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How Teaching English Can Boost Your Income

Are you looking for a flexible role to boost your income? Teaching English could be the job for you. Whether you’re hoping to change careers completely or just want some extra hours to help you reach your financial goals, English teachers work online or in person and have plenty of opportunities to teach abroad too. 


Decide what’s best for you with this comprehensive guide to the benefits and opportunities you can expect when pursuing a profession in English teaching. 

How Teaching English Can Boost Your Income

  1. The Global Demand for English Teachers


One of the biggest advantages of teaching English is the global demand for teachers. According to 2023 statistics, English is the most spoken language in the world and is also the language of international business. In a nutshell, that means there is plenty of work to go around if you’re considering ESL education as a career option or a side hustle. 


If you’re interested in working abroad, popular destinations include Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. In Korea, you can expect favourable wages and spend your downtime visiting UNESCO Heritage sites, while in Thailand and Vietnam, you can enjoy teacher-friendly hours and a low cost of living. 


Teaching online is another option for prospective teachers who’d prefer to stay where they’re currently based. There are a range of online education platforms you can apply to, including 51Talk, Cambly and Italki. Requirements will vary, so be sure to research to find the right fit for you. 


  1.  Qualifications and Certifications


Although having a degree isn’t necessary to teach English, you can advance your career with a TESOL course. This qualification can be taken either online or in person, depending on where you’re based. Online teaching is usually preferred, however, thanks to the additional flexibility it affords learners. 


A 120-hour course is the industry standard, and during your studies, you’ll be supported by experienced tutors with years of English teaching under their belts. Alongside receiving ample feedback on your progress, you’ll have the opportunity to pick their brains about everything you’d like to know about the industry. 


In terms of course content, you’ll study teaching methodology, grammar and language awareness, how to teach large classes, as well as telephone teaching. There’s also the option to undertake additional, specialised courses if you’d like to become an expert in your niche. That could be Business English, online teaching or even Academic English. 


  1. Different Avenues for Teaching English


On top of the travel opportunities, teaching English is a popular career choice for many, thanks to the flexibility of where you can teach. In international, public and private schools, you’ll be met with a traditional classroom setting. Be aware, though, that hours, class size, as well as the ages of your students may differ from school to school. 


Private tutoring is another possibility for an English teacher, especially if you’re just trying to supplement your main source of income. This could involve having one-to-one sessions in your or your student's home, and you’ll usually be responsible for providing the resources for the lessons. 


A more lucrative English teaching role to boost your income is teaching Business English. Courses could be taught in person or online, and your typical hourly rate can be considerably higher due to the specialised nature of the English being taught. For an idea of what you can charge, look into the standard rates in the country you’re based. 


  1. Financial Benefits


There is plenty of money to be made in the ESL industry as an English teacher – especially if you know the market and have built a reputation for yourself. How you go about it, however, will depend on you and how entrepreneurial you’re feeling. 


For many teachers, having a mix of contracted and private hours is a way to achieve financial stability. With a school contract, you’ll have a steady income stream that will cover your expenses and wants. Private lessons, on the other hand, offer an extra boost to your income with the flexibility to take on as many or as few hours as you need or want.


If you’re more business-minded, you can also go that next step further and create and sell your own resources to fellow teachers. This will provide an additional passive income that you could pursue even further, should you wish, by also creating entire courses schools and fellow educators can purchase. 


Remember that where you’re based will also have a huge impact on how far your teaching income will stretch. To learn more about how to make the most of your money, check out money-mentor.org



  1. Flexibility and Work-Life Balance


Beyond boosting your income, a career teaching English means having complete control over your schedule. You can decide when you’d like to work, meaning you can balance your other commitments – be they family, work or other – and also have time to enjoy your earnings. 


While it’s true that you’ll need to work around the schedules of your students to a certain extent, not having a typical 9 to 5 will come with other perks. These include being able to avoid rush hour and getting to visit tourist attractions that may usually be overcrowded at the weekend. 


Moreover, if you opt to become an online teacher, the world becomes your oyster. Digital nomad visas are offered across the world in countries such as Croatia, Portugal and even Barbados. Once you’ve fulfilled the country’s visa requirements, you can teach as much as you need to, log off and sightsee until your heart’s content. 



  1. Getting Started


When you’re TESOL qualified, there are only a few more steps you need to take to start teaching English and boosting your income. The first is making sure you have a solid library of resources and lesson plans so that you’re ready for anything and can spend your free time enjoying the work-life balance the profession promises. 


The second step is taking your time to look through job boards and teaching networks so you can find a teaching role that will tick all of your boxes. Research is key, so don’t be afraid to reach out to ex-coursemates and tutors to help you find the best position possible. 



Regardless of your career goals, teaching English is a great way to boost your income on your terms. That could look like moving your entire life to a brand new country. It could also look like a couple of teaching hours after work so you can save for your dream home. Whatever your goals are, the possibilities are endless. 



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