If you’re a mom like me, I’m willing to bet you’ve thought about how you can bring in some extra cash. With that in mind, I did a deep dive into the teaching platform Cambly to bring you this Cambly review.
If you want to jump to the Cambly reviews section and find out what current teachers really think about this job, click here.
As moms, we already have so much on our plate that it’s hard to find a job that fits into our busy schedule.
Additionally, we really don’t want to spend time on anything that isn’t enjoyable or fulfilling because we don’t have any energy to spare.
The folks at Cambly have created a unique opportunity for people like us, offering a chance to get paid to chat with people online, and ultimately teach English, from the comfort of your own home.
Type of side gig – Online conversational English classes for both children and adults
Hires – Teachers from the US, Canada, the UK and Australia with English fluency; no degree necessary
Pay – $0.17/minute, or $10.20/hour, with no financial incentives or bonuses
Payment - Via PayPal every Monday as long as you've earned at least $20 during the period
Ready to learn more about this online opportunity? Keep reading, or skip to any section by clicking on the table of contents below.
What is Cambly?
Cambly is an online English language tutor company for students of all ages. Cambly tutors come from all over the US, as well as Canada, the UK, and Australia.
They’re matched up, one-on-one, with students who want to improve their conversational English language skills, take an English class, or prep for the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).
Students can choose from a pool of skilled Cambly instructors and connect with them via video chat, either on a laptop or a phone.
Here's a super quick overview of what the company does.
All classes are recorded, so students can re-watch and re-learn the material. After ten hours of classes, students may receive a certificate of achievement.
On Cambly, students decide what they want to cover during class; on Cambly Kids, teachers must follow a set curriculum. Once students have signed up, they access their tutors via video chat.
While most of the time is spent in a sort of free form conversation, Cambly does have a plenty of resources to which their tutors have access.
The company also has a system of "priority hours." During these hours, your profile will be featured on the website and you're more likely to get steady calls. Teachers can use this to get regular students and book them consistently.
The more often you're available to work, the more access to students you have, and they will be able to see when you're online and book you in advance outside of those priority hours.
Is Cambly legit?
We certainly understand being hesitant to join an online company you may never have heard of before.
However, trust us when we stay that when you work for Cambly, it’s legit. If you want to investigate further, feel free to contact the main office.
Cambly contact information
If you’d like to contact Cambly, the headquarters are located at 3388 17th St, San Francisco, CA.
Cambly also has offices in San Francisco, Istanbul, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Cambly welcomes questions via at firstname.lastname@example.org and encourages visitors to their website.
Why work as an online English teacher
Do you enjoy connecting with others, learning about different cultures, and sharing your own knowledge?
Are you a patient, responsible people person who embraces modern technology? Are you interested in an online job that pays weekly? If so, Cambly could be the perfect online ESL gig for you.
Online English language teachers have a pretty sweet deal.
They earn a regular paycheck (sometimes with the chance to earn a bonus) and, basically, they decide how much to work and when to work. And let’s not forget, when you work for Cambly, there’s zero commute.
According to current teachers who have shared their experience with Cambly, one of the biggest draws of being an online English teacher with this particular company is that you don’t need to have a college degree or even a teaching certificate.
If you’re a native speaker of English willing to commit to chatting with foreign students at pre-determined times, you’re an excellent candidate.
There is lots of discussion about the type of students you’ll encounter as a Cambly tutor.
As you can imagine, such a large pool of students makes for quite the diverse bunch.
For example, many students have traveled before, so they already have a grasp of the language. These folks see the tutoring as a way to practice English and hone their language skills.
Cambly students range in age, so you could end up with young kindergarten-age students, if you work for Cambly Kids, otherwise you'll mainly be teaching adults.
Students come from all over the globe.
They range in skill level, from beginners to almost fluent English speakers. No matter their ability, if a student gets stuck on a word, they can use an in-chat translation that allows them to type the word or phrase in their own language.
If you’re working with a young student, the parent may appear on the screen as well.
Is Cambly safe?
This is a question most often asked by female tutors. We’d say that most of the time, working for Cambly is very safe and rewarding.
However, Cambly would be remiss if they didn’t have precautions in place.
It's worth noting that they have a button that tutors can push to immediately ban a student if they feel uncomfortable for whatever reason, which means removing them from their interactive platform forever.
For less immediate problems, Cambly tutors always have the opportunity to file a report on a student.
Cambly: Become a tutor
If you’ve considered becoming a tutor as a way to supplement your income and make money online, working with Cambly is certainly a great place to start.
You can choose to specialize in a particular type of lesson, such as conversational English, academic English, or business English. By specifying your area of expertise on your profile, you’re more likely to attract compatible students.
Since you’re essentially getting paid to speak with people online, you can expect most of your class time to be filled with what may feel like random conversation.
The remainder of the time may be driven by the educational material provided by Cambly.
The freedom and flexibility of a Cambly job is especially perfect for moms who want to score a tutoring gig that doesn’t require too much training or prep time.
This job would also be ideal for a digital nomad, a student, or anyone else looking to earn money with a home-based side hustle.
