Live online tutoring is one of the next big things in language immersion. Gone are the days of online worksheets, watching pre-recorded videos, or even scheduled class times. A new trend in online language learning is websites that allow tutors and students to meet up online at any time and talk in another language via a live video feed.
For students, it’s an easy way to practice a language whenever their schedule allows, or to get additional help whenever they need it. For tutors, it’s a really great way to bring in extra cash helping people with language skills.
One of the most popular companies offering live online tutoring right now is Cambly. And if you’re someone looking for a side hustle where you can work from home, and would love to help people learn English, it might be a great company to check out.
In this article we’ll look at the Cambly service, and break down what they offer students. We’ll also look at what Cambly tutors do — and how they’re paid — and walk you through the application process.
What Is Cambly?
Cambly is an online platform that pairs native speakers from the United States, Canada, UK, and Australia with students around the world who want to participate in an English as a Second Language (ESL) program.
Cambly’s main selling point is flexibility. The company does offer pre-set courses, scheduled meetups, and test prep for students. But its distinguishing factor is that students can basically sign on at almost any time and instantly get connected with English tutors to practice language skills.
Cambly Inc. was founded in 2013 by Kevin Law and Sameer Shariff in San Francisco. On Glassdoor, a website that allows employees to offer honest feedback about companies, it has a 4-star rating out of 5 as a place to work.
Tutors noted that it had a great interface, and you really could set your own schedule, with their only lament being that it would be tough to earn enough through Cambly as a full-time job if you live in a major city with a high cost of living.
What Cambly Offers Students
Cambly gives students online instant access to English teachers. These teachers can answer questions, work on a specific topic that the student wants to work on, or just help students practice English skills by talking with them via video chat. It’s a more informal approach to English tutoring.
Some other things that Cambly offers students:
Every video chat on Cambly is recorded and provided for students should they want to review it. Chatting with someone is great, but if they connect with a teacher they love who covers a topic well, that session will be able to be re-watched and reviewed whenever.
A really nice addition to Cambly is that it allows students, in their native language, to type in a question into the window’s chat box if they get stuck or have a question. That question will then be instantly translated into English for the tutor, so they can try and help them navigate the problem. It’s total immersion, with a little help from the internet.
While Cambly does offer instant tutoring whenever you want it, it also allows you to schedule time with teachers that you connect with and want to work with again.
Coursework and Certificate
For English students who like more structure, Cambly offers more traditional courses that work through aspects of English speech. Many students like to combine traditional courses with impromptu drop-ins to practice English, almost like a course and then office hours. And every student who completes 10 hours of private lessons will receive a certificate saying they’d done so.
Working for Cambly
Cambly is always looking for native English speakers who are looking to bring in extra money. You get to work at home, and can set your own schedule. What’s also nice is that new tutors do not need TEFL certification — you can have it, but really anyone who’s a native English speaker can participate can earn.
You need a solid internet connection, a PayPal account to get paid, an enthusiasm for online teaching … and that’s really it.
Some features of working for Cambly:
Reliable, Weekly Payment
Cambly automatically tracks the time you spend tutoring, and they pay $0.17 USD per minute, which works out to $10.20/hour. For online, part-time gigs like this, especially one that doesn’t require tutors to have special certification, it’s a very competitive pay rate.
What’s also nice: Cambly pays every Monday, directly to your PayPal account.
Earn More Consistently With Priority Hours
Priority Hours is your way to set a schedule so students can book time with you ahead of time. While any drop-in can result in you finding a student to chat with, Cambly rewards tutors who commit to a schedule ahead of time by giving them “priority” when students drop in, plus it allows students you connect with to schedule time with you.
Priority Hours can be changed weekly, and cancelled up to 12 hours in advance, so you don’t have to commit to any long term schedule. It just helps Cambly figure out staffing, and lets students book time with their favorite tutors ahead of time.
Ability to Earn in Downtime
That being said, any time you have a free hour, you can hop on Cambly and start earning. Many tutors like to load it up while hanging out online, then pick up a drop-in student who wants to practice English for a little bit. Plus you’ll meet some interesting people from around the world.
How to Apply
Want in? Applying is quick and easy.
A form will then pop up asking you for a bit of information. If you want, you can sign up quickly via your Google or Facebook account. If you’re prefer to create an account, just scroll down and then you’ll see this:
It’s a pretty standard sign-up form, with one notable wrinkle: They do ask you to use your name when creating a username. This makes it easier for students to know who you are and book you properly. It also adds a level of familiarity to the booking process — it’s nice to learn English from Susie Q., not from someone like “luv2teach129328.”
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve talked about Cambly, the company, and what it offers both students and tutors. Let’s get into some frequently asked questions about the service:
1. What’s the best way to earn as a tutor with Cambly?
In reviewing notes and message boards online, the best way to earn consistently is to take advantage of Priority Hours and commit to a schedule whenever you can. Setting schedules lets students book you ahead of time, and when you are on, you are given priority over tutors who just dropped in.
You may not make enough consistently to make it a full-time job in a major city with high rents, but with consistent schedules, you can earn well from home. Plus Cambly pays every Monday via PayPal, so there’s no hunting down invoices or hoping payment comes.
2. Where are Cambly students located?
Cambly students are located all over the world. In a given day tutoring you might spend time chatting with someone from China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, or Turkey.
3. Is there an app for students?
There is! The Cambly app is available on iPhone and Android, and makes it easy for students to hop on and practice their English conversation skills right from their mobile phone. Tutors they ask to use a computer so Cambly can track hours properly.
Teaching English Online With Cambly
If you’ve got solid Internet speed and want to try online English teaching, Cambly can be a fantastic way to bring in a little extra cash or become a steady part-time job.
With extremely flexible scheduling, consistent pay, and competitive rates for new teachers, the service is a popular one among tutors. If you’re thinking about becoming an ESL teacher, Cambly can also give you experience before you dive fully into becoming certified. You can try out online tutoring sessions, decide if you love it, and all the while bringing in extra money. For a part-time work-at-home job, it’s a great option.