Online English Teaching Salary and Hourly Rate Explained

How Much Can You Make as an Online ESL teacher?

Teach English online – salary, expectations and more! Your here, let’s do this. Online English teachers are not paid a salary, they are paid by the hour. A standard hour on most online teaching websites is made up of two, 25 minute classes with 5 minutes reserved for student feedback.

Because the available teaching hours are designed for after school, the max amount of hours you can teach Monday to Friday is 4-5 hours. On the weekend, you can teach all day if you like. Most online teachers tend to do the bulk of their hours on the weekend.

To sum it up, as an online English teacher can reasonably expect to teach 20-30 hours per week, making an average of $2,000 to $3,000 USD per month. Again, as an online teacher you’re considered an independent contractor and can teach as much or as little as you like.

Schools in China also have a summer break like schools in the USA. During this break is when you’re able to teach 5-8 hours a day, everyday if you like. Allowing you to make upwards of $5,000 USD per month.

Online Teaching Salary: What does the average online English teacher make?

The average online English teacher makes anywhere from $800 USD to $3000 USD per month depending on hours taught. Online teaching companies structure their pay in two main ways. A base pay and added bonuses. Bonuses are usually based on class completion as well as the amount of classes taught. Some companies like VIPKID regularly run monthly incentive pay if you teach at a certain time or if you teach more hours than you did a previous month.

You should expect to recieve a base pay + bonus, with your average being over $20 an hour if you teach more than 8 hours weekly.


It should be noted that online teaching does involve penalties if you miss a class. You will usually be deducted $10 or more per class missed. If you miss a predetermined amount of classes per contract you will be subject to termination. If there are technical issues that prevent the class from taking place, the class will simply be marked at “tech issue” and you won’t be paid IF it was your fault. If it was the students fault, you’ll be paid in full. You also won’t be deducted money for a tech issue.

Sick Leave

If you’re someone with constant health issues, online teaching may not be appropriate as you’re considered an independent contractor (no sick leave given) and being sick is not an excuse to miss class. You are allowed to cancel classes if you’re sick up to a limit per day with all online platforms, but you’re limited to how many classes you can cancel per day. If you have 5 hours of teaching booked for example, you may be only allowed to cancel 2 of the 5 hours. It depends on your contract.

How are you paid and when?

Most companies pay you in US dollars or they will pay you in the local currency which will then be converted and deposited into your bank account. Some websites and platforms also pay by PayPal. Expect monthly payments for an online English teacher salary.

Popular Websites to Teach Online

There is a seemingly endless amount of online platforms where you can teach English. Here are three that I know that have a good reputation for high pay, quality students and professional organization:

Company Hourly Rate Paid How?
VIPKID $18-25  US Dollars, Direct Deposit
DADA abc $18-22 Paid in RMB, Direct Deposit
Boxfish $20 US Dollars, PayPal or Direct Deposit


VIPKID is currently the industry leader. With good hourly pay, monthly incentives, high demand and the flexibility to set your schedule week to week, VIPKID is my #1 choice for teaching English online. If you’re looking to have a good salary as an online English teacher, checkout VIPKID. Your students will be Chinese students ranging from ages of 6-12 who will study with you after school. Americans and Canadians only. They won’t even interview you if you’re not North American.

DADA abc

DADA abc is another great company that provides a similar service and platform to VIPKID. They provide the lesson material and classes are for 30 minutes. They are the platform of choice for British native English speakers who are not able to apply to VIPKID. Your students will again be Chinese students ranging in ages from 6-12 who will study with you after school. DADA abc pays in Chinese RMB which is then converted to your currency (pounds for Brits, dollars for US teachers).


Boxfish is an app that where you can teach English to children and teenagers through their app. They pay a straight forward $20 USD an hour with no bonus. It’s more casual as the lesson is done through a phone.

Online English Teacher Benefits

Make a full time income and live abroad

Online teaching allows you to make a $2,000-$3,000 USD online. While this amount is not enough to live comfortably in England or the United States, it is a great income in South East Asia. Allowing you the cash to enjoy and explore new areas of the world.

Supplement your teaching salary

Online teaching is disrupting the ESL scene, particularly in countries like Thailand where the ESL industry pays almost $1,000 USD less than all other countries. Why work full time at a school in Thailand when you can teach online and make double or triple what you would at a government school? Even if you choose to work for a school, online teaching is a fast and efficent way to supplement your income.

No need to manage in-person students, cancellations and payments. Just teach and go.

Fast, fun, easy

Teaching English online is fun. The students are children so you can be a bit silly, there is no homework or tests so you just teach and go when you’re done. Teaching online is also easy in that you’re provided with the material to teach. Once you have a 100 or so class finished, you’ll start to really understand the process and it will become even more easy.

Set your own schedule

While paid vacations are nice, you can simply earn more money teaching online and can choose when you want to take time off to travel instead of having to ask permission or wait until you have a school break. Go when you want to go and still earn a good online teaching salary. You can always simply reduce your teaching hours too or take a 3 day weekend.

How To Increase Your Salary as an Online English Teacher

Get a raise

Most platforms will give you a raise if you’re teaching 20+ hours a week consistently and have maintained a good rating among parents.

Freelance teach

You can also teach English as a freelancer where you could work with students independently and charge your own rates. This is ideal because you can work with students who are in a different time zone than Asia. But it’s much more difficult to setup.

Take on new opportunities with your company

I teach with VIPKID. They offer new positions on a monthly basis to do practice lessons with prospective teachers, be a substitute teacher and they also offer nice bonuses for short notice classes (classes booked within 24 hours). The point is most platforms provide bonuses and other opportunities. Take advantage of this as a way to boost your online English teacher salary.

Teach English online – salary and the ability to work anywhere!

You can reasonably expect to make $500 USD minimum a month if you’re teaching part time (5-9 hours a week). If you want to increase your pay, simply increase your availability. With VIPKID it’s totally possible to live in Spain or Thailand where the hours are much better (no early mornings) where you can totally put in 30-40 hours a week and make upwards of $3,000 USD a month!