For an awesome overview, check out Teacher Charlie's video below. Her interview is at the end of the article, in the Cambly reviews section.
Cambly tutor requirements
Cambly is well suited to first time tutors because there are very few requirements to land the job.
In fact, it’s one of the few online English language companies that do not require their tutors to have a college degree or even any teaching experience.
Here’s what they do require:
1. You must be a native English speaker without a distracting accent.
2. You must have the ability to carry on a “natural” conversation.
3. You must complete an online application and profile page.
4. You must pass an online background check.
5. You must make an introduction video.
There are a few tech requirements as well, but chances are you already have these items on hand.
First of all, you need a computer that has a webcam and a high-speed (non-glitchy!) Internet connection so you video chat with your students.
Most Cambly tutors invest in a decent headset that has a built-in mic because it’s easier to hear your students.
Depending on the quality of your computer, you may also want to use an additional camera, or maybe even extra lighting.
Ok, so you've decided you're interested in this teaching job and you want to be a tutor for Cambly.
How do you get started with Cambly?
You’ll be relieved to know that the application process is very simple and straightforward.
Here’s what you need to do:
Sign up on the Cambly site. You’ll need to give a screen name, email, contact number, and birthday, and create a password.
Pass the connection test. The Cambly staff will check out your computer’s ability to video chat by conducting an Internet speed test and testing your webcam.
Shoot a short video with your introduction on the Cambly platform.
Sit back and wait to see if you’re approved. Depending on the number of applicants, it can take as little as 48 hours to hear back, or as long as 6 months.
As we mentioned, be aware that the approval process can be slow; however, the good news is that once they’ve given you the green light, you can start teaching English online immediately.
Cambly interview questions
There aren’t any formal interview questions that you need to worry about.
Instead, Cambly asks you to shoot a very brief (around 1 minute long) video that demonstrates your ability to speak in a natural and engaging way.
This is your chance to introduce yourself, mention any experience you’ve had teaching, and perhaps say why you want to be a tutor with Cambly.
Practice your video presentation several times before the actual recording. Watch yourself in front of a mirror to see if you look natural.
It’s also a good idea to ask a friend or family member to critique your presentation video to make sure you come across as friendly and approachable.
When it comes time to record, it’s OK if you mess up. You can have as many do-overs as you like before you submit a final video.
Probably the most frequently asked question is “How much does Cambly pay?”
Compared to other online tutoring companies, Cambly’s pay is on the lower end of the scale at 17 cents (USD) per minute.
This rate sounds a bit more appealing if you think of it in terms of an hourly wage, which is around $10.20 per hour.
The Cambly staff keeps track of your time and they will pay you (via PayPal) every Monday as long as you’ve earned up to their minimum payment of $20.00 during that pay period.
If you don’t teach, you don’t get paid. What that means is if you’ve logged on to the site but no one reaches out to chat, you won’t get compensated for your time.
The reason for this is simple: since so many people work for Cambly, the company would go bankrupt if it paid tutors while they waited to be contacted.
In addition, if you have a scheduled class and your student doesn't show up, you won’t get paid.
However, if a student bails on a class, Cambly does offer compensation. Usually you’ll get paid for part of the scheduled class time. During peak hours, Cambly may pay for 15 minutes of a scheduled call if a student is a no-show.
Unlike other ESL teaching companies, Cambly does not offer financial incentives or bonuses. Nevertheless, this is a relatively "easy" gig and, if you play your cards right, you can turn it into a reliable source of income.
How does Cambly work?
You should have an idea of Cambly’s purpose by now, but you may still be a bit unclear on how the site actually works. Here’s the deal.
In addition to scheduling class time, teachers and students may log on to the site at any time for a spontaneous chat.
This is a major difference from the other popular English language tutor sites that require teachers and students to schedule lessons in advance. Cambly employs enough tutors so someone is available to students around the clock.
When you log on, students will see that you are “active” and available. Remember, just because you’ve logged on doesn’t mean you’re going to connect with a student. There will be times when you’ll wait around and no one will get in touch.
The goal is to build up your rep as one of the best English tutors, and then the students will follow.
It may take time to make this a steady gig, but it’s definitely possible to have a steady work flow. It’s simply a matter of establishing your name and being available when students need you.
For more tips on how to succeed teaching English online, check out this epic post with tips and tricks from 90+ online English tutors.
Does Cambly tutor all levels?
The students at Cambly may be learning English for the first time, or they may be almost fluent. Cambly offers individual lessons and lesson packages for all skill levels.
For example, a more advanced child may be signed up for the “intensive” approach, which would include 7 lessons per week. A child who is just beginning to learn the language might prefer a less demanding plan (either a “casual” or an “immersion” plan) that includes 2 or 5 lessons per week.
All lesson plans have a 14-day money-back guarantee. With Cambly Kids, parents have the option of meeting once with the tutor.
Does Cambly have a methodology?
Since so much of the tutoring involves conversation, Cambly has a different type of curriculum than other ESL teaching companies.
