Dear Non-Native English Teachers:
There are Online English Teaching Jobs for You
Most employers across the ESL industry recognize citizens of the following countries as native English speakers:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
- South Africa (though not always)
Fluent English speakers who are citizens of other countries are thus generally classified as non-native speakers, even if they have a masters degree in TESOL and can do cartwheels around the English language and its many nuances. It might seem unfair, and in many respects it is, but the reality is that much of this classification is determined by the market itself.
Our goal with this post, though, isn’t to discuss the arguments in favor or against the classification of English teachers by their nationalities, but to help non-native English speakers get hired as online English teachers today. Though the opportunities may be fewer, and the pay usually lower, get hired as a non-native English speaker to teach English online is possible.
Improve Your Odds of Getting Hired as a Non-Native Online English Teacher
Every online ESL company that hires non-natives to teach English will have its own set of requirements, but you can improve your chances of getting hired and succeeding as an online ESL teacher if you satisfy these criteria:
- Fluent spoken English in a clear speaking voice and neutral accent
- Hold a university degree and a TEFL certification
- Fast, reliable Internet connection
Earn an Ofqual Level 5 TEFL Certification
Level 5 Online TEFL Certification
Online English Teaching Jobs for Non-Native Teachers
ALO7 is a Chinese online education provider, based in Shanghai. The company has been delivering online lessons for several years to Chinese students of all ages, though the large majority of online lessons are for young learners. ALO7 offers daily classes during mornings, afternoons, and evenings, but most classes are scheduled during the peak hours of 7pm – 9pm (China Standard Time). Non-native tutors can earn up to $4 per 50 minute lesson.
iTutorGroup, also known as TutorABC and VIPABC, is a Taiwanese company offering online English lessons to students in China, Taiwan, and Japan. One of its advantages is that it offers very flexible learning hours, thus giving online teachers the possibility of teaching several hours per day.
iTutorGroup accepts both native and non-native English teachers, but teachers in US/Canada are offered a favorable base pay rate.
Palfish is a unique online English learning platform, because you will be teaching your students over the Palfish mobile app, and not on a computer. You will need a phone or tablet running on iOS, iPadOS, or Android. Palfish has two types of jobs for online teachers. The regular teacher is open to both native and non-native English teachers, and is particularly focused on teachers from the Philippines.
iTalki is an online portal for online English teachers to list their teaching services and set their own rates between $5 to $35. Unlike other online English platforms, iTalki can be used to teach (and learn) any language, so if you can speak languages other than English, you can teach these, too. Because you will be competing with other online teachers on iTalki, it is recommended to offer specialized lessons to maximize your earning potential.
51Talk is a well-known online English teaching platform in the Philippines, because it mainly hires teachers from the Philippines, but will hire citizens of other countries who are fluent in English with a neutral accent. This company does require a minimum commitment of 30 hours per month, so if you are looking for an online teaching job with the potential for lots of lessons, 51Talk is a good option.
skyeng is a European-based online English company, catering to ESL learners in Eastern Europe. In a market dominated by online teaching jobs to teach Chinese students, skyeng may not be the best option, but can be a decent side option to fill out your schedule outside of the China peak online teaching hours. Both native and non-native teachers with a TEFL certification are welcome, though different pay rates apply for each.
engoo is an online English learning portal where teachers can list their teaching services and schedules, with complete flexibility when you want to be available to teach. Students are from various countries. However, the rates fall within $2 to $10 for a 25 minute lesson, and while both native and non-native teachers are welcome, there is a disparity between native and non-native teaching rates. The plus side of teaching with engoo is that it appears to have many students.
Acadsoc offers English language lessons, hiring teachers mainly from the Philippines. The company offers classes during afternoons and evenings and caters to Chinese students between the ages of 5 and 18. You need to commit to teaching at least 10 hours per week with Acadsoc. Teachers working with Acadsoc seem to be generally content with the work.
Altoral hires online teachers mainly from the Philippines, catering to Chinese students of all ages, although the company does focus primarily on students between the ages of 5 to 15 years. Altoral operates during the typical Chinese online learning evening peak hours of 6pm – 9pm, but also appears to have possible teaching slots throughout the day. The pay rate per lesson is $3 to $4. Teachers should have a neutral accent in English.
HelloKid, like most other Chinese online English companies, caters to K-12 students. While this company gives preference to native speakers, it will consider non-native teachers who have a neutral English accent. A university degree is not required, but teachers should have a TEFL certification and ideally some relevant teaching experience for this age range.
HiTutor is a company based in Taiwan, hiring both native and non-native online English teachers. They have a higher demand for native teachers, and thus different hiring criteria for native and non-native teachers. Teachers are required to have a university degree as well as a TEFL certification. Non-native teachers should also have at least one year teaching experience and submit proof of their English proficiency through a test such as TOEFL TOEIC, or IELTS.
NativeCamp hires online English teachers from the Philippines who have a neutral English accent. Teachers can work full-time or part-time hours, but there is a minimum commitment of 15 hours of teaching per week. Students are mainly high school students, including those preparing to go to university, and adults.
UnHoop hires online English teachers from the Philippines who have a neutral English accent. A university degree is not required, but you will need to have completed two years of college education and demonstrate strong spoken and written communication skills in English. This company also appears to have advancement opportunities for teachers at their locations in the Philippines. Students are of all age groups.
VivaLing is a Singapore-based company hiring native level online English teachers. This means if you are a non-native English speaker but have a native or near-native level of fluency, you can qualify. And the pay rate is good. Also, if you can teach other languages such as French, German, Mandarin, or Spanish, you can teach these as well. Although you don’t necessarily need a university degree, you will need either an educational degree in English or a minimum 120-hour TEFL certification, as well as at least two years of teaching experience.
There's Enough Room in the Online ESL Job Market for Non-Native ESL Teachers
Despite the strong preference among online ESL companies for native English speakers, there are still many options. Perhaps one advantage of being a non-native English teacher is that the cost of living in your country will generally be lower than the cost of living where most native English speakers live. As the online market for ESL learning continues to grow, so will the demand for teachers, both native as well as non-native. The demand for English language learning is large enough to include everyone who is qualified and committed to teaching with excellence.