How to Find the Best Internet for Online Teaching Jobs
April 28, 2020
You’re in the middle of a great lesson with your students. They’re finally having an interesting conversation when suddenly, the internet connection fails. You can no longer hear your students, and you lose 10 minutes of precious lesson time while everyone reconnects to the video call.
For those who teach English online, a great internet connection is essential. Without it, teachers struggle to hear their students and classes are plagued by constant interruptions. In contrast, if you have a quality internet connection for your online teaching job, the experience for both you and your students will be much better.
If you’re considering applying for or are currently working in an online teaching job, then you need the best internet available. Once you’ve achieved this, you’ll find that teaching online is a wonderful job that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home or wherever you may find yourself. Instead of spending days searching for “teacher jobs near me,” you’ll discover that the world is your oyster. You can work from anywhere while teaching students around the world.
Let’s look at which internet providers are the best and how to achieve the best connection for online teaching.
The best internet providers for online teaching jobs
When teaching online, it’s best to have a reliable internet connection that allows you to navigate at high speeds. Some internet providers offer better services than others. Based on each company’s speed capabilities, availability, affordability and customer satisfaction, we have created a helpful list of some of the best internet providers for online teaching. You’ll find both an at-a-glance table and more detailed information below:
Best internet for online teaching at-a-glance
|Provider Name||Availability||Top Speed (Mbps)||Internet Type||Data Cap||Starting Price||Contract|
|AT&T||21 States||Up to 1,000 Mbps||Fiber-optic, DSL||1 TB||$39.99/mo||Depends on offer|
|Verizon||Northeastern USA||Up to 940 Mbps||Fiber optic, DSL, 5G||Depends on plan||$39.99/mo||N|
|Comcast Xfinity||39 States||Up to 2,000 Mbps||Fiber optic, cable||1 TB cap applies to some plans||$49.99/mo||Depends on offer|
|HughesNet||All US States||25 Mbps||Satellite||Reduced speeds after reaching limit||$69.99/mo||Y|
|CenturyLink||36 States||940 Mbps||Fiber optic, DSL||1 TB||$49/mo||N|
Compare top internet providers for teaching online
Each provider offers some advantages and disadvantages. Here’s what you should know about each:
Available in about half of U.S. states, AT&T also offers a variety of high-speed options. The company has more affordable packages than many of the other providers. For the best experience video-conferencing while teaching online, avoid the DSL packages. DSL is slower than AT&T’s other options but typically is more available than the high-speed options. The company was rated second in the 2018-2019 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Telecommunications Report.
According to customers in the ACSI Telecommunications Report, Verizon’s Fios is the country’s preferred internet service package. Unfortunately, Verizon’s fiber-optic services are only available in the Northeastern part of the country, so it’s not a viable solution for many online teachers. If you are in the service area, the quality of video conferencing is excellent at up to 940 Mbps. Note that Verizon also offers DSL and internet connections similar to cable.
Comcast Xfinity internet offers several types of internet, including cable and fiber-optic. The speed you can achieve will depend on which service you choose. Fiber-optic offers the highest speeds, however, Xfinity’s prices for this service are also among the highest when compared to other providers. Xfinity is widely available across the country. The company’s services were rated fifth in the 2018-2019 ACSI Telecommunications Report.
Not everyone lives in areas of the country where fiber-optics broadband cable internet is available. If you live in a rural area, satellite internet providers like HughesNet are one of the best alternatives. Although not as fast as other providers, HughesNet speeds are still adequate for online teaching. Unfortunately, HughesNet does put data usage caps on users. So when you’ve reached your data limit (which varies by plan), you can keep using the internet but at a slower speed — not ideal for remote education jobs. If there’s a cable, DSL or fiber-optic provider in your area, choose those over satellite.
A fiber-optic connection can make teaching online much easier if you can manage to find a provider in your area. CenturyLink is one widely available option for online teaching that provides high-speed internet through its fiber-optic services. You can snag one of the company’s Gigabit fiber-optic packages at a discount through its online offers.
How to test your internet speed for online teaching
What about your current internet? Effective online teaching is only possible if you have a good connection for meeting with your students. Is yours fast enough to get online education jobs?