Cambly’s methodology can be described in the following way:
Meaning: Careful planning and research go into the lessons so that they make sense to adults and children looking to integrate English into their current lives.
Practice: At least 70% of the lesson is conversation practice.
Connection: Cambly tutors work hard to find a way to connect with students, especially the younger ones. When it comes to kids, Cambly tutors engage kids with educational songs, games, and chats so that learning feels a lot like play.
Does Cambly provide lessons?
As a tutor, you’ll never have to provide the content for the lesson.
Cambly will provide updated articles, questions, and games or songs for the young students as part of its curriculum.
For adults, many times the student will have something specific they want to practice or talk about, and teachers can use any resource they like, such as Google, as well as Cambly's extensive resources.
Advantages of working with Cambly
We think you’ll agree that there are tons of advantages of working with Cambly.
Below is a general summary, but for firsthand accounts of Cambly benefits, skip down to our teacher interviews section below.
The most popular reason for working with this company is the super flexible schedule. Basically, you only work when you want, whether that’s early morning, late at night, or sometime in between. Plus, you choose how many lessons in a row you’d like to teach. All in all, it’s your schedule, your way.
The next advantage is that you don’t need a college degree, a teaching certificate, or even prior teaching experience to become a Cambly tutor.
There is no contract between Cambly and you that binds you to a specific teaching commitment. As an independent contractor, you’re free to take as many days off as you choose and return to tutoring when the time is right.
As a Cambly tutor, you have the opportunity to be connected with people from all over the world. Becoming part of the Cambly team is a great way to learn about different cultures while sharing aspects of your own life with an incredibly diverse group of people.
While Cambly may offer low pay compared with its competitors, it's still a great and easy way to have some extra funds coming in every week.
Disadvantages of working with Cambly
The main disadvantage is the lower wage. And, unlike other online English tutoring companies, Cambly does not offer financial incentives or bonuses.
Tutors have complained that students cancel lessons at the last minute more often than they expected.
While it’s a good idea to have a rating system, students may give you a negative review if there’s something about you they don’t like, even if it has nothing to do with your teaching ability. Obviously, negative reviews will impact your schedule.
Depending on the student, keeping the conversation flowing may be a challenge. You may find yourself having one-way conversations and that may get tiresome.
As with any online platform, there may be technical difficulties to deal with, like glitchy connections or dropped calls.
Cambly reviews from real teachers
Still not sure if Cambly is the right online ESL company for you?
Check out the interviews below with 8 current employees to find out exactly what they like and dislike about the company.
"I really enjoy the supportive atmosphere. Cambly is a very mission-oriented company, rather than a profit-oriented company. They really care about their tutors, their students, and the work they’re doing."
Hi! My name is Jacob. I’m an elementary school teacher from the state of Maine. I have some experience teaching abroad as well as in the public schools stateside, but I currently work as an online ESL tutor with Cambly.
I have been working with Cambly since August 2018, and Cambly Kids since November 2018.
On a scale of 0 to 10, I would definitely rate my experience a 10! I really can’t say enough nice things about the students and the staff at Cambly.
The hiring process is pretty simple. You just go tothe Camblywebsite and create an account. After that, you’ll be asked to record a video application, which can seem kind of nerve-wracking at first, but it’s really not that bad. You basically just want to introduce yourself and explain why you’re a good fit for the platform.
I was hired within 24 hours of applying, but I’ve heard some people have to wait a bit longer. Honestly, it’s probably the most laidback application process I’ve seen.
What’s the best part about working for Cambly? A lot of people talk about the flexibility. It is really nice to be able to set your own schedule. A lot of online ESL companies say you can work whenever you like, but then box you into a restrictive range of “peak times.”
Cambly is a truly international platform so you can legitimately plan your work schedule around the rest of your life, instead of vice versa.
Personally, I really enjoy the supportive atmosphere. Cambly is a very mission-oriented company, rather than a profit-oriented company. They really care about their tutors, their students, and the work they’re doing. I really enjoy working in that sort of environment, I enjoy being a part of this huge cultural exchange, and I enjoy being respected as an educator.
The worst part of the job? Student no-shows and cancellations! Cambly does pay you for the first 10 minutes of every reserved class a student doesn’t show up for.
You can also take other calls while you wait, so you could hypothetically make a little more money than expected, but it's still a bummer! Especially when you’ve prepared for a lesson ahead of time.
You also aren’t compensated when a student cancels a reservation, no matter how last minute.
You don’t so much work forCambly as you work with Cambly. They hire tutors as independent contractors, which basically means your taxes are a little more complicated, but you’re the boss!
You decide when you work, how long you work, who you teach, and how you teach. In that way, Cambly is a bit like the Wild West with fantastic customer service!
People gravitate towards it because of the freedom it offers tutors (scheduling flexibility, teachers are trusted to teach) but get upset at the freedom it offers students (canceling reservations, requesting lesson topics).
As long as you put a little work into finding lesson resources, marketing yourself, and communicating with the support team, you’ll be golden!
