Teaching is both a noble and challenging profession. One needs to enhance their skills and keep up with the times. In the current scenario, when most industries have resorted to bringing their operations being online; teachers have no option but to join in the trend. It is more of a necessity than a choice. Most courses now offer an option of both in-class and online learning, and this presents more of an opportunity than a challenge for nationals of South Africa. For South Africans, it’s becoming difficult to get adequate teaching opportunities globally. This is where the scope of online teaching comes in. Several companies support and encourage South Africans to teach English online at a global level.  We are going to explore and compare these options today and make this journey a little easier for South Africans looking to take up a job to teach English online. First, let us learn all about the prospect of teaching English online and what it entails.

The need for English Language proficiency worldwide

English is the most spoken language in the world, making it a global language. And language is ultimately our primary source of communication. Without being able to effectively communicate with one another, how will we succeed or share our ideas in a world that can’t understand us? To be heard, understood, and to hear the world, we need to know the language the rest of the world speaks, listens, writes, and reads.

Whether you are interested in Science, Tourism, aviation, computers, journalism. It all requires a sound knowledge of English.

Thousands of schools and universities around the world offer programs in English. To qualify for those courses, you need to be fluent in academic English. It opens a lot of opportunities for you and you can choose a course and school that suits your requirement.   

Speaking fluent English is a primary requirement for most jobs worldwide.


Any international business will require you to have a good command of your written, spoken, hearing, and listening skills in English. Even if you own your business, good command of the English language helps you to compete in a global market and take your business to great heights.            

English is the medium of instruction in public and all private schools in most countries.

In countries where English is not the primary language, it is taught as a second language.

There’s a minimum band requirement in the English language exam to migrate abroad.

The migrants need to be fluent in English to get better jobs in most counties to be picked among other native English speakers.

Even in your home country, being fluent in English is the primary requirement to join a multinational company.

Knowing English makes traveling easier. You can meet and interact with people from different counties and cultures and English is one language that brings you all together.

Teaching English Online

The industry for ESL teachers to teach English online is growing at an accelerated speed. It will continue to grow and sustain itself even in a post corona world. Studying online has become a major lifestyle change and once people have realized the convenience associated with it (both teachers and students), very few would choose to go back to traditional classroom-style teaching.

English is a kind of subject that can easily be taught online. Thus, it makes sense for English language schools worldwide to offer the opportunity to learn and teach English online. Most English teaching schools have invested in training their teachers and upgrading their technology to be effective and compete in a vast online teaching market. Being an English teacher online doesn’t restrict your success in any way. It gives equal opportunity to South African English Teachers to compete and have a fair share of this emerging market.

To begin your career as an English language teacher online, all you need is to be fluent in English, your computer or laptop, and high-speed internet. To get started, you must be TEFL or TESOL certified.

How to be Qualified to Teach English online?

Teaching English online has become a sought-after profession globally. More and more people are enrolling in professional courses that certify them to work for companies that provide online English coaching to students worldwide. The easiest and quickest way to get certified to be able to teach English online is to complete a TEFL/TESOL certification from a reputed institute. 

TEFL stands for Teach English as a Foreign language. It is an official gateway to a career in teaching English online. It is designed for native and fluent English speakers who wish to get an internationally recognized qualification that allows them to teach English online or anywhere in the world.

TEFL or TESOL (Teach English to speakers of other Language) is a universal qualification incorporating the course curriculum, English knowledge, and skills required by employers of ESL (English as a second language) teachers worldwide.

The ESL industry has changed over the last few years. Earlier South Africans were recognized as native English speakers internationally, but not all companies do that anymore. For any native English-speaking South African or someone with an at par English proficiency, it can get frustrating. So, this article attempts to show you some light and steer you towards some of the online teaching companies that do hire and support South Africans. You must, however, prove your English language proficiency by taking a professional certification and acing the assessment. But this is a prerequisite for any English teacher to apply for a job that requires them to teach English online.

How do Find the best Course that enables you to Teach English Online?

