What you need to know about getting paid to teach English online in 2020

How to get paid to teach English online

Teaching English online can be a great way to make some extra cash.

Aside from the awesome commute (from your bedroom to your living room) and the pay, working as an online teacher gives you the freedom to choose your own schedule.

Your earning potential is truly in your own hands.

But while the freedom that comes with online teaching is great, there are a few practicalities to think about when it comes to getting paid.

Being your boss means you have to manage your working hours, taxes, and even juggling between different teaching companies. It's perfectly doable, but doing a little prior research definitely won't hurt.

To give you a headstart on your research we've answered some of your most common questions: 

  • How much will I get paid to teach English online?
  • Will I get paid for lesson planning? 
  • Will I get paid the same amount of money every month? 
  • Do I still get paid if my internet cuts out? 
  • When will I get paid? 
  • So, will I get paid straight in my bank account then?
  • What about paying my taxes?

So, if you've ever thought, "I want to teach online and earn money." This one's for you! 

How much will I get paid to teach English online?

Getting paid

Let's start with the most important question! 

Browsing around online, you might notice that many online teaching companies offer pretty great hourly rates: $20-25 for working from your sofa, anyone? It pays to teach.

But it's worth going through the company interview process to get a breakdown of what your actual pay will be.

This is because most online teaching companies don't pay all of their teachers at the same rate.

Instead, they have a pay scale that's generally between $10-25 per hour. For example, VIPKID is known to provide some of the most generous salaries for online teachers in North America. They pay up to $22 per hour, but their rates start at $14.

Where you get placed on the scale depends on your teaching experience, qualifications and, crucially, your interview performance.

Quick tip: Interviews for online teaching nearly always involve teaching a demo lesson so make sure you prep beforehand and do the best lesson you can!

On top of your hourly rate, there might also be opportunities to make extra cash.

Many schools, such as Qkids, pay bonuses for things like being on time for your lessons, getting students to rebook classes with you and referring new teachers.

Some schools pay their teachers more if they work over holidays like Christmas. And what's more, you might also qualify for a raise after some time.

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Will I get paid for lesson planning?

A seriously great advantage of being an online teacher is that you'll probably have much less lesson planning, report writing, and homework marking to do than you would as a face-to-face teacher.

These extra tasks often end up taking a significant amount of (unpaid) time. Anyone that's stared at a blank lesson plan will know that cutting out this paperwork will free up your non-teaching hours.

Just make sure you find out what the expectations are for any school you sign up with.

Gogokid doesn't expect teachers to plan lessons but does require them to write up short lesson reports for parents.

Some schools like online teachers to use real-life props in their lessons that you'll have to find or make in advance. And even if you don't have to lesson plan, you'll probably still want to have a look over the provided lesson materials before the lesson starts so you feel prepared.

Ask your school about these kinds of tasks and make sure you factor this time in when you're working out your teaching schedule.

Will I get paid the same amount of money every month?

How much you get paid each month really depends on your schedule.

Each online school works on a slightly different timetable, so it's worth shopping around a few to see which one will work best for you.

To give you an idea:

  • DaDa offers lets teachers choose the days they want to work, but asks for a minimum of ten hours a month.
  • At the iTutor group, teachers must be available to teach some peak hour slots on weekends.
  • HAWO work on two and four-week rolling timetables so you can build up regular students.

All this means is that there is probably a minimum you can expect to earn each month, but it's in your hands if you want to increase your hours and earn more.

Do I still get paid if my internet cuts out?

Making sure your internet is reliable is essential for an online teacher.

The last thing your students want is to be stuck staring at a frozen screen, straining to make out your pronunciation through a bad connection.

This matters because you really need to build up a base of loyal online students. Not only are these students the best way to keep your online teaching career going, but they're also the best part of the job!

You won't be surprised to find out that online schools also take your internet connection seriously.

Companies like VIPKID will cut your pay if your internet cuts out for more than three minutes per class. This might sound harsh, but from the students' perspective, three minutes is 10% of a 30-minute class they've paid for.

So, if you're going to invest in one thing before you start online teaching, make it your internet provider.

When will I get paid?

Getting paid

In the same way that different schools have different teaching schedules, they also have different payment schedules.

Depending on the policy at your school, you could get paid:

  • Monthly
  • Weekly
  • Immediately after the lesson ends
  • A mix of all three ^ 

Make sure you check not only when you can expect to earn money by teaching online but also how long the transfer time is for international payments. So you know when any money should be available in your account.

So, will I get paid straight into my bank account then?

Most online teaching schools will either pay you via PayPal (in countries where it's accepted) or directly into your bank account.

The transaction fee from PayPal or your bank will come out of your wages, so make sure you are calculating that into what your take-home salary should be.

What about paying my taxes?

Do not forget to pay your taxes! Whatever you earn, teaching online will be subject to tax in the country where you live.

It's up to you, not your school, to be on top of this, so make sure you do some research into how you declare your taxes and how much they will be before you start teaching.

Getting an idea of the taxes you need to pay in advance will mean you're on top of your legal responsibilities and you can put some money aside regularly to make sure that you don't get hit with a painful tax bill out of the blue.

And that's everything you need to know about how you get paid for online teaching!

Remember, each school will have their way of doing things, so make sure you check the finer details with them.

And otherwise, get ready to travel the world and earn some $$$ all from the comfort of your apartment.

Or, your dream nomad location. Or… well, you get the idea.

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