Are you a native English speaker and want to teach online? Does not having a degree deter you from applying?
Did you know you CAN teach ESL online as a native English speaker, even if you don’t have a degree!
Yes, it’s true.
There are multiple online ESL companies hiring native English speakers without a degree.
As long as you have an interest in teaching and hold a TEFL/TESOL certificate, you will be well on your way to getting hired.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase or apply to one of the companies I teach with, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. You can view the full affiliate disclosure here.
If you are considering becoming an online ESL teacher, I am going to presume you have an interest in teaching and educating others. If not, then you might want to rethink which online career is best for you.
The whole concept of teaching ESL online is just that, you are teaching students from around the world English as a second language via the internet.
Generally, you will either be teaching adults or kids. Many companies specialise in one client area, but some offer lessons to every age and ability.
It is a good idea if you are looking to teach kids, that you have some experience with kids. Not all, but some kids, particularly younger students, need a bit more ‘entertainment’ as such to keep them engaged. So it is helpful if you have a bit of experience managing behaviours, teaching younger students, or even just entertaining your own kids at home.
To teach ESL online, you must have completed a TEFL or TESOL course at a minimum.
So what’s the difference?
TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. These are usually required if you are looking to teach English in a country where English is not the primary language.
TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. TESOL prepares you to teach English to non-native English speakers and is generally recommended if you are teaching in your own country.
Both certificates are accepted with online ESL companies. My only recommendation would be to get a TEFL certificate if you are also going to be teaching ESL abroad, not just online.
If you are already experienced with teaching students, I would recommend this TESOL course. If I am honest, it isn’t the greatest. But, if you are experienced with teaching already, then this certificate will give you a tick in the box as far as your ESL application. It’s just $19 when purchased via Groupon, comprises multiple-choice questions, and then provides you with a downloadable certificate at the end.
Top Tip: ESL companies often request your certificate number. This company does NOT provide your certificate number from your downloaded version. If you don’t wish to pay for your certificate to be printed and posted to you, there is another way to grab your certificate number.
Within the Open International Academy, simply click as if you were paying to print your certificate. Before confirming and paying, you can click to preview your certificate. When you preview, your certificate number is displayed. Ensure to take a screenshot so you do not lose your certificate number when applying to online ESL companies.
Alternatively, if you do not have any teaching experience, I recommend this course. It is more expensive at $349, but you get what you pay for.
The first course by Open International Academy is merely a good choice for ticking the box if you are an experienced teacher. Honestly, when I completed the course I didn’t learn anything from it. If I didn’t need this course to teach online, I would have never purchased it.
With TEFL Pros, however, you gain a tonne of value. This course includes:
- 10 modules plus a bonus module of teaching resources
- 32 units to help you build your skillset
- Lesson planning with video instructions
- 17 hours of in-class observations
- Access to global partners if you are wanting to also work abroad
- Interview Prep and Resume Guide
- Professional Portfolio
- A virtual and hard copy of your TEFL certificate
Plus, if you are unsure whether this course is for you. You can sign up for a 2 day free online TEFL training course.
Related Post: Best Tools and Supplies for Online ESL Teachers
Now we have the technicalities cleared up above, let’s take a look at the best ESL companies that will hire you as a teacher without a degree.
There are multiple companies which hire native English speakers without a degree, but not all of them pay a decent rate per hour. The following companies pay on average between $10-22 per hour.
When taking a look at the following list, be sure to consider what it is YOU want from your online ESL job.
Are you primarily looking to teach adults or kids?
Would you prefer a fixed or flexible teaching schedule each week?
Do you want to teach via your laptop, or would you prefer to use a mobile phone or tablet?
Make a list of your preferences first, and then compare which of the following 5 ESL companies suit your needs.
Related Post: Where to Find Online ESL Teaching Jobs
5 of the Best Online ESL Companies for Native English Speakers without a Degree
Simple international is an established online ESL company. They operate 8 am-10 pm BJT, focused on supporting Chinese students with their education.
You would be teaching children from 4-12 years old and from beginner kindergarten to K12 level. Classes can be in a one to one format, in small groups of four students or larger groups of 30-40 students in one lesson. Classes are either 25 or 45 minutes long.
Unlike many companies, there are no minimum hourly requirements. You can work as many or as little hours as you like each week.
Simple international requires native English speakers from either America, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or Ireland.
Applicants also need to have a TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA qualification. Plus, to have one-year teaching experience or equivalent such as mentoring.
The application process is quite standard starting with sending your application via their website. Then going through an interview, demo class with a member of staff and then training.
Simple international pay teachers up to $22 per hour and payments are made monthly via Paypal.
Cambly is hugely popular with online ESL teachers. Many choose to sign up with this company as their secondary position alongside a primary company e.g. Whales English and Cambly.
Due to its flexibility and conversational classes, it’s a really good, relaxed match to have alongside a position teaching kids.
Cambly is on the lower scale for pay, offering teachers $0.17 per minute, equating to $10.20 per hour. But, this is to be expected due to the format of holding conversational lessons one on one with adults.
They operate 24/7 with students around the world. One minute you could be speaking to someone from Argentina followed by someone from South Korea.
Cambly requires it’s teachers to be fluent in English, but you do not need to have a degree, experience, or TEFL qualification.
They are completely flexible schedule-wise and teachers are paid through PayPal every Monday.
The application process is relatively easy consisting of a form and two-minute introductory video. Once accepted, you then complete your profile and open slots for students to find and book with you.