Choosing a TEFL certification online is a mission. You need to carefully research, compare options and ultimately select the best TEFL online certification based on factors such as your requirement, budget, and location. Your choices will vary depending on if you want to pursue a full-time course or weekend classes. You will have the option to choose between in-class courses and online courses.

Online courses offer more time flexibility and can be self-paced. You must choose a course that’s internationally accredited. Another important factor to consider here is the placement support offered by your course provider. You should opt for the course that gives you access to a worldwide alumni network and assistance with job placements.

As a native of South Africa, you can consider this job prospect that allows you to teach English online at a global level. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, currently, the whole world is turning to online coaching and learning. However, some of you have started benefiting long back with the advent of online teaching technology. It has been a challenge for many of you to get a work visa in most countries due to various reasons and the option to teach English online brings you at par with other international teachers, by giving you a global career opportunity.    

There are a lot of opportunities coming up for native South African ESL teachers to teach English online. A comprehensive list of worthy contenders might save you some time and quicken your search for the best online teaching companies to target.

Before we dive into our carefully prepared list of Top 10 companies for South Africans to teach English online, let us go through some of the factors that will help you choose a company that suits your requirement.

Factors to Consider While Choosing a Company to Teach English Online

If you have a destination in mind you do not just take the first bus that shows up. You take the bus that goes to your desired destination. Similarly, while choosing a company, you need to consider what they are offering to make an informed decision about your career.

Some of the points worth keeping in mind are listed here for your benefit.


The reputation of a company is very important. If it has a higher ranking in terms of customer satisfaction, then it will get business and sustain itself.

Average pay the company gives is an important factor to consider

The Satisfaction of its employees is equally important to consider. If a company is great with its customers but gives its employees a hard time, whether, in terms of work culture, politics, or financial follow-ups, you should steer clear of it.

Minimum hours commitment given by a company gives you an idea of the business they have and how much you can earn.


Flexibility is important to some people. Whether of hours or teaching style. It helps when you are from a different time zone, or working other jobs, to be able to choose your time slot. 

The Incentive gives an added advantage. If a company gives you an incentive for good performance or converting a prospective customer, it’s not a bad option to consider.

The Time zone of the countries a company caters to is important to some so that their sleep cycle is not disturbed. For some, having different time zone lets them do other jobs or deal with housework and kids.

The level of difficulty that you will be expected to maintain, depending on the age group of students you will be expected to teach, is something to be aware of.

Growth opportunities a company provides, lets you decide if you have a future there. Some companies invest generously in the training and development of their teachers. Such companies are the ones you can choose for the long term.

Now that you have a basic idea of what to expect and look for, we can dive right into the options that seem promising for you. 

Top 10 Companies for South Africans to Teach English Online

  1. SayABC
  2. Palfish
  3. IQbar
  4. iTutorgroup
  5. Education First
  6. First Future
  7. Cambly
  8. Micro language
  9. Hujiang
  10. Hujiang


SayABC is a Beijing based company that hires teachers for online English coaching. They are currently supporting the hiring of South African teachers. They pay an average of 17$ per class, with a base pay of 13$ per class and an additional 4 $ incentive based on attendance and productivity. Teachers who take trial classes get 8$ per converted student as an incentive.

Their curriculum was partly developed by National Geographic. The standard class duration is forty minutes. All online classes follow Chinese standard time (GMT+8) and are usually between 6 pm – 9 pm.

Newcomers get to start within two weeks of applying if they pass the screening process. Basic requirements to teach English online Via SayABC are that the teacher should have English language proficiency at the native level. They should have their computers and fast internet connection with the capability of smooth audio and video being run. The teachers must have a bachelor’s degree or above. An experience of at least a year is preferred. Any of the certifications among TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA are accepted.   They are a fast-growing English teaching company and provide small-group class style interactive classroom with a proprietary curriculum. The group is generally of four students. This offers more personalized interaction between teachers and students. This has so far proved to be the best company to work for, to teach English online.   


