Our high English proficiency as Filipinos helped our country become the go-to destination for employers across the globe looking for skilled English workers. It’s one of our highly-leveraged strengths, one that helps us pull millions of language and off-shore jobs from all over the world. 

And one of the most popular routes to take nowadays (if you want to try working from home) is ESL teaching. 

In this article, I’ll share the best insights on how to become an Online ESL Tutor in the Philippines.  

I’ll cover key points and insights explaining why ESL Teaching can be a great way to earn income (full-time or part-time), what you’ll need to become one, and where exactly to apply even if you don’t have teaching experience (full list of popular online ESL companies and application links are provided).

What is ESL?

ESL is short for “English as Second Language”. An ESL teacher is someone who teaches English to people who don’t use it as their native language. It is also commonly referred to as TEFL or Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

Why Become an Online ESL Teacher?

If you’re passionate about teaching and want to do it at the comfort of your own home, teaching English online could be a great source of income for you and your family. Aside from virtual assistant jobs, the ESL industry in the Philippines has experienced a significant growth within the last few years. 

There are actually two main types of ESL Teachers:

  • ESL Teachers who teach abroad
  • ESL Teachers who teach online

In general, the pay is significantly higher for ESL teachers living abroad but the trade-off being they’ll have to live away from home. Also, these folks must be native English speakers (mostly) and have certain ESL certifications to qualify. 

But while online ESL teachers earn less in general compared to their counterparts above, they enjoy the benefit of working from home and do everything via a fully remote set up. 

Note that “earning less” shouldn’t be equated to having a low-paying job. In fact, some Filipino online ESL teachers claim they can earn as much as 50,000 to 80,000 a month from this job. In general though, the median pay averages around 20,000 to 30,000 pesos depending mainly on your level of expertise and the ESL company you’re working for.

Can I Become an Online ESL Teacher Even If I Don’t Have Teaching Experience?

The answer is YES, absolutely. As you will learn later, there are many ESL companies today who hire individuals as long as they meet the necessary requirements and pass the training/demo. 

What Are the Requirements to Be an Online ESL Teacher in the Philippines?

Having TEFL certification is a huge plus, but the typical online ESL company today will hire applicants able to meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Must be 18 years old and above
  • Bachelor/Vocational degree is a huge plus.
  • Must be computer literate.
  • Fluent in both oral and written English.

How Much Can An Online ESL Teacher Earn?

According to Indeed.com, the average ESL Teacher salary as of February 2020 is 20,000 pesos. The average hourly rate (per PayScale) is Php107 pesos. But the actual rate you’ll receive is highly dependent on a number of factors—company, your output/number of hours, and skill/experience level. As mentioned earlier, there are online ESL teachers who earn upwards of Php40,000 per month and even more, it varies based on the factors mentioned above. An average teaching session lasts around 25-30 minutes.

What Are the Skills Needed for Becoming an ESL Teacher?

An ESL teacher needs to have a decent working knowledge (and able to practice) the following English language skills:

  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking

Do you have to be highly-skilled in all these areas? No, you don’t have to be A+ on all factors. Even if you’re “just” an average English speaker, as long as you’re able to clearly communicate the lesson to your student, then you’ve done your job. 

In doing research for this article, I watched several video recordings of Pinoy ESL tutors teaching their students. I realized that while English proficiency is essential, your personality and the manner by which you teach is almost as important. Watching how some of the ESL teachers are so lively in their classes and how it makes their students feel more engaged impressed me, as I know it takes a lot to sustain the energy level to avoid the session from being boring.

It might also be a good idea to check out free online courses about ESL Teaching. This one from FutureLearn covers several teaching-focused lessons which include subjects like “How to teach young learners online” and “Teaching English Online” among others. Most of them are free and provide solid tips and concepts that may help you speed up your understanding and mastery of ESL teaching.

What Equipment Will You Need to Become an Online ESL Teacher?

An online ESL teacher’s workspace setup is very similar to other home-based jobs like Virtual Assistants and Voice-support agents. It’s important to invest in a high-quality headset and video camera especially since having both clear audio and video is an absolute must in this type of job. Of course, it goes without saying that having a fairly fast and highly stable internet connection is crucial as well.

  • Laptop or desktop
  • A noise-canceling headset with an external microphone
  • Stable internet connection
  • Built-in or external web camera
  • Quiet teaching environment
  • Teaching Aids
  • Comfy chair
  • Skype/Slack/email account for communication

Also read: How to Choose A Computer for Working from Home

It’s important to note that you don’t have to spend a lot right away to get the necessary equipment. Most of us have computers at home, and it’s very likely that your computer is capable of handling the load of ESL teaching. 

