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!

Can Australians teach English online with no experience?

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.

Table of Contents

    Many new teachers ask me if they can teach English online with no experience and my answer is “Yes”, but the quicker that you gain experience, the better. Here are your options. You can complete a TESOL certificate, do some volunteering and/or apply for ‘no experience’ jobs. We’ll look at all of your options.

    I began to teach English over a decade ago, so it’s been a while since I gained my first tentative steps in the classroom, but I remember the ‘no experience’ obstacle as if it was yesterday.

    Luckily, I signed up for a TESOL certificate, a part-time course that I completed with a small group of future teachers and tutors, for ≈$2500 AUD. If you want experience, this is option 1. It’s comprehensive and is an industry-standard, like a good quality TEFL Certificate, CELTA, etc.

    If you are on a small budget, read my post about the best TEFL or TESOL online courses in Australia, where you can study for a TESOL/TEFL certificate in a few weeks for ≈$250 AUD.

    After 20 or so hours of practice teaching during my TESOL certificate, I was still incredibly ‘green’… but I had some idea of what to expect and what to do once I opened the classroom door and walked inside.

    Why is teaching English online experience important?

    Teaching English online experience is important for a number of reasons:

    • Experience gives you more job opportunities; or ‘gets you in the door’;
    • Experience gives you an understanding of teaching (and more importantly – students);
    • Experience gives you the tools and frameworks to ‘build’ lessons with solid foundations.

    Why does experience make teaching English online enjoyable?

    While you can teach English online with no experience, some experience makes the process less scary, more effective and leads to earning more money. The faster that you get some experience, the faster your teaching will improve, you’ll earn more and be doing a more effective job.

    • Experience provides you with successful and fun activities and lesson plans that work;
    • Experience provides confidence and the strength to charge higher rates;
    • Experience guides you towards the students/subjects that are most enjoyable for you.

    How to teach English online with no experience

    You’ve already completed a TESOL/TEFL certificate and want to know how to teach English online with no experience, or little experience? Here are a few options:

    • Buy my Job List and easily sort the top 50 jobs by experience requirements and find the highest paying role for you, with or without experience.
    • Consider freelance teaching. If you have skills from another field, you can slowly build your experience with students directly or via an online English teaching platform.

    How to gain teaching English online experience

    You’re asking “…but… how do I gain teaching English online experience…?”

    • Volunteer: Many organisations are looking for volunteers. It’s a great way to gain experience.
    • Study an inexpensive TESOL certificate. Learn online or with others the fundamentals of teaching, the English language, grammar and how students learn.

    Should Australians teach English online with no experience?

    While there is nothing stopping you from teaching English online without experience, the more experience and knowledge gained through volunteering and/or studying a TESOL certificate, the easier and more effective you’ll be.

    If you are determined to start without this, you can begin applying for jobs that don’t require experience. Just remember, you will likely be earning a lower rate to start. Experience is a bonus and generally leads to higher hourly rates of pay.

    I highly recommend:

    Even in a digital era with no physical classroom door, opening a site or app to ‘teach’ English requires experience and, more importantly, an understanding of the structures of effective learning to be successful for students …and enjoyable for you.

    While Australians can teach English online without experience, the more that you teach, the easier the process becomes and the more you can offer your students.

    Remember, it can be intimidating to start but you can improve with time. Make notes of what works and what doesn’t. Do as much training as you can. Most importantly, learn by doing. Before long, you’ll be on your way!

    What do you think? Do you think that you need experience to teach English online? How did you first gain teaching experience? Comment below.

    Can Australians teach English online without a degree?

    Yes! You can teach English online without a degree from an Australian university. We’ll explore options for non-degree holders – where to find the best jobs, average hourly rates for available roles and how you can maximise your chances of success in online ESL in 2022 and beyond.

    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.

    teach english online without a degree
    A university degree is a helpful but optional requirement to teach English online. Photo by Lewis Keegan/Unsplash.
    Table of Contents

      Can I teach English online without a degree?

      If you’re interested in teaching English online but don’t have a university degree you may be concerned that the job is not for you. That’s not the case.

      While a quality TESOL/TEFL qualification is essential to good teaching, a degree (especially one in an unrelated field) is a helpful, but optional requirement – with only around ≈50% of online English teaching jobs requiring a Bachelor’s degree to apply.

      If you speak English fluently (and are patient and supportive) there are online English teaching roles for you, although you may need to apply for entry-level roles at first and work your way up over time. If you choose to teach in a freelance capacity, your sales and marketing skills as well as the reviews and referrals from your students will be an equal factor in your success.

      Find out more about online TESOL/TEFL qualifications, the top 50 best paying online jobs or how to start your own freelance teaching business and make $100AUD/hr or more.

      Accredited TEFL Courses

      Can I teach English online without a degree and no experience?

      Yes, like a university degree, teaching and tutoring experience is a helpful, but optional requirement for teaching English online.

      You will often have the opportunity to acquire some online teaching experience as part of your TESOL/TEFL qualification, but there are also a number of organisations that are looking for volunteers. Volunteering can be a rewarding and satisfying way to gain experience.

      Other jobs can be applied for without any experience but these are often the lowest paying. They can be a good way to “get your foot in the door” and after you’ve taught a number of classes and gained some confidence, you can then apply for better and higher-paying roles.

      How can I teach English online without a degree?

      Learning how to teach English online without a degree will depend on your previous experience.

      • If you’ve taught or tutored before, you’ll find many of the skills easily transferrable. If you’ve already got a TESOL/TEFL qualification but have never taught online, there are a number of great free courses that can help you with the technology involved like Zoom.
      • If you’ve never taught or tutored before, the best place to start is with a TESOL/TEFL qualification of 120 hours or more. They can be completed for ≈$200AUD and in as little as 3 weeks but are essential to providing the basics of teaching and English grammar. You can then continue to upskill through higher-level TESOL courses or through a number of free online professional development courses.

      You can then use my Complete Job List to begin applying to jobs that fit in with your required hours, the students that you’d like to teach (kids vs adults) and the rate you’d like to earn.

      How much can I earn teaching English online with no degree?

      The three major options that you have are to:

      1. Apply for an online teaching job.
      2. Create a profile on an online English teaching marketplace platforms and market your services directly to students in a freelance capacity.
      3. Start your own freelance teaching business and attract students directly.

      How much you can earn teaching English online depends on these options. Entry-level jobs average ≈$25AUD/hr (up to ≈$50AUD/hr), marketplace platforms average ≈$40-70AUD (or more for confident salespeople and those with good social media and/or marketing skills) and $100AUD/hr for those who can build a good reputation via their own freelance teaching business.

      I’d love to offer 1:1 help with finding a TESOL job or starting your own business.

      Where can I find online English teaching jobs with no degree?

      My Complete Job List is a comprehensive list of the 50+ best and highest-paying online jobs for Australians and New Zealanders. Around ≈50% of all listed roles are open to those without a university degree. It’s updated weekly and has been built by a teacher, for teachers over the last two years to be the best resource of its kind. It is the easiest way to begin applying to jobs that fit in with your required hours, the students that you’d like to teach (kids vs adults) and the rate you’d like to earn.