There’s an easy way to check. Tools like SpeedofMe can help you find out your current Mbps, which stands for megabytes per second. You’ll notice that you get two different readings: one for your download speed and one for your upload speed. Usually, internet providers describe their internet speeds based on download speed.
Virtual teaching jobs require both good upload and download speeds because when you video conference, you also upload data to transmit your image and audio. For example, Skype, a common video conferencing service, recommends you have at least .5 Mbps for a high-quality video call. However, most teach online jobs have much higher requirements — usually at least 2 Mbps for upload speeds and 5 Mbps or more for download speeds. Find specific speed standards in the “Popular online teaching companies and their internet requirements” section below.
If you took the online internet speed test and realized your internet is too slow, look into upgrading your package or getting a new provider. In addition to the national providers we covered above, there are also many excellent local options in certain areas. Use our zip code finder tool to see which providers service your area and can give you the higher speed you need.
How to increase WiFi speed for online teaching jobs
Sometimes you can increase your internet speed and performance by making changes to your current setup. Here are some tried-and-true tricks and techniques:
- Move your computer closer to the router. In the best-case scenario, you should work in the same room as your router.
- Purchase a WiFi booster. If you’re working online as an adjunct professor or teaching English, you might need a private space to work. This means you might not be able to work in the same room as your router. In these cases, not even the best WiFi router for home use is enough. You may also need a signal booster that can help improve your WiFi’s power.
- Close unnecessary applications and programs. Even if you have the best internet provider available, you only have so much bandwidth. Many computer programs consume small amounts of internet. Limit the programs you run while teaching so you can concentrate your bandwidth.
- Power down other devices or disconnect them from your WiFi. If two or more people are using your internet, it can slow things down. For example, if someone is streaming a movie or having another conference call, it can slow down your internet speed. Remember, many devices work in the background, so it’s best to shut off their WiFi connection altogether. If possible, plan your online classes so that others in your house won’t be online during those times.
- Plug in directly to your router using an Ethernet cable. Interference in the WiFi signal can mean you don’t always get the highest possible speed. An Ethernet cable provides a more reliable, higher-speed connection, which is critical for college teaching jobs and other online endeavors.
- Purchase a new router. Sometimes, the best way to improve your speed is with a new router. Experts recommend considering this if your router is three or more years old.
Popular online teaching companies and their internet requirements
Companies that offer online tutoring jobs for teachers have varying internet speed requirements. Here’s what you need to work for some of the most popular organizations:
This company focuses on teaching English online to kids ages four to 12 in China. VIPkid jobs are very popular for teachers, thanks to the support the company provides. VIPKid requirements include a webcam, Windows 7, and a minimum of four GB of RAM, among others. VIPKid internet speed requirements are a minimum of 20 Mbps. Many teacher VIPKid reviews are very positive, suggesting that it’s a good company to work for. Note: VIPKid requires a bachelor’s degree (in any field).
Qkids is another online English teaching company that provides services for Chinese children ages four to 12. Qkids classes include one to four children at a time. You’ll need a minimum download speed of 4 Mbps and a minimum upload speed of 2 Mbps. Note: An ESL teaching certificate is required to work with Qkids. Most teachers who’ve given a Qkids review reported a positive experience.
Also known as EF, English First offers both in-person and online teaching opportunities around the world. It specializes in teaching English to both children and adults. If you are interested in teaching online with this company, English First recommends having a cable internet connection. A TEFL certification is also required.
If teaching a formal online lesson sounds intimidating, why not try being a Cambly tutor? This company matches up native English speakers with English learners who want to practice conversational English. Cambly does not specify any internet speed requirements. But as it involves video conferencing, you should aim to have reliable broadband internet.
GoGoKid is an ESL online teaching company offering lessons to children in China. Lessons are one-on-one, so teachers only work with one student at a time. The minimum internet speed required is 20 Mbps. You also need a bachelor’s degree (any field). GogoKid reviews from teachers are largely positive.
Samespeak provides lessons via Skype to students around the world, generally teenagers or adults. The company does not require specific Mbps, however, they do recommend high-speed broadband access, which is typically 25 Mbps.