Palfish provides one-to-one online English classes according to Beijing time. To qualify as a teacher working for them, you need a bachelor’s degree, a teaching certificate such as TEFL, and a minimum of one year of experience would be a bonus. The minimum weekly teaching commitment is 3.5 hours and you set your rate, between $10-$18 an hour. The schedule is flexible and entirely up to you. The course material is provided, and you are expected to make it fun and engaging. They do hire both native and non-native English teachers.

Palfish is a teaching platform mainly for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. However, it can be accessed on a laptop.

Palfish offers such exciting features, such as Free talk. You can hit the ‘start tutoring’ button and start teaching anytime. You can record the session and set your rate. You are not required to give commission to Palfish for this.

You can build your reputation with Live sessions and attract more students. If you don’t wish to run the app on your phone, you can use a browser version of the live class platform.

Palfish pays you even if the student is a no show, as long as you are in the class the entire time. It pays half for cancellations less than 3 hours before the class. Their base pay is 110-150 RMB ($16- $21). Trial class student sign up bonus is 200 RMB ($29)

It is a very good platform, but you need to develop your popularity to be able to benefit from all these features. If you can gather enough paying students, this is a great opportunity for you. 


IQbar is a UK based company. They offer courses to learn English and phonics to young learners. They also prepare students for exams such as TOEFL, IELTS, and Cambridge English exams. They even provide academic subject mentoring.

IQbar also conducts seminars for about a group of 20-50 students. These are usually around a cultural or seasonal topic. University consultation is also offered to assist students in focusing on the application process in applying to universities, from choosing a course and university to preparing them to another country and adapt to a new culture.                         

The areas of expertise required here are vast and you can get a lot of opportunities to teach English online, as they offer an array of services.


ITutor group is a Taiwanese and Chinese company that connects teachers across the globe with students in Asia. Their basic teaching requirements are:

  • Native English speakers
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • TESOL/TEFL/TESL certificate
  • A year of recognized teaching experience
  • A Commitment of 5 peak hours a week
  • Computer with Windows or macOS (either desktop or laptop)

Some of the benefits they offer are:

  • Opportunity to set your schedule, giving you flexibility
  • Working from home
  • 24/7 IT and scheduling support is provided
  • A teacher support team is on standby to answer any questions

If you fulfil their criteria, they offer flexibility and support which seems like a dream combo to teach English online.

Education First

EF south Africa operates 400 schools and offices across 50 countries. They employ about 3500 full-time teachers and 16,500 part-time teachers.

You need to be a native English speaker with fluency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Tertiary education is needed. You need to be proficient with computers, the internet, and typing. You need to have excellent communication skills and interpersonal skills. Have an ability to teach and prior experience is preferred.

EF’s mission is to break down barriers of language, culture, and geography through their products. For all positions currently available, it’s necessary to work from their office in Bryanston, Johannesburg.

They carefully screen all their English teachers and give further extensive training on how to teach via the internet, so they can adapt their classroom experience to an online environment to be able to successfully teach English online.

EF is dedicated to developing customized teaching resources and educational curriculum. Their academic research team has developed advanced English language teaching resources that emphasize not only practical skills of the English language but also builds students’ confidence through personalized exercises and activities. They also conduct regular workshops to improve your teaching skills.

It is a great company to work with if you want to focus on your personal growth while you continue to teach English online. They will polish you and give you the necessary exposure to be among the best in the industry.

Also Read: Top 15  Free TEFL Certification Courses in 2021

First Future

First future is a little different than the regular companies that teach English online. You will be required to teach English online to a group of about 20 Chinese learners through live broadcast. They will be sitting in their classroom as they interact with you. The first future group emphasizes certain qualities in those who wish to teach English online with them. One should have a clear voice and a natural accent. They are expected to be energetic, lively, friendly, and engaging on camera.

Even though they receive 90% of their applications from South Africans, they are unable to process most of them due to them being from non-native speakers. Since they currently have hundreds of applications from South Africans and non-native speakers on the waitlist, they have categorically announced on their website that won’t be able to process any more applications from them and the company does not expect the situation to change for several months.