      You can also subscribe to the free weekly newsletter in which you’ll receive the latest roles in your inbox every Monday morning. Enter your email in the form on the right-hand side of this page (or below the post on mobile) to receive the latest jobs from both Australia and overseas.

      How can I succeed at teaching English online with no degree?

      There are a few ways that non-degree holders can succeed at teaching English online:

      • Enrol in a quality TESOL/TEFL qualification. These courses are designed to give you the fundamentals of teaching online and will give you a lot more confidence to begin;
      • Do as many additional free courses as you can and be open to continually learning and growing as a teacher;
      • Start with an entry-level role or volunteer position. Use this experience to apply for the next position and so on over time;
      • Consider marketplace platforms or a freelance business where you may be able to teach/tutor in an area of previous professional or life experience or with students that you enjoy teaching (young learners for parents with small children, for example).

      Teaching English online is a $10 billion USD market and growing. Non-degree holders who are willing to spend some initial time in training and gaining initial experience can be as successful as their university-educated counterparts in only a few months.

      So what are you waiting for?

      Teach English online to Chinese students (How To)

      With ≈400 million Chinese ESL learners, it seems natural to teach English online to Chinese students. Here is what you need to consider to be successful, including the 2021 law that could land you in hot water. What was the 720/double reduction policy and can you still be successful teaching English online despite it?

      teach english online to chinese students
      In my experience, Chinese students are generally respectful and dedicated. Photo by 绵 绵

      Why teach English online to Chinese students?

      With a population of 1.4 billion (and growing), China has been home to the largest number of ESL (English as a Second Language) students for the last two decades. Chinese students made up the largest section of the International Student cohort in Australia in 2019, with over 250,000 enrolments. Demand for online English lessons grew exponentially at the start of the pandemic, as Chinese students faced school closures and travel restrictions.

      From my experience, Chinese students are highly dedicated and diligent, with a respectful attitude towards teachers. Parents are willing to spend large amounts of money to help their children succeed in a very competitive domestic education system and place great value on international education, especially that provided by “Western” “native English speakers”. Adult professionals from China often reap large professional (and therefore financial) benefits from becoming proficient in English and pay well for quality tuition.

      “So how do I sign up?”, you might be asking…

      An important consideration before you teach English online to Chinese students...

      A few years ago, the Chinese online ESL market was booming. Between 2013 -2017, the ‘Online Youth English Training Market‘ grew from 7.1 to an estimated 50.7 billion dollars annually. Hundreds of Chinese ed-tech companies jumped on board, in turn hiring thousands of online English teachers to supply the growing demand. 

      That was, until mid 2021. In a complex set of legislation referred to as the “double reduction/720 policy” [Chinese], the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) banned the hiring of foreign teachers located outside China to teach English online to Chinese youth under the age of 18 (among many other reforms). The idea was to reduce the financial burden of educational tuition on parents in order to encourage them to add more children to an ageing population.

      I won’t go into the details of this legislation here (read more about the impact on the industry in my post “Without China, how big is the global online ESL market in 2022“), but the big takeaway message is this: At the time of writing, it is illegal for a Chinese company to hire non-Chinese teachers to teach English online to children in China.

      Almost all of the companies in the Chinese Youth ESL Market closed or moved to markets in other countries during the second half of 2021. You can still theoretically teach freelance or on a marketplace to Chinese children but it’s worth remembering that if you choose to teach English to children in China online you (and your students) are operating in a legal grey area.

      Shanghai, China. Photo by Nuno Alberto.

      How to teach English online to China

      The main alternative to teaching English to Chinese children is to teach adults instead. Research by J’son and Partners (2021) indicated that adult online ESL makes up 68% of the total market, potentially worth $1.21 billion or more.

      Yet there are relatively few companies in China that offer ‘jobs’ teaching classes to adults online to those located overseas, with only two companies on our complete job list. Whereas parents are willing to invest heavily in years of tutoring, only 14% of adults stick with English learning products for more than one year, with a majority learning for ≈1-3 months, making them a less attractive basis for a business model than the youth market in China.

      If you really want to teach teaching English to Chinese adults, you may want to consider either applying for roles with companies in neighbouring countries like Taiwan, Hong Kong and to a lessor extent South Korea and Japan. There are, anecdotally, many Chinese students taking classes with these operators. 

      You can also consider the profile/marketplace platforms in the region where you advertise your teaching profile and students choose to take lessons with you. If you speak Mandarin, Cantonese or have some experience with Chinese culture and language, this will assist you to attract students very quickly on these platforms. If you have an understanding of (or are willing to do some research into) the major Chinese exams (like the gaokao (高考) and/or overseas university entrance exams like SAT, TOEFL and IELTS, this can also be a drawcard.

      You can offer freelance teaching to students located in China but it is worth considering the Great Firewall of China, which blocks access to many sites to Chinese citizens, including “Western” social media such as Facebook (a traditional method to finding students).

      The final option is to market your teaching services to Chinese students located in Australia. There are many International students studying in Australian universities who are looking for ESL tuition as well as students in Primary and Secondary who require additional assistance. Parents located in Australia will pay much higher rates for tuition, with a constant demand. Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) speaking tutors in Australia are paid a premium ($100 AUD/hr or more), but tutoring roles are available for “native” English speakers as well.

      Teaching English online in China

      If you are a little more adventurous, you could always consider moving to China itself and teaching English online from inside the country. This circumvents many of the restrictions of the 720/double reduction policy. This could also be done in combination with in-person teaching (being sure to follow any work visa/immigration policies carefully, of course).

      Teach English online to Chinese students FAQ

      How much can you make teaching English to Chinese students online?

      While highly variable, the average hourly rate offered by Chinese online ESL companies is ≈$25 AUD/hr, profile/marketplace platforms (≈$40 AUD/hr) or freelance (Up to $100 AUD/hr). Tutoring Chinese students in Australia will likely net you ≈$40 – $100 AUD/hr.

      This depends on multiple factors, such as your TESOL qualifications, experience and sales and marketing skills. Qualified Primary and Secondary teachers usually earn higher rates.

      Do you need to know Chinese to teach English online?

      No, you do not need to know Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese) to teach English online to Chinese students, but even basic Chinese language skills will dramatically increase your ability to attract students and charge a higher rate. 

      If you want to attract Chinese students (especially beginners), having your profile professionally translated from English will help a lot, as well as including Chinese subtitles on your introduction video. Just make sure you state that you don’t actually speak Chinese or you will start receiving messages from students that you can’t understand!

      Where can I find Chinese students who want to learn English?

      The Chinese Firewall makes contacting students challenging, so consider English teaching marketplace platforms or Chinese apps like WeChat. LinkedIn is accessible on the Chinese mainland or you can build your own website. Have a look at our job list for tutoring companies that cater to Chinese students located in Australia.

      Despite challenges, teaching English to Chinese students online may be perfect for you. Photo by Javier Quiroga.


