Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links, meaning that when you make a purchase, I earn a small commission. Affiliate links cost you nothing to use and help keep my content free. It is a win-win for us both! For more info, see the Disclosure Policy.
Did you know you can earn income by just speaking the English language? Today 2 billion people across the globe are speaking, or learning to speak, English.
As English remains the lingua franca between nations, the number of those speaking the language is only set to rise. The multi-billion-dollar ESL industry is booming as people are looking to learn English.
There are several ways to generate money teaching ESL (English as a second language). We will highlight 6 of the main ways below.
1. In the Physical Classroom
The most popular outlet to earn money as an English language teacher is to teach English abroad.
Teaching English in a classroom is a very fulfilling way to spend your time in another country. You get to travel while learning about another country’s customs, traditions, and values.
There are many countries where teachers can go to teach English. You will be in high demand if you have a TEFL certificate and are a native (or fluent) speaker.
If you are a non-native speaker, you can still find locations to teach. In many countries, they provide you with a generous wage while covering some (or all) of your travel or visa expenses. Some may even provide accommodation for you.
You don’t even have to stay long-term. You can teach English at a summer school for a few months, or you could stay there for the academic year.
The TEFL Academy provides accredited courses and many job opportunities after you get certified.
2. Teach with an Online Company
Did you know that many English language learners are moving online? Teaching English with an online company is a surefire way to earn money fast.
When you teach English online, you follow a lesson plan tailored to the individual’s level. The company usually provides all the lesson material. This requires almost zero lesson planning for the teacher except for some feedback for the student after the class.
The company provides all the tools and training needed for an enjoyable lesson, cutting the teachers’ workload in half.
This is a great opportunity for stay-at-home parents, teachers, or travelers. You can work as much or as little as you want while enjoying a flexible schedule. You are also location-independent, meaning that you can go anywhere!
You can usually apply to many online teaching companies and spread your hours across the day.
Online teaching companies pay approximately $20 per hour to teach adults and children. You may later receive other roles in the company, such as teacher interviewer, trainer, or content creator.
3. Free Talk Session
Earn money just for chatting? Yes, please! This is a great way to build your confidence without intensive English teaching. A free talk session is a viable option for those who don’t want to lesson plan or have a nitty-gritty schedule.
Palfish is a company that allows you to charge your own talk time rates. I’ve seen anything up to 5 RMB per minute for talk time, which equates to $0.71 per minute or $42.60 per hour. According to Palfish, the average teacher earns $10-$17 per hour through the free talk session.
You are free to open your hours anytime, and adults and kids can call you. There are multiple ways to make money on Palfish, as you can also teach their official courseware or go live.
Cambly is another company that allows you to connect to adults through free talk sessions. They pay $10-$12 dollars per hour, and you can talk to as many people as you like!
Simply log in, and you will get an influx of people worldwide! You are guaranteed to have the most interesting conversations, and it’s such an easy way to make money!
4. Create Your Own Materials
You can create material such as lesson plans and courses for teachers or students.
Create Courses for Teachers
If you have enough teaching lessons, consider constructing lesson plans for students. Teachers buy and sell lesson plans on websites such as Teachers Pay Teachers.
Some online teaching companies pay you to be a content creator and create lesson plans for them. You could also consider creating your own course to teach clients on sites like Teachable, Udemy, and Skillshare.
Creating lesson materials will help you stand out with your unique language-learning approach.
Create Courses for Students
Allow your creativity to flow with audio and video content for students. You can create videos on YouTube, on a blog, or showcase your work on Instagram and Facebook.
You can even advertise yourself to business professionals on Linkedin. Students may like to buy your courses, providing you with passive income streams.
Consider taking a course such as the Teacher Entrepreneur Challenge to build your skills.
5. Teacher Referrals
Online teaching companies will pay you to help other teachers sign up and become a teacher on their platform.
Have an eye for marketing? When you sign up to teach with an online teaching company, you can earn money by showing others how to teach too!
You can earn a ‘Teacher Referral Bonus’ for every teacher who signs up for the company. You could earn anything from $20 to $100 per referral!
How do you find other teachers? Maybe you know a friend, colleague, or someone who needs a side hustle or a job. Talk to like-minded people who are interested in teaching.
You could also post on forums or Facebook group chats. You could even post to YouTube or start a blog as I did! This is a really nice bonus to see in your paycheque.
6. Build Your Own Brand
In time, you may like to find your own students to teach and build your own brand.
You could use web tools such as Google slides, Zoom, and Trello to plan and teach lessons. You could also arrange to teach your own private lessons.
When you teach your own lessons, you completely control your schedule. You can organize group or individual lessons and decide who you will teach.
It’s a good time to start niching down by teaching specific groups of people. When you niche down, you can charge much higher rates! People will pay for the dream you sell them, so it is important to build your own brand. Read more about independent teaching in my eBook: Teacher Don’t Undersell Yourself.
For English Language Teachers or Those Looking to Get Started…
Teacher tips, new teacher checklist, teacher planner, and notes. Subscribe for ESL News, jobs, and more!
These are some of the top ways to earn money teaching English as an ESL teacher. My final advice is to provide valuable help to others, and the money will follow!
- Teach English Online or Abroad Certification
- Teaching Classroom Supplies
- Receiving Payments from Foreign Companies
- 10 Fun and Creative ESL Games
- What is an ESL Class and How do You Teach Them?
Online Teacher Toolkit
Be IN The Know
Get the latest jobs, news, and opportunities delivered directly to your inbox by joining my exclusive community. Grab my teacher planner, teacher checklist and tips now. Sign up here.
Start your teaching journey and get certified now. Watch my YouTube video about how I got started, or read about my experience here: The TEFL Academy review.
START Your First Teaching JOb
Highest-Paying Online Teaching Jobs
ACCEPT PAYMENTS ONLINE and Save money
Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.