Yes, You Can Teach English Online With No Experience!

By Krzl Light Nunes
October 9, 2020

So, you want to get your feet wet teaching English online and enjoy the perks of working from anywhere in the world while helping people at the same time?  You’ve got a love of languages, TEFL/TESOL certification, a working computer, and a home office set-up; however, you’ve never taught virtually before. Is it possible to teach English online with no experience? Definitely! Let us help you land a job in this growing field, even if you’re a newcomer.

What do online English teaching companies usually require as far as qualifications?

Most new online English teachers start out working for a company, rather than launching a freelance career. This is because companies typically provide plenty of structure and support, including training and mentoring, a clear system for booking students, an established teaching platform and curriculum, and ongoing professional development.

Although the requirements for online English teaching jobs vary from one company to another, recruiters mostly look for the following qualifications in applicants:

  • A TEFL/TESOL certificate of at least 120 hours
  • A bachelor’s degree in any field
  • Classroom or online teaching experience
  • Good with kids (for companies that cater to young learners)
  • Native English speaker or a high level of English proficiency
  • Living or being eligible to work in a certain country (for some companies)

What’s great about applying to online English teaching jobs with companies is that requirements are usually flexible. For instance, your Specialized Certification in Teaching English Online and high English proficiency can offset your lack of experience. As long as you tick most of the qualifications, your chances of getting hired are high!


What counts as experience?

On the face of it, teaching experience means time spent working as a classroom or online teacher. However, some schools nowadays also take tutoring, training, and coaching into consideration as experience, as you develop skills useful for educating and handling learners. So, don’t hesitate to mention your past babysitting sideline or the training you gave to company employees in your last job – they could count as experience too!

How can I stand out when applying to jobs if I lack experience?

Even if you haven’t ever worked or trained as an English teacher, you can still boost your prospects of landing a great online teaching job. Here are some ways you can set yourself apart from other candidates:


Which online English teaching companies hire tutors without experience?

Even if you haven’t taught English in a classroom or online, there’s still an online TEFL/TESOL job waiting for you out there – you just have to know where to look. Here are some online tutoring companies that don’t require experience.

Sophia took a Teaching English Online Practicum before landing a job at Cambly

Sophia, from the U.S., took a Teaching English Online Practicum before landing a job at Cambly


Cambly


Cambly an online platform that hires native English-speakers to have short, casual conversations with students located around the world. As a tutor for this company, you get to choose the schedule you want, without the pressure of committing to a minimum number of hours per week. Applying to this company is also extremely flexible – even if you don’t have a degree, you can still get hired.

QKids


QKids is an online platform where teachers give classes to Chinese kids using pre-made interactive lessons. While you can make your own hours, you have to commit to at least six hours of weekly teaching time. To be a QKids teacher, you have to be TEFL/TESOL-certified, have a bachelor’s degree, and be eligible to work in the U.S. or Canada.

Topica Native


If teaching English to adults is more your cup of tea, then working for Vietnam-based Topica Native is for you. As a teacher for Topica Native, you can pick your preferred teaching schedule, as long as it’s within the working hours set by the company. Applicants are required to be native English speakers and possess a teaching certificate and a bachelor’s degree.

Landi English


If you’re looking to work a fixed and stable class schedule, teaching Chinese kids for Landi English could be a good choice for you. You’ll be required to teach a minimum of 12 hours per week, although the company boasts a steady booking rate for their teachers. Aside from having a teaching certificate and a college degree, you should also speak English at an idiomatic level and with a neutral accent if you want to teach for Landi English.

Palfish


A mobile phone application that caters to Chinese learners of various ages, Palfish similarly offers ESL teachers a lot of flexibility in terms of scheduling and setting pay rates. To qualify for teaching positions at Palfish, applicants have to have a high level of English proficiency and teaching certification.

Allie, a PalFish teacher, working from Nicaragua

Allie, a PalFish teacher, working from Nicaragua



Find more online English teaching opportunities on the Bridge Job Board.

What if I don’t want to work for a company?

Not keen on teaching English for an online school? Do you prefer to be your own boss? No problem. You can still teach English online without experience, either through a teacher marketplace or by starting your own online teaching business.

Teach through a marketplace


Tutoring marketplaces such as Preply and iTalki are online platforms that connect teachers and learners and have systems in place to manage payments and scheduling. To get started, you simply have to create your teacher profile on the marketplace and set your pay rate and hours. However, standing out among a sea of English tutors is key when you use a marketplace, so make sure you attract prospective students through an eye-catching profile and an engaging introduction video.

Learn how to make a stellar intro video for teaching English online.

Start your own online teaching business


If you choose to become an independent EFL teacher and start your own business, you’ll be completely in charge – including building your client base, marketing yourself, creating courses, and managing your finances.

Even though not many newbies venture into freelance online English teaching, you can still choose to go this route. Having comprehensive teaching credentials such as general TEFL/TESOL certification and Specialized Certification in Teaching English Online will give you credibility and attract students. If you’ve never run a business before, consider also learning the specific skills needed to launch a successful enterprise by taking Specialized Certification in Teaching English Online as a Freelancer.


What are some ways I can get experience, other than through a teaching job?

There are several other ways to build valuable ESL experience without teaching English for a company or as a freelancer.

Volunteer tutoring


First, you can volunteer to teach English online. You can always find individuals on social media or even just in your own community who are more than interested in taking free English classes, which you can offer by posting in Facebook groups or on neighborhood apps like Nextdoor.

Virtual practicum


You can also gain hands-on experience in teaching English online through a practicum. For instance, Bridge offers a 60-Hour Teaching English Online Practicum that you can combine with a TEFL/TESOL certification course (if you haven’t taken one yet).

In this practicum, you’ll teach real learners online as well as get guidance and feedback from a course tutor. Additionally, you’ll craft a portfolio containing recordings of your teaching sessions, which you can showcase to your potential employers when you start applying to online jobs.


Don’t let your lack of teaching experience become a setback to kick-starting your online ESL teaching career. As long as you’re as qualified as you can be and you show that you’ve got skills that translate to teaching online, you’ll find an opportunity to teach English online without experience.