High-Paying Companies in 2023

a blonde woman with a fan of dollars in her hands in front of a pink background

Teach your way to the top

Here are the top English teaching companies by pay. In 2023, the highest pay is $25 an hour…but it’s more likely to earn about $15 an hour. To earn a livable wage, compare companies and focus on the base pay they offer you.

The pay environment is different now from a few years ago. There used to be many companies that paid over $20 per hour. But, since the new Chinese regulations, many of those companies folded. Now, the rate has fallen dramatically.

However, there are still some gems out there. Here are the top English teaching companies by pay. To earn a livable wage, compare companies.

High-Paying Companies in 2023

In 2023, there are fewer high-paying companies to teach English online. There are still a few, though. They aren’t always hiring, though. Still, if you want to try for well paid online English job, apply to these.

#1. Global LT English

Global LT offers a relatively high pay rate at $24 an hour on average. They hire for many different positions and their rates change depending on your qualifications.

#2. Star Kid $12-$25

#3. 1-on-1 English 

Next, I suggest applying to 1-on-1 English. The pay starts at $15 an hour but it goes up tp $20 and I have read good things about them from comments in forums.

#4. Ringle

Last, try Ringle. I know they are hiring because people post about them r/teachESLonline a lot. The pay is $15 but, unfortunately, that is considered a good rate for 2023.

Hopefully, the market improves soon.

Focus on Base Pay

After identifying some well-paid companies, be careful and focus on their base pay during the interview.

a drawing of a cat hugging a dollar

Be sure you know the difference between the base pay and top pay of companies that hire online English teachers. Ask the interviewer to clarify the range of pay before your demo class because it is likely that the company is advertising their top pay with incentives, while you will often be earning base pay without them.

Base Pay

Companies usually pay a base amount per class (for example, $8/hr) and then offer bonuses to incentivize teachers. Incentives are usually $1-4 per class. So, the pay can be from $15-21 an hour for some companies.

Incentive Pay

ESL companies pay a few extra dollars per class to encourage teachers to do certain things. Usually, incentive pay is very easy to get. You will likely get the extra dollars for each class. Companies vary in what they incentivize. Some pay you more for a class that a student rated highly. Others don’t base bonus pay on ratings but will pay bonuses if you teach at least a certain number of weekly classes.

Incentive Pay

Then, companies give you more money if you do things they like. They want you to be a good employee. So, they will reward you for certain things. Here are some common factors that ESL companies will incentivize:

  • Teaching Peak Prime Hours
  • Teaching More Classes
  • Good Ratings
  • Good Finish Type (teaching the full class)
  • No Absences
a smiling, young woman with short brown hair in a white Tshirt holding a fan of dollars in one hand and a credit card in the other

In addition, many online English companies offer incentive pay seasonally. Sometimes, they include this incentive pay in their advertisements, and people feel misled about their salary potential.

Be careful to ask current teachers what the realistic pay per hour for the company might be. Glassdoor is a good resource for finding out realistic pay ranges for online English companies. For example, here are some recent Glassdoor reviews for working at Palfish. Note the varied experiences that teachers have working for this company.

Also, Reddit and Facebook groups are great resources because teachers will often brag (if it is a good rate) or vent (if their pay rate suddenly drops). The results are in real-time, whereas company recruitment videos and even recruitment videos from other teachers may not be. Indeed, keeping up to date on the ever-changing pay and requirements of ESL companies is one of the most difficult parts of writing this blog. I keep the comments open precisely so teachers can note any discrepancies between our posts and the actual on-the-ground situation at the ESL employer as they are experiencing it.

Know the Base Pay

Ask, “What is the LEAST amount I will ever earn per class?”

Current teachers will often advertise only the company’s highest pay possible to recruit more teachers, not their range of pay offerings. Be wary of this. Always ask any mentor or current teacher guiding you through the application directly: what is the LEAST amount I will ever earn per class?

I hope that helps break down some of the more confusing aspects of how ESL companies pay

an illustration of a cat dreaming about money

Bottom line

Know the base pay for the company you are applying to. First, look at the comparison chart to identify companies known for their good pay. Then, read their recent reviews on Glassdoor and on Facebook groups. This way, you know what they pay teachers in 2023. Be careful that you don’t see rates from before the shift in the market a few years ago. Finally, don’t be misled by incentive pay without understanding the likelihood of achieving it.

If you want to learn more about opportunities to teach online, here are other posts that might help.

Ingrid Maria Pimsner, MA, BA, TEFL
Ingrid Maria Pimsner, MA, BA, TEFL

Ingrid Maria Pimsner has been teaching for over a decade in various universities, nonprofits, and private academies. She has taught English as a Second Language for Lutheran Children & Family Service, Nationalities Service Center, Lernstudio Barbarossa Berlin-Tegel, and more. In addition to her Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Certification, she holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a MA from Maryland Institute College of Art.