How to make money teaching (or simply speaking) English

A man at a desk facing a computer screen, in a classroom.
Bradley Peterson teaches 7th-grade English literature to students at home via Zoom. Several online sites allow English speakers to make money teaching without a degree.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Native English speakers can have a simple, and often lucrative, side hustle by teaching the language online.

A number of platforms can help you connect with international students who are anxious to learn or to improve their English-language skills. They also connect tutors with U.S. students who have fallen behind.

While some online platforms that connect teachers and students require English teachers to have credentials, many care only that English is your native tongue and, sometimes, whether your grammar and composition skills are up to snuff.


It’s worth noting that this industry has changed dramatically since we last wrote about it a year ago. That’s mainly because many of the top English-language teaching sites were operated by companies that specialized in tutoring Chinese students in English. Last fall, the Chinese government banned private tutoring companies from offering these services, maintaining that they gave unfair educational advantages to the elite. That sent the top tutoring sites, including MagicEars, VIPKID and QKids, into a tailspin. While most survived, they’ve revamped and lost many students, and some have changed the way they pay freelancers. That has shifted the landscape to favor U.S. and other international operators.

So, where and how can you teach English online today? Here are some options, what they require and what they pay.


While many Chinese-based language companies faltered, a Taiwanese competitor — AmazingTalker — has thrived. The company says its revenue has grown 500% in the past year, and it now enlists more than 8,000 tutors to service 1.1 million clients.

There are not a lot of requirements to tutor here. You must be 18, able to sign a legal contract and be fluent in English. Teaching or tutoring experience is preferred. However, you don’t need to have a teaching credential or a certificate in English as a second language. Classes are conducted online, generally on Zoom.

Tutors set their own rates, tutoring specialties and the length of lessons. Those teaching English as a second language typically charge between $15 and $28 per hour, according to the site. There’s no cost to sign up, but tutors pay 15% to 30% of their income as a site commission.


iTalki offers jobs for both professional teachers and “community tutors,” who qualify with nothing more than proficiency in a language. The site teaches all major languages and posts weekly updates of the languages that require tutors.


Tutors set their own rates and determine their schedules. However, they are asked to promptly respond to lesson requests. The platform takes a 15% commission for providing marketing and payment processing.


Wyzant connects tutors of all types with students who need their services. Tutors set their own rates — most commonly $30 to $60 per hour — and the site takes a 25% commission. Tutors do not need credentials; however, they are expected to have proficiency in the subject matter.

Varsity Tutors

Like Wyzant, Varsity Tutors does not require teaching credentials; you are simply expected to be proficient. But unlike Wyzant, Varsity Tutors sets the rates. The site, which hires tutors for both in-person and online instruction, pays $15 to $40 per hour. Those who earn the most are generally capable of teaching advanced subjects or able to tutor students taking business school or law school admission tests. The site’s fees are worked into tutor earnings; there is no additional commission.

Chelsea International Education

Chelsea International Education takes only credentialed teachers as tutors, but if you’re accepted here you can earn great pay. The site pays between $15 and $100 an hour, depending on the age of the student and the subject. Tutors pay no commissions; the site adds its fees to clients’ bills.


Cambly enlists freelancers to chat in English with people trying to learn. All you need to qualify is to be over the age of 18, capable of signing a legal contract and be a native speaker. You choose when you want to work by either signing up for “priority hours” or simply signing on. The site pays between 17 cents and 20 cents per minute. Many conversations are done via video chat on your phone. Because Cambly’s students come from around the world, work hours are whenever you want them.

Kristof is the editor of, an independent website that reviews moneymaking opportunities in the gig economy.