Like I mentioned before, Cambly is an international company, so you really never know what you’ll get in terms of students. That’s one of the most exciting parts for me!
Before I changed my schedule to focus on Cambly Kids classes, my average morning might have looked something like this:
9:00 am – Read a fairytale with a young Korean girl
9:30 am – Help a Brazilian software engineer polish a pitch for his new app
10:00 am – Discuss religion and politics with an Islamic studies professor from Turkey
Of course, if you want to focus your teaching towards a particular group (children, IETLS exam, business English), you can do that as well!
Overall, the students are very pleasant and serious about learning English!
The tutors and the students have complete control over what the classes look like so it’s a little different every time. I’ve found that most of the adult students prefer casual conversation to a structured lesson. These lessons are nice because they provide a lot of “teachable moments”.
For example, maybe you ask your Saudi Arabian student about their favorite food. They’ll be able to give you the Arabic word right away but may struggle to describe the dish’s ingredients in English. Suddenly you’re being taken on a tour of their kitchen while giving a topical lesson on cooking and food vocabulary! It’s really a lot of fun!
If you or your student does prefer structured lessons, Cambly provides articles, grammar lessons, and conversation topics. They’re there if you need them, but you’re not required to use them.
I’d love to pretend I’ve got everything together all the time, but that definitely wouldn’t be honest. If I had to name the three most important qualities in an online English teacher, I’d say the following. Keep in mind these aren’t exhaustive, but they are some of the lessons I’ve learned from my own mistakes. Hopefully, they can help you get a head start!
1. Be curious about your students and their cultures.Sometimes I feel stuck in a rut. Some days I’m selfish and just want to talk about me. That generally doesn’t lead to good teaching or an enjoyable day.
It is so much easier to enjoy online teaching if I cultivate a genuine interest in other people. The fact that I basically get paid to learn about other cultures is also pretty cool!
2. Be patient with young learners and those who are just getting started.Talking with people who have little-to-no English ability can be tiring and frustrating. Until you try to learn a foreign language yourself, you won’t understand that! It is so hard!
After trying my hand at Korean, I have so much respect for the students on Cambly who are willing to tackle English. A little bit of patience from you goes a long way for them!
3. Adapt your lessons to the needs of your students.Some students will have specific questions about English, but some just need someone to talk to.
Don’t be afraid to scrap the prepared lesson if it’s not a good fit or if one of those “teachable moments” comes up.
No one is looking over your shoulder to make sure you did everything “by the book”.
The most important equipment you will need for this jobs isa reliable Internet connection, comfortable headphones, and good lighting.
If you want to teach children, I would highly recommend investing in some cheap flashcards, a puppet, and a whiteboard. They are extremely versatile props and have been absolute lifesavers for me! I also find having a world map on hand can be very useful!
For anyone thinking about applying to Cambly, my advice to you is to go for it! The application process is the easiest I’ve seen from any online ESL company. You don’t need to prepare for a Skype interview. You don’t need to stress out about teaching a demo lesson. Just be friendly and open and apply!
If you have any specific questions, concerns, or just want help getting started, you can connect with me by using my referral link or by searching for “Teacher Jacob” on the homepage.
I’d love to set up a short call to help you get familiar with the platform and answer any questions you may have. Just send me a message and we’ll find a time that works!
"I would rate the company a 10. The convenience of working whenever I want and the weekly pay is like no other."
Hello, I'm Ivan. I’m from Los Angeles, California, currently living in Mexico. I have been a teacher for the last 6 years and I don’t think I could ever do anything else.
Teaching is such a rewarding career. Teachers can have a long lasting impression on students, therefore I see it as one of the most amazing career paths one can embark on.
I have been with Cambly for 3 years now.
I would rate the company a 10. The convenience of working whenever I want and the weekly pay is like no other.
It was very easy to get hired. In less than 2 days I was working.
The best part of working for Cambly is that they take care of the tutors and they are always on time with payments.
I can’t really think of any negative aspects of the company.
One thing that surprised me was how well they take care of their tutors, and one thing they could improve is maybe they could offer a higher pay rate.
As for the students, they are from all walks of life and all ages. This is one of the great things about Cambly: you can experience many different cultures all in one day.
The classes are whatever you make them out to be. The tutor controls the rhythm of the class and it’s usually tons of fun.
One thing people might not know about Cambly is that it operates worldwide.
For anyone thinking about applying, my advice to you is to be patient. Cambly wants to make sure all tutors have work and sometimes it might take some time to get hired.
"While the students are mostly great and the work is mostly pretty easy, there are a lot of problems with the system that Cambly refuses to acknowledge or fix."
My name is Jennifer and I'm from Virginia. I have a TEFL certificate, and I've been teaching online off and on since 2009. I also have a bachelor's in English and psychology and a master’s in psychology.
I have you been working with Cambly since March 2017.
On a scale of 0 to 10, I would rate my experience with them a 7.
While the students are mostly great and the work is mostly pretty easy, there are a lot of problems with the system that Cambly refuses to acknowledge or fix, and sometimes students expect a lot for what we're actually paid.