In fact, the computer is merely secondary when it comes to ESL teaching in my opinion. What’s more important is having a stable and decent internet connection with a low ping rate (less ping, fewer disconnection issues). So if you’re ready to take the leap in ESL teaching, the first thing that I would recommend (if you don’t have it yet) is to get a solid internet connection. 

This article I wrote for Grit.PH shares some of the top choices for ISPs: The 5 Best Internet Service Providers in the Philippines 

How to Apply as an Online ESL Teacher

Most online ESL companies typically have a similar process for hiring applicants. Here’s a general overview on how to apply. 

  1. Visit the ESL company website and proceed to the application page.
  2. Provide all required information in the spaces provided. Submit your application.
  3. The company will contact you to schedule an interview. Some require that you pass a demo teaching session.
  4. Once hired, you may start opening the required number of lesson slots and start teaching.

Sample ESL Interview Questions

Here are a few sample questions that you might get asked for an ESL teaching position.

Note: The following questions are taken from Glassdoor. These are actual sample questions shared by various ESL teachers during their interview with specific ESL companies.

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • How did you find out about our company?
  • Why did you choose (insert ESL company here)?
  • What are the best qualities of being a teacher?
  • How can you make a young professional but with no English background understand what an (insert object here) is?
  • How will you motivate your students?
  • What is an adverb and an adjective?
  • Explain what idioms are/pronoun/verb etc.,
  • Explain the meaning of (insert quote here—example: “barking at the wrong tree”, “not my cup of tea”, “piece of cake”, etc.,)
  • What makes you different from other teachers?

Tips for Being a Great ESL Teacher

No two teachers are the same. For example: Some are naturally good at teaching but may have modest English skills while others may be highly proficient in the language but struggle being teachers. 

The lesson? Each person has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. Here are a couple of tips to help you become a well-rounded online ESL teacher. 

Adjust to their pace

Imagine putting yourself in the shoes of your foreign student. As someone who can barely understand what is being said and gets lost in translation, it feels demotivating, right? You try to keep up, but it’s still hard. As someone who personally hates math like the coronavirus, I can relate to students having much difficulty keeping up. 

Be sensitive to their demeanor during sessions. If you feel like they’re not progressing as expected or having difficulty learning, ask them if they need help with a specific area. Tell them it’s completely OK to admit if they are having a hard time following so you can adjust your teaching. This is the best way to encourage them to keep learning. 

Be Resourceful

Use learning aids and other devices to make the session more engaging. Have cardboard cutouts of letters or animals that very young students (toddlers) will find amusing. Use colorful backdrops and utilize apps/software to create fun animations for the kids. 

Keep it fun if possible

As I’ve mentioned earlier, the more lively the session, the better the interaction and less awkward it will be for both parties, especially if you have an adult student.

Adjust to the situation 

No matter how “regular” your teaching session is on a daily basis, you’ll still encounter the occasional bumps and hiccups that go with any other job.  Maybe you’re having network problems, perhaps your student is being difficult, or maybe you’re not feeling well but still need to finish an important session. 

No matter what the situation is, be prepared to adjust. How dependable you are as a teacher speaks a lot about you as a person and will surely bid you well in the long run. 

Back-up lessons

My father used to say, “Mabuti nang sobra kesa kulang”, whenever I’m about to go someplace and need baon or when I’m preparing for an exam. In this context, it means that it’s better to be extra prepared. You’ll never know when you’ll need additional material to fill in the session (you quickly-blazed through today’s topic because your student learns fast or needs to switch to a more engaging lesson, for example). Having that back-up lesson ready gives you the peace of mind that you’ll always be ready to deliver.

Give Assignments

Give your students some material to work on during their free time. It will help them practice and develop their English skills faster. 

List of ESL Companies Accepting ESL Teachers with No Experience

Ready to teach English at home? The following companies accept applicants even if you don’t have formal English teaching experience. 

Weblio

Weblio Inc is a popular online dictionary provider in Japan. In 2014, they established an office here in the Philippines and started hiring home-based tutors to teach ESL to Japanese nationals.

