Being in college is the best. I loved being able to teach online and attend classes at the same time. It spoiled me. By 2017, I was teaching ESL online while attending over twenty hours of University each week, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
The reasons why you should consider an online English teaching job while in college is because:
- You have flexible hours
- You can balance work and college life better
- You can meet amazing people from other cultures
- You can work as much or as little as you like
- No lesson planning for most online ESL companies– just show up and teach!
For the reasons above, teaching English while attending college provides an excellent way for students to balance their schedules.
Are college students eligible to teach?
While you can teach very flexibly, you have to find a place that is very quiet so that you can teach. This is more difficult when you are sharing a room or house with other students who like to party. You also need to have a fast internet connection so you don’t face any problems when teaching. Depending on where you are in the world, this might be a good opportunity for you.
Things were a little different when I first started teaching online. It was less strict, and it was also easier to pass the interview. I had more options as a college student, which I wouldn’t have if I were attending college now.
Here are some of the best places online to make a quick buck and gain some teaching practice as a college student:
Requirements for Teaching ESL Online
Make sure you can meet these requirements
- A quiet place to teach, with a plain background. If you want to teach kids, you may want to check these backgrounds.
- A wired headset with a microphone
- A webcam, preferably an HD webcam
- A laptop with an ethernet cable (preferred)
- A TEFL certificate is usually required. You can actually buy a quick TEFL certificate to qualify you to teach with these companies, or if you feel you want to do this more long term, I suggest a government-regulated course like The TEFL Academy.
- Props if you want to teach kids (like a teddy bear and some rewards)
- A high-speed, stable internet connection (all ESL companies have different speed requirements).
Cambly is a Californian-based company that allows you to teach adults and children online. You need to be eighteen years or older to teach on Cambly. You also need some experience to teach children, so you would likely just be teaching adults.
What’s great about Cambly is the flexibility. You can sign on whenever you like and teach people from all around the world. Cambly is a relaxed platform that allows you to engage in conversations with students. It feels a little less formal than teaching.
Cambly make lesson material available to students, so the student may prefer to learn something from the lesson material instead of having an informal discussion. Mostly this is a place where teachers might have to improvise a little.
Cambly hires teachers who are good conversationalists and enjoy meeting other people. You don’t even have to be a native English speaker or hold a formal qualification, such as a degree or TEFL certificate. Therefore, Cambly is a suitable option for college students.
Magic Ears is a company that enables teachers to work from home teaching English as a second language to children in China.
Magic Ears is a more selective company than Cambly, having stricter requirements for their teachers. Teachers are expected to have a TEFL certificate.
Magic Ears is suitable for Canadian and US-based teachers. They have recently begun hiring from South Africa on a trial basis.
Magic Ears is also a very flexible teaching company making an ideal solution for those who have busy schedules, like college students.
However, to get a job with Magic Ears you must have at least one year of experience teaching kids. Volunteering, mentoring or coaching experience is also valid. See if you can gain this experience so you can add it to your application!
Palfish is a cool choice that allows teachers to work from a mobile app. If you decide to teach at Palfish, you can use your phone or tablet to teach.
Palfish allows for native and non-native speakers to use their app. If you are a non-native speaker, you can be a freetalk teacher, and set your rate. Adults and kids can call you and you have a discussion in English.
If you are a native English speaker, you might want to apply for the kids couse. By teaching the kids course on Palfish, you can get many students. The app has a social media element to it, allowing you to advertise yourself. Students may sign up to your scheduled hours.
This is a very fun way to teach with great flexibility. Teachers are expected to work a minimum of four hours each week and can earn between $15-$21 per hour.
Qkids is another company that allows US and Canadian college students to teach on their platform. They have a gaming-based learning platform, with preset curricula incorporated with characters and games.
Qkids is similar to Magic Ears in that you will be teaching up to four students per class. It is relatively easy getting the performance and attendance bonuses, enabling teachers to make up to $20 an hour.
Qkids is also flexible, allowing teachers to set a weekly schedule but you must be based in the US or Canada.
Open English is one of the largest ESL providers in South America. They require native American speakers and a 10-hour minimum weekly hour commitment, which should include at least five peak hours.
Classes are 24/7 which is helpful when deciding your availability. Students range from children to adults and it’s a plus if you can speak some Spanish or Portuguese.
They prefer teachers who have an ESL certificate such as a TEFL and teaching experience, although this is not required.
Other possible places to teach:
For more, see Online Teaching Companies Without a Degree.
There are many potential online ESL teaching opportunities out there for college students. The best option is to apply to more than one and pick the option that best suits you in the end. Usually, the schedules are very much suited to college students and can be a great part-time work option.
While teaching online, you learn a lot about yourself and other cultures. If you start small, you can gain the experience you need to work towards other potential opportunities.