      There are millions of Chinese online ESL students, but as you’ve read, teachers encounter challenges to entering the market. If you navigate the policies limiting the teaching of children, CCP Firewall and understand the benefits of basic Chinese language skills and/or translation – you could be very successful teaching English online to Chinese students. It’s not the most straightforward path to teaching online but the rewards can be great for those who try. If you’re looking for well-paying and dedicated students, this might just be for you. 

      10 Pros and cons of teaching platforms like Superprof and Outschool Australia

      Do you want to find students for your online English teaching lessons without the hassle of running your own business and the accompanying administration? What about finding students without a website or large social media audience? A teaching platform might be a good choice for you.

      The online English teaching platform is a relatively recent phenomenon. When I began teaching in 2010, teaching online was still relatively uncommon. Teachers used craigslist-esque sites to advertise their services locally but the connection between the two concepts had not been made on a large scale. Fast forward to 2022, and there are seemingly new platforms appearing every day. Yet, are these platforms worth your time?

      I’ve researched over 20 online English teaching platforms for you, including three of the largest (Preply, Superprof and Outschool), to see what the major pros and cons are. Then, practical tips to how you can overcome these cons and start finding regular private students.

      online teaching platforms

      What is an online teaching platform?

      Let’s begin with what a teaching platform is. A platform (also known as a marketplace or post-a-profile site) is a way to connect students and teachers with each other via the internet. It is often free for both parties to join and use the site, although there is sometimes a joining or subscription fee. Teachers usually pay a portion of their earnings from lessons to the platform for the connection with students, with fees varying widely.

      The biggest pro to platforms is in finding students more easily. Photo by Pixabay.

      Pros of platforms like Preply, Superprof and Outschool

      Save time finding students and the associated administration

      The companies that create these platforms build the website including the search infrastructure, advertise to attract students (Preply platform boasts over 10 million lessons booked), and process payments. This saves you a lot of effort in the running of your own business to advertise to, attract and retain students; manage a referral system; send invoices and chase up payments; keep records of attendance and assessment; etc.

      Each platform will be different, offering anything from a simple connection to a comprehensive set of administrative supports. Yet, the first pro of platforms is the removal of some or all of these additional non-teaching tasks.

      No need for a website

      A website can be a more complex (and costly) operation than many teachers consider. While it is relatively easy to set up a basic website, it is more tricky to build one that processes payments from multiple currencies and acts as a global marketing funnel. 

      Using a platform, you do not have to learn the tech skills to build, maintain and advertise a website, nor the costs of paying someone else to do so. The same goes for social media management and promotion.

      Again, while platforms may only offer some of these features, they are often designed for profitability and with an emphasis on ease of use and payment. You receive the fruits of a large sales and marketing staff whose sole job is to bring students to the platform and IT/design staff with the skills to make it user-friendly and appealing. 

      If you are considering a website, BabelTEQ is run by Paul Sallaway, an former Australian ESL teacher.

      Set your own hourly rate

      On a platform, you are able to see what other teachers are charging and to set an hourly rate accordingly, as opposed to an often arbitrary number set by those who go out independently. You receive immediate feedback on your pricing and can adjust accordingly. You can choose your own rates, with highly qualified and experienced teachers able to demand higher compensation. 

      Help establish a teaching niche

      You can see what other teachers are offering and respond in real-time to growth in student demand. On platforms that allow students to post requests (like Outschool), you can respond to students looking for your specific skills. You can see and respond to gaps in the market and test the demand for your teaching niche without much risk.

      Learn self promotion, marketing and sales

      Having a ready audience means that learning how to promote, market and sell your services on platforms is much easier than if you are starting alone. 

      You are able to observe and replicate what other successful teachers are doing and many platforms come with some training on the fundamentals of these skills. They often provide prompts on what you should put in your profile to attract students and examples to follow. 

      A quick search on YouTube may also bring up videos of teachers who can provide tips and tricks to succeed within that platform’s landscape. Each platform has individual quirks and best practice, so with so many other teachers, there is a perfect opportunity to share knowledge and info.

      One the biggest cons to platforms is fees. Photo by Erik Maclean

      Cons of platforms like Preply, Superprof and Outschool

      Fees and charges

      The major con of teaching platforms is that you will have to pay fees for the pros that you’ve seen above. This can be the entire first class to a percentage of each class booked and paid for and occasionally a subscription model. The average amount is ≈20-30% of your income. 

      You need to compete with many other teachers

      While there are many benefits to having other teachers to learn from and compare strategies, there is also competition. With limited methods of filtering teachers, you can end up getting lost in the shuffle of those with the most reviews or lowest prices. 

      You need to deal with other teachers undercutting your prices

      A common complaint that I hear on forums is a perceived “race to the bottom”, where teachers (often from lower income countries) undercut each other until the hourly rate being charged is no longer tenable. On platforms where there is little filtering available to students except by price, teachers often think that lowering their prices is the only way to attract students, leading to the “race downwards” concept. 

      You still need to do all the lesson planning and preparation

      Unlike a salaried ‘job’, you may still need to do all of the teaching administration and assessment. This can be time consuming. 

      You still need to self promote, market and sell

      Even though there are students who are on the teaching platform, you need to find a way to stand out and to attract students to study with you. These sales, marketing and sales skills are foreign to many teachers and can pose a steep learning curve. 

      Overcome cons to succeed with platforms

      General advice

      • Compare platforms and be 100% clear on the fees and charges involved before signing up. My complete job list has transparent information on the 3 platforms mentioned here and 10 other popular lesser-known platforms from around the world. You can save up to 25% in fees on every lesson this way.

      • Don’t make your profile all about you! Instead, describe exactly how you help students and what you can help them achieve. Many teachers simply list their qualifications and experience like it’s a resume. Boring!

        Students have goals and usually want English to help them reach them. If you can help them study at that prestigious university, or get them a highly paid job, they’ll pay you a lot more. If you’re teaching kids, talk directly to the parents about their goals for their children’s future.

      • Have a professional (or professional looking) profile photo and make a short video, if possible. Check out my post “How to make the ultimate online English teaching video” for more details on how to make it great.

      • Think about a teaching niche that you can offer that will make you stand out among other teachers. When there are 100s of profiles with teachers who offer General English, why would a student pick you? If you’d like tailored advice about what niche to select, book in a 1:1 session. Having a niche offer also allows you to charge a higher rate.

      • Consider how you can use filters to stand out. If students can filter by price, why try and appear on the lowest price filter? Why not the highest priced? In my research, the teachers that charged the highest amount on a popular platform earned more than the lowest – and in fewer lessons!
      A major platform's teachers listed as 'Australian' with their prices in AUD. Image (c) Kate Zarb
      • Can students filter by subject, location, reviews, popularity etc? How can you use these filters to your advantage?

      • Don’t hesitate to use pre-made lesson materials that you can adjust and customise, especially for beginners. Save yourself hours of lesson planning and preparation with over 50 lesson planning resources with 10k+ lesson plans. See the free list here.

      • Search for and join online groups with teachers from your chosen platform. While these groups can be terribly negative at times, they are also a good place to share tips and workshop issues.