As Cambly is extremely popular, it can take from a few weeks to a couple of months to hear back from them.
Once hired with their adult program, you can then be considered for their Kids program, which offers a slightly higher rate of $12 per hour.
To be considered for the kid’s program, you must be a native English speaker with some teaching experience.
Cambly’s kid’s program offers classes 30 minutes in length and for students between 4-15years of age.
Again, you control your schedule and hours are flexible with what you work each week. Pay is also made weekly.
PalFish offers both a free talk and kids program, but for this post, I am just going to talk about the kid’s program. Free talk is a good option for non-natives or if you are trying to boost your experience, but you can earn a higher, more consistent rate through PalFish’s Kids program.
PalFish is slightly different from the majority of online ESL companies. You are not required to teach from a computer or laptop device. You can actually teach just using your mobile phone or tablet.
For the Kids program, the same qualifications apply in that you must be a native English speaker from the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, or Australia. You must have a TEFL or TESOL certificate and some experience with kids.
PalFish ‘s Kids program only requires a minimum of 3.5 peak hours per week. Peak hours are between 6-9 pm BJT and 9 am-10 pm BJT on weekends.
Students are between the ages of 3-12years and lessons are taught with one student at a time for 25 minutes.
The pay is on a scale, with all teachers starting at 50 RMB per 25-minute class, plus an additional 5RMB if you are not late. This equals approximately $16 per 50 minutes of teaching (give or take depending upon the exchange rate).
Pay increases in increments of $5 per level. There are 5 levels and teachers can earn up to $22 per hour. This is actually a similar rate to the industry standard for companies who hire teachers with a degree.
There are additional bonuses on top of this as well. $15 is offered for each trial student who signs up after taking your class. An additional $15 is offered for each teacher you refer who successfully begins teaching with PalFish. Plus, every teacher gains $15 once hired towards props and supplementary materials.
Their application process is quite simple. First, you must download the app onto your phone or tablet. Once you have authenticated the app, you simply complete your profile as you would with other teaching applications. They require an introductory video, mentioning your qualifications and experience. Then write this as a text summary as part of your profile.
Your application is then submitted via the app and reviewed. Once you pass this section, you can now participate in the free talk option. You need to further apply to the Kids program through the app.
Here, you are required to book and complete a demo class teaching PalFish’s lesson material. As with any ESL demo, you have time in advance to review the lesson materials. You can also actually enter the classroom early to familiarise yourself with the layout, how to use the different tools, and where to find the virtual stickers and augmented reality.
When it comes to your demo class with PalFish, no one will actually be with you during the session. This is recorded at the booked time and you are required to teach the lesson as if you had a real student.
You will be notified via the app if you pass the demo class and any improvement tips they have for you. After this stage, you must read the handbook and training materials to then complete a small quiz.
After this, you are all set and can start teaching with the PalFish Kid’s program within a week.
IQBar is actually a UK based company with students from China. Their students range from beginner level to advance with students of all ages.
IQBar offers a range of different courses to suit their students:
- English courses – all ability levels, 25-30 minutes in length
- Exam Prep for TOEFL / IELTS / Cambridge English Exams for 25-30minutes
- Seminars – group lessons for 20-50 students based on a particular topic with a quiz format
- University Consultation for students needing help with applying to university and choosing a course. These last for 55minutes to 1 hour
- Phonics – EAL learning and basic vocabulary lessons for 25-30 minutes
- Academic Subject Mentoring to support students with a particular subject which last for 55minutes to 1 hour.
They require teachers to be fluent in English, hold a 120hour TEFL certificate or equivalent, plus 1 year teaching experience.
Their peak hours are 11-3 GMT in March-October and 10-2GMT during October – March.
There are two contracts that are offered by IQBar:
The Flexi contract is good for you if you don’t want fixed slots each week. With this contract, you can choose your availability and there are no minimum hour requirements.
Contracted is best for you if you can commit to teaching the same hours and days each week. IQBar pays it’s contracted teachers regardless of if they have a class booked or not during their available fixed slots. You also gain access to CPD for free.
Pay starts from £9 per hour but you can achieve £20 per hour depending upon the level and course you are teaching. Aka, teaching Academic Subject Mentoring sessions pays higher than teaching phonics classes.
Their application again is very similar to other ESL companies. You can apply via their website. If successful, you will then be invited to attend an interview where the company can get to know you, view your set up and assess if your equipment is suitable for teaching ESL.
Following this, you will be invited to classroom training so you can find your way around the virtual classroom and prepare for your mock session. Within your mock session, you are required to teach an IQBar teacher who will pretend to be a young child as your student. If you pass this session, you become a trial ‘buddy’ which is essentially your probationary period as an ESL teacher with IQBar.
* Note IQBar are currently not hiring new teachers.
Lingoda is another ESL company which requires no minimum hours, offering a flexible schedule to it’s online ESL teachers.
They operate 24/7 with mainly adult students who are taught one to one or in groups of up to 5. They pay teachers between $8-12 per hour.
They do require teachers to be fluent English speakers, hold a TEFL or TESOL certificate and prefer 3 years of teaching experience.
Again, Lingoda’s application process is very stereotypical for the industry. You can apply online via the link below, complete your interview and onboarding process and start teaching within a week.
These are 5 of the best online ESL companies hiring Native English Speakers without a degree.
Once you have sent in your application, be sure to check out these top tips for passing your interview and demo.