How Does Cambly Work? | The Ultimate Guide To Tutoring English Online With Cambly

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So you’ve heard of Cambly?

 

If not, maybe it’s time to take note. 

 

If you’re looking to get started with online English teaching, you really can’t afford to ignore Cambly. 

 

In this post we’re going to dive into how the Cambly platform works for tutors.  

You’ll know exactly:

Table of Contents

What Is Cambly?

Cambly, founded in 2012, is an online English tutoring platform that allows tutors to log on and receive connect with students from all over the world. 

 

It is perhaps the easiest and ‘most free style’ online teachingplatform out there. As both students and tutors can log on and connect to calls whenever they want. 

 

You can tutor on Cambly 24/7 and with students coming from all over the world, you’ll talk to students from; Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Japan, China and a number of other places around the globe. 

 

Pretty cool if you ask me.

Is Cambly Hiring?

Yes, Cambly is actively hiring right now. 

 

Since I’ve been tutoring on Cambly during the last 12 months, they have frequently run promotions to onboard new tutors, through their tutor referral programme. 

 

This means only one thing, they are looking for tutors and need you onboard!

Cambly Vs Cambly Kids

There are two different options for tutors;

 

Cambly – where you teach adults

 

Cambly Kids (where yep, you guessed it) you only teach kids. 

 

The application process is very much the same, however, your experience between the two is going to be drastically different. As the teaching style is on the pots ended of the scale. 

 

The pay is also slightly higher for Cambly kids. But more on that later.

How To Become A Cambly Tutor? Step by Step

Cambly Requirements (2021)

The requirements for becoming a tutor on Cambly are super basic, which is great if you’re just looking to get your online English teaching career started. 

 

To work for Cambly as a tutor you need to be from a native English speaking country, and hold a passport from that country.

 

These countries include: 

You also need to be legally eligible to work in that country.

Do You Need Any Skills For Cambly?

Essentially no. 

 

Unlike most other online teaching platforms, Cambly doesn’t require a bachelors degree or a TEFL Certificate. Although both would be a bonus.  

 

To get started, however, you don’t need any skills, prior experience or qualifications. 

 

Brilliant! 

Cambly Hiring Process

1. Register on Cambly

Head to  – Cambly – Become a Tutor and register your account. 

 

This is super easy and includes filling out your basic contact details.

2. Create a Profile

You then need to fill out a few questions such as;

 

  • Why do you want to teach on Cambly? 
  • Where did you hear about Cambly?

 

After this, you will then create your profile that students will see. 

 

This should include a friendly photo, a short bio, your teaching style and any teaching-related experience/education you have.

3. Internet Connection Test

To teach on Cambly, you need a solid internet connection. (trust me, if you don’t it will cause you all sorts of headaches down the track). 

 

However, the internet speed required is pretty standard in most countries.

4. Record a 2-minute introduction video

Arguably the most important part of your application is recording a 2-minute introduction video. 

 

This needs to be good (but don’t stress too much) as it’s what your students will see when they click on your profile. 

 

Just try and be super friendly, talk a little about yourself (where you’re from, what you do etc..) 

 

Then, say what you can do for them. For example, “I would love to help with your English through casual conversation and am happy to talk about any topic”. 

 

Try to come across as friendly as possible and make the student want to call you.

How Long Does Cambly Take To Approve?

For me, Cambly took only a few days to be approved. 

 

However, I’ve heard different things from different people, with some reporting it taking more than 3 months to hear back from Cambly, whereas heard back in just a few hours. 

 

I think the time it takes to approve depends entirely on supply/demand between tutors and students, at the time you apply.

How Does Cambly Work For Tutors?

Now we’ve been through what Cambly is and the application process, let’s take a look at how Cambly actually works for tutors…

Once your application has been approved, you will gain access to the Cambly Tutor Dashboard.

 

From here, you’ll be able to access everything you need as a tutor. (Yep once you’re on the dashboard, it’s official you’re a tutor). 

 

From here, you’ll be able to see;

Dashboard

From the main dashboard tab, you need to do a quick connection test to make sure your wifi is good enough to start teaching… 

 

Afterwards, you will then be able to set your visibility to offline or online.

 

Once online, you can wait for students to call you. 

 

Personally, I have never used Cambly in this way and from speaking to other tutors, you don’t get many calls from simply logging on and being available. 