The hiring process was very simple. I just submitted my credentials and a short video and was approved two or three days later.
The absolute best aspect of working for Cambly? I love being fully in charge of my own schedule.
The worst part is that Cambly refuses to penalize students who do not show up for their lessons. And there seems to be no way to stop students from exposing themselves sexually on the platform.
One thing that surprised me about you working for Cambly is that they have no penalties for students who don't show up for their lessons.
They should really impose a penalty for students who don't show up. They could also devise some sort of incentive program to reward long-term teachers or highly-rated teachers to make them more competitive with other companies.
The students are of all ages, from young children to older people, and they come from over the world.
As for the classes, most of my students really enjoy free talk and reading. The classes are far from boring; the students are great.
One thing people might not know about Cambly is that, if you’re a US citizen or are authorized to work in the US, working as an independent contractor for Cambly or any other company like it can really help you with your taxes because you’re an independent contractor or a business owner in a sense.
My advice for people thinking about applying is to not allow yourself to get burnt out. If you have set hours, stick to them. Don't allow students to twist your arm into working when you don't want to work or else you will start to become resentful of your job.
"I would rate the company a 9 because I was able to work when I wanted and was able to do so without having to stick to a schedule, which is impossible right now with children at home. Daycare is expensive!"
My name is Leyla, and I live in Texas. I graduated from Texas A&M University in 2005 with a degree in anthropology. Then I graduated in 2006 from the University of Glasgow with an MSc in Development Studies.
I worked with refugees and in restorative justice for a short time, but I couldn’t find my career passion. Working with refugees introduced me to ELL since I would take my clients to the adult education center to learn English.
I’ve been teaching English since I got my 100-hour certification from i-to-i in the summer of 2009. That’s a really long time ago!
I started my own tutoring business when I lived in Colorado, and I taught online for a couple of English tutoring companies based in various countries from the fall of 2010 when I was laid off from my full-time job and became pregnant.
I’ve been tutoring online off and on since then. I liked teaching English, and I loved to volunteer at my local adult education center. Later, I got my teaching certification just so I could become certified to teach ESL in public schools, which I did for two years.
After my twins were born in 2015, I got my master’s in teaching applied linguistics, graduating in 2018.
I think I’ve been with Cambly since 2016, when my twins were several months old.
For me, I would rate the company a 9 because I was able to work when I wanted and was able to do so without having to stick to a schedule, which is impossible right now with children at home. Daycare is expensive!
The two things I love about Cambly: the flexibility and the ability to make a positive difference in people’s lives just through 30 minutes of conversation.
As for the worst part, I’ve never been exposed to people who misuse the platform by showing their genitalia, but I know it’s happened so many times. That worries me.
However, other than that, I don’t take priority hours or reservations because I can’t guarantee that I will be able to be there. So that means sometimes I just sit there for 30 minutes hoping someone will call so I can work.
Overall I would say it’s a positive experience and I always recommend it to other people, both potential students and teachers alike.
As for improvements, I would love to see an interactive whiteboard available. The platform is really basic and I can’t share my screen with people.
I tend to only see adults, although the occasional younger child or teenager will show up. I get a kick out of the teens. Most of the time, all students’ attitudes are great and I enjoy working with them.
Since I advertise that I specialize in teaching IELTS, the classes can sometimes be monotonous when that is all students call me for, but I like that they are free form.
Cambly has some lessons that I could use if I wanted to, which is great, and some students pick those. Most of the time, though, I use Breaking News English or conversation questions if a student just wants to talk. I also use IELTS Liz’s website for IELTS speaking question examples.
One thing about Cambly I think most people don’t know is that you don’t have to commit to a regular schedule or take reservations. For many people on Cambly, that’s a great way to make money, but for me, I really value their respect of my time but also my ability to contribute positively to teaching students at the same time.
For anyone thinking about applying, I would say get some kind of certification online or in-person to teach English. Be prepared with a few websites with lessons and talking points, like BBC Learning English, Breaking News English, Voice of America Learning English, a website with conversation questions, and, of course Cambly’s library, which you can use to build your own personal library in your account.
"I think Cambly is different from other companies in terms of the flexibility. Few schools have this, and most schools require a minimum amount of hours from tutors per week."
My name is Mitzi. I’m from South Africa and I have been teaching for a little more than 6 years. Before that, I worked at a bank and in the retail industry, in both HR and finance.
I have been working with Cambly for 1 year.
On a scale of 0 to 10, I’d give them a 7.
As for the hiring process, it was easy, but the wait was long. After I had emailed my CV to them, they replied within a few days to say they liked my resume and I was at the top of the list for when they’re hiring again. It took a few weeks, and they emailed me to say I had been registered in the system and could begin.
The absolute best part of working for Cambly is the complete flexibility.
The worst part of the job is what we call FTs. They’re “first timers” who are “trying out” the system and usually have 5 minutes. Very few (and I mean very few), as in about 2%, actually know more than 3 words in English. The majority don’t speak any English.
