Teach English Online Full Time

“Can you teach English online full-time?”

Yes, you can teach English online full-time and make this a long-term career. More importantly, you can earn a liveable wage teaching English online. When working full-time, I earn roughly $3000 monthly. Others can make up to $4000. (Teaching 9 hours a day is exhausting, though, so I usually work part-time and earn about $2000 monthly.) The average wage working online full time is $1000-3000 if you are a native speaker with a BA and higher certification (TEFL/CELTA/TOEFL)

young blonde man professionally dressed and teaching on his laptop

My top picks for full time ESL work


Palfish - Teach English Online

Palfish lets you teach from your phone or tablet with wifi anywhere around the world. Also, the pay isn’t too shabby! Palfish OKC teachers earn approximately $17- $19 an hour depending on how many classes they teach a month.


Cambly: Teach English Online

Cambly lets you pop on and off whenever you want and you can teach by the minute. You can teach from wifi so you can travel with your laptop. Cambly gives you lesson plans but most students just want to chat and improve their speaking skills. You don’t need to commit to bookings if you don’t want to, but the option exists. Cambly is by far the easiest, low-stress tutoring employer but also pays the least at $10.20/hour. However, that goes pretty far if you’re an American in Thailand, let’s say!


itutorgroup- Teach English Online

iTutorGroup is one of the few companies that hire non-native speakers regularly. Though a problematic term, ESL companies use the term non-native speaker to refer to a person who learned English as a second language. Be aware that iTutorGroup pays according to your location *at the moment you are teaching* and ties your pay to the hourly wage of your country. This means the pay can be high in Sweden but very, very low in Thailand. They track your location during your interview.

How to teach English online full time

My number one tip for teaching English full-time is to work for two or three companies. You can work for one company and work for them full time, but most ESL companies have waves of demand during some months and then ebbs and flows at other times of the year or even times of the day.

Stagger Peak Priority Hours

Try to work for companies that stagger their hours by working for companies that teach students in different parts of the globe. Remember the time zone differences across the world.

Companies usually cater to one student body in one region of the world. For example, many of the top-paying online ESL companies like VIPkid, Whales English, Qkids, or Magic Ears teach students in China and the bookings are most popular during evening hours in China when kids come home from school. If you work for two of these companies, your peak busy hours will overlap.

a smiling woman talking to someone on her laptop in a sweater
Scaffolding is an important teaching technique that ensures the student can meet lesson objectives.

How to Earn a Living Wage Teaching ESL Full Time Online

Living wages depend on where you live. Working full time on Cambly or Itutorgroup might be enough money for someone residing in Eastern Europe or Thailand, but not enough for someone in the USA. If you are working in the US, you will likely need to work for companies that pay $18 and up hourly.

a photo of a fan of twenty dollar bills in a lady's hand
If you are working in the US, you will likely need to work for companies that pay $18 and up hourly.

Bottom Line

You can teach English online full-time and earn a good wage if you do this: work for two or more companies, stagger the company’s peak hours, and work for companies that pay a living wage for your location.

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.