Jan 2024 update: Most, if not all, of these platforms are no longer hiring or are doing so at a smaller capacity than before. I highly recommend you search for other ways to make money online or dig deep on each platform to see if they're still valid options in 2024
I know quite a few of you guys that stay up to date with A Way Abroad are teachers, either in your home country or abroad. Most of you are probably at home right now trying to pass the hours or even scrape up enough cash to pay rent (I hope it's not that bad for you but regardless, I got you).
Most online teaching platforms are for teaching students in China. Although it's not much of one, the silver lining for you guys that want to teach online is all students in China are currently at home learning online. Personally, my hours teaching online have skyrocketed and I imagine it's the same for platforms across the board.
I've been teaching with VIPKID for almost 3 years now and it's given me a lot of extra cash when I still worked full time and now it's my primary income. I know firsthand how amazing of a side (or main) hustle online teaching is.
While I do believe VIPKID is the best platform in terms of pay and flexibility, it can be the hardest company to get hired by with strict rules about nationality and experience. It can also take a few weeks to get through the application process. If you fit the bill, I say go for it but if you're in more of a rush, you have options.
There are so many other platforms out there, ranging in terms of pay, scheduling, nationality, age of students and prep time needed, among other things.
So, I've gathered up a list of 11 (+1 bonus!) online schools you can get started with, even possibly by tomorrow (fast forward to Cambly, Butterfly or Tao Tie if you're that eager to get going). All of these schools are legit and are guaranteed to pay you.
Before we get started with the list though, I want to draw attention to the links for each school I've included. Each link is a referral link for another female teacher or my own, in the case of VIPKID. Referral links are links with a special code designated to give the recommending person a kick-back from the company if you get hired. Each teacher who has provided their link has either been forced to work online, like maybe you, because their actual job has closed for the time being or are packing in the hours now because what else should you do in quarantine?
Either way, I urge you to lend a helping hand to these teachers at no cost for you by using their links to apply when you're ready.
General requirements to teach online:
- Steady, stable internet connection
- Laptop (except with PalFish, you can teach from your phone) with built-in or external camera and mic
- Native or near native English speaker
- Most prefer experience, a Bachelor's Degree and/or TEFL certificate
- Willingness to teach children (except for Cambly and ITalki)
- Willingness to work on Beijing time zone (GMT +8) (except for Cambly, ITalki)
*These requirements are not the same for the last 2 online schools on the list as they are completely different from the rest.*
Now, without wasting any time, let's jump right into each platform and talk about the specific requirements, application process and pros/cons to each one.
As I already mentioned, I've been working with VIPKID for years. They've funded a lot of my travels and now I make enough with them for it to be my sole income.
Requirements for VIPKID:
- A Bachelor’s degree or higher (in any subject)
- Eligibility to work in the U.S. or Canada (native or with appropriate visas)
- At least 1 year of teaching experience (coaching, tutoring, mentoring, etc)
- A stable internet connection
- Teaching credentials preferred but not required
VIPKID is strict on their requirements but if you have them, teaching with them is a huge perk for those of us that typically don't maintain a normal schedule. Although you must be willing to sign a 6-month contract, you are free to set your own hours on a daily basis.
There are no minimum or maximum hours so feel free to work full-time while the virus is still around and cut down to part-time or don't teach at all once you can get back to your daily life.
Parents can request "priority booking" classes up to 2-weeks in advance but the majority of your classes will be booked 1 week prior. You are also given the option to decide if you are available for last minute classes. Last minute bookings mean a student can book your class up to an hour in advance instead of the typical 24-hours in advance. If you're booked for a short notice class, you receive an extra $2/class.
The downside of all the flexibility is there is no guarantee you'll be booked when you open classes. Especially in the beginning it can be quite tough but with your probable increased availability and the amount of students not going to school right now, I would guess your chances are good.
The base pay with VIPKID is $7-10/25-class, but with bonuses, you can earn up to $13/class.
If you're looking for more in depth information about the application process, how to get hired and what it's like teaching for VIPKID, check out this article devoted to teaching with VIPKID!
SayABC is a part of VIPKID but has different requirements, class structure and pay. Their lessons are from National Geographic to keep the students (and teachers!) engaged.
