Teaching ESL can be a very rewarding job. It is exciting to watch people who do not speak English gradually learn to use the language to communicate. Just a few decades ago, if you chose to be an English as a second language teacher (ESL), you either had to work abroad or with the school district teaching children of foreign-born parents. Teaching methods have developed a great deal thanks to new technology and teachers today can find positions online, sit from home and teach their students English in their spare time, or on the schedule they prefer. Finding an online ESL teaching position is possible, but it does take persistence.
Obtain a college degree of some sort. Most language schools prefer a college degree when looking for candidates, but they also know that many ESL teachers have long-term experience, so if you already have ESL teaching experience, you can often forgo the bachelor's degree requirement.
Get ESL certification. Whether you have ESL teaching experience or not, certification validates your skills and gives you hands-on ESL training. Certification courses are available at local colleges and universities. You can also find certification courses online at websites like Tesol Online, TEFL Corp or TEFL International (see Resources).
Write out your resume and list any teaching experience you have. Specify whether the teaching experience is with children, adults, teens or all of the above. State any translation or corporate work you have done as well. Include your education, certifications and computer experience.
Prepare your computer equipment to ensure you have reliable high-speed Internet access, a headset with a microphone, external computer speakers and a web cam. Test all of these devices with your Internet network to make sure they work correctly.
Navigate to online job boards like ESL Jobs World, ESL Employment or ESL Jobs. Look for ESL classified ads that are specific to online teachers. Apply for the job by filling out the job application completely and following the exact instructions. Attach your resume to the application and send it to the email address given in the advertisement.
Visit ESL teacher community websites like Dave’s ESL Café, ESL Teachers Board or ESL Job Project where you can post a classified advertisement offering online English tutoring services.
Navigate to online ESL schools like Language Systems International or Open English World. Locate the “Contact Us” link or “Teaching Jobs” link and apply directly with the company. Sometimes an online English school is not advertising for teachers but has a few open positions. Send them a copy of your resume and a cover letter stating your interest in working with them.
Apply to many different ESL schools and ESL job advertisements to maximize your odds of getting contacted to teach online. Be persistent when applying for a position.
- Winston Davidian/Photodisc/Getty Images