3 Ways to Get Paid For ESL Tutoring With No Experience

ESL (English Second Language) tutoring is a very popular work at home industry. There are quite a few companies that pay people to do it, and I've written about a lot of them. However, getting hired by those companies isn't always that easy.

Just being a fluent English speaker isn't necessarily enough. Some companies will require various language teaching certifications, a college degree, or possibly even teaching experience just depending on which ones you apply with.

Over the last month, I've been doing some research on a few easier ways to get paid to tutor English that require absolutely no special certifications or hoops to jump through to start work.

The only things necessary are your smartphone and/or a computer and fluency in the English language. And best of all, these are earning opportunities that don't tie you down to any schedule. You can work as much or little as you want.

ESL Tutoring – No Experience Required

1. Cambly

With Cambly, you can work from anywhere, getting paid to video chat with English learners from around the world. You get paid $0.17 per minute of talk time, and payments are sent via Paypal weekly.

Cambly users connect via an app and look for people to chat with them in English in order to help them learn how to speak the language conversationally.

You can log in to Cambly via your computer and take chatting sessions as they appear on your dashboard. Note that a webcam is involved, so you and the person you're talking to will have to see each other.

Cambly claims that around $10 an hour is possible, but this would only be realistic if you were able to chat non-stop for an hour since you are paid per minute.

Go here to sign up for Cambly, or read our Cambly review.

2. Palfish

Palfish is very similar to Cambly, with one of the main differences being that you can actually work from the app on your phone.

There is no need to use your computer. This is great because I've had a lot of readers ask me lately about ways to earn money via their mobile devices since not everyone has access to computers with high-speed internet.

Non-native English speakers who have downloaded the Palfish app to their iOS or Android devices can open it at any time and pay to chat with native English speakers, helping them learn the language.

If you are signed up with Palfish as a tutor, you can set your own rates and work any time you want. Like Cambly, pay is per minute of talk time.

Most of the students you tutor will be in China.

Payments are made once a month via Paypal. You'll have to go through a short verification process before you can start working.

This is apparently pretty simple, just create a short intro, set your rate, and do a short recording so Palfish can verify you are a fluent English speaker.

I don't see a sign-up page for this one, so I'm assuming you would download the app and go from there in order to get started.

3. NiceTalk

This one is more similar to Palfish than Cambly because you also work completely on your mobile device, no computer needed.

NiceTalk gives you $10 just for signing up and the schedule flexibility is there. You get to work anytime you want.

To start, you register with your email address, then do a short video intro.

Like Cambly, this company claims $10 an hour is possible. They pay you per minute of talk time.

NiceTalk pays once a week via Paypal, provided you have at least $20 in your account. The app is available on Android and iOS devices, and is free for you to download.

Go here to sign up to be a NiceTalk tutor, or read our NiceTalk review.


I was so excited to find these because I think they are great options for people who are in need of cash, but lack the experience more traditional ESL tutoring jobs tend to require. Plus, Palfish and NiceTalk do not even require a computer.

If any of you are familiar with other similar apps that will pay anyone to tutor English, please let me know! And we do have another list of ways to get paid to teach English online if you're interested in checking that out for more options.

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20 thoughts on “3 Ways to Get Paid For ESL Tutoring With No Experience”

  1. Hi. Are video chat required for all of the companies or can you just talk over the phone app without video?

  2. Regarding the nicetalk app, is the this job strictly conversational, or do tutors have to come up with lessons too? I am a little worried because I’ve had no formal training in teaching TESOL or ESL.

    • I believe it is strictly conversational. You don’t need any experience or formal training. The students are just trying to learn to speak English conversationally, so the best way for them to do that is have conversations with fluent English speakers.

    • You can post your own lessons but it’s not required. I’ve been on there a long time and haven’t gotten around to that yet :). I don’t have formal training either… just a lifetime of speaking English! Once you’ve done it for a while you’ll see what kind of things students are looking for. You might find that you know more than you realize. It could be as simple as a lesson that goes through vocabulary / phrases for cooking, food, or eating in a restaurant.

  3. This is fantastic! I’m a stay-at-home mom with fibromyalgia so it’s difficult to commit to a “real” job. This would allow me the opportunity to get paid to do what I love-TALK! I’m so excited! I’ve even shared the apps you mentioned with my son who is a college freshman. We both could use the extra money. Thanks for creating your blog. You’re changing lives for the better!

  4. Great post, Anna. I’d never heard of Palfish – I’ll definitely be checking it out! I’ve been on NiceTalk for several weeks now and really enjoying it. One thing to remember for people just starting out is that you need to build your reputation up on the app… so be patient. Students tend to choose tutors who have the most experience and good reviews (which makes sense) but if you stick with it… you’ll build up your profile over time. So far I’ve found two students who repeatedly call me (and me only) for LONG chats. There was something that just clicked between us… and that’s how you get repeat customers (as well as being a helpful tutor). We are genuinely friends now and we talk about all kinds of things. The days I get to talk with my regulars are good ones :). When you’re new, you just need to put yourself out there so students have the opportunity to “take a chance” on you… hopefully when they meet you, you’ll make a good impression. Different students will gravitate to different types of people so there’s room for everyone as long as you give it an honest try. The trickiest part for me is that you have to be awake during peak hours in China (2am – 10am Central Time where I live). But I do get calls earlier in the evening sometimes. Since I work at home, it’s nice to just be able to leave my status as “online” on the app and take calls when they come in.

  5. Hi, Anna! I’m one of the few people that DOESN’T have an iPhone or Android! But, I do have a desktop computer with a webcam. Are there any other sites like Cambly that is a no muss-no fuss tutoring site (I’m a native English speaker) that I can choose my rates and work when I want to?

  6. Darn it…these are jobs I’d want to do from my laptop, instead of from my cell phone. I applied for Cambly a while back, and didn’t make it through.

    Still, thank you for sharing this information. Maybe I’ll try again for Cambly in the future.

  7. HI Anna,

    Thanks for sharing these resources. I know it’s hard for people to find work without proper experience. It’s good to know there are places like this to offfer employment opportunities and to do it from home is a plus!

    Hope you’re having a great week.

    Cori

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