No Puppets Required! Teach English Online to Adults With These Companies

By Camille Turner
September 1, 2020
teaching online on a tablet

When you think of teaching English online from home, you probably picture working with kids, which is, in fact, the age group most online tutoring jobs involve. Yet, this age group is not for every teacher. If that describes you, you’re in luck – we’ll show you how to get a job teaching English online to adults! 

Online tutoring companies that cater to adult ESL students

When you’re browsing online teaching jobs on the Bridge Job Board or other resources, you’ll see a lot of positions advertised to tutor kids, especially students in Asian countries, such as China. However, you just have to dig a little deeper if you’d like to teach adult students, and these companies are some examples.  

1. E-Space Vietnam

This online tutoring company works with both kids and adults. They teach 1-to-1 classes, with the adult classes focused on developing and improving communication skills for the workplace or preparing people for English proficiency tests such as the IELTS, TOIEC, and TOEFL. They work with employees of many corporations within Vietnam, such as Vietnam Oil and Gas Corporation and PepsiCo.

2. Topica Native 

Based in Vietnam, Topica Native caters to students in Southeast Asia. They have more than 2,000 teachers and over 50,000 adult students from Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. As a tutor with Topica Native, you’ll work with university students and working people who want to improve their conversational English. Teaching experience and being a native English speaker are preferred qualifications, but neither is strictly required.

3. Learnlight

Learnlight has company clients all over the globe, and they design specialized programs for each of their students. Learnlight English trainers act as mentors and closely monitor students’ success. They look for tutors who can commit to at least 10 hours per week and who have a background in business (preferred but not required).

4. EF English First

EF English First is great for those looking to become an online ESL tutor for adults. While the company originally began operating in China, they currently have schools in 107 countries, and their online students come from all over the world. Adult classes range in length, including 20, 40, and 45-minute sessions. 

5. Open English

Latin America-based Open English is a language learning platform that connects tutors, who are called Academic Specialists, with small groups of adult students. Open English tutors can also take part in side-projects, such as providing feedback on students’ writing samples. You can expect to teach students from all over the world in a number of settings, including at home and at the office. Academic support is needed 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, accommodating a variety of schedules.

6. Voxy

Voxy offers online English language instruction to adult students from all over the world.  They hire English language teachers on a part-time, contracted basis to teach task-based, online private and group classes using only authentic materials.  Teachers can expect to teach business English, general English, English for specific language exams, like the TOEFL, and any number of specialized courses.

7. iTutorGroup

Catering to Asian students of all ages (they work with kids and adults), teachers at iTutorGroup can opt to teach university students, business professionals, parents, retired adults, or any number of types of adult students. In addition to TEFL/TESOL certification, a bachelor’s degree is required to teach with iTutorGroup, and at least a year’s teaching experience. Tutors must be able to commit to 5 hours per week, at minimum, but since the platform is online 24/7, schedules are flexible. 

8. Learnship

Learnship caters to professional students and typically partners with corporations who want their employees to learn English. Founded in Cologne, Germany, Learnship currently has offices in several German cities, France, Switzerland, and the United States, but their online ESL language trainers and coaches teach students from all over the world. 

What qualifications do you need to teach adults English online?

Bachelor’s degree

While each company has slightly different requirements, the majority of jobs teaching adults ESL online will ask that you have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Occasionally, you can find opportunities that don’t require a bachelor’s degree, but it’s rare. That being said, oftentimes the degree doesn’t have to be in a specific field. 

If you don’t have a degree, you still have options! Learn where you can teach English without a college degree.

TEFL/TESOL certification

TEFL/TESOL certification is also usually required if you want to be an online ESL tutor for adults. At the minimum, employers want to see that you’ve completed a certificate with at least 120 hours of TEFL training, which is the industry standard.

While this kind of general certification is typically accepted by employers, to really stand out from other applicants and qualify for more jobs, it’s recommended that you earn Specialized TEFL/TESOL Certification in Teaching English Online. Unlike other courses, this three-course bundle is 100% focused on the theory, methods, practical skills, and technology of teaching in the virtual classroom.

The Specialized Certificate bundle even includes a hands-on practicum in teaching online so you can apply what you’ve learned with an actual student. You’ll even have the ability to record your practice-teaching sessions and share the best sample videos with future employers when applying for jobs to teach English online.  

Teaching experience

Teaching experience is not always required to teach adults online—though having some greatly improves your prospects of being hired by the online tutoring company of your choice. If you’re looking for a way to gain experience teaching adults online, the Bridge Practicum in Teaching Online is a great place to start.

English proficiency

It’s important to note that you don’t necessarily have to be a native English speaker to teach adults English online. While some companies may require this, many of them just want to see that you’re fluent in the language and have completed the professional training needed to teach English online. 

How do I get started if I want to teach adults English online?

Here are the steps to get started right away as an online teacher working with adult students:

Step 1: Make sure you’re qualified and have the right equipment.

Apart from the basic requirements of TEFL/TESOL certification (ideally specialized in teaching English online, a bachelor’s degree (sometimes), and English proficiency, you’ll need certain tools to teach online. Most jobs require a desktop or laptop, high-speed Internet connection (often wired, rather than wireless), a headset with mic, and a webcam. 

Being super tech-savvy is not essential to teach online, but you should be comfortable using a computer and various software. If you want to get experience using an online teaching platform before you apply for jobs, the Bridge Practicum in Teaching English Online (included with our full, 180-hour Teaching English Online Course bundle) is designed to familiarize you with a typical online teaching platform and the software and tools of the virtual classroom. You can also record demo sessions and share your best teaching samples with employers. 

Step 2: Prepare to apply for jobs.

Update your TEFL resume so that it’s geared toward teaching adults online. Include all of your qualifications, recent TEFL professional development you’ve done, and any specializations you’ve completed. You can also include digital badges on your resume, which provide a dynamic way to showcase all of your qualifications and accomplishments to employers at a glance.

In addition to updating your resume, be sure to research what to expect in a video-based job interview and have all of the requirements (a clean background, a fast and stable internet connection, a headset, etc.) ready beforehand. 

Learn what to expect in a Skype TEFL interview. 

Step 3: Search and apply to jobs.

You can use popular sites like LinkedIn to search for TEFL/TESOL job postings. Or, to make things a bit easier, try searching for opportunities on job boards dedicated solely to teaching English, such as the Bridge Job Board, where you can filter for jobs teaching online. You can also join the Bridge TEFL/TESOL Jobs Facebook Group to network with other teachers.

Pro Tip: Let employers find you!

If you’re tired of hunting down jobs and sending in tons of applications and cover letters, you can register on the Bridge Job Board and create a teacher portfolio that highlights your skills and experience. You can then add the option to let select employers reach out to you directly with job offers. 

Learn about the benefits of choosing a niche for teaching English online, such as teaching Business English to adults.