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What are the Basic Requirements to Teach English Online?
Written by: Lynda Galea
Last Updated: July 19, 2021
Who can teach English online?
Dreaming of that work-from-home life where pants are optional? Perhaps becoming a digital nomad while you bounce from country to country and work when it suits you is more your style? Whatever it may be, teaching English online is making this possible for thousands of people around the world - and it's here to stay! But before you embrace a pants-less work environment, make sure you have the basic qualifications to teach English online covered!
Table of Contents
1. TEFL Certification
Can I teach English online with a TEFL certificate?
Online language schools typically require their English teachers to hold a legitimate (accredited) TEFL certificate. A professional-level TEFL certification will provide you with the skills and qualification you need to get hired to teach English online, even with no prior experience in education.
Being a native or fluent English speaker is a key part of teaching English online, but that alone does not qualify just anyone to take charge of a student’s future with the English language. Both students and online language schools typically seek out English teachers holding a legitimate (accredited) TEFL certificate because they are looking to hire teachers with a strong grasp of important skills in areas like lesson planning, classroom management (in a virtual setting), and teaching grammar.
If you don't have an accredited TEFL certification, then this is your first step. International TEFL Academy offers an Online TEFL courses, additional TEFL Programs and ESL certification online, and In-Person classes in 25 locations globally. Learn more about ITA's TEFL classes and get your free brochure here.
2. Is a 4-year College Degree Required?
While this is not always a mandatory requirement, you will find that a majority of the reputable teach English online employers require that all their teachers hold a BA.
Demand for English language education among online students remains high, and a native English speaker is the ideal educator for this language education. It is extremely common for online language schools to prioritize a 4-year degree in additional to a TEFL certification when seeking English teachers, even if your degree is unrelated to education! Your 4-year degree can be in any field or subject matter - Marketing, Arts, Computer Science, Civil Law... you name it, it'll work - so long as it is a 4-year BA.
Can I teach English online without a degree?
Yes. While many of the biggest online teaching companies require a 4-year degree and a TEFL certification, there are still some companies and online schools that will employ you without a degree, if you gain an accredited TEFL certification.
To learn more about opportunities to teach English online without a degree, please read10 Companies That Let You Teach English Online Without a Degree.
3. Device Requirements
This may seem obvious enough, but the following items are required to teach English online:
Device: Desktop computer or a laptop. A small number of online schools work via an app-based platform in which your cell phone or an iPad may be used. Make sure the teaching platform your online employer uses is both Windows and MAC compatible. Hujiang for example, is only compatible with a Windows operating system.
Camera: A HD external camera or a HD integrated camera (most laptops these days come with in-built cameras).
Headset: Use a headset with a microphone for clearer communication and to help omit background noise.
4. Internet Requirements
It should go without saying that you will need a fast Internet connection to teach English online. Most online employers require a wired connection (instead of WiFi) and a majority of them even have upload and download speeds you will need to adhere too. During the interview process, you will likely be asked to you conduct a speed test so they can confirm that your Internet speed will satisfy their requirements and not drop out mid-class. Not sure how to check your Internet speed? You can do it here.
Here are just a few Internet speed requirements requested by online schools:
VIPKid: Wired DSL Internet Connection - at least 20 Mbps
DaDa: Upload speed at least 2Mbps & download speed at least 10Mbps
Magic Ears: Min. requirement for both download and upload speed is 10Mbps
Hujiang: Internet speed over 10Mbps
5. Next Steps
Great – you have the basic requirements on how to become an online ESL teacher covered. Now head on over and check out our guide on teaching English online from home, remotely or while traveling.
Posted In: Teach English Online
An accomplished traveler (she's visited 40 countries!), Lynda hails from Melbourne, Australia. Since she joined ITA in 2017, Lynda has become a primary expert on the field of teaching English online. Not only has she published numerous articles on the topic herself, but she has worked with International TEFL Academy alumni around the world to produce an entire library of information and content about teaching English online. Lynda also serves as a primary organizer of ITA's ground-breaking Teach Abroad Film Festival.
Want to Learn More About Teaching English Abroad?
Request a free brochure or call 773-634-9900 to speak with an expert advisor about all aspects of TEFL certification and teaching English abroad or online, including the hiring process, salaries, visas, TEFL class options, job placement assistance and more.
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