Cambly was my first online ESL teaching job.
The platform tends to divide opinion when it comes to teachers. However, Cambly played an important role in my ESL journey.
When I got hired with Cambly it was the first time I was able to make money from my laptop. I gained a lot of experience and understanding of online ESL.
That's why I have written this in-depth Cambly teaching review to help others, like myself, to break into the ESL world with one of the most flexible ESL platforms.
The main concept of the ESL platform, Cambly, is to match English learners with native English speakers for casual chats. The aim is so learners can practice their English with English speakers, which is often difficult from their home countries.
Sessions are one-on-one and conservational, meaning teachers do not need to prepare lesson plans.
Cambly is entirely flexible. There are no strict schedules or quotas you have to meet to teach on Cambly.
Students vary from children to adults at all different levels in their English learning journey.
Fun Fact: The name Cambly originally came from the Spanish word for "exchange" which is "intercambio", to mean language exchange.
Why teach with Cambly?
Teaching with Cambly is not for everyone. However, it does appeal to some.
Cambly is ideal for:
- New teachers seeking first ESL job
- People considering teaching and want to test the industry out
- Teachers seeking ultra-flexible ESL platform
- Teachers juggling multiple low-paying platforms
Cambly is not ideal for:
- Experienced teachers seeking high paying ESL job
- Teachers seeking a stable and consistent ESL job
How much does Cambly pay?
Cambly's official pay rate is 0.17/minute ($10.20/hour). If you're teaching on Cambly Kids pay is $0.20/minute ($12.00/hour).
Payment is made every Monday via Paypal. The minimum payout is $20.00.
Cambly lists their payments in minutes, as most sessions won't be exactly 30 minutes or 1 hour. In fact, it's very normal to conduct 5 and 10 minutes classes on Cambly.
Note, sometimes you may wait long periods before getting calls from a student, which brings the hourly pay down further.
It's best to use Priority Hours to ensure you're receiving frequent calls.
You can also maximize your time by multi-tasking with Cambly running in the background.
How to get hired with Cambly
The process of getting hired with Cambly is very simple. There are no online interviews or specific criteria you need to meet except you must be a native English speaker.
A big drawcard for new or potential ESL teachers is Cambly does not require a TEFL certificate or degree to get hired.
Cambly simply requires native English speakers. Everything else is a bonus.
However, in my experience, Cambly is a competitive platform to get hired with, and applying without a TEFL could hinder your chances of landing a job.
To maximize your chances of getting hired at Cambly, get TEFL certified at one of the many accredited online companies. I personally recommend Premier TEFL as the most recognized TEFL course provider. However, if you want to weigh up all your options, this article lists the very best online TEFL courses.
You don't need a lot to get started with Cambly, however, the basic equipment for any teaching job does apply.
- Access to an internet connection
- A laptop or computer
- A webcam
Find more ESL teaching equipment ideas here.
Another very appealing aspect of applying for a job at Cambly is there are no interviews and no demo classes.
In fact, to get hired at Cambly, all you need to do is send in a short video explaining a bit about yourself. This is basically a test to see you're a native English speaker and well-presented.
This makes Cambly the easiest online ESL job to get hired with.
Tips for your Cambly application video:
- Write a script first and memorize it, but don't read it, sound casual
- Highlight former experience or qualifications (if applicable)
- Wear suitable semi-professional clothing
- Sit upright at a desk
- Make sure you have a clear (or professional) background
- Don't be afraid to retake it if it's not perfect
For more tips on getting hired in ESL use this guide to getting hired and making more money in ESL.
Your Cambly Profile
Your profile on Cambly is the most important tool you have to attract students.
You'll need to attract an introduction video and update all your details, experience, hobbies and qualifications.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to get your profile right. Spend a long time working on your profile and it will pay you back.
Remember to always use the free Chrome extension Grammarly to ensure your spelling and grammar are perfect.
How long does it take to get accepted to Cambly?
This depends. I heard back three weeks after applying, however, I know some people who have waited much longer.
When you get accepted you receive an email (so check your junk folder) with your login details, and then you're all set.
My advice is to put a lot of effort into your video and profile and then just stay patient. Cambly is not always hiring, so it might take a bit longer to hear back.
How do Cambly lessons work?
Before you can start teaching, Cambly conducts a brief video and audio check. You'll need to check all boxes to ensure you're meeting Cambly guidelines. Once you pass the test, you're all set to start teaching.
At this stage, you can simply toggle between invisible and visible to start receiving calls.
By leaving yourself, visible online students will see your profile in their searches and know you're available for a session.
How long you'll wait for a call depends on a range of factors such as peak times, your teacher rating, and how competitive your profile is.
I've personally experienced times when I receive call-after-call, and other times I'm waiting 15 minutes+ for a call while visible. And that's why I highly suggest Priority Hours.
When teaching via Visible, you don't have to accept every call you get.
If you want to get more calls on Cambly, take advantage of Priority Hours.
In your dashboard, you'll find the Priority Hours section, which will reveal certain hours that are available.
By nominating a Priority Hour, it means you're available and will accept all calls during that hour and in exchange, Cambly will send more calls to you.
The advantages of Priority Hours:
- Receive more calls
- Get featured to new students, opportunity to build a student base
- Guaranteed 15 minutes pay, even if you don't receive any calls
- Make more money than teaching on Visible
Resources and materials for teaching
Cambly introduced their own lesson materials which are readily available via the tutor dashboard.
However, as Cambly is 90% conversation, I find ESL Discussions is a great resource to keep up your sleeve.
Becoming successful with Cambly
I'm not going to lie to you, I don't believe many teachers get "successful" teaching solely on Cambly.
In fact, the low pay means you'll want to juggle with other flexible ESL jobs or use Cambly as a side-hustle.
As with any ESL job, it's important to have a specialty.
If you're thinking about adding additional qualifications I highly recommend Premier TEFL, which offers a range of affordable online courses.
Is Cambly for you?
Cambly can be a great introduction to ESL for new teachers to gain experience and confidence teaching online.
It is also a platform that doesn't require commitment.
You can get hired with Cambly and not teach a single class for years and then log in and instantly start teaching.
For this reason, Cambly holds a special place for me.