Requirements for SayABC:
- Native level of English
- Computer with fast internet connection and audio/video capability
- Hold a Bachelor degree or above
- Minimum one year teaching experience is preferred
- Certificated in TEFL, TESOL, CELTA or any other
- Relevant teaching certificates is preferred
With SayABC, instead of teaching students 1:1 like with VIPKID, you can teach up to 4 students at one time and each class is 40 minutes. You only have to sign a 3-month contract with them.
You can teach trial classes, homeroom classes and substitute classes with them. If you teach trial classes, you can open your schedule as little to a day in advance but if you teach regular or "homeroom" classes, you can schedule classes for 2 weeks, 5 weeks or 15 weeks. If you opt to schedule for 5 or 15 weeks in advance, you're most likely to be booked for those classes.
The base pay is $13-15/40-min class but with incentives you could make up to $28.
A perk of SayABC is they hire South Africans. Unfortunately, many online schools only hire teachers from North America or the UK but with SayABC, any native speaker can apply!
Cambly works completely different than other online teaching platforms. With Cambly, instead of teaching Chinese children, you teach adults. And instead of traditional teaching by following a lesson plan, most Cambly students are looking more for natural conversations with native teachers.
Requirements for Cambly:
- Native English speaker
- Computer with camera and mic
- Good conversationalist
Cambly is by far the most accessible online teaching platform. There's no need to book classes in advance and you don't need to have any previous teaching skills. Cambly is a cool opportunity for the fact that you can talk to adults from all over the world in just a few classes.
You're free to hop online any time you have some spare time and start chatting with students but it's not guaranteed you'll get students that way. Instead, Cambly offers "Priority Hours." You can set as many or as few priority hours as you'd like. By setting up these hours, you're telling Cambly that you'll definitely be teaching at that time so they will direct students to you. The only stipulation is that you don't cancel within 12 hours of your hour and you answer any call that comes in at that time.
With Cambly, the pay is significantly lower than with other online platforms. You make $0.17/minute or $10.20/hour.
You are paid weekly though, instead of monthly, so long as you have made $20 in the past week.
The application process is quite simple, too. Just fill out the sign-up form on their website, allow them to do a speed test on your computer and submit an introduction video. Once you've submitted this, you should hear back from Cambly soon. Some teachers have heard back as quickly as 48 hours but others have unfortunately waited months to hear from them.
PalFish is another unqiue teaching opportunitiy. PalFish has 3 different programs, all with different requirements, scheduling and pay. The programs are: Free Talk/Live Stream, Official Kids Course and the Philippines Course.
A big thing that sets PalFish a part from other opportunities is you can teach straight from your phone or tablet, instead of a laptop and with Free Talk/Live Stream classes, it's not a requirement that you're a native speaker.
Requirements for Free Talk/Live Stream:
- Open to non-native English speakers
- Requires no qualifications
- Allows you to set your own rates
- Does not require minimum hours
- Ability to teach from your phone or tablet
- Have students of all ages
With Free Talk classes, there's no curriculum nor time constraints on classes. With Free Talk, you teach students 1:1 but with live stream, it's a free form class open to multiple students.
When thinking about your pay, they only ask that you set it between $10-45/hour.
Requirements for Official Kids Course:
- Steady internet, access to device with mic and camera
- Must be a native English speaker from US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia
- Must have a TESOL/ TEFL/ Teacher’s certificate
With the Official Kids Course, you'll teach students 1:1 using PalFish's official lessons. Your students will all be Chinese children ages 3-12 years old and you are required to at least teach 3.5 hours a week.
You can earn up to $22/hour.
Requirements for the Philippines Course:
- Hires English teachers from the Philippines
- Must have a TESOL, TEFL, or Teacher’s certificate
- Teach children ages 3 to 12
The Philippines Course is very similiar to the Official Kids Course, except it is only for Filipino teachers. You can earn up to 268 PHP/hour.
Along with having 3 different courses, PalFish is also unique because you apply directly through their app which you can download straight from the App Store.
Want to know more in depth information about teaching with PalFish and how to get hired? Check out this article!
If you're ready to apply, follow this link or use this code when you're apply: 69239996.
QKids is another online teaching opportunity for teachers who are eligible to work in the US or Canada.
Requirements for QKids:
- Eligible to legally work in the U.S. or Canada
- A computer, webcam and headset + a steady internet connection
- Bachelor's degree, or can prove you're in your last semester
- Teaching license or English teaching certificate (TEFL, TESOL, etc) preferred but you can qualify for a fast track TESOL voucher to be completed before signing the contract.