      • Spend a few hours reading all that you can on how to market and promote your services. In addition to the info in this post, lots of teachers have great videos and blogs with tips and tricks for specific platforms that can be really helpful, as well as the following links:


      For those who want the freedom of teaching private students in a freelance capacity without the hassle of starting their own business, a teaching platform might be right for you. There are significant cons worth considering, but many of these can be minimised by taking a few hours to plan and research the best platform for you and strategies for using it to your advantage. 

      So, do you teach on a platform? Do you have any advice for others how to succeed there?

      Considering your own freelance teaching business? Express interest in a coaching session. 

      Teacher vs tutor job online? What’s the perfect online English position for me?

      Imagine that you could make up to $100/hr (or more) working from the comfort of your own home, helping students to improve their English…

      Do you read this and want to become an online teacher or online tutor, but think “Teacher, tutor; are they the same? Can anyone become an online tutor and which is the best for me?”

      Many people are confused by the terms, and rightly so, as they often overlap. Before applying for a teacher or online tutor job, this post will clarify the difference and which might be the best (and most lucrative) for you. I’ll even talk about a third role, which is rarely advertised, and which can be even better paid! 

      Keep reading to find out what it is and how you can become one.

      tutor job online
      A teacher or tutor job online can be a great work from home role (Photo by Katerina Holmes from Pexels).

      Note: I most commonly use the verb ‘teach’ and noun ‘teacher’ on this site, as it is broader and more accurately captures the nature of most roles, but may resemble your notion of the role of a tutor. As I’ll explain later, these terms can overlap. 

      Face-to-face teacher and tutor (Australia)

      When I studied for my Bachelor of Education to become a qualified teacher, I would work in a classroom with around 30 local students as part of my degree. School teachers in Australia (and New Zealand) teach a similar number of students in each class and follow a set curriculum directed by the Government that outlines the content that students will be assessed on.

      ACARA has developed the Australian Curriculum. It gives teachers, parents, students and the community a clear understanding of what students should learn, regardless of where in Australia they live or which school they attend”.

      After university finished, I would visit the homes of students in my local area in the afternoon and work 1:1 as an English tutor. I would help students who needed extra assistance to complete the work assigned to them by their teachers. What the student learned was based on their individual needs and the relative ease or difficulty they had with certain aspects of the curriculum. ‘Succeeding/excelling’ at their schoolwork was usually the main goal.

      When most people think about the roles of teachers and tutors, that is the typical idea that they have. Traditionally, that has been the division between the two. While many tutors in Australia are also qualified teachers (current or retired), there have also been those who have recently graduated from high school (or current university students, especially those studying Education or a related field) and know the subjects well from recent experience.

      Those who received very high ATAR scores, or simply enjoy the role, may continue to tutor students for many years after graduation. Many teachers tutor in the afternoons to supplement their income. 

      An online tutor job is a common part-time role for teachers (Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash).

      Yet, in a global world with potentially 1.7 billion English learners or more, these traditional definitions of teacher and tutor have blurred. 

      Internet-facilitated lessons with students from all over the world mean that one single worldwide curriculum doesn’t exist. In (TESOL/TEFL/ESL) there are measurement standards (CEFR, for example, among others) that rank students based on their ‘competency’ in English (a beginner being an A1 and a near-fluent speaker being a C2, for example) but no single universal guide to what the role of the teacher entails. 

      For simplicity, I’ll explain the general definitions that you are most likely to find on this site and the jobs that I frequently discuss. 

      Read my complete guide to online TESOL and TEFL certification here.

      Online English teacher / online tutor (Australia)

      To become a teacher (offline or online) in a private company or school located in Australia, you will need an accredited Education degree and registration with your state teaching authority.

      To become a tutor (offline or online) in a private company (or freelance) located in Australia, you will need curriculum knowledge of the subject area that you want to tutor in. You do not necessarily need to be a qualified teacher with an Education degree.

      ≈20% of “English online teaching” jobs that I discuss on this site comprise tutor roles for tutoring students in Australia, usually 1:1 but sometimes in small groups. Just like above, you will be supporting a student in aspects of the Australian curriculum. The only difference is doing it online instead of face-to-face in the student’s home. Your company may provide the curriculum/materials to follow. To become an online tutor Australia – based, you will need to have curriculum knowledge in English / EAL (or be prepared to learn).

      If you’re looking for the top 25 highest paying ONLINE English tutoring companies in Australasia, see my regularly updated list here

      Online English teacher / online tutor (International company)

      The ‘Teach’ in Teach English Online usually refers to a role that can look more akin to a teacher in some contexts and like a tutor in others, which leads to confusion. As 99% of the jobs with overseas on our site are with private companies and not schools, how many students you’ll have and what you’ll be teaching them comes down to the individual learning model that the company applies.

      To become an online teacher and tutor with a private company overseas, you do not need to be a qualified teacher with an Education degree, but you should complete a TESOL/TEFL course in order to have a fundamental understanding of English language teaching. To tutor online with students overseas, you do not need curriculum knowledge per se (as each student will likely be following a different curriculum from their home country at school), but you need to be able to help your student with particular issues or challenges that they face with English in general. This might be related to grammar or vocabulary, speaking confidently or a number of other things. 

      ≈40% of online English teaching roles are with one student from overseas. While you may follow a set curriculum as specified by the company, you may equally be asked to bring or design your own. The student themselves (if an adult) may request that the classes follow an individualised plan be designed for their needs, and therefore more closely resemble a tutoring role. Parents may request that you help their child in a specific area, just as a traditional tutor would do, although this may or may not be directly linked to their school curriculum. They might instead request that you assist with an English language test or goal such as being to study or work abroad in the future.

      ≈30% of the online English teaching jobs are with small groups of students, commonly between 2-6 per class. As you have less time to focus on each individual, a class more resembles a traditional classroom, although it is important to give each student equal time to participate. Again, you will likely follow a curriculum given to you by the company, but you may be asked to bring or design your own. 

      ≈10% of online English teaching jobs are with large groups of children or adults of 10 or more who are located overseas. This is the least common of all the roles and frequently occurs when students are from lower-income countries and must share the cost among a greater number to justify paying a foreign teacher.

      Sometimes there are roles in schools and universities located overseas. You may be  required to be a qualified (Education degree holding) teacher to teach here, but it is not always required. It should be clearly stated in the job advertisement or application page what qualifications that you require.

      If you’re looking for the top 50 highest paying ONLINE English teaching and tutoring, roles for Australasians (with clear qualification requirements) see my regularly updated list here

      Online English tutor / teacher (Freelance)

      If you decide to ‘teach’ on a marketplace or post-a-profile site (such as Outschool; read my ‘How to Teach English Online’ guide for more information), you will be working for yourself and therefore have complete control over the content that you and the students cover. Students do frequently ask for specific topics or areas, as these roles more resemble tutoring. 

      So, the answer to “How do I become an online tutor or teacher?” changes if you choose to market your services directly to students without a company. In this situation, you may actually be able to help a student with a more general issue in English like public speaking, job interview preparation or sitting a test. 

