Did you know, there are more than 450 million Spanish speakers across the world?
Reaching from the glacial tips of Patagonia to the sunny slopes of Tibidabo, Spanish is an incredibly diverse and multicultural language. So, it may come as no surprise that, sooner or later, some of those Spanish students will end up wanting (or needing) to learn English.
Teaching English online is without a doubt a rewarding venture. It’s something you can do as a hobby, side-hustle alongside your main job, or if you’re willing to put in the work, as a full-time career.
With the demand for studying the universal language increasing, there’s never been a better time to start teaching English online to Spanish students.
Plus, if you’ve ever dreamed of having a travel job you can do from anywhere, this could be it!
What are the advantages of teaching English online to Spanish students?
There are so many advantages to remote work.
Firstly, you know that long commute that you dread every morning?
Well, forget about it.
Teaching English online is primarily a work from home job. In fact, even better than that, it’s a work from anywhere job!
This means that, as long as you have a webcam and good internet connection (I recommend these mobile hotspots for travelers), you could just as easily do it from the pool-side in Thailand as you could from your living room.
Secondly, you have a lot more control over your classroom. Do you want to teach one-to-one or in a group? Would you rather tutor children or adults? What times will your classes run?
These are all things that get to decide when you are teaching English online. With some companies, you even get your lesson plans provided for you. Although, if you’re the creative type, this can stump the personal touch a little.
In any case, you effectively get to be your own boss, pick your own hours (depending on your student’s time zone, of course), ditch the office drama, and learn valuable entrepreneurial skills that will help you develop personally and professionally.
Plus, Spanish students who are paying to learn English out of their own pockets are likely be focused and eager to learn.
Lastly, considering the diversity of the Spanish language, teaching English online to Spanish speakers will give you a great chance to learn about a lot of cultures besides Spain itself.
You’ll be speaking to interesting people from all over the world, who all have very different backgrounds from you. While you’re there to teach, you’ll be able to communicate with them outside the lesson. An online classroom isn’t just a place for the student to learn, it’s also an educational experience for the teacher.
Not many people will be able to say that they’ve built strong relationships and changed the lives of people all over the globe while sitting in their living room!
How to teach English online to Spanish speakers
Now, while there are some similarities, it would be a downright lie to say that teaching English online is the same as teaching English in a classroom.
Forget handing out textbooks, writing on the whiteboard (unless you’re using a virtual whiteboard), and photocopying worksheets because you just won’t need to.
With online teaching, your time with your students is precious and sometimes limited. In the 25-60 minute sessions, your job is to maintain constant student engagement the whole time. This means they should be writing, speaking, listening to, or reading English down to the last minute that they’re with you.
Trust me, this can be more challenging than it seems.
But the beauty of the online world is you have a multitude of resources at your disposal. While you might not have textbooks, you will have Youtube tutorials.
Even though you’ll be saying goodbye to your squeaky whiteboard pen, you will have access to plenty of interactive ESL (English as a Second Language) apps and games. Pair this with pre-made lesson plans and plenty of coffee, and there’s no reason why you can’t succeed as an online English teacher.
What are the requirements to teach English online?
You don’t need a lot to be an online tutor. Teaching English online with no experience is perfectly normal, so don’t be put off if you’ve never taught before. Most online teaching companies only require certain qualifications.
In a nutshell, here’s what you’ll need to teach English online:
#1.) A stable internet connection: Lack of this is kind of a dealbreaker from the start. There’s nothing worse than being on the receiving end of someone else’s dodgy wifi on a virtual meeting – their screen repeatedly freezing, crackly dialogue, or the program kicking them off the call altogether.
Would you pay for that service? Of course not! Teaching English online is primarily about speaking and listening, and if your students can’t do that, it simply won’t work.
In addition to a strong connection, if you’re traveling, you’ll also want a sturdy digital nomad laptop you can trust.
#2.) To be a native English speaker: While this may seem like a given, if you don’t speak English fluently yourself, you won’t be qualified to teach it. Some companies will actually require you to have an English degree as well (but most don’t).
#3.) A TEFL certificate: If you haven’t already got yourself one of these, add this to the top of your to-do list. Teaching English to native speakers is a completely different ball game to teaching English to Spanish speakers, and having an accredited TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate is essential.
