Do you really need a TEFL to teach English online?

Man looking up online if you need TEFL to teach English online.

So, you want to teach ESL online. But do you need a TEFL to teach English online?! 

Yes, usually! Most of the highest-paying online teaching jobs require a TEFL certificate or consider it an asset. 

Here’s the deal: 

Some online teaching platforms don’t require it. But they usually pay much less. 

If you want to be a serious online teacher making the big bucks, you need a TEFL certificate. 

With TEFL, you’ll qualify for ALL the best online English teaching jobs. And you can use it to negotiate for a better wage during the hiring process. 

Not to mention it will give you the confidence and skills to teach someone a foreign language–which ain’t no easy task! 

Aside from TEFL, there are a few more requirements to teach English online. Let's dive in.

Woman with a student wonder, "do you really need TEFL to teach English online"?

What are the requirements for most online English teaching jobs?

Let’s get right to the point. You will usually need to hit these basic requirements for starters:

  1. A bachelor’s degree (your undergraduate major doesn’t matter)
  2. Fluent English language proficiency 
  3. An ESL certification or English teaching certificate (like a TEFL certificate)

And that’s pretty much it, folks! 

If you have some sort of experience working with kids, that’s a bonus. 

A teaching license, online teaching certificate, advanced degree, and oodles of teaching experience, while all factors that can seriously boost your hourly rate, are not strictly required across the board.

There are also some tech requirements you need to cover to teach online, like a computer and fast internet connection (but you’ve hopefully got those in the bag!)

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What certification do I need to teach English online?

To qualify for the best online teaching jobs, you’ll need a TEFL certificate

Even if it’s not a requirement on the job posting, it could be that extra “something special” that gets you the job over other applicants.

Here are some online English teaching companies that require a TEFL certificate:

And here are more English teaching companies that consider a TEFL certificate a strong asset:

Woman with a student wonder, "do you really need TEFL to teach English online"?

Wrapping it up

To sum it up, If you have years of experience teaching English language learners, these companies will still be eager to hire you, with or without a TEFL. 

But if you’ve got no real teaching experience and you’re not a certified teacher? 

You’ll be competing against people who are, and who will probably go to the effort of getting TEFL certified if they don’t.

Ready to go? Get started by checking out some of the best companies that let you teach English online from home today!