Teaching English online: What do I need to get started? - TEFL Online

Teaching English online: What do I need to get started?

If you’re reading this, you might be thinking about teaching English online. We’ve got some good news for you on that front!

It just so happens that now is the perfect time to start teaching English online! 🎉

The market for online ESL teachers is booming as many thousands of students worldwide discover the advantages of learning English online and more and more online ESL tutoring companies enter the scene, particularly in Asian countries where demand for native English speaking teachers is currently at an all-time high.

Teaching English online is also a great option for native English speakers without formal teaching experience to earn some extra cash on the side – or even turn part-time online teaching into a full-time, financially lucrative gig!

What’s so great about teaching English online?

For starters, you get to set your own hours, cut down on annoying work commutes AND work from the comfort of your couch!

You could even travel the world and earn money on the side teaching English online, all without having to worry about getting a working visa.

Is it hard to break into teaching English online?

Nope! In fact, getting set up with teaching online happens to be relatively straightforward.

The start-up costs are fairly low – you’ll need to have a decent computer or smartphone, high-speed internet, a webcam and quiet space in which to work.

Oh, and most online English tutoring companies will want you to have your Bachelor’s degree done and dusted. Some hiring companies will also want you to have some teaching experience.

Do I need an ESL certification to teach English online?

For the most part, yes, you do.

If you’re looking to land an ESL teaching job with one of the many online language schools and online tutoring companies currently hiring native English speakers worldwide, you’ll greatly increase your marketability if you have an ESL certificate. Bonus: you’ll also have a lot more self-confidence when you do start teaching English online.

With so many online teaching jobs out there right now, one of the most common question we get nowadays is which ESL certification you need to teach ESL online: a TESL or TEFL certification.

A little confused as to what’s the difference between the two? Let’s get back to basics!

What’s a TEFL certification?

A TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification is the most widely accepted ESL teaching certification in countries where English isn’t the first language (such as China, Japan, South Korea and Spain).

As a result, a TEFL qualification is the most widely recognized type of teaching certification in the eyes of employers located in non-native English speaking countries around the globe – regardless of whether you’re teaching ESL students online or in person.

How is a TESL certification any different?

A TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) certification is specifically designed to prepare ESL teachers teaching English in a country where English is the first language (such as the US, Canada, the UK and Australia).

Ok got it! So which ESL certification do I need to teach English online?

The answer is pretty easy, actually. It simply depends on where the students you’ll be teaching are located – not your physical location!

So, for example, if you’re teaching non-native English speakers located in a country in Asia (where the vast majority of online ESL teaching opportunities tend to be) a TEFL certification is what you need.

BUT if you’re a Canadian resident, teaching English online to non-English speakers located in Toronto, then a TESL certification is just the ticket for you.

Lots of our TEFL course graduates choose to teach English online to students located all around the world after returning from teaching English abroad – either as a temporary stop-gap or as a viable career opportunity. And we’ve got a feeling that the huge surge in online teaching opportunities will mean lots more of our graduates will be using their TEFL certificates to land a job teaching English online from the get-go!

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