How to Teach English Online and Work From Anywhere in the World

If you’re looking for a remote job which you can do from anywhere in the world, then look no further. Teaching English online is a highly desirable job. Not only is it relatively cheap to set up, but you can earn a good wage and set up your office and teach from anywhere in the world.

If you’re new to the idea of teaching English online or have any questions about qualifications, finding jobs, different teaching platforms, and what the difference between TEFL and TESOL is, read this handy guide and introduction to teaching English online.

What Is TEFL?

TEFL, or Teaching English as a Foreign Language, is a job teaching English to speakers of other languages. In other words, English is not the first language of your students.

English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers can teach English in their own country or overseas, and there are ever-increasing opportunities to teach English online too.

TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) are other terms you may encounter alongside TEFL.

How Do I Become an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Teacher?

If English is your first language, you already have the upper hand in teaching English to others. But to become a recognized EFL or ESOL teacher—and to stand out in job applications—it is highly recommended to undertake an accredited TEFL or TESOL course run by a recognized awarding body.

Teaching courses can be undertaken in the classroom, online, or through a combination of both, depending on which school or company you choose to learn through.

Where Can I Study TEFL Online?

There are many TEFL and TESOL courses online, but it is highly recommended you research which ones are accredited and recognized by employers.

The TEFL Academy

The TEFL Academy is a leading international course provider, with their Level 5 TEFL qualification officially approved by both USA and UK government-recognised awarding bodies. With a free 30-hour top-up course offered to all students, you can get extra value from your studies without paying any extra. holds one of the highest course accreditations in the UK, with several different courses to choose from. Teachers in training can choose courses based on hours of learning (from 20 hours to 168 hours or more) and have the option to add on specialized modules, such as Teaching Business English or Set Up & Promote Your Online Lessons.

Other Things to Look Out For

When searching for TEFL courses online, look out for providers who have Ofqual (UK Government Department), DEAC-approved (U.S. Department of Education National Accreditor), or similar regulation bodies attached to the courses on offer.

Regulated courses are officially recognized, meaning your certification upon completion will identify you as an officially recognized EFL teacher of a high standard, thus improving your chances of both employment and good pay.

Where Can I Find Jobs Online?

If you undertake a course through a course provider or school, such as the two listed above, you are likely to have exclusive access to the company’s jobs portal.

Other websites you can find EFL jobs include:

For some companies, having a degree and an accredited TEFL qualification is desirable but not essential. You are still highly employable with a recognized TEFL certification even if you do not have a university degree. Check the application requirements before submitting your CV and cover letter.

Related: The Best Interactive Apps for Classrooms and Workplaces

Where to Teach English Online

There are two main ways of teaching online:

  • Teaching through an online classroom platform
  • As private EFL teachers

We’ll go over the best platforms to teach English online, as well as discuss private teaching options. Teaching on TEFL platforms can vary, from the types of students and the curriculum to the pay rate, so it’s worth knowing a little about each one before you apply.


Cambly is a teaching platform based on everyday conversations and a great place to cut your TEFL teeth. Teaching on Cambly will allow you to meet students from across the world without a set minimum of teaching hours to complete or a strict curriculum to follow.

It’s worth noting that you do not need a TEFL certificate to teach on Cambly, and this is reflected in the pay rate. However, you do have a lot of flexibility, including setting your own hours and teaching in your own style on the platform.


A popular platform for teaching students from kindergarten to high school age, SayABC is partnered with National Geographic. This helps students receive engaging lessons with pre-uploaded National Geographic content. You’ll teach up to four children per class and will receive a consistent schedule to follow.

Unlike Cambly, you do need both a recognized TEFL qualification and a BA degree to apply to be a SayABC tutor.


Different from most other teaching platforms, Palfish is a teaching app rather than a website. You can teach from your phone or tablet, and with lessons ready prepared for you, it’s a great platform for newly-qualified teachers wanting to teach students of all ages.

On Palfish, there is a requirement of four teaching hours per week, plus a recognized TEFL qualification to apply. Find Palfish on your mobile or tablet’s app store to download.

Download: Palfish for iOS (Free)

Teaching Online as a Private Tutor

Working as a private or freelance EFL teacher means that you have more flexibility over your schedule and can charge more than you earn through an employer.

As with all freelance work, you will need to build a student base up over time—some of which you may meet by starting out teaching on an online platform.

Having an online presence, including a website with a contact form and being active on social media, is a good way of finding new students.

Related: How to Build an Online Brand as a Freelancer

What Equipment Do I Need to Teach English Online?

Setting up as an online EFL teacher is simple and inexpensive.

If you’re teaching through an online school or via a TEFL platform, they will likely supply you with the teaching platform you need to conduct lessons.

If you choose to teach privately, you will need to create your own virtual classroom. Setting up a dedicated Google Classroom, Zoom, or Skype account works for this.

Once you have your platform, you need a good quality webcam (which you can buy if your laptop, computer, or other device does not have one), high-quality headphones, and a microphone. Many online tutors opt to use noise-canceling headphones with a built-in mic for optimum quality to avoid external noises and distractions during lesson times.

Teaching English Online Is a Great Way to Earn From Anywhere

The beauty of teaching English online is that it can be set up from anywhere, as long as you have the right equipment and a strong internet connection. With low set-up costs, you can enjoy your online teaching career from almost anywhere in the world.

Author: Charlotte Osborn

Source: Charlotte Osborn.” How to Teach English Online and Work From Anywhere in the World”. Retrieved From

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