      If you’re interested in starting your own online freelance teaching business, click here

      In this online tutor/’teacher’ scenario, it is not your curriculum knowledge or teaching qualification that will always attract a student. Students may want to work with a fluent English speaker, not to help them overcome a particular problem that they are facing with an aspect of English specifically, but with an issue of how to use English correctly in a particular situation. 

      This brings us back to that third role that I mentioned that can make you more money than that of either teacher or tutor (although it often combines elements of both): that’s being an online English coach.

      online english coach
      An online English coach has many of the traditional teacher and tutor duties, plus more (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels).

      Online English coach (Freelance)

      With so many English language learners globally, many people forget that a significant portion speak a high level of near-fluent English. While they are more than competent in the language, they will find themselves in situations in which they need to work with someone that has an in-depth knowledge of a particular professional field or situation (passing an immigration language exam), for example. 

      They will be looking for an English coach. Someone to help them work through a particular issue – not related to English, but simply in English. They might be more interested in your own professional or academic background than your teaching and tutoring one. Your classes may only be a percentage about polishing and practising their English, with a large portion also comprising support, encouragement and mentorship. 

      While this role is best suited to those with a significant amount of non-teaching career experience or for qualified teachers or coaches in another field, TESOL teachers can also consider what other ‘non teaching’ value that they can contribute to their students beyond the study of English. If you can stand out and offer a unique selling point, your business may quickly spread via word-of-mouth.

      If that’s something that you might consider, you can command the highest rates of all three roles ($100AUD?hr+ is common). If you’re interested in starting your own online freelance coaching business, click here.


      How much money does an online tutor make?

      The average online tutor in Australia makes between $40-$60/hr but up to $100/hr for experienced teachers. The average online teacher with an overseas company earns $25-$40/hr but freelance teachers can make double that or more. The same applies to New Zealanders, noting current exchange rates. Online coaches can make $100/hr or more. 

      Where can I work as a tutor online?

      You can work for online tutoring company in Australia or overseas

      Can anyone be an online tutor?

      In Australia (or New Zealand) you will need curriculum knowledge (or be willing to learn) to be a tutor but may not for overseas positions, where the definition of a tutor  encompasses a broader skillset and there are 100s of different school curricula around the globe. You also need to be supportive, encouraging and address learners’ needs in order to help your students succeed.

      Which coach / teacher / tutor job online will you choose?

      As you can see the answer to the question: “What’s the difference between an English teaching vs an English tutor job online?” can be a little complex. A traditional teacher vs tutor definition is blurred in the online English space. A third option, coaching, is a new and growing sector of online ESL.

      Not just anyone can become an online tutor or teacher, but the job might be more inclusive than you imagined. You could earn $25-$100/hr from home, helping people around the world to improve their career and study opportunities, to move or to travel. If you’ve got a bank of professional skills, you might even be able to coach someone to new levels of success. 

      Be sure to check out my post on TESOL and TEFL certification here, my regularly updated list of online English teaching jobs here and tutoring jobs here. If you’re interested in freelance teaching or starting your own business, express your interest in 1:1 support here.

      So over to you, have YOU worked as an online teacher, tutor or coach?

      What do you think the main differences are?

      Volunteer to teach English online

      Are you looking for online English teaching experience? Want to use your teaching skills for a good cause? Find out how you can volunteer to teach English online with Australian, New Zealand and International organisations in order to break into the field …or just give back.

      Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

      Not all of these organisations offer strictly ONLINE English tutoring and may require some form of in-person contact. Please follow COVID-19 guidelines and visit their websites for more information about the details of how to volunteer.

      If you see the code [NFP] this indicates that this organisation is 100% not-for-profit.

      How to volunteer

      Each organisation below has their own particular criteria  for volunteers so it is best to check with them directly. A few good rules of thumb:

      • Many organisations (especially those who work with children) will require you to pass a Background/Police check and/or have a WWC (Working With Children Check). Each state has a different application for a WWC, so search for the one in your resident state.
      • Make sure that you read the requirements and time commitment/s for the position carefully before applying. 
      • If you don’t find anything on this list that suits, you can also find positions on – many that are short-term/event based. This might be better than a long-term commitment for some. 
      • Finally, have fun and congratulate yourself for your contribution. Thank you. 

      Volunteering in Australia

      Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) is a free service to help eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants with low English levels to improve their English language skills and settle into Australia.

      AMEP (via TAFE NSW)

      AMEP (via TAFE SA)

      AMEP (via TAFE QLD)

      AMEP (via North Metropolitan TAFE, Perth)

      AMEP (Melbourne)

      AMEP (Tasmania)

      Navitas (SW Sydney and Canberra)
      The Volunteer Tutor Scheme encourages people to join us in supporting adult migrants and humanitarian entrants who complete our Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP), helping them develop their English skills and settle into life in Australia.

      AMES (Victoria)
      You will work alongside our newly arrived refugee and migrant clients and our committed and passionate staff, joining over 500 AMES Australia volunteers

      Djerriwarrh Community and Education Services (Melbourne West, Ballarat)
      Volunteering for Learning for Employment’s AMEP Volunteer Tutor Scheme involves meeting newly arrived migrants and refugees to help them learn English. [NFP]

      St Vincent De Paul Society
      Refugee English Tutor (QLD)

      Read Write Now! (WA)
      1 to 1 help for adults who want to improve their reading, writing, maths, study or basic computer skills. [NFP]

      Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre (WA)
      MMRC endeavors to bridge gaps that refugees and new migrants encounter during their settlement in Australia.

      SisterWorks Inc. (Nation-wide)
      SisterWorks is a partner of UN Women to deliver UN Women’ Second Chance Education pilot project in Australia. SisterWorks provides training programs to the most vulnerable women with little English of Refugee and migrant backgrounds. As an English Teacher Volunteer, you will be providing a training programme online, empowering migrant and refugee women by teaching them conversational English. [NFP]

      STEPS (Darwin)
      “We offer a number of flexible, part-time volunteer roles for anyone who wishes to get involved and help our students to gain English skills so they are more confident in accomplishing their future goals in Australia.”

      Volunteering in New Zealand

      English Language Partners
      Help former refugees and migrants learn English and join New Zealand society. Deliver language support in the learners’ own homes. [NFP]

      Help Tank
      Volunteer with English Language Partners and help us provide free English lessons to former refugees and migrants.

      Let’s Talk Language Learning Groups (Auckland)
      Did you grow up in New Zealand and did you use English in your home? University of Auckland students who use English as an additional language (EAL) would love to talk to you.

      International Organisations

      Language Linkers
      We empower refugees with 1:1, digital language courses volunteered by professional language teachers. [NFP]

      Stepping Stones China
      With a mission to improve the education and general welfare of disadvantaged children in China, Stepping Stones has hosted numerous programs focused on children’s education and well-being since 2006. [NFP]

      Do you know of any other organisations where you can volunteer to teach/tutor English online? Let us know in the comments!