 

To get calls, you need to be signing up for Priority Hours.

Priority Hours

Priority (or PH’s) is how you should get started with Cambly. 

 

A priority hour is when you sign up to be available for calls, for the full hour. This means you need to answer every call that comes in within that hour.

 

PH’s are a great way to get started and meet new students. 

 

PH’s are a much better way to get calls as you will appear higher in the list of tutors and be more likely to receive calls. 

 

You can easily, select the hours you wish to sign up for and when you first start on Cambly, more or less all hours are available. These hours however are significantly reduced later on, especially outside of peak hours. 

Top Tip - As tempting as it is to sign up to hours and hours of PH’s in a row, I would use 3 hours as a maximum before taking a break of at least 30 mins. This will ensure your lesson quality stays high and you don’t burn out (It's surprising how hard it is to concentrate on a conversation for long periods of time).

During a priority hour, you may be on a call for 15, 30 or 60 minutes. These are the lesson length options given to students. 

 

So within 1 hour, you may have a call for 30 minutes then a 15-minute call with a 15-minute gap between the two. 

 

To reduce gaps between calls, you want not only to improve your skills as a tutor (to attract more students/regulars) but take advantage of Peak Hours…

Cambly Peak Hours

The peak hours on Cambly are when most students are online and need tutors to call. 

 

So scheduling to cater for this is a super-smart way to ensure you’re getting calls during your priority hours.

  

Peak hours are weekends and because the majority of students you teach, will be from Turkey or Saudi Arabia, peak hours are weekends in their time zones.

 

You will find that almost all Priority Hours are available during the weekends.

  

During these peak hours, you’ll likely be on back to back calls, especially as you become more established as a tutor. 

 

When you sign up to PH’s during peak times, they often come with a 30-minute pay guarantee, which means you will be paid for 30 mins call time (around $5 USD) even if you don’t get any calls. 

 

(Although, I’ve never had this happen during peak times). 

Reservations

As you complete more reservations and meet new students, chances are some of those students will want to speak with you again. 

 

This is what you want to aim for – building up regular students is how you can become successful on Cambly. 

 

Every time you speak to a student, you want to be setting up your next call. 

 

This can be done by; asking what the student would like to do next time or suggesting topics to be discussed if the student wishes to re-book. 

 

Sometimes, if you have a great conversation with a student, they’ll just want to re-book anyway. 

 

Building up regular students is not only a great way to ensure you’re getting regular work, but it’s also epic to have friends from all corners of the world.

Payments - How Much Does Cambly Pay?

So let’s talk pay. 

 

I’m going to be completely honest here, the pay for tutoring on Cambly isn’t great. 

 

You get paid per minute, for the time you are actually talking to a student. (You don’t get paid for any gaps between calls). 

 

The pay; 

 

Cambly – $0.17 Per Minute (10.20 USD) Per Hour. 

Cambly Kids – $0.20 Per Minute (12 USD) Per Hour. 

 

The pay can be decent if your complete PH’s during peak hours and teaching your regulars outside of peak. 

 

To make a living on Cambly and do it full time, you would have to do a tonne of hours to make it viable, especially if you live in the US, Australia or UK. 

 

But as a side hustle, the money is actually great on top of what you already earn.

So How Do Cambly Lessons Work?

Your First Video Calls

When you sign up for a PH for the first time, you’ll likely be super nervous. 

 

That’s if your anything like me anyway. My first call, I actually did whilst living in my car in New Zealand (not advised) and I spoke with a lovely lady from China for a full hour. 

 

I was crazy nervous before the call and spent the entire hour nervously asking questions about China and talking about travelling. 

 

The best piece of advice I can give to you as a new tutor is to just relax and ask questions about them. (You can even write out a list of basic questions if you get stuck). 

 

You’ll find sometimes conversation just flows. But with less talkative students, you’ll have to do more of the talking. 

How To Talk With Students

Most students you speak with, just want a conversation to practice their English. 

 

From which you can kindly give feedback and help them if they become stuck. 

 

Students can have a variety of reasons they want/need to improve their English. Reasons such as; work, travel or education. 

 

Some students will have specific needs and want more of a lesson. For example, they might want to talk about a specific topic or ask you some questions. 

 

However, this isn’t a lesson in the traditional sense. Cambly has lesson plans built into the platform, that are pretty much just slides you can walk a student through.