Most reputable companies won’t accept your application if you don’t have one—unless you’re just looking ot be an informal tutor.
In addition to preparing you for the teaching journey, the qualification will also show online language schools that you are more than capable of planning lessons, managing classrooms, and most importantly, teaching a language.
TEFL courses come in all shapes and sizes. And in many cases, you get what you pay for. Some are downright scams. If you’re looking for the cheapest option where you’ll still actually learn a thing or two, give this one a try.
But if you want to go all-in and really become an excellent (and marketable) teacher, you may want something a bit more in-depth. This is the course I took, and I couldn’t have been happier with it (their free brochure is also super helpful in the planning stage).
#4.) The right attitude: This is a seriously important one. While it might seem that teaching English online to Spanish speakers is an easy way to make a quick buck, the reality is that all of the students actually came there because they want to learn. If your heart isn’t really in it, then you’re probably not the best person for the job.
Any classroom requires endless patience, understanding, and a certain passion for teaching; but online classrooms require that and more.
Oftentimes, classes are recorded and sent to the student afterward. So if you’re yawning, frustrated, sneakily trying to check your phone, or distracted playing Minecraft in another window, it’ll be there for everyone—including the people who hired you—to see.
So, even if you have all the above skills and are technically qualified for the role, if you aren’t prepared to come to class with a happy, open mindset and bring your A-game, then teaching English online isn’t for you.
The 5 best online English tutoring companies for Spanish students
There are tons of virtual English tutoring companies on the web, and it can be easy to get overwhelmed.
Here are a few of the top players worth checking out.
Top 5 Companies to Teach English Online to Mexican Students
How to Become an Online Tutor for Elementary Students (While Traveling)
How to Teach English Online While Traveling (to ADULTS)
Preply gives students access to hundreds of qualified teachers via video chat.
Students are from all over the world, and there are regularly more than 100,000 active users on the platform.
Preply is one of the few platforms where teachers can reach out to students as well as the other way around. Spanish students can put requests for teachers on the job board, teachers can apply, and then students can select their favorite based on their needs and their budget.
Preply provides teachers with the option to plan their lessons or, if you’re looking to teach English to Spanish students around a full-time job, there are also be pre-planned lessons at your disposal.
You get to decide your own hours and pay rates. They do take a rather high commission rate though, with 100% of your first lesson going to Preply and between 18-33% after that. However, the more lessons you teach, the less commission you’ll pay.
Pay Rate: You choose your own rate of pay,
To apply, click here.
A wonderful learning marketplace, italki can connect you with over 5 million students from every corner of the globe.
Once you are a certified italki tutor, Spanish students can search for you based on their budget, your available time slots, or their specific requirements.
You will likely encounter students of a variety of different ages and nationalities, which is perfect for teaching English to Spanish speakers.
You get to plan all your lessons out yourself, so it’s great for the creative types. And there’s no contract, so you’re free to sign up and quit depending on where life takes you.
Italki is great for anyone looking for flexible digital nomad jobs. All you’ll need is a computer, a webcam, and a Skype account – they take care of everything else for you.
One small downside is that they take a 15% commission rate, however, as you can control how much you teach, you can easily earn this back.
Pay Rate: The average pay rate is $25 per hour. Community teachers could earn as little as $12, but experienced tutors could earn up to $80 per hour.
To apply click here.
Cambly is a flexible online English teaching platform dedicated to bringing together students and teachers from all over the world.
As a teacher, you’ll most likely be speaking to Spanish students who have already taken an English course and are looking to practice their conversation skills or prepare for an exam. That means there’s no fixed curriculum.
Instead, you can simply jump into an online classroom with a student and decide the topic or lesson based on what best suits their requirements.
It’s great for teaching English online with no experience as there are no qualifications required, so long as you are a native speaker.
Cambly best suits bubbly, talkative individuals as you’ll have to lead a lot of the conversation if the students are shy. You’ll also need to be confident in giving constructive criticism. For example, if the student uses the wrong word or phrase, you’ll need to step in and correct them.
Pay Rate: Earn up to $0.17 per minute, which is $10.20 per hour.