In addition to this, we have the “flashers.” Guys who call in just to flash their junk, jerk off and ask to see our boobs. Cambly does allow us to ban them, which is the good side of it, but we have to go through the trauma of being exposed to this kind of behavior.
That being said, overall, working for Cambly is good. There’s no lesson planning, they pay like clockwork every Monday, and it’s totally flexible, with no minimum hours.
Areas for improvement include having no FTs and a slightly higher pay rate. They should also have a training session for beginners. They do have a tutor guide, but parts of it are vague and many tutors are afraid to begin as they’re not sure what to expect.
Students range in age from high school to 50s. I love all my students. They are all really nice people and want to learn English and usually put in a lot of effort.
Some of my students from Saudi Arabia, for example, are quite rude in the way that they don’t see greeting a person as necessary. This, of course, is not all of them, mostly teenagers and university students.
I really enjoy the classes. Every single one is different. I have students who are preparing for IELTS, others who have a job interview with a global company, some who just want to have everyday conversation, and others who want to practice business English related to their job.
I think Cambly is different from other companies in terms of the flexibility. Few schools have this, and most schools require a minimum amount of hours from tutors per week.
For anyone thinking about applying, my advice to them is to be strong especially, when it comes to the “flashers.” Always have a smile, be tolerant of others, and learn about different cultures.
"One thing that makes Cambly different is that it’s so easy. There’s no feedback. No one hounding you. You just chat with people and make money doing it."
My name is Julie and I have been teaching online for just over 2 years now. I teach at 3 companies in total. I no longer work in a classroom.
I started doing it because I'm a mother of 4 and I wanted a way to make an income from home. I have a bachelor’s degree in business management and a lot of experience working with kids. I live in Michigan, USA.
I’ve been with Cambly for over a year.
I would rate my experience a 5 probably. I rate it low because their platform stinks and it’s often unpredictable as far as income goes.
The pay is very low in American standards. But it pays weekly and it offers hours 24/7, so it’s a great pair with other online teaching platforms.
It’s not difficult to get hired there at all. You only need to be a native English speaker.
You apply with some basic info and wait for an acceptance email. They choose their tutors depending on the demand for certain time zones.
The best thing about working for Cambly is that their cancellation policy is so lax. You get paid by the minute so you can basically hop online and work any time you’re available.
The worse part of the job for me is the pay. It pays by the minute. It works out to be about $10/hour for adults and $12/hour for kids.
Cambly is ok. When you tutor adults sometimes you have to reach for things to talk about with a person who has limited English ability. It can be amazing and it can be frustrating. I’ve had some awesome conversations with people around the world. Sometimes I watch the timer and it feels like it’s going so slowly.
One thing I would improve is the children’s curriculum. I would also allow 10 minute breaks instead of 5. I would make kid’s classes 25 minutes instead of 30. Currently there is no break between students.
At Cambly, you can teach adults and kids. They come from all over the world, literally. I’ve taught people from 12 different countries in one day before.
The regular Cambly tutoring sessions are similar to talking to someone on Skype. They have lessons the students can choose from. Some do. Some don’t.
The kid’s program pays more and has curriculum.
Sometimes you find someone you really mesh with across the world and you have such stimulating conversations and I get so excited. A lot of times there’s very educated people who need to practice their English for career development.
One thing that makes Cambly different is that it’s so easy. There’s no feedback. No one hounding you. You just chat with people and make money doing it.
Tips for anyone considering Cambly? Turn your visibility off to new, trial students because there can be some creepy men on there. I wait to be sure they’re serious before I look at them.
Also, if you do apply, feel free to use my referral code!
"The work is very flexible and convenient. I open up the hours that I want to work and students populate those hours with reservations, so I don’t have to do any self-marketing to find my students. "
My name is Rosa, and I’m a qualified PGCE teacher (originally teaching Spanish in secondary schools in the UK).
I also have experience supporting university students with dyslexia with their assignments and dissertations. This includes helping them develop strategies for planning, structuring and proofreading their work.
I grew up in the UK, but I currently live in Spain with my husband and our 4-year-old daughter.
I have been working with Cambly for about 4 months.
On a scale of 0 to 10, I give them an 8-9.
The work is very flexible and convenient. I open up the hours that I want to work and students populate those hours with reservations (so I don’t have to do any self-marketing to find my students).
I enjoy speaking to people 1-on-1 and supporting them in developing their English communication skills.
I have maintained a reasonably high rating on Cambly, which means that I can more or less choose the Priority Hours (PH) I want, and these hours are normally reserved in advance by students. Any PH hours that haven’t been reserved beforehand are then filled by ad hoc callers, and I tend to be busy.
Also, there is no lesson planning involved. There are loads of resources created by Cambly, for tutors or students to choose from. On Cambly Kids, the lessons are planned for you so, all the tutor has to do is follow the lesson (and make it enjoyable for the child).
Also, from the student’s point of view, there are many different English accents to choose from and there is always somebody there to practice English conversation with.
Why didn’t I give it a 10?
Because initially it is very frustrating to wait for minutes at a time until someone pops up to talk to, so you spend a lot of time being “available” but not earning any money at all. You get a guaranteed 15 minutes paid for each hour you are available, which works out to $2.55.
