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Teaching English online is a fantastic job for anyone interested in diving into a new and exciting career of teaching. Working from home, abroad, or really wherever you like while being in charge of your own working day are all major perks of the job.
So, who can do it? To teach English online, you just need to be fluent in English, have a TEFL certificate, internet access, and a device with a camera and microphone – that’s it! Excellent communication skills and a strong sense of motivation won’t hurt either! While the above doesn’t necessarily qualify you for all online teaching jobs, it’ll certainly open up some doors and be a great starting point.
You don’t need a degree to TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) online but there are some employers who will ask for one. This means your job search will likely be more challenging than your degree-holding competitors, but this shouldn’t discourage you. Rest assured, there are still plenty of opportunities without one. Keen to find out how? Then keep reading!
First things first: Get TEFL qualified
The most important thing you can do before looking for work in the vast online teaching sphere is getting TEFL qualified. A stand-out application requires investing money in a top-quality course. Typically, teachers will need to have worked towards a 120-hour TEFL qualification but if you don’t have a degree it’s recommended that you do more if you can – a Level 5 and/or advanced training as this will really help your CV stand out. Completing a well-respected TEFL course from an accredited provider will let potential employers know how committed you are and show off your valuable skill set.
Previous teaching experience will definitely look great on your CV too but it’s often not necessary, and neither is it enough to replace a TEFL certificate. A common misconception, especially for those who have taught before, is that their previous experience qualified them to TEFL. However, TEFL is a different style of teaching from anything else, which means to do it well you must have the appropriate qualifications. For example, you wouldn’t expect a geography teacher to start teaching maths without any extra training, would you?
How to find work with an online teaching company
There are many successful online teaching companies out there that hire first-time teachers year-round. Putting your research skills into action before you actually start applying will save you a lot of effort. So, before you fill out any forms, check out where you’re eligible to teach, as having a degree isn’t the only requirement to frequently crop up. The table in this article is a great place to start if you’re looking for an idea of which companies are looking for what.
Some notable companies who hire non-degree holders include; Palfish, Cambly, and Open English but there are many more!
Why working for an online teaching company is the best way to start
Whether you intend to teach English online full-time, part-time, or as a transitional step into teaching English abroad, working for an online teaching company is the most recommended way to start.
Why is that? It’s largely to do with the fact that online teaching companies often do a lot of the hard work for you. They provide the platform for you to teach on, take care of a lot of the admin side of things (including fees), recruitment of new students, and some will even provide you with a curriculum and lesson plans to adhere to.
Considering going freelance – when and how?
Successful freelance online English teachers don’t start off as freelancers right away. They build on their teaching experience, student base, and skill set. While they have control over their own fees and get to enjoy being their own boss, it’s not realistic without having taught English online before. After all, how can you expect new students to be interested in your lessons if you can’t demonstrate that you’ve had any actual experience?
Only when you’re confident that you’ll be able to make a success of things independently should you start cutting back on your hours with an online teaching company, especially if it’s your main source of income. Phasing yourself into it will allow you time to gauge how much of a workload you can expect.
Advanced TEFL courses will give you an edge
It’s understandable that competing against those with degrees for the same job when you don’t have one yourself can cause some unease, but there are things you can do to give your application that extra edge.
Taking an advanced TEFL course is one of those things and they look great to potential employers. Advanced courses will help you refine your teaching skills, depending on what you’d like to focus on. The TEFL Org offers a variety of these courses including ones specifically designed to help you be the best online teacher.
Remember, a degree isn’t the only thing employers are looking for!
Finding work teaching English online is entirely possible without a degree as long as you have a quality TEFL qualification to boast about on your applications! Meeting a company’s basic requirements combined with enough motivation and resilience to keep going with the search will put you in a great position to be hired. It might be a little more challenging but it’ll definitely be worth it.