Salary Rate: Per Lesson = 50 – 75 pesos ; Per Hour = 100 – 150 pesos

Students:  Japanese

Schedule: 8:00am-5:00pm PST M-F

Qualifications:

  • Must be 18 years old and above
  • Bachelor/Vocational degree is a huge plus.
  • Must be computer literate.
  • Fluent in both oral and written English

Requirements

  • Headset
  • Laptop or Desktop
  • Plain white background and good lighting.
  • At least 3 MBPS download speed & ping of not more than 30 ms.
  • TIN ID

Click Here to Apply at Weblio

Native Camp

Native Camp is based in Japan and is recognized as one of the largest online ESL teaching companies there. 

Salary Rate: Per lesson: Php55-60

Schedule: 24/7

Students: Japanese, Thai, Indonesian (and other Asian students)

Qualifications:

  • At least 20 years old
  • Proficient in English

Requirements

  • Desktop or laptop
  • Internet connection
  • Headset
  • Web cam

Click Here to Apply at Native Camp

Engoo Tutor (formerly known as Bibo)

Launched in 2013 as Bibo, this ESL company based in Japan started with 80 local tutors based in Manila, Cebu, and Davao. Fast forward a few years later, they expanded to other parts of the globe, having presence across an impressive 6 continents around the world.

Salary Rate: Php60 per lesson

Students: Japanese, Thai, Indonesian (and other Asian students)

Schedule: 5AM to 11PM

Qualifications:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Proficient in English

Requirements:

  • Headset and Webcam
  • Laptop or Desktop
  • High-Speed Internet Connection

Click Here to Apply at Engoo Tutor

51Talk

Established in the Philippines in 2012, 51Talk (pronounced five-one-talk) has helped thousands of Pinoys teach English to Chinese students. It’s one of the most well-recognized names in online ESL teaching in the country.

Salary Rate: Php55 per lesson

Students: Chinese (mostly kids)

Schedule: 6AM to 11:30AM

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree / Graduate of a 4-year course
  • Experience teaching kids / K12 / Early Childhood / Elementary (preferred)
  • English teaching certifications such as LET / TEYL / TESOL / TEFL (preferred)
  • Must have passion, energy, and enthusiasm in teaching

Requirements:

  • Headset and Webcam
  • Laptop or Desktop
  • High-Speed Internet Connection
  •  

Click Here to Apply at 51Talk

Oncub

Oncub is short for “online cubicle”, and is the brainchild of Korean founder Andrew Lee. He wanted to bring ESL teaching to South Korean students via the internet, a not-so-common strategy back then (2009) when students were usually taught in classrooms. 

Salary Rate: Php90 per hour

Students: South Korean

Schedule: 5-7AM ; 6-10PM

Qualifications:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Proficient in English

Requirements:

  • Headset and Webcam
  • Laptop or Desktop
  • High-Speed Internet Connection

Click Here to Apply at Oncub

Bizmates

Bizmates Philippines, Inc. is a SEC-registered company with headquarters in Japan. They boast of a significantly higher rate per hour compared to others on this list.

Salary Rate: Php140 to Php230 per hour

Students: Japanese

Schedule: 4AM to 9AM ; 9PM to 12MN

Qualifications:

  • Preferably with a Bachelor’s/Associate’s Degree from a reputable college or university
  • If undergraduate, must have at least 3 years of work experience in the relevant field
  • Excellent written and verbal English communication skills
  • Basic computer skills and above-average Skype skills
  • At least 3 years of working experience in any field.
  • Availability on weekends (4AM – 12MN) and weekday evenings (9PM – 12MN PHT) are a plus.
  • Between 23 – 75 years old.
  • Available to teach at least 10 hours per week

Requirements:

  • High-speed and stable internet connection (at least 1Mbps for download and 0.50 Mbps for upload) Direct DSL/LAN cable connection only (NOT WiFi)
  • Desktop/Laptop PC only (no tablets or smartphones allowed)
  • Latest FULL version of Skype for Windows or Mac
  • A working headset with microphone (with noise cancellation properties preferred)
  • Webcam
  • A quiet, well-lit area at home to conduct classes (preferably with a white background)
  •  

Click Here to Apply at Bizmates

Sankei

Sankei Online English is a collaboration of Sankei Digital (Japan), Transcosmos Philippines, and Human Holdings (Japan). 

Salary Rate: Php45 per lesson

Students: Japanese

Schedule: 5AM to 11PM

Qualifications:

  • Must possess at least college-level education
  • Must be able to speak English at native level
  • Fresh graduates are welcome

Requirements:

  • High-speed internet connection
  • Computer with webcam

Click Here to Apply at Sankei

Acadsoc

Based in Shenzhen, China, Acadsoc became one of the fastest growing online ESL companies with over 10,000 English teachers covering millions of students in China. They have branches in the Philippines, Hong Kong, London, and New York.