Some people don’t ever get past that point (of having to wait for ages until someone calls) because the PH hours are limited if you have a lower rating.
Also, if you manage to grab a PH hour but have a low rating, you are less likely to be selected by a student. By the way a low rating on Cambly is anyone with a rating of less than 4.5ish out of 5, so it’s not really that low!
I am a qualified teacher and had experience in teaching English to adults and students, so for me the process was very easy and I was hired within a week.
The absolute best aspect of working for Cambly is the flexibility and the fact that I can do it from home.
As for the worst part, sometimes the technology can fail - the Internet doesn’t work or your student has issues on his side, and it can be very frustrating when the call cuts out and the student has to reconnect or has difficulty reconnecting.
Being on PHs can also be quite frustrating - waiting for calls or speaking to free trial students who don’t really intend to learn English. Other tutors have said that they have received obscene calls. This hasn’t happened to me; however, as a tutor you have the ability to ban students and also hide from students.
Overall, working for Cambly overall has been enjoyable and rewarding.
What’s one thing they could improve?
This is a hard question to answer because, in general, it is a reasonable company given the constraints it works under.
For example: the pay could be better, but Cambly pays the same amount to all tutors regardless, of where they are, so in the UK and US the pay would be considered low, but in other countries the pay is considered good.
They employ qualified tutors, but there is no requirement to lesson plan. There are often problems with the technology, but again this is something outside of their control.
There is a huge variety of students. I have spoken to people ranging in age from 3 to 60+.
Some people are happy just having a general conversation and being able to practice their English, others want a fully qualified English teacher who knows how to explain grammar points off the top of their head, and some want an IELTS exam expert.
The adult classes are completely open for you as the tutor to decide. Sometimes the students come online with a topic in mind and provide their own material; sometimes you suggest material.
The Cambly Kids classes are planned out and are usually interesting. There is also flexibility within the kids lessons to go as fast or slow depending on the student, and there are opportunities to add your own activities e.g. games/conversation.
The only other platform I have signed up to is Italki. I had expected Italki to be similar to Cambly in that I thought it did instant tutoring, but it stopped doing that just as I joined!
Italki only offers the opportunity for students to reserve you, but there seems to be no way to market yourself directly to new students, so I have found it much harder to find consistent and frequent work through them.
For anyone thinking about applying to Cambly, here is my advice to you:
1. Don’t expect to be earning the full hourly amount, especially not from the very beginning.
2. Give it a chance! It probably takes about 6 weeks to fully understand how it works and to feel like you know what you’re doing, depending on how many hours you start off with.
3. Join the online Facebook support group, Cambly Corner, read the comments, and search the threads for answers to your questions.
4. Read the manual before and after you start working on Cambly.
5. And use the free 15 minutes of Cambly talk time you get when you get accepted as a tutor, before you start, to call another tutor so you can get to know the app a little before you begin. I wish I’d known about this before I started!
"Although it’s flexible, opening your hours at the same time each day, on the same days each week, is a surefire way to build a reliable regular client base. I’ve now achieved 'super tutor' status and I think this is due to my reliability."
My name is Charlie. I’m from Yorkshire, in the UK, and I’ve been teaching exclusively online since completing my TEFL course in Costa Rica in March 2018.
After spending my 20s a little bit lost, bouncing from one admin job to the next, I finally threw caution to the wind and applied to train in my dream country and it was the best decision I ever made!
I share a lot of my English teaching resources on Charlie’s English Channel.
I have been working with Cambly since May of 2018.
On a scale of 0 to 10, I rate them an 8. The job is so flexible and I consider my most of my regular students to be worldwide friends. If you’re thinking about applying, feel free to use my referral link!
I was hired within two weeks, but I’ve since heard it take up to 6 months for some people! Currently it seems a bit inconsistent. And although anyone can apply, I think the fact I had a TEFL qualification worked in my favor.
The pay may be low, but you’re literally getting paid to have the best, most interesting conversations with people around the world. It’s easy money for someone interested in people.
The worst part of the job, for me, is that there’s no opportunity for growth. I only work on Cambly 10 hours a week and see it as pocket money to complement my other income.
Overall, working for Cambly is great.
Aspects that they could improve include the cancellation policy and the salary. When a student doesn’t show up or cancels at the last minute, it can greatly affect your projected pay if it happens a few times a week.
As for the students, I only teach by reservation, so my students are great! They typically have a mix of intermediate-to-high level English.
Adults are very-self motivated, so conversation is mostly easy and engaging. I’ve heard some horror stories from tutors on Priority Hours, which means you take a call from anyone who rings when you’re online, with regard to Free Trial students who only have 5 minutes call time and can be sexually explicit or offensive. Luckily I haven’t dealt with this.
The classes are what you make of them. There are resources to use on Cambly, but many tutors Google what they need during the lesson, or the student will come to you with a specific request.
One thing that makes Cambly different from all the other online ESL companies is the flexibility. There’s no contract; I just set my hours when I want to.