      About the Author:

      Kate (GradCertEd (TESOL)) studied a TESOL certificate in 2010 and has been teaching English ever since, tutoring ‘freelance’ for many years before starting an independent teaching business. She began Teach English Online to support Australians and New Zealanders to, well… succeed teaching English online. Whether you are just starting out, want to apply to one of the 300+ global companies or build your own small independent teaching business, she can help.

      3 types of online English teaching jobs

      We’ve identified 3 main types of online English teaching jobs for Australian and New Zealand teachers: (1) With an overseas-located company (2) an online marketplace or; (3) independent teaching business (one you run and manage yourself). Read on for more information about which option might be best for you.

      Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

      This post is part of our “Ultimate teach English online guide“. Go check it out.

      There are more than 400 English language teaching companies worldwide, with only a small minority (around 25%) hiring Australian and New Zealand citizens. Unfortunately, many companies only hire those with an ‘American’ accent (US/Canada), followed by the ‘British’ one (UK). See a common job ad below:

      Don’t be disheartened though, there are still roles available for those ‘Down Under’.  This was the main motivation behind this site and the work that we do – to provide qualified, passionate Australasian teachers with access to the best jobs and information on the ‘net.

      What are the main types of online English teaching jobs?

      1. Working for an overseas company:

      The largest portion of these companies were based in China, with this market comprising 60-70% of jobs for Australasians. In July 2021, a major change in Chinese Communist Party (CCP) policy meant that the hiring of foreign teachers to provide after-school tuition is now prohibited. This means that you are best to look for positions in other Asian countries such as South Korea and Japan, as well as emerging markets in Russia, Eastern Europe and South America (although salaries are slightly lower and may require larger groups to be viable).

      A good option for new or inexperienced teachers as many companies provide teaching materials and lesson plans. Companies spend a great deal of money on sales and marketing, so you just need to teach. Peak hours occur after school and work (at your student’s location, not yours). 10 hours per week is common and in order to work more hours, you may need to apply for more than one company.

      Average salary: $24AUD/hr.

      2. Working for a language 'marketplace':

      With 50+ language marketplaces, there is one that will work for you to attract students to your particular style and teaching area. Great for teachers who enjoy preparing their own materials and teaching in a ‘niche’ teaching area without some of the promotion and administration that comes with running an independent ‘freelance’ business.

      Located in roughly the same countries as the online companies, many of the same rules above apply but these apps are a great way to fill in gaps throughout the day and during off-peak hours. Note: marketplaces tend to take 10-30% fees on each class, so you may need to increase your prices to cover these charges.

      Average salary – $39AUD/hr.

      3. Running an independent 'freelance' teaching business:

      The most complex of the three options, this is also the most financially rewarding and is a particularly exciting option for experienced teachers. Some of the areas that you will need to potentially learn include:

      • Sales and marketing;
      • Self-promotion;
      • Course design;
      • Tax and receiving international payments;
      • Creating a website or web presence.

        Average Salary – $49-$99AUD/hr.

      What type of online English teaching job is for me?

      All three options that you can consider when applying for an online English teaching job have considerable pros and cons.

      A company will do a lot of the legwork for you but likely offer a very average rate of pay.

      Marketplaces offer more creativity, flexibility and pay but you will need to put in additional hours to promote yourself and to manage and retain students.

      Independent teaching presents a steep initial learning curve but is the most financially rewarding and offers experienced teachers scope to design high-quality lessons.

      If you are new to the online English teacher journey, read our “Ultimate teach English online guide“ for a step-by-step guide to everything you’ll need to get started.

      Go check it out and good luck!

      10 steps to make more money teaching English online

      Teaching online is a fun and flexible way to make money online but salaries can be low, especially for new teachers. Here are 10 easy things you can do pre- and post-interview to make more money teaching English online.

      This post is written for Australian and New Zealanders but all of our information can be used by teachers worldwide. We are not financial experts, so please consult a professional for financial advice. We use affiliates links, which earn us a a small commission (at no cost to you) but always aim to give you the best quality advice that we can provide.

      This post is part of our “Ultimate teach English online guide“. Go check it out. 


      Do your research

      There are hundreds of online English teaching companies, with salaries ranging from less than $5 to over $55 (AUD) per hour. Only a few run ads on Australasian jobs sites. As these companies hire 75-80% of their teachers from the US, Canada and the UK, they do not spend their recruitment budgets ‘down under’.

      If you want to find out more information about smaller companies, you will need to either spend hours of research or you can buy our list of online English teaching jobs here

      Hourly rates can be confusing to calculate, often being a ‘base’ rate + bonuses. Once you decide on a company, we recommend following a few steps:

      1. Search for the name of the company and look for teacher reviews and information. Some companies have a good FAQ page and are quite transparent while others are not. Take negative reviews with a grain of salt and focus on information posted about salaries.
      2. Search for facebook groups for current teachers at your chosen company. Teachers are generally a friendly bunch and other than bombarding you with referral links, will often help you with salary information. Remember to search the group to see if there are recent answers around salary before asking. It’s a common question.
      3. Ask your recruiter/interviewer before the interview. If you have an email address, send your question there but remember they are some of the busiest people in the company and cannot always answer. Ask about salary at the end of the interview and definitely make sure you understand the rates before signing a contract. Read it carefully and confirm anything you don’t understand. Bonuses are often much harder to achieve than they seem, so estimate an average amount (around 50%).
      4. This is an optional step and slightly dishonest, so take this as a suggestion only. If you are an Australian/NZ citizen or resident based at home your salary will be higher than if you are located overseas in SE Asia, for example. In order to circumvent this, you might be able to use a VPN (like Express VPN) to make it seem as if you are in Australasia. While we have not done this ourselves, we have heard people have.

      A high hourly salary may seem like the only consideration when selecting a company …but see if you can get a sense of the booking rate before signing a contract using the above methods. If there are no students, 40 hours a week x $0 is still $0.

      The longer that you work for a company, you may be offered a pay increase for your loyalty, although this is the exception, not the rule. Check for bonuses such as being a substitute teacher for cancelling teachers, working unusual or off-peak hours and to recruit other teachers. Being flexible and carefully researching potential benefits before starting makes you ready to take advantage of opportunities when they arise.

      Submit an A+ resume

      A clear and concise resume will show your skills, attributes and why you deserve the highest salary in the range that the company offers. Remember, they make money from you so show them how you can be of benefit to the company. For our complete and detailed post on writing the perfect resume, click here.

      Just remember, the person reading your resume is likely NOT a native English speaker and keep this in mind when writing it. Keep language simple and sentences shorter than usual. You don’t need a professional headshot but a clear, smiling photo is key (if you add one).

      Make a short introduction video

      This differs from company to company, with some asking for a short video and others not. This is a way to show off your personality and on-camera performance skills. Those new to speaking to a camera might feel shy and awkward…. that’s ok! It takes practice.

      Our top tips: write a script, have good lighting and do some basic editing. Oh… and look AT the camera, not at yourself.

      Read our full blog post on how to make the ultimate online English teaching introduction video here.

      Get a TESOL certificate

      A TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate takes between a few days and a few months and will make you a better teacher from the interview to your first day on the job. Read our full post here.

