Become an IELTS tutor online

This post is written with Australians and New Zealanders in mind but is equally useful for teachers worldwide. We use affiliate links (at no cost to you, see our Disclaimer) but base all recommendations on first-hand experience.

Want to become an IELTS tutor online? Read on for how to tutor from home and earn up to $100/hr supporting some of the 3.5 million+ people taking this high-stakes test yearly.

ielts tutor online
Online IELTS tutoring can be very lucrative. Photo by Vanessa Garcia.

Every year, millions of people take the IELTS test for admission into universities and to satisfy the government requirements for migration and international work opportunities.

A high score on the test can mean the difference between a life-changing dream coming true or not. For this reason, students (and their families) are heavily invested in their success and will often pay a much higher rate for tuition than for casual language learning.

What is IELTS?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test is part of a network with 60% of the market share of English testing worldwide. According to reports: The intellectual property (test questions, exams etc.) is jointly owned by Cambridge University, British Council and IDP Education. British Council and IDP Education are the exclusive distributors of the test (set the price, sell, administer, and distribute) around the world.”

IELTS Examiners work for these organisations (and limited affiliate organisations) to implement and assess the tests, making an average of $60/hr. Most English language institutes in the countries where the test is popular (including Australia and New Zealand) offer unaffiliated courses for potential test-takers, often taught by former examiners or high-scoring students.

Yet, IELTS test takers who want individual one-on-one support from the comfort of their own homes are looking for online IELTS tutors. Students may want a tutor specifically from the country they plan on studying or working in, or someone to help them with a particular aspect of the Listening, Reading, Writing or Speaking parts of the test. That’s where you come in.

Vallibel, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

How can I become an IELTS tutor online?

To become an IELTS online tutor, you will need to understand the IELTS test and how to support your students to increase their scores in very specific ways. Unlike ‘general’ English tutoring, there are a clearly defined set of skills that students need to achieve at each level. Even a student who speaks excellent conversational English may perform poorly in the IELTS Speaking portion of the test if their tutor isn’t aware of what is required.

You’ll also need an adequate home tutoring setup – including a headset, webcam and software platform. If you want to offer private/freelance IELTS tuition, you must find your own students.

Tips to find private online IELTS tutoring students:

  • Advertise your services in online groups for IELTS test takers. While this strategy works, it is best to approach the group by offering assistance, and not just directly selling your services. Be sure to contact the admin of the group to ask permission first.
  • Network with other TESOL teachers online and let them know that you are offering IELTS tuition. They may have enquiries from students that they can pass long.
  • Consider online English teaching ‘post-a-profile‘ platforms, but note that it can be competitive. The best rates are earned by those who start their own freelance business.

Find out how to earn up to $100/hr by running your own freelance tutoring business.

What qualification do I need to teach IELTS online?

Unlike an IELTS Examiner, online IELTS tutors do not require any formal qualifications. Yet, having an accredited TESOL/TEFL qualification plus IELTS online teacher training is highly advantageous. Spending time acquainting yourself with the IELTS test and downloading practice tests from the internet will help make you an even better tutor.

The best TEFL or TESOL online courses in Australia? A comprehensive guide (2023)

Email4deepakrajCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Is there an IELTS teacher training course online?

While there is no official IELTS teacher training course online offered by British Council or Cambridge University, there are some excellent alternatives to get you started as an online IELTS tutor. IDP Australia offers regular free online IELTS teacher training courses, but these are very limited and are aimed at experienced teachers who are considering IELTS Examiner roles.

Premier TEFL offers a FULLY online IELTS teacher training course!

Module One: Understand the International English Language Testing System
Module Two: How to Teach IELTS Listening
Module Three: How to Teach IELTS Reading
Module Four: How to Teach IELTS Writing
Module Five: How to Teach IELTS Speaking
Module Six: How to Teach IELTS Vocabulary
Module Seven: IELTS Teaching Challenges

This course, which can be completed in just 1-2 weeks, shows you “how to plan and deliver effective lessons that meet student and class learning objectives, typically relating to an IELTS score of 6.5 or above…the nuances of teaching English to exam-focused non-native speakers… and to grow in confidence as a new teacher to be able to enter your first exam English class.”

Best of all, the fully online How to Become an IELTS Coach course is less than <$100!

Becoming an IELTS tutor online

Becoming an IELTS tutor online may be a perfect way for you to use your existing English teaching qualifications and experience to branch out into a lucrative and highly paid-teaching niche. Starting your own tutoring business is a great way to charge higher rates.

Or, by doing some inexpensive training, you can embark on a new career that might give you the flexible work-from-home or remote work opportunity you’ve been seeking. If so, have a look around the website or the complete How To Teach English Online guide.

Happy tutoring!