Explore More

What Are the Requirements to Teach English Online?

Ben Dailey, teaching English online

For those of you looking for a rewarding teaching experience that’s also flexible and fun, teaching English online might be the perfect option. The requirements to teach English online differ from company to company and can include things like TEFL certification, a university degree, prior teaching experience, and proper equipment. Read on to find out exactly what you need to score the perfect online teaching position!

What qualifications do I need to be an online teacher?

TEFL/TESOL  certification

At the minimum, to become an online English teacher, you will usually need to have a 120-hour TEFL/TESOL certification that’s internationally recognized and from an accredited institution. Making sure that your certificate comes from a reputable source is essential if you want potential employers to take your qualifications seriously and consider you for an online teaching position.

To set yourself apart from other applicants and learn the specific methodology, skills, and technology for the virtual classroom, the best option is to combine general online TEFL certification with a Specialized Certificate in Teaching English Online. Choose the components you need from this comprehensive, four-course suite, including a unique virtual teaching practicum, which is an ideal way for new teachers to gain experience in the virtual classroom.

Teaching English Online Course With Practicum

The Bridge Teaching English Online Course with Practicum

A university degree

Some online teacher requirements include certain types of university degrees. The majority of online companies that require this will only need to see proof of a bachelor’s degree, which can typically be in any field. In other words, you’re not usually required to have a degree in education, English, or a related field, and normally, a master’s degree isn’t needed. There are even some online companies who will accept your candidacy without a degree as long as you’re currently enrolled in a bachelor’s program.

Learn more about teaching online without a degree. 

Teaching experience

Other requirements to teach English online include prior teaching experience. While this differs depending on the company, some will request that you have a minimum number of years of experience teaching in a classroom or online. Keep in mind that tutoring, volunteering, completing teaching practicums, and mentoring can often count as teaching experience.

Newly Certified? 7 Ways to Get TEFL Experience

The right equipment

When it comes to what’s required to teach English online, the right equipment is a must. No matter where you’re applying, you’ll have to be able to meet certain Internet speeds, which are decided by each individual company. Almost all online companies will also require you to have a headset with a microphone and a high-quality webcam.

The proper environment

Finally, if you want to teach English online from home, you’ll need a proper space in which to conduct your classes. This usually entails having a clean and appropriate background (or an engaging, relevant background if you’re teaching young learners) and a quiet space in which to teach. Most online ESL companies will also check to see that you have adequate lighting, both in terms of brightness and an absence of shadows.

Take It Up a Notch! How to Invest in Your Online Teaching Space.

requirements to teach English online

Sallie, teaching online from Canada

Can I teach English online without a degree?

Yes, you can teach online without a degree! Not all online companies require you to have a degree, and as mentioned previously, some employers only need to see that you’re enrolled in a degree program (not that you’ve already obtained a degree). However, even if a degree is not part of a company’s requirements to teach English online, you still may need to meet other qualifications, such as previous teaching experience and a TEFL/TESOL certification.

Can I teach English online if I’m not a native English speaker?

Some companies may only accept applications from native English speakers, and all employers will require you to be fluent in English. If you’re not a native English speaker, you may be required to submit proof of fluency through English language proficiency exam results or other means. Just know that there are plenty of opportunities to teach English online that don’t require you to be a native speaker, so don’t worry too much about this requirement!

How do I get certified to teach online?

The first step in getting certified to teach English online is to find a reputable and accredited institution. For example, Bridge’s Certification in Teaching English Online is internationally recognized and will, therefore, be accepted by online companies headquartered in all different parts of the world.

Bridge’s program includes several different certification options. You can choose to complete the 60-hour course in Foundations of Teaching English Online, the 60-hour course in Advanced Methods in Teaching English Online, or a combination of the two. The introductory course will teach you the theory and methods behind teaching English online while the advanced course will help you master lesson planning and other skills needed to teach in a virtual classroom.

You can also add the optional Practicum in Teaching English Online to your specialization. This 60-hour practicum allows you to gain valuable experience teaching English online to real students. The course will help familiarize you with an online teaching platform and it will leave you with recorded class sessions that you can add to your portfolio to show potential employers.

How do I become an online English teacher?

Work for a company

Whether you prefer teaching young learners, teens, or adults, there are plenty of available jobs teaching English online. You can search relevant job boards for positions with established online ESL companies that will take care of scheduling, payments, and lesson plans for you. To become an online English teacher for a popular company like English First, you’ll go through an interview process that will include a basic Q&A and a demo lesson to showcase your teaching skills.

Bridge can even help you get started with teaching English online before you earn your certification! Visit this page, which is all about teaching English online to learn more about how we can guide you from certification to a teaching position with Preferred Employers in our trusted network of online companies and schools.

Work for a marketplace

Teaching English online for a marketplace is slightly different than working for a company. The marketplace model means that you’ll be in charge of setting up your own profile to attract potential students to sign up for classes with you via the platform. In other words, the company will manage payments and student recruitment, but it will be up to you to make yourself marketable, as students will get to choose which teachers they have classes with. Popular marketplace options include companies like italki and Preply.

Work for yourself

If you don’t quite meet certain online teacher requirements or you just want more flexibility, you can always set up an online tutoring business yourself! To do this, you’ll need a website or other ways of advertising and will need to choose an appropriate teaching platform (this could be an official educational platform like CourseCraft or something as simple as Skype). You’ll also want to consider any additional software/accounts you might need, such as a scheduling program or a PayPal account.

As you can see, there are many ways to teach English online! Despite the fact that what’s required to teach English online differs with each company, the wide range of options out there means you’re sure to find something that’s a good fit for your qualifications.

Still not sure whether teaching English online is right for you? Check out the differences between Teaching Online vs. the Classroom!

Camille is a content marketing manager, specializing in the language industry. Her love for language and experiencing other cultures has taken her around the globe, and she has taught English abroad both in the classroom and online. When not working or traveling, she can be found spending time with her family or — when not chasing after her two young daughters — cozying up with a good book!