To apply, click here.
An online learning school that brings together students wanting to learn a multitude of languages, Verbaplanet provides the perfect place to teach English online to Spanish speakers.
Students come from all over the world, student ages range from children to adults, and you can set your own hours and rates.
This gives you complete flexibility over how much and when you want to teach. Plus, Verbalplanet provides you with every tool you’ll need to manage your remote classroom.
You can customize your lessons to the students’ needs, and all you need is a TEFL qualification and a Skype account to get started.
One of the best perks of Verbalplanet is that they take absolutely no commission. They charge their commission rate directly to the student on top of your price, meaning you get to keep all of your hard-earned profit.
Pay Rate: You choose your own pay rate.
To apply, click here.
#5.) Open English
Open English is an online English tutoring platform that focuses on students from Latin America, the most populous Spanish speaking area outside of Spain.
Teachers must be from the United States and must prove they can legally work there in order to become a teacher.
Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be able to work with the platform’s more than 500,000 students which consist of children, adults, and even businesses—with most classes taught in small group sessions.
Virtual classrooms are available 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, allowing students to join a lesson at a time that suits them, from any location with a wifi connection. They can join an unlimited number of classes too, which focus on student engagement and interaction.
Open English is perfect for Spanish students who really want to learn, but need flexibility. It’s perfect for teachers who want total control over their schedule.
Pay Rate: The pay is set at $8-13 per hour.
To apply, click here.
How much can you make a month teaching English online?
With a job like teaching online, you really do get out what you put in. Your pay is entirely dependent on how many hours you teach, what qualifications you have, and which company you decide to go with. Some companies provide a flat rate, while others allow you to set your own hourly salary.
Typically speaking, if you want to start teaching English online with no experience and a TEFL qualification, you can expect to earn between $10-$20 per hour. If you have more experience or have a degree, you could be looking at up to $40 per hour.
However, just because you’re earning money online, doesn’t mean you don’t have to declare it as taxable income. How much tax you pay will depend on which country you are based in, but you’ll be classed as a self-employed independent contractor and responsible to report all your earnings.
How will you get paid?
This depends a lot on the online tutoring company that you sign up with. Most companies will be able to pay you via PayPal or Wise (formerly TransferWise), but remember to be wary of service fees if you go down this route. To keep fees as low as possible when receiving international payments, I highly recommend signing up for Wise for free.
If you are a US citizen, you may be able to receive a payment directly into your bank account.
Frequently asked questions
While coming from a teaching background is certainly a point in your favor, many companies will consider candidates that have any experience with children. This can include care-taking, tutoring, and counseling as well. Plus, the TEFL course you take will likely have a module on teaching online.
There are upsides and downsides to both of these options. If you go freelance, you’ll need to bear in mind that, just like starting any business, it will take a lot of time and effort to get it up and running and you likely won’t have clients right away. However, once the hard part is over, the sky’s the limit on where you can take your business.
If you choose to work for an online English teaching company, the company will provide both the student and the teaching materials – all you’ll have to do is show up and teach the class. Nevertheless, with working for someone else, there will be caps on your creative freedom and often fees and commission deducted from your salary. But, if you’re looking for an easier way in or a chance to test teaching to Spanish students before you commit, this is definitely the path for you.
If you’re looking to teach English online, it’s best to look for a TEFL course that includes a section specifically for virtual tutors as opposed to just on-site learning. This will set you up for success and can give you an edge over other candidates. There are many different options when it comes to TEFL courses—some good, some mediocre, and some downright horrible. If you want the cheapest route possible, this course includes an online teaching element. For a more thorough course, I recommend TEFL International, the course I personally took and loved.
Mitch is your typical nomadic backpacker. Or at least, he was. But after stopping in Colombia to take “one week” of salsa lessons, his life took a sharp left turn. He met a cute Colombian girl in dance class, fell in love, and got married. Over half a decade has passed since he left his career to travel the world as a digital nomad, and he’s never looked back.
Nowadays, he’s the blogger behind Project Untethered—where he runs an awesome email newsletter and Youtube channel teaching adventure-craved wanderlusters how to escape the rat race, earn money from anywhere, and build an “untethered life”.