      Why? With knowledge and experience comes confidence and someone who gets the basics of teaching and a ‘classroom’ will act more confidently in the interview. Premier offer a 250 hour certificate in which you can practice teach over Zoom with some peers before your interview.

      There are also lots of FREE courses
      that you can study before you begin – check some out, they’re free!

      Set up your teaching space

      A professional (and higher paid!) teacher will have a clean, appropriate teaching space. You might be sitting at your kitchen table with your laptop sitting on a shoebox, with your pyjama pants and slippers on…. just don’t let THEM see that.

      A few basic items of technology, good lighting, a quality headset and a well-decorated (or plain) background will likely earn you a higher rate and the respect of your students (and their parents).

      Practice, practice, practice

      Just like an ”in-person” interview, being prepared makes it much more likely that you will succeed and be able to negotiate a higher hourly salary. Check YouTube for anyone who explains the interview before hand.

      The interview will likely consist of a Q&A session followed by a ‘mock/demo/demonstration’ class for real students or staff posing as them in lieu of that. Find out beforehand what is required, if possible. Record yourself teaching a class for a few minutes and watch it back beforehand. Or, practice in front of the mirror. They both seem very cringe , we know… but it will show and will likely affect your offered salary. For new teachers or teachers who have moved online for the first time, it is worth that extra effort in the beginning and can pay off financially over your teaching career with the company in the form of cold, hard cash.


      Negotiate your salary

      This can be scary and many teachers are intimidated to negotiate a higher salary but please, if you only take one piece of our advice today…. negotiate. They can only say no. Our experience from talking to hundreds of teachers is that online English teaching companies rarely offer the highest rate upfront. The more qualified/experienced you are and the better you performed in the interview the higher your offered rate will be but you can ask for more. Be firm, state your reasons and do it in email if it makes you feel more comfortable. There are 100’s of companies out there. DON’T TAKE THE LOWEST OFFER!

      Self-promotion and social media

      Many companies have some form of ‘in-house’ social media, a section where you can customise a profile or the ability to connect with students in some way. Take full advantage of these if you can. Some companies do not permit direct contact while others do. Do note any company policies regarding this as many consider this ‘poaching’. If you can add extra slides to a .ppt, make up one with your name, education and working hours (see image).

      Promote yourself and your classes! Ask for feedback and reviews, sell yourself and your skills. Teachers with a loyal following have more power and are in a better position to negotiate with a company. If you can promote your classes on other outside social media sites, do so. Just like the resume, keep promotional language simple and short.

      Payment options

      You can lose A LOT of your salary due to the fees and charges involved in International payments. Ask about your payment options and research the best one for your situation.


      Often, as an online English teacher, you are employed as a contractor. As a contractor, there is more involved regarding your taxes. There are also some things you can now claim on your annual tax return (see sites for more information). Check out the Inland Revenue or ATO website for more info about saving money when the tax man (or woman) comes collectin’.

      Finally, you will always be limited to a certain salary if you work for a company. To truly earn the ‘big bucks’, you are going to have to go out and find students yourself. It takes a lot of time, energy and marketing to cut out the middle man but teachers can make $100 (AUD)+ per hour when they go freelance. If you want more information about how to break out on your own, please book a coaching session with an experienced freelance teacher.

      We hope that these ten tips help you to make more money online, by getting you the highest salary to start, earning you bonuses and saving you in fees and tax. It takes a few hours upfront but can earn you a lot of money over the course of any given financial year. Be prepared, have fun and do your research and you’ll make more money than those who don’t – guaranteed. Do you have other tips and tricks? Leave them in the comments below.

      Good luck and happy teaching!

      Do you have any money maximising tips for teaching online? Comment below.

      This post is part of our “Ultimate teach English online guide“. Go check it out.

      International payments for online English teachers (Australia & New Zealand)

      If you are getting paid into your bank account from foreign online English teaching companies or students overseas, the process can leave you receiving much less than you anticipated. We’ll compare the costs and fees for both traditional banks and online money transfer services to find the best way to save yourself some serious $$$!

      Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels.

      Disclaimer: We are teachers, not financial experts, so please take all of our information as suggestions not financial advice! If you are unsure, please speak with a professional. We receive a small commission for sending you (at no cost to you) to some of the listed companies below …but we offer all of your available options in an unbiased fashion. We are based in Australia so our information is “Aussie-centric” but if you have any New Zealand related info, please comment below or email us and we’ll update our post.

      This post is part of our “Ultimate teach English online guide“. Go check it out. 

      International payments for online English teachers - your options:

      Receiving money from overseas

      If you receive your salary from a foreign/overseas company or students to your Australian/New Zealand bank account, it is known my many terms, including:

      • BANK-TO-BANK transfer; SWIFT transfer; Wire transfer; Telegraphic transfer; IBAN money transfer; Inward transfer;
      • Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT);
      • International money transfer;

      These are all electronic transactions but differ slightly in how the money goes from A to B.


      Also known as an “Inward transfer, SWIFT transfer, Wire transfer, Telegraphic transfer, or IBAN money transfer”, this is the most common way to receive money from overseas. Most of the major online English teaching companies use this method. The sender has to ‘initiate’ the transfer of funds from their bank account to yours. This then occurs via a third party system such as the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) International payment network, for a fee (of course).

      You’ll need to provide information including your name, bank account and BSB number, residential address, your bank’s name and a SWIFT or a Bank Identifier Code (BIC) to receive money. If you don’t know these, a quick search for “Bank X SWIFT and/or BIC” will usually bring them up but you can request these from your bank if in doubt.

      As well as the most common method, it is also usually the most expensive. Banks generally charge a ‘receiver’ fee to accept the money into your account.

      How much are "bank-to-bank" transfer receiving fees?

      Receiving fees (per transaction) for the major Australian/NZ banks (2021):

      Why not just use those banks that charge $0?

      If only it was that simple!

      As you can see from the table above, two of the “fee-free” banks (Beyond and Heritage Banks) use Western Union Business Services. If you are working for an overseas company, they must be happy to use this for payment and most don’t (or won’t). You can always ask or check your contract to see your options. Suncorp only offers transfers in limited currencies, so check if your company’s bank is available and if so, you might save yourself money here. Citibank charge 2.50% on the Australian dollar conversion of the relevant transaction which might be cheaper but it will depend on the total amount of the payment as to whether this is true. As per usual, what you save in one area, you might pay for another, so read the T&C’s carefully.

      Other fees

      As well as receiving fees, some banks also ‘skim’ a little more of your money off in the form of a foreign exchange fee. Read the T&C’s of your bank (in the above links) to see if there are any other hidden fees that you are being charged as well.

      Transfers may also pass through another intermediary ‘middle-man’ bank between the sender and you and they may also take a fee as well. It’s really hard to find out IF this is going to happen and all the literature on the bank’s websites isn’t totally clear on this either. If you see another charge on your account from a bank that it not yours, it is likely to have come from this third party.

      Photo by Pixabay from Pexels.

