If you’re thinking about making the transition into teaching English online, you might be feeling overwhelmed. I remember how excited I was when I decided to take the leap a few years ago. I loved the idea of having total freedom over what I wanted to teach and the material I would choose. What also intrigued me was the potential to travel and explore different parts of the world while earning an income and being my own boss at the same time.
But making the transition was not simple. There are hundreds of online English tutoring platforms to choose from. How do you decide where to start?
Teaching online gets even more complicated if you’re not specialized in teaching kids. The majority of online companies and platforms, such as VIPKid and Magic Ears, are geared towards tutoring children. But what if you’re like me and your main area of expertise is in teaching adults one-on-one? Where can you find the students?
I've been teaching English exclusively online now for over three years and in today's post, I'm going to share six platforms that helped me kick‑start my online teaching career.
Verbling is an American company headquartered in San Francisco and it’s one of the first online platforms I used. It's a marketplace where students can look for tutors and teachers in any language, not just English. Their website is user‑friendly and getting a profile set up is straightforward.
This platform's support features make the experience so much more immersive and engaging for the students. Also, everything you'll need is available within the website, which makes organizing schedules and payments a lot easier. Verbling offers a video conferencing system, and they also provide a space where you can upload and share your lesson plans and other content with your students.
Some companies only accept teachers who live in the US or Canada, but Verbling is open to teachers worldwide.
On Verbling, you earn 85% of whatever you charge students, and a 15% commission goes to the platform.
Keep in mind that Verbling, and the other platforms I'll be sharing with you today, are highly competitive. Since you're in control of what you charge, you might want to consider offering a lower rate at the beginning, then gradually increasing your rate as you get more students and a few reviews on your profile.
2. First Tutors
First Tutors in an international private tuition service and it’s open to teachers residing in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, and Italy.
One disadvantage of this platform is that it's not equipped with any of the features that Verbling and the other websites offer, such as video chat options, scheduling, or payment facilitation. But the good thing about First Tutors is that they don't take any commission from the teacher. If students choose to take lessons with you, they will have to pay a small one‑time fee. After the payment is made, your contact information will be provided by the platform. You can then set up your sessions with the student and arrange to meet with a video chat app of your choice, such as Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts.
3. Take Lessons
Take Lessons is a platform headquarted in San Diego, California, that has been around since 2006. Interestingly, when they first started they offered tutoring for music only, but now they've expanded into a huge network of language coaches, dance instructors, and music teachers.
Their website is easy to use and facilitates a lot of the day‑to‑day management of your business, including scheduling, payment, and communication.
A possible disadvantage of Take Lessons is that if you're not legally eligible to work in the United States, you will not be able to join the platform.
With Take Lessons, you'll start out earning 60% of the price your student paid for lessons. Then, for every five lessons you teach that student, you'll earn 10% more of that student's lesson price—up to 90%.
Preply is an online private tutoring company based out of Brighton, Massachusetts. It matches students with tutors to have sessions in person or online and it's open to teachers worldwide. They also offer scheduling and payment management within the platform.
They take 100% of your first lesson payment with every new student. That first lesson is considered a trial, and if a student chooses to continue with you and purchase a package, the commission will start from 33% to 18% depending on the number of completed lesson hours with that student.
Italki is the biggest platform in this list. It's an online language learning platform headquartered in Hong Kong with over 5 million students and 10,000 teachers offering lessons in more than 130 languages. There are currently around 500 English teachers on this platform from around the world.
Getting set up with Italki takes a bit longer than the other platforms. It takes about two weeks for your profile to get reviewed, and you will also need to do a short interview if you get accepted.
Italki charges a 15% commission fee on every lesson, but they do not take any commission for trial sessions.
6. Amazing Talker
Amazing Talker is a Taiwan‑based international online learning platform that started in 2016. There are more than 76,000 active students and 1,000 teachers from different countries.
Like Italki, it takes a little longer to get started with Amazing Talker. It will take at least a few days to have your profile reviewed, and if you are approved, you’ll need to have an interview with one of their team leaders.
A nice feature with Amazing Talker is that you can choose to be matched with a mentor. Teachers that have been on the platform for a long time can become mentors and create teams of teachers. The mentor can then refer students to their team members. This is great for teachers who are just joining the platform because their AI ranking system is somewhat disadvantageous to new teachers.
Similar to the other platforms, Amazing Talker offers a regressive commission model with relatively low rates from 0% to 15%.
We hope this information helps you find the best platforms to get started with your online English teaching career. And remember, getting started is always the hardest part!
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