Good morning from Shady Knoll campsite in Brewster, Cape Cod! The birds are chirping, a gentle breeze is blowing and the water is boiling on my little camp stove to my right.
Right now, I’m halfway through an East Coast road trip, which will end in Nashville to celebrate my friend’s 30th birthday. I feel so lucky that I was able to book three weeks off from my online English teaching gig, simply by not opening any time slots for the next three weeks. This level of flexibility is my favorite perk of the job!
Is there really a huge market for online English teachers globally?
Yep! There are over a billion people currently learning English globally. This number is expected to jump to 2 billion by 2020. That means that more than a quarter of Planet Earth’s population wants to learn a skill that you already have, including children and adults in countries that you might never contemplate actually living and working in.
And that’s OK. One of the most exciting things about teaching English online is that you can reach students living practically anywhere in the world.
From teaching business English online, to teaching general and conversational English online to Chinese, Japanese and Korean students, there are online English teaching jobs out there that can be done from anywhere in the world.
I wanted to share a quick anecdote that illustrates just how ubiquitous English language learning is worldwide.
Three months ago, I was backpacking in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I had just finished up two years teaching English in South Korea, and I was using the extra money I saved teaching English online to fund a trip around Southeast Asia. I was also on a tight budget, so I booked myself into an eight-person, female-only dorm in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
After a long and very sweaty day exploring the mystical temples of Angkor Wat, I arrived back to my dorm, and sat on my bunk, exhausted from climbing about a million stairs under the Khmer sun. One by one, my other roommates return from their busy days of exploring to take a rest.
As they arrived, I introduced myself. I was fascinated to discover that there were eight women from eight different countries - Japan, Austria, Korea, Spain, France, Vietnam, the Philippines and Canada.
Each one of us who spoke a different first language.
We were all in high spirits and decided to have dinner together. And what language what do we communicate in?
This experience really opened up my eyes. As much as I enjoyed practicing my Korean and French during my time abroad, the one language that connected us all was English.
And why is it that with so many languages in our world, so many people are eager to study English? Well, as technology continues to connects us and globalization increases, it is super duper important that people from all the different countries can successfully communicate to facilitate important discussions about business, international relations, policies and cultural exchanges.
It also means that teachers across the globe can bond over the collective experience of confiscating Pokemon cards from their students during math lessons. English has become the language used for these discussions. For me to explain why English became such an international language, I’d have to write a whole thesis. And there are already lots of scholarly articles on this subject, so I’ll leave that to the academics.
What I’m trying to get at is the fact that there’s a huge market for remote English teachers all around the world. Let’s quickly jump into where exactly the demand is highest:
Strong English speaking skills are a necessity in China. That’s why the country is home to the highest number of English language learners on the planet, with 300 million people currently learning English both online and in person.
As a result, there are oodles of Chinese education companies hiring college graduates who are interested in teaching English remotely. And they’re all especially keen to hire candidates based in North America.
You can English online to Chinese students with the following companies:
2. South Korea
There’s a huge demand for native English speaking teachers in South Korea. Teaching English with EPIK or at a hagwon aren’t your only two options, however. If you’re interested in a remote teaching job, then demand for online English teachers is expanding almost as quickly here as it is in China. Parents, in particular, are keen for their children to take after-school English classes.
While I was living in South Korea, a number of my Korean friends were either studying for or had taken TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication). Most companies in Korea, especially those involved with international business deals, require applicants to have a TOEIC qualification to apply. As a result, many Korean adults are moving to learning English online as a flexible means of preparing for this exam.
You can English online to Korean students with the following companies:
Many companies in Japan also look for a successful TOEIC score on their applicants’ resumes, meaning demand for English language lessons online is sky high among adults and young adults. In addition to studying English to further their careers, many Japanese people study English as a hobby.
Fun fact: A good chunk of adult students learning English online in Japan study the language to prepare themselves for traveling overseas!
You can English online to Japanese students with the following companies:
Back when I was planning my vacation to Vietnam, I assumed that because of the country's historical ties to France, I might be able to hone my French speaking skills when I was there. While did see many French bakeries and ate enough banh mi to feed a small town, I also discovered that demand for English language learning is significantly more prevalent there.
The desire to learn English there is due in part to the youth’s fascination with the culture of the English speaking world. It’s not uncommon for Vietnamese songwriters to include English lyrics in their songs. The popularity of English learning in Vietnam is good news for online English teachers looking for remote teaching opportunities.
You can English online to Vietnamese students with Antoree.
In Taiwan, many parents see learning the English language as the key to opening doors for their children to study abroad and work internationally.
In fact, it can be harder to find a private Chinese language kindergarten in Taiwan that it is an English one. Additionally, Taiwan’s Southbound policy and close links with the United States are both strong motivators for Taiwanese citizens to improve their English proficiency.
You can English online to Taiwanese students with the following companies:
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6. United States and Canada
Don’t forget that there are high numbers of English language learners in countries where English is the official language, too.
Immigration brings people of all different nationalities to North America, most of whom are eager to improve their English skills in order to integrate fully into life in the US and Canada.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 10% of students enrolled in public schools in the USA are English language learners. And in Ontario alone, over 25% of students are speak English as a second language.
You can English online to students based in North America with the following companies:
The countries listed above may be home to some of the largest markets for online English teachers, but they are by no means the only ones.
There are people who want to learn English on every single continent. Correspondingly, there are online education companies that faciliate English language learning all over the world. There’s LingoKids in Spain, Latin Hire in Chile, Tandem in Germany and All Right in Russia, to name just a few!
While many of us are still keen to take the plunge and move abroad to teach ESL students in person, it's still not enough to meet the demand. As a result, English teacher shortages have been ramping up in many foreign countries. Online English lessons delivered by native English speakers based overseas could offer a key solution to this growing problem.
Plus, teaching English online allows you to make connections with people around the world from the comfort of your laptop, wherever your laptop may be. I mean, really, what is cooler than a digital fist pump on video chat with a student on another continent?
Ready to find an online teaching job you can do from home? Take a look at our previous post on the top companies hiring online English teachers right now!