To me, QKids seems pretty similar to VIPKID in their requirements but they mention that their teachers should not only be from the U.S. or Canada but also be currently located there as well. Although some teachers have gotten around this rule by using a VPN. We recommend ExpressVPN. You can try it free for a month and then it's $50/month.
I've also heard of recent teachers being hired who are not currently in the US or the Canada nor are using a VPN. The location rule doesn't seem to always be followed, so even if you're abroad, you can still give it a shot and apply!
Instead of teaching students 1:1, you'll be teaching 1:4. You also much commit to at least 6 hours (12 classes) a week but if you teach at least 15 classes each week you're eligible for a bonus.
You start with a base pay of $8/30 minute class but have the chance to get $10.
Your class schedule is set weekly but you are given the ability to choose the hours you can teach each week.
italki is a unique language platform because they are open to multiple languages, not just English teachers. For an updated list of language teachers they are currently looking for, follow this link. They update this list weekly, as needed. The most recent update, March 6th, states they are currently seeking English, Spanish and Japanese teachers.
Like PalFish, italki offers different profile types. With italki, there are two different profile types you can choose between: Professional Teaching and Community Tutor.
For both profile types:
- "Native" or Advanced (C2) language proficiency
- Reliable access to an internet connection
- VOIP software (Skype, Hangouts, Facetime, or QQ)
- External microphone and/or webcam
- An italki user profile
- A completed teaching application
Requirements for Professional Teaching:
- Have training as educators and/or extensive professional teaching experience.
- Can provide students with resources, prepared materials, and structured lesson plans to help students reach their goals.
- Ability to upload documents showing your training and experience as an educator.
Requirements for Community Tutor:
- Be friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, and use their time to provide students with conversation practice.
For each profile type, you're free to set up your schedule based on your availability. Students can browse teacher profiles and schedule a lesson with you on Skype.
As a teacher, you set your own class prices.
Keep in mind though, italki takes a 15% cut on transactions between students and teachers because students on italki only pay per lesson. italki only takes fees on completed classes.
You also decide when to withdraw your money by submitting a withdrawal request. You must at least have $30 in your account to withdraw.
Students on ITalki are all ages and language levels.
7. Whales English
Whales English, previously known as Sprout, focuses on teaching children in China, ages 5-15.
Requirements for Whales English:
- BA degree or higher
- Experience teaching kids (minimum of 1 year)
- At least one teaching certificate: TESOL, TEFL, CELTA, etc.
- Native English speaker from native English-speaking countries
- Desire to engage and inspire young learners
- Stable internet, computer with camera and external mic preferred
Whales English is unique because they offer 50 minute classes and you can have between 1-3 students each class but the vast majority of classes are with 2 students. Like most other platforms, they also provide you with the lesson material so the only thing you need to do before class is review what they've sent you.
Similar to SayABC, they also use lesson material from National Geographic to keep students engaged.
The average pay is $20-25/hour, but you could make between $18-30, even though you only teach for 50 minutes.
With Whales English, you must sign a 6-month contract. While you are free to set your own schedule, you must open at least 8 hours per week. The bookings itself are less flexible though because you must open classes for 5 weeks (for trials) and 40 weeks (for regulars). With less flexibility you do gain more stability and also since you teach the same students each week, you can build great relationships with them.
When you're ready to apply follow this link to get going!
DaDaABC is another online English teaching platform that caters towards young Chinese students.
Requirements for DaDaABC:
- Bachelor's Degree in any subject
- Teaching Certificate (TEFL, TESOL, etc.)
- Ability to pass a background check
- A native English speaker
- A steady internet connection, computer with camera and headset
DaDaABC uses a platform similar to other companies mentioned above. The lessons are all user-friendly and geared towards Chinese students ages 4-16.
With DaDaABC, you have the ability to make up to $25/hour (2 lessons) but the average pay is $17/hour.
A downside to teaching with DaDaABC is teachers are required to cover the cost for international bank transfer. If you live in China though, that fee is waived and you can even opt to be paid in cash.
DaDa prefers that teachers teach 15 hours/week but the minimum teaching hours are 2 days/week, 2 hours/day. You can set your own hours, following their schedule but are expected to stick with that schedule throughout your contract. Contracts range between 6 months to 1 year, with the ability to renew at the end of your contract.