A world-renowned publisher and curriculum developer, Pearson occasionally offers online English teaching jobs. You can find their opportunities posted on various websites such as Online English Teaching Jobs. To work with Pearson, you need a minimum upload speed of 5 Mbps and a minimum download speed of 10 Mbps.
Best internet tips from online teachers
Veteran remote teachers have lots of experience finding the best internet connection while teaching online. Here are some top tips and tricks from experienced online teachers:
Megan of Bobo and Chichi
Megan Indoe of Bobo and Chichi taught English in Seoul, South Korea. Although they were taught in person, each student used a tablet while in class, meaning a good internet connection was essential for success. She says, “ It was a fascinating way to teach and see children learn using technology and high-speed internet to bring the class and lessons to life, but without high-speed internet, this would have been merely impossible. We recommend having a router in the same room as you teach ,and other tips include double-checking that your software and devices are up to date.”
Ashley of Wanderdolls
Ashley of Wanderdolls is an experienced online teacher who suggests, “For best results, use a wired connection if it’s available, and if not, try to be as close to your modem as possible. If there are others in the house when you’ll be teaching, ensure they’re not doing any high usage internet activities like some gaming platforms or downloading.”
Katie of Clarks Condensed
Katie of Clarks Condensed suggests you keep a close eye on your internet’s performance. She says, “Do regular speed tests to make sure you are getting the speed you signed up for. If you are finding that you aren’t getting the right speed, talk to the company or find someone new. It’s worth it to pay extra for a higher quality speed – your livelihood depends on it, so don’t skimp!”
Erin of Your ESL Journey
Erin of Your ESL Journey has extensive experience working and traveling as an online ESL teacher. Her advice includes, “When I’m at home, I just make sure I’m connected to my wired network using an Ethernet cable. Whenever I travel, I like to rent a portable pocket WiFi device and bring that along with me. This ensures I’ll have solid internet speeds without having to rely on my accommodation’s WiFi situation. All I need is decent cell service and it works great!”
Daniella of I Like to Dabble
Expert in making a side income, Daniella of I Like to Dabble says, “For online work like teaching, you need a stable enough internet connection to support streaming. Most online teaching companies will require you to have at least minimum download and upload speeds of 4 Mbps with a ping of less than 100 ms, which is all you need. When working with students via streaming, always have your Ethernet plugged in to ensure stability.”
Online teaching FAQs
You still may have questions about what you need to do to make sure your internet is up to speed for online teaching. Check these FAQs for a quick rundown on some of the most asked questions:
-What internet speed do I need for online teaching?
For most positions, you need high-speed internet that will allow you to lead video conferencing classes. The specific requirements vary depending on the company or education institution that you work with. To give you an idea, the speeds required by companies reviewed in this article range from 4 Mbps to 20 Mbps. Upload speeds are also sometimes listed separately.
-What are the online teaching internet requirements?
Online teaching internet requirements refer to the quality and internet speed that companies and organizations require remote teachers to have. These requirements ensure that teachers can do video conferencing and conduct classes online.
-How can I make my internet connection faster and stable?
There are several ways you can improve your internet connection. You can change providers to get a faster speed. However, you can also move closer to your router or use an Ethernet cord rather than a wireless connection.
-What is the best VipKid internet speed?
VIPKid requirements state that teachers must have an internet speed of 20 Mbps.
-Can you teach English online without a degree?
Yes. Some companies, like Cambly, allow any English native speaker to be a tutor. However, others, like QKids, require that teachers have a bachelor’s degree in any field as well as an English teaching certification. Check the requirements for the company you’re interested in working with to make sure that you can meet them.
The bottom line
The best internet for online teaching jobs isn’t an impossible chase. Using the strategies in this article, you can either find a new provider or increase your current internet speed so that you never have a poor-quality online class ever again.
Taking the time to improve your internet connection is well worth it for both hopeful and current online teachers. With a quality connection, both you and your students will be able to take advantage of everything that online teaching has to offer.
Rachel Peachey is a writer and former Montessori teacher. In her writing, she specializes in education, edtech, and apps. She lives in Guatemala where she has plenty of experience trying to improve her internet connection.