What Qualifications Do You Need to Teach English Online?

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Posted by The Savvy Retiree on September 30, 2020 in Make Money

Is English your first language? Then you have all the skills you need to teach English online. 

You know how to speak with correct pronunciation. You have an extensive vocabulary base. You’re familiar with common idioms and expressions in English. You use correct grammar when speaking or writing. All of these abilities are highly coveted among non-native speakers, and countless students would pay you to share them.

However, to get a position on some of the major teaching English platforms, you may also need some qualifications or certifications. The type of qualifications you need vary from platform to platform, but in general, the requirements are not stringent. 

In essence, what you need depends on the level of students you want to teach and the income range you want to achieve.

If you simply want to pad your nest egg with a part-time gig focused on older learners, you can find private students on sites such as Preply. This platform connects students and tutors. You don’t need any formal qualifications to earn there (though they can help). To get started as a teacher, you simply create a profile video and set your prices. You then connect with students through the company’s video communications platform. 

To create a more consistent income stream, you can get a position with one of the numerous online English teaching companies, such as those serving the Asian market like VIPKid, TutorABC, GoGoKid, and Qkids. These companies will supply you with students. To get a job with them, you generally need a university degree in any subject and/or an English teaching certification. 

If you’ve never taught English before, getting one of these certifications is often a good idea regardless. They can help you bone up on grammar and provide guidance that will make the teaching process smoother and more enjoyable. 

English Teaching Certifications 

If you Google English teaching certifications, you’ll see a number of options online. Essentially, there are three main ones to consider, the TEFL, CELTA, and TESOL. 

The TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate is the standard qualification most online schools are looking for. TEFL courses can be completed online or through a combination of online and in-person learning. Prices for these courses vary depending on the provider, though generally you can find a good course for a few hundred dollars or less. And many courses can be completed in two to four weeks.

The CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is offered by Cambridge English and is generally regarded as the most prestigious of the entry-level English teaching certifications. For this reason, it is also more expensive and takes longer to complete.

The TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is a newer certification focused on teaching methods for foreign-language students who are already living in the U.S., Canada, or another English-speaking country. Some institutions offer a combined TESOL/TEFL certification.

Most of these courses will require you to teach at least one class per week, which can help get rid of any jitters you may have if you’re new to teaching. 

Specialized Language Teaching 

If you complete one of these certifications and find you enjoy earning as an English teacher, you can pursue a number of other specialized qualifications, such as the TEYL (Teaching English to Young Learners) and the Cert. TBE (Certificate in Teaching Business English). These can further increase your income.

For those considering longer-term commitments to teaching English, there are also higher-level qualifications available. With a year’s experience after obtaining your CELTA, you could qualify to take the Cambridge English DELTA (Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

With a diploma, you will have access to higher-level teaching positions in business and industry, and at many colleges and universities worldwide. 

The bottom line is that there are a vast number of ways to earn as an English teacher. If you want to get started straight away and start padding your nest egg, it’s eminently possible. Or if you want to get a qualification, you’ll find that they’re easily attainable and can unlock a world of online earning opportunities.

By Larry M. Lynch