: Students

  • Teaching English In the Classroom: Teaching in school will help you know your students more deeply than online teaching. Moreover, you get many options when teaching at the school. For example, if you want to teach young children, you can choose kindergartens, pre-schools, and primary schools. If you’re going to teach Adults, you can select business schools. 
  • Teaching English Online: The choices are often restricted as most companies cater to young children. However, if you do research, you can also find opportunities to teach adults. However, they will not be in large numbers. 

Factor #2: Salary 

Salary in classroom teaching is often determined by schools and generally aligns with the country’s economic conditions. For example, if you choose to teach in China, you can expect a salary of around $2500 per month. 

However, if you work online through companies, salaries are often restricted and vary between $14 to $25 per hour. When teaching online, you can also choose an independent teacher and set your rates. 

Factor #3: Requirements

Whether you’re teaching offline or online, earning a TEFL certification is essential if you want to study to teach English overseas unless you have a master’s degree in TEFL or TESOL. Even a non-native English-speaking nation that obtains an official TEFL certification can practice as a professional English teacher in many countries and online.

If you want to teach online, getting the TEFL certification that caters to online learning, such as Bridge Specialized TEFL/TESOL certificate in teaching online, is better. 

Pros and Cons of Teaching English Online to International Students: Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Pros of Teaching English OnlineCons of Teaching English Online
Online ESL jobs are flexible. This means you get to choose your working hours! As a result, you can take time off when necessary without fretting about finding a substitute teacher. Odd work hours: Despite the flexibility that teaching English online provides, you will be working odd hours. This is because of different time zones. For example, if you live in America and teach Asian students, then you will be working in the early mornings or late nights. 
Location independence: This might be one of the best perks of teaching English online. You can be in any corner of the world, be it Hawaii, or Thailand, and still be able to teach your students. A perfect job for digital nomads or remote workers that regularly travel. Reliance on internet connection. Let’s be honest here. Life is not predictable, and so is our internet connection. If for any reason, you lost a connection and are not able to take class, you will have to pay the cost. 
No need for lesson planning: The majority of English companies have pre-planned lessons for each class. This means you won’t have to spend long hours preparing for classes. Just show up and start teaching. Extra creativity: The majority of online classes are one-on-one and hosted on online platforms. Due to physical restrictions, you will often find that these classes demand extra creativity and energy to make them fruitful lessons for your students. 

Where to Find Trusted Teaching English Abroad Jobs

We know, we know. The Internet has many scams, so it is hard to trust online English teaching opportunities. So, here we have gathered top reliable companies with an excellent history to help you grab your first job as an online English teacher. 

  1. Lingoda 

Based in Europe, Lingoda is a famous ESL company that caters to adults and business professionals. 


  • TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Native or C2 level English
  • At least 2-3 years of teaching experience

Job details and earnings

Teacher earns anywhere between 8 USD to 12 USD per hour. You will teach a group of five students and get the flexibility to choose the number of hours. The classes are held all the time. 

  1. PrePly 

Preply is an English teaching marketplace that provides teachers with ultimate freedom and, not to mention, higher earnings than other platforms. 


  • Be enthusiastic and energetic
  • Necessary equipment and a stable internet connection.

Job details and earnings:

Preply users can set up their prices. However, generally, teachers charge anywhere between $15 to USD 25. You also have the flexibility to set up your hours without any teaching hours limit. 

  1. XploreAsia

XploreAsia focuses on culture exchange through chat calls, video conferencing, etc. To qualify, you must join the company’s TEFL/TESOL course. You will have a flexible schedule and the ability to plan your lessons. Teachers also receive online guidance and demo processes through their overseas team.


Requires Bachelor’s degree and enrolment in their TEFL/TESOL course. 

Job details and earnings:

Complete flexibility with working hours. Anyone between the ages of 20-40 can qualify. Average pay per hour: $10 

The Bottom Line

Before pursuing English teaching as a career, it’s essential to do comprehensive research and weigh the pros and cons of teaching English abroad to International students. It’s a path less taken, but you will change the lives of many people who struggle to learn English in foreign countries. That’s a precious gift. Don’t you think? 

Happy Teaching! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, English teachers must have TEFL certification and a graduate degree in any discipline to be eligible to teach English in foreign countries.

Teaching English to international students is entirely worth it if you want to create a long-lasting impact on people’s lives. It’s more than just money.

It takes anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months to get TEFL certified. 6-month periods are somewhat laid back.’ Typical courses with a 4-week extended syllabus are generally full-time and demanding.