Salary Rate: Php50 per lesson

Students: Chinese

Schedule: 6PM to 10PM ; 10AM to 10PM

Qualifications:

  • Excellent English communication skills
  • Capable of teaching kids / K12
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Must be 20 years old and above
  • TESOL/TEFL certified applications are preferred

Requirements:

  • PC or laptop
  • Stable DSL/Broadband internet
  • Noise-canceling headphones and HD webcam

Click Here to Apply at Acadsoc

UNHoop

Japanese company Kensetsu System Co. Ltd. established UNHoop Philippines Inc in 2009 with the goal of becoming the best ESL online schools for students residing in Japan. Fast forward more than a decade later, the company is now manned by over 400 ESL teachers helping Japanese students get good at English.

Salary Rate: Php55 per lesson

Students: Japanese & Taiwanese

Schedule: 4:30PM to 9:30 PM

Qualifications:

  • At least 18 years old (work experience NOT required)
  • Solid English skills

Requirements:

  • Laptop or desktop
  • Stable internet connection
  • Skype account
  • Good quality headset
  • Web cam
  • Quiet room with a plain backdrop

Click Here to Apply at UNHoop

Rarejob

For more than a decade, Rarejob has conducted more than 10 million online ESL lessons to Japanese students via the help of 10,000 Filipino tutors they hired over the years. Today, Rarejob is recognized as one of the largest and most successful online ESL companies in Japan.

Salary Rate: Php55 per lesson

Students: Japanese

Schedule: 6PM – 12 MN

Qualifications:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Basic computer literacy
  • Has good English proficiency
  • Has patience & passion for teaching
  • Must currently be residing in the Philippines
  • Can provide Philippine Tax Identification Number (TIN)
  • Must not be working for another online ESL school
  • ESL teaching experience is a plus
  • Can conduct lessons during peak hours (6PM – 12 MN) is a plus

Requirements:

  • Laptop or desktop
  • Headset with external microphone
  • Stable internet connection (LAN connection is a plus)
  • Speedtest Requirements:
  • Download speed: 0.3 mbps
  • Upload speed: 0.06 mbps
  • Ping test must be < 30 ms
  • Active Skype and email accounts
  • Built-in or external web camera
  • Quiet teaching environment

Click Here to Apply at Rarejob

UTALK

Based in China, UTalk is one of the fastest growing online ESL companies in the Philippines. Their main office is located in Baguio and has two offshore branches located in Quezon Hill and Abanao Square.

Salary Rate: Php60 per lesson

Students: Chinese

Schedule: 6AM to 11PM

Qualifications:

  • Must have reached at least college level/vocational graduate
  • Good command of the English language
  • Good multitasking skills
  • Computer literate
  • CELTA/TESOL/LET certificate is an advantage
  • BPO or ESL experience is a plus but not a requirement

Requirements:

  • Operating System: Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10
  • CPU/Processor: Intel Core i3, i5, i7 or AMD Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7
  • RAM/MEMORY: At least 4GB or higher
  • Internet: Must have a minimum of 0.5Mbps upload speed and a minimum of 5Mbps download speed (DSL/Fiber).
  • Must be connected to LAN and no wireless
  • Headset: With a noise cancelling feature or a quiet environment 

Click Here to Apply at Talk

ISpeakBetter

ISpeakBetter is an app available for both Android and IOs that lets users sign up for English language courses. Their main market are students from the Middle East and South East Asia.

Salary Rate: Php70 per lesson

Students: Asian & Middle East

Schedule: 9PM to 5AM ; 10PM to 3AM

Qualifications:

  • Male or Female
  • At least 18 years old
  • Passionate in teaching English
  • TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certified-applicants are preferred

Requirements:

  • PC or Laptop
  • Stable internet (at least 5MBPS)
  • Headphones with noise-cancelling feature
  • Quiet workspace with light background

Click Here to Apply at ISpeakBetter

2 thoughts on “How to Become an Online ESL Teacher With No Experience

  1. Very helpful article. Do you think it’s possible to teach multiple online ESL companies? I’m planning to do part-time for 2 ESL schools. What are your thoughts about this? Thanks!

    1. Hi Rio,

      Thanks for dropping by! Yes, pwede naman mag part-time ka for 2 ESL companies. In fact, I think it’s a great idea para mas may safety net ka just in case magka issue ka sa isa 🙂

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