9. Magic Ears
Magic Ears is a great option for people looking for high pay but who would prefer to teach in a group setting, instead of 1:1. They also have a unique scheduling platform that allows for stability yet also flexibility.
Requirements for Magic Ears:
- US/Canada nationality
- Bachelor's Degree
- Teaching experience + teaching certificate
The application process seems similar to other big companies like VIPKID, SayABC, DaDaABC and Whales English, with maybe a few particulars between them each.
For Magic Ears specifically, you'll need to submit an application, make a mini demo, go through a quick online training, teach a 25-minute trial lesson, allow them to run a background check, sign your contract and go!
The classes with Magic Ears are 1:4, meaning in each class you will have 4 students.
With Magic Ears there is no minimum teaching hours per week but they prefer that teachers teach at least 10 classes/week. You are able to set your schedule as far out as 4-6 weeks or as close as 24-hours ahead. They also allow to cancel time slots that do not get booked.
The base pay is $8-11/25-minute class but with incentives, you can earn $9-13.
Ready to apply? Don't wait- get going today!
Outschool is a unique option because it does not focusing on teaching English as a foreign language. Outschool's students are all native English speakers looking for fun and educational courses. It offers live classes to homeschool students and has recently seen a huge surge in users since so many students are forced to learn from home now.
Requirements for Outschool:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Passion and expertise in their chosen topics
- Engaging teaching style
- Strong computer skills
- Broadband internet connection
- Resident in, or a citizen of: the United States of America, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand
- U.K. is coming soon!
It not only for teaching English online but a wide range of other online courses for children. Find out how you can get started working on Outschool and teach your first class!
Learn more about teaching online with Outschool in our in-depth article or go ahead and get started teaching with Outschool by following this link to sign up.
GogoKid is an online platform for teaching English to kids in China. With a salary ranging from $14-$25/hr and an incredibly flexible schedule, GogoKid can be your new breadwinner, a lucrative side hustle, or anything in between.
Requirements to teach with GoGoKid:
- Native English speaker
- A Bachelor's Degree
- Eligible to work in the U.S. or Canada (although you can be located anywhere)
- TEFL/TESOL/similar certificate
- A stable Internet connection (invest in an Ethernet cable!)
- Some experience working with kids preferred (this can be flexible! Babysitting, camp counselor, tutoring, afterschool programs, etc)
GoGoKid allows you to set your schedule as far out as 3 weeks in advance or as soon as 24hours before class time. With this level of flexibility, GoGoKid can fit in with anyone's schedule.
*Bonus! 12. Tao Tie
Tao Tie is unique from the other English teaching platforms because with Tao Tie you make short videos, submit them and the students watch them on their own time. The videos for Tao Tie are incredibly short at only 10-20 seconds. They are seeking more "real life" videos rather than Butterfly who seems to more focused on educational content.
Requirements for Tao Tie:
- Native English speaker
Each 15 second video that is accepted by Tao Tie will pay $1-1.50.
One of the biggest requirements for getting videos is approved is it must be shot in portrait mode. It typically takes a day or 2 for the videos to be approved.
You can download the "contributor" app from the App Store and use the referral code: XJPBVS.
*Bonus! 13. Butterfly Education
Butterfly and Tao Tie below are both completely different teaching apps than the previous 9 I mentioned. With both of these apps you record short videos that are later shared with students.
Requirements for Butterfly:
- From the US or Canada
- Neutral North American accent
- Teaching experience preferred
- Video editing skills preferred
At Butterfly, you can submit two types of videos- curriculum videos and field trip videos. Butterfly manages it's students through a private Facebook group. Each week they provide teachers with a range of topics for videos. You can sign up for a certain topic and simply submit your video by the deadline.
The curriculum videos should be between 3-5 minutes and field trip videos can be shorter at at least 1.5 minutes.
Once approved, each video pays $10. You can add optional subtitles to your video for an addition $0.50.
A special aspect of Butterfly is they are now converting in a subscription based platform. This means the company will still buy your videos but now they will be housed on your profile. Students can pay to subscribe to your channel which means more passive income for you! This change is brand new so many of the details are not finalized yet.
**UPDATE: Butterfly is not accepting new applicants as of March 21, 2020. I will update this as soon as they begin to accept new applicants again.**
There you have it, 12 unique online teaching apps that will fit your schedule, experience and needs!