      Exchange rates

      It’s also important to consider the exchange rate that your bank uses to convert your money from another currency to AUD/NZD. The exchange rate that appears when you search for “CNY to AUD” in a search engine, for example, is called the mid-market rate. This is the average of all the rates. This is not the one the bank uses though. They use their own rate. Consider this when calculating your salary. Unfortunately, banks are far from transparent about this and we could not compile a list of exchange rates (as they change daily) but if you receive a little less than you were expecting, this is likely the cause.

      Real-life example

      I was paid 135CNY for a class. This converted to $27.48 (AUD) by the mid-market rate but my bank (NAB) paid me $26.94 (AUD) using their “own” rate. They then charged me $4.94 (AUD) in foreign currency transfer fees, leaving me with $22.00 (AUD). I paid $5.48 (AUD) in fees – or 22%!!!

      As you can see, bank-to-bank transfers are NOT the best deal around.

      Finally, think about sending fees as well.

      Some companies will also charge you a monthly fee to cover their costs to send your money, so check your contract.

      If you are getting payments directly from students and they insist on bank-to-bank transfer, it is worth looking into the sending fees for your bank as well as the receiving ones, as this adds to what the students pays for your services.


      If you and the sender of your money use the same bank, the transfer with be considered an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), just like a domestic transaction within the country. It’s worth asking the company that you work for what bank they use and opening an account with the same bank to save yourself money. This is going to be the exception (likely with international banks like HSBC or Citibank) rather than the rule but it never hurts to ask. If you are teaching privately, ask your students the same question.


      There has been a big surge in the use of online money transfer services such as PayPal, Payoneer and Transferwise and they are a great way to avoid some of the fees that we encountered from the traditional banks above. If you are working for a company, you’ll need to ask if they send payments via these methods but at this stage, only about 10-15% of companies do.


      Many teachers rave about Wise and for good reason – they will convert your money at the mid-market rate instead of the marked up rate that the bank offers and their fees are very reasonable (A flat fee of 0.58 AUD (approx) + 0.42% of the total amount per transaction). Unfortunately though, at this stage, there are some limitations.

      How does it work?

      Firstly, you’ll need to open an account. You’ll get an Australian or New Zealand Account (with a BSB for Australians) that functions just like a bank account. You can open a multi-currency account to receive payments from (as the name states) multiple currencies, currently – EUR, GBP, AUD, NZD, RON, HUF & SGD. If you are receiving payments in any of these currencies, you get them straight into your Wise account and then transfer them into your ‘traditional’ bank account if you want. This way you can avoid the receiving fees that we covered above. A physical Mastercard can be purchased for an additional $10 (AUD) and you can withdraw $250 AUD for free each month.

      This is from Wise customer support:

      “We’re unable to support CNY payments into the multi-currency account due to regulations. Additionally, we’re unable to accept SWIFT payments into the AUD balance for this reason; however… we can support receiving USD via SWIFT.

      We don’t charge a fee for you to receive USD into your account via SWIFT but there’s a possibility you may receive less due to SWIFT fees charged by intermediary banks.  You can read more about SWIFT payments here.

      To send the money from your USD balance to your Australian bank account, we charge a fixed fee of 0.44 USD (approx. 0.58 AUD) plus 0.42% of the amount converted.

      You can use our pricing calculator here to confirm fees for the multi-currency account.”

      So, if you work for a major Chinese company or your students are located in other countries/currencies, you can ask them to pay you in one of the eligible currencies. If not, Wise might not work for you at this time.

      Up bank and TransferWise

      If you also send money overseas on a regular basis, you may also want to consider opening an Up bank account. Up is a “neo-bank” (or a digital bank) backed by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. While you can’t use Wise to receive money (yet), it is integrated into your account for sending payments. Save yourself the sending fee from the major banks. They offer the (joint) lowest receiving fee at $10 (AUD) and you even get $5 (AUD) just for signing up. Read more here.


      Payoneer works similarly to Wise, accepting EUR, GBP, JPY, AUD, CAD, MXN for free. You pay between 0-1% to accept USD but the exact fee is different in each country. They also convert at the mid-market rate. Their fees to withdraw money are a little confusing (see below) but it appears that on top of that mid market rate, you’ll pay up to an additional 2%. Again, like TransferWise, they offer a physical MasterCard but you’ll be converting currency with MasterCards rates plus a conversion fee of up to 3.5%. We recommend emailing their customer service and asking about your specific situation.

      Many of the major English teaching companies are now offering this as alternative to a bank-to-bank transfer so it’s worth investigating. It’s a great option if you also work for freelance platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr, which pay via Payoneer. They are also offering $25 to sign-up, so go check them out.


      The most well-known online international money transfer service, this is the service most commonly used by online English teaching companies other than bank-to-bank. We counted 24 currently supported currencies. You’ll save yourself the receiving fee but you’ll also pay PayPal’s own fees. In our research, we found PayPal’s fees the most confusing of all (see below).

      If your company offers you the choice between receiving payment via PayPal or bank account, we recommend “guesstimating” a likely monthly salary, calculating the bank fees then emailing PayPal’s customer service with your particular scenario (currency, amount etc.) and asking them to calculate the fees you’ll likely pay. It might be cheaper, it might not.

      I have paid approximately ~5.5% fees on payments via PayPal and WooCommerce on WordPress, after all fees are considered (but this is just a guide and you might pay more or less).


      Another option if you have your own website is Stripe. You’ll need to set up your classes as a product using a WordPress Plug-in such as WooCommerce. You can then accept payment using a variety of methods (Credit Card, Apple Pay etc.) via Stripe. If you want to accept payment from Chinese students, you can use AliPay.

      I’ve found that Stripe fees are about half (~2.7%) of PayPal.


      Traditional ‘bank-to-bank’ transfers are still the most common way to receive payment. While the receiver fee from your bank is generally the highest of all your options, it is also the most simple to calculate and you don’t have to convert the currency yourself. For this convenience, you will be also be losing a portion of your money during the currency conversion and possibly via any ‘middle-men’ banks that your funds pass through.

      Depending on your currency and the willingness of your payer to use a service like Western Union, some banks will not charge the receiver fee but check T&C’s carefully as there are often hidden charges. If you can use the same bank as your payer, there are real savings here. For freelance teachers, also consider Sender fees encountered by your students.

      International Funds Transfer companies like TransferWise, Payoneer and PayPal are all excellent alternatives if your company offers them and will GENERALLY be much less than via a traditional bank. BUT… Again, please take a look at the T&C’s and email them if you are unsure or contact a financial professional. Intermediary banks may still charge a fee during the transfer.

      If you have your own website, Stripe is an affordable option.

      Ask your teaching company or students for their preferences and check your contract. Email the customer service of your chosen International Transfer Fund company and ask to get an idea of the particular fees and charges for your situation. When you start teaching English Online, spend an hour or so looking at your options and you can save yourself a nice chunk of change every pay day.

      Any other payment options we have missed or any tips and trick on how to save on fees? Comment below.

      Good luck and happy teaching!

      This post is part of our “Ultimate teach English online guide“. Go check it out.