When they do begin to accept more applications from South African candidates, the following are the minimum requirements to be considered.

A full degree (BA, B Sc or above)

TEFL certificate or a professional teaching qualification

At least a year of teaching experience

It is also mandatory to have your laptop or desktop with a minimum of 8 GB RAM and a processor of intel core i3. Also, you need to have a high-quality USB headset and webcam, along with a fixed cable connection (Ethernet) of more than 10 Mbps download and upload. There should be a bright, colourful working background with good lighting.

First future has a lot of Chinese clients who prefer native English speakers from the UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.


To work with Cambly, no teaching certificate, bachelor’s degree, or prior experience is required. You get paid weekly with an average of $10.2 – $12 per hour. With the students spread across the world, you can tutor any time of the day according to your schedule and work as many hours as you like. There are no minimum hours required to be committed. The lessons provided are 1-on-1 making it a more personalized experience.

Cambly is usually preferred by those who wish to teach English online as a part-time job. Since no professional expertise is required and there is no lesson planning involved, the rate of pay is also lower than what other companies offer. This is however a good starting point to gain your footing as you venture into teaching English online as a South African.

You can choose this company as a side hustle but cannot solely depend on it as full-time employment.

Micro language

Micro language is a Chinese company that hires online ESL teachers to teach Chinese students at local public schools. To qualify for a job at Micro Language to teach English online, you need to be a native speaker from South Africa with a TEFL/TESOL/ CELTA teaching certificate and a teaching experience of one year or above.

It’s a great opportunity if you wish to teach English online during the off-peak Chinese hours, from 8 am -1 pm Beijing time. Their pay rate ranges from $14 an hour to about $17 per 45 min group class.

After completing 500 hours of teaching with them, you get a chance to visit China at their expense, where Micro language provides free accommodation and site seeing.

The Peak teaching timings are:

Monday-Friday between 8:30 am – 11:30 am 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm   

Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm

As an online ESL teacher at Micro Language, you will be required to provide instructions verbally. You are required to teach English online one-to-one as well as take group lessons for kids between the ages of 3- 18 years. The course material is provided to you and a class duration is between 25-50 minutes.

It is a good company to work with for stability and growth opportunities.


Hujiang is a china based online learning platform that teaches English and multiple other languages. It’s one of the largest ESL companies in China. Hujiang students include kids, adults, and college students. They are looking for experienced native speaking teachers (including South Africans) who can teach at specific times in Beijing to a wide variety of students. The current focus at Hujiang is on children and exam preparation. If you wish to teach English online with a flexible schedule, this is a good option. There is a 10 hour per week commitment, and you can choose your slots.

The qualifying criteria for you to teach English online at Hujiang is that you must be a native from South Africa or any other native English-speaking country. A bachelor’s degree along with TEFL/TESOL certificate is mandatory. Prior experience with young learners is preferred. There’s an initial training process once you are on board. The pay is good, ranging from $16-$20 per hour.

This is a well-paying, flexible, and stable job. Sounds like a dream to me.


ABC360 is based in China and the Philippines and like any other online teaching company, it enables its ESL teachers to teach English online from the comfort of their home. They generally look for Filipino and native English-speaking teachers. Their pay varies depending on your location and nationality but ranges between $11-$16. They want their ESL teachers to work 20 hours a week with a commitment to teaching at least 12 hours during the peak period of 6-9 pm, Beijing time. You must be willing to attend training sessions and seminars organized by ABC360. If you perform well, there’s a possibility of your pay rate being raised every three months.  

They will keep you occupied and pay you well. Isn’t that what we all work for?

Now, don’t let all this information overwhelm or confuse you. Prioritize, make a list, and choose well. Don’t forget to get your TEFL certification in order. I can’t wait for you to begin your wonderful career to teach English online. Go for it, the world needs you!

Also Check this Video

Recommended Read:
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1 Comment

  1. Bandu Bhaskar Reply

    The companies for south africans to teach english online blog is a very powerful one with well prepared learning materials and a super video learning material that enabled me to be well focused from the beginning till the end of the blog.

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