My advice to potential future employees: Although it’s flexible, opening your hours at the same time each day, on the same days each week, is a surefire way to build a reliable regular client base.
I’ve now achieved “super tutor” status and I think this is due to my reliability. It means I come higher on the list of tutors when students browse us and, as a result, my reservations fill up most weeks.
"One thing that sets Cambly apart is the fact that clients are from all over the world, which means you can truly teach at any time of the day."
My name is Brenda and I have a degree in Business Administration and a certificate in Adult Continuing Education. I have worked as a government senior leader for many years.
Most recently I have worked with international physicians, helping the prepare for the IELTS test and certify for practice. Several years ago, I retired and quickly become bored.
I began tutoring children online with VIPKid first, and then I joined Cambly.
I have been with Cambly for just over 2 years, and I would rate my overall experience an 8.
The clients are great. I give them a 10 out of 10. I see mostly regulars by appointment now and I really enjoy being a part of their life. When I need to expand my base of regulars I will open priority hours.
Flexibility: 10 out of 10. Cambly does not have a hourly/shift requirement. This is a true bonus and very different from many of the ESL companies. I love being able to open hours or accept bookings only when I want to work.
As a retiree, I love to travel, so I will often work hard to earn some travel money and then take several weeks off. I can also work at all times of the day because Cambly has clients in all time zones.
Priority hours can be a bit challenging, and I give them a 5 out of 10. You must open an entire hour slot but may not get calls, therefore you’re only guaranteed 15 minutes of pay. You will sometimes get strange callers who don't speak or hang up. I only use priority hours to secure regular clients.
The salary: 2 out of 10. $10.20 per hour is really low.
The hiring process was extremely easy. I sent in my information and I was hired in 2 weeks. There was no onboarding process and a very small tutor guide section. I found it quite easy to figure out and I was working the hours I wanted within the first month.
The best part of Cambly is the flexibility. I love that I can support adults and/or children!
The worst part of the job is the salary.
Overall, it's a great gig for someone looking to fill a few hours a day or a few hours a week.
One thing they could improve, at the risk of sounding repetitive, is the salary.
The students are awesome! I met all of my students during priority booking, then they requested to see me as a regular appointment. I have the flexibility to accept only those that I enjoy spending time with!
There are no “planned classes,” and Cambly does not expect a formal lesson. The lessons typically begin with conversation. You may be assisting a child or adult with homework, teaching grammar rules, correcting pronunciation, etc.
You set up your profile based on your area of expertise. It’s an opportunity to tailor the class time based on your areas of expertise and the needs of the client.
Because I have experience tutoring for IELTS preparation and online ESL for children, these are the types of clients who will typically seek me out.
One thing that sets Cambly apart is the fact that clients are from all over the world, which means you can truly teach at any time of the day.
My advice for prospective teachers is to be patient. The hiring practice may take several months. They typically hire in waves when they need more tutors. If you do decide to apply, feel free to use my referral link!
Sites like Cambly
Before you decide if a Cambly job is right for you, check out these popular Cambly alternatives.
Qkids: You don’t need a degree to teach with Qkids, but you do need proof that you’re working toward one or enrolled in a TESOL or TEFL certificate program.
Qkids teaches Chinese students ages 4 – 12 in classes that are 30 minutes long with up to 4 students. They require a 6-month commitment of working at least 6 hours a week.
Chegg Tutors: Chegg offers 1-on-1 tutoring to older students (middle school, high school and professionals) in almost all subjects. Tutors don’t need a degree or previous teaching experience. There is no time commitment; you teach when it’s best for you. The pay rate is up to $20 per hour with bonus opportunities.
VIPKid: VIPKid is one of the most popular online English language platforms for students ages 4 to 12. Tutors must have a Bachelor’s degree and previous teaching experience is a plus. Classes are 1-on-1 and last for 25 minutes. VIPKids pays between $14-$22 per hour (with incentives and bonus opportunities) and they ask for a 6-month teaching commitment.
Wondering what teachers think of the company? Check out these VIPKid reviews.
HAWO American Academy: A Bachelor’s degree and some teaching experience is required to become a tutor with HAWO. The Chinese students range in age from 4 – 18 and you’ll teach the same group of kids each time. The classes are 45 minutes long and the pay rate is around $22 per hour.
Why this is the perfect gig for moms
As moms, we’re already in constant demand and loaded with responsibility. For some of us then, taking on a full-time office job is just too much to handle. But what do we do about making extra cash? What are our best alternatives?
If you’re looking to make some extra money on your own time, have a decent computer set up, have a strong grasp of the English language, and aren’t shy about connecting with others, working for Cambly may be just the ticket.
There’s no need to dress up for the job and there’s zero commuting time to factor into your busy day.
Instead, Cambly offers tutoring positions when you want them, complete with 24/7 technical support.
What’s more, you’ll be able to “visit” other cultures and meet diverse personalities without ever leaving the comfort and safety of your own home.
Photo credit: Teacher Julie; Teacher icon attribution: Wilson Joseph from The Noun Project