What is the best platform to teach English online?

Teaching English online is now firmly embedded in the TEFL world and many thousands of teachers find it a convenient way to earn a living without having to leave home or when traveling the world. However, despite not actually working in a physical classroom, online teachers still have to meet the same kind of criteria as those working in a traditional classroom environment. So, what do you need in order to take advantage of this rapidly growing sector of EFL teaching?

Requirements for teaching English online

The requirements for teaching online vary from one employer to the next, but there are a few common factors that many look for. Most online employers will expect you to have completed a TEFL course of at least 120 hours as this is the minimum level needed to cover all the most important areas of EFL teaching. If you also complete a secondary course that is focused on the unique areas involved in online teaching you will be in an even better position.

Check out our 120-hour TEFL certification course and our 170-hour course with online specialization.

Employers also expect correct use of grammar, clear and precise pronunciation, and natural intonation. Unfortunately, some have decided that this means they will not hire non-native English speakers.

Take a look at our post: Where can I teach English abroad as a non-native speaker?

In order to teach English online you will need access to a fast and stable internet connection. If you plan to work from home this should not be a problem for most people, but it requires serious thought if you plan to work remotely. Some online platforms also require teachers to have previous teaching experience and it is now common to need a bachelor’s degree in any subject.

Now we have established the main requirements for online EFL teaching, which online platforms should you consider working for?


  • Requirements: None
  • Pay: Teachers set their own rates
  • Student type: Children and adults
  • Lesson length: The first lesson is always 1 hour, with subsequent lesson length decided between the student and teacher

The preply platform connects online tutors with potential students in over 180 countries worldwide. Class sizes typically range from one-to-one lessons to large groups, although Preply is not exclusively focused on English. Through this platform you can teach almost any language you can think of, as well as other mainstream subjects such as math or art. Preply is a popular option with digital nomads as it can be accessed from wherever you happen to be.

Students on this platform get to choose the tutor they like the look of via a menu of potential options. When setting up your profile you get to choose how often and when you wish to be available and you even get to choose your own rate of pay. However, if you set your figure too high initially or limit your hours of availability too much you might struggle to get many students. The best advice is to make yourself available at a reasonable price at the start as you can always change things once you have found some regular clients.

EF Education First

  • Requirements: Native speaker or C2 level for non-native speakers, TEFL certificate, bachelor's degree
  • Pay: $10 per hour with potential for increases
  • Student type: Adults
  • Lesson length: 20 to 45 minutes

Although EF Education First started out as a traditional in-class venture with classrooms in over 50 countries around the world, it now offers online English lessons. As it is a long-established company with a very strong reputation, getting accepted as a teacher is tougher than it is with many other online platforms. You will need to sit a formal interview and only UK and US based teachers have the option of working from home. Elsewhere you will be expected to work from one of their online centers.


  • Requirements: None
  • Pay: $0.17/min ($10.20/hour) with Cambly and $0.20/min ($12.00/hour) with Cambly Kids
  • Student type: Children and adults
  • Lesson length: No set time for adults, 30 minutes for Cambly Kids

This option is best suited to teachers looking for a casual gig to top up their travel fund or as an additional income on the side of a main job. The pay rates at Cambly are not particularly high compared to some other platforms, but there are no minimum hours required and you only need a smartphone in order to teach from the app. A degree, teaching experience, and TEFL certification are not necessary, which makes it a good option for anyone who wants to test out online teaching to see if it suits them.


  • Requirements: None for community tutor. TEFL certificate for professional teacher
  • Pay: Teachers set their own rates
  • Student type: Children and adults
  • Lesson length: Trial lesson of 30 minutes. Subsequent lessons between 45 and 90 minutes

If you go with iTalki you can work as a community tutor, which requires no experience or TEFL qualifications, or as a professional teacher, which does require a TEFL qualification and some previous experience. You get to set your own pay rates, although in reality these will need to be fairly low in order to stay competitive with other teachers. Those with relevant qualifications and experience will typically fare better through this system. The platform also takes a 15% cut on all payments you receive from students.


  • Requirements: Native English speaker
  • Pay: Teachers set their own rates
  • Student type: Children and adults
  • Lesson length: 25 minutes

The SkimaTalk platform is aimed at students of all ages across Japan. Once again, you get to decide on your own pay rate, but you will also need to market your services well to attract students. In order to get a good number of regular lessons you will need to be very active on the platform and gather excellent reviews from your clients. While teaching qualifications and experience are not an official requirement, they will be a big help in standing out from the other teachers on offer. To get hired on this platform you will need to hold a passport from either the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, or New Zealand.


  • Requirements: US or UK native speaker, TEFL certificate
  • Pay: Base rate of $10 per 30 minute lesson
  • Student type: Children from 4 to 12
  • Lesson length: 30 minutes

The StarKid platform is aimed at younger age groups and is based in Hong Kong. The set curriculum is based on Cambridge English as well as the Jolly Phonics system that has been designed to teach English phonics to young learners. Lessons are conducted on a one-to-one basis and last for 30 minutes. You don’t need to commit to a minimum number of hours and the pay rates are higher than many other similar platforms.


  • Requirements: Native speaker from the US, the UK, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or Australia. TEFL certificate, bachelor's degree, and a minimum of a years teaching experience
  • Pay: $15 per lesson
  • Student type: Children
  • Lesson length: 40 minutes

Protostar is a popular option with experienced teachers who are happy to stick to a regular weekly schedule. You will need to sign a one year contract and commit to regular lessons. When potential bonuses are included, the rate for a 40 minute lesson can be as high as $22.


  • Requirements: TEFL certificate or bachelor's degree, A2 level of Spanish or Portuguese
  • Pay: Average of $7 to $13 per hour
  • Student type: Children and adults
  • Lesson length: 1 hour

Teachers without a degree might want to take a look at LatinHire, a recruitment company that places teachers with various online companies worldwide. The rate of pay you can expect will depend on which company you are placed with, but you will be expected to commit to at least 16 hours per month.