How to become an Online ESL Teacher|5 Basic Requirements|What You Need to Know

Becoming an Online ESL Teacher doesn’t happen overnight. It isn’t a ‘love at first sight’ either. People who chose to be in this industry had their shortcomings just to be where they are right now. Whether you work in an office with a boss who always keeps an eye on your every move or work in solitary at home and be your own boss ~ makes no difference.

I have created an amazing list of schools to help you choose a company to work for.

If you’re from the Philippines, you may also check this out.

When I started this journey of teaching online, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I had hesitations, excuses (a gazillion of em haha), and all those ‘what ifs’. But I’ve come to my senses and realized how unhappy I was in a toxic workplace. I felt the need to be alone- and so I did.

I was driven to change what I was used of doing. I was used to work with colleagues around me, annoying bosses, hearing/exchanging gossips, faking a smile, controlling my emotions, travelling back and forth, to say the least. I wonder if you guys can relate (chuckle).

I couldn’t be any happier with my decision of leaving my previous job and shifting to freelance teaching. After all, it’s still a decent job with a potential high earnings. I was asked these questions several times, ”How did you make it? What did you do?” – and I always answered it with one word. Preparation. This word speaks for itself. No need for explanation.

I hope that you’ll find the time to contemplate on what you really want to do for a living. Know that you don’t have to rush things up nor pretend to be someone you’re not. It’s normal to have uncertainties. Take your time and constantly remind yourself that it’s okay to fucked up sometimes 😀 . One day you’ll get through everything and whatever you choose to do, you’ll triumph it. Believe in yourself, trust the process, and follow your passion. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true. If you don’t know where to start, not sure about what you’re passionate about, or if there seems no opportunity knocking at your door – create one.

OK now let’s talk about how to get started.

 1. Fluency in English 

The degree of one’s ability varies from person to person and note that individuals have different opinions. What’s fluent for you may not be the same for others. What’s acceptable for me may not be the case for you so it is always a good idea to practice and strengthen your skill no matter how good you are. Same goes with the salary that diverse teachers are getting. If you are a ”native” like someone from the USA, UK, Canada, you’ll likely get high compensation. On the other hand, if you’re from the Philippines, expect for a lower rate. That’s just the way it is. But don’t lose hope coz there’s always a way to better yourself and eventually climb up the ladder.

2. Earn at least a Bachelor's Degree

It doesn’t matter what major you have, as long as you are competent and confident to teach the language, that’s what matters. Of course if you majored in English, it’d be a huge advantage because that’s highly preferred by employers and you’ll likely receive a higher rate. There are a few companies nowadays that accept and give a chance to those who aren’t a graduate in college and they’re mainly a startup Chinese companies who don’t have much reputation on the web. However, be cautious because there are scumbags and fraudulent posts all over the internet.

 3. Basic Computer Skills 

Being ‘good’ or ‘expert’ to a subject you are teaching isn’t enough. You have to master the skills that come along with it. If you strengthen your skill, everything will come in handy. You can multitask, be more creative and productive , save time and energy, among other things.

4. Technical Requirements 

Take note that it is strongly recommended that you own a PC or laptop to avoid issues when applying for a job. It is vital that your computer meets the minimum requirements of most companies.

  • Laptop or PC with built-in camera (CPU / Processor. Dual core processor 1Ghz or above, Intel Core i3 / i5 / i7 or AMD equivalent is highly required; RAM. At least 2GB of RAM {4 GB is recommended} with 60GB free hard disk space available.)
  • A headset with a noise-cancelling feature & a high-definition webcam.
  • High-speed and stable internet connection (preferably a minimum of 10 Mbps for download and upload or as high as 25-100 Mbps for download and upload.)
  • Working headset with microphone (with noise cancellation)
  • *Optional but Highly Recommended: Home generator ( to circumvent issues caused by power outage)
5. Quiet, well-lit area at home 

You don’t want to get fired just because of the noisy background you have in your virtual classroom. All online companies whether big or small require their independent contractors (freelancers) to have a quiet workspace and I can’t stress enough how crucial it is for someone to conduct a class with distractions like people talking, dogs barking, AC sound, etc. If possible, try to invest in a high-quality headset, find a conducive area to work or ask help from family/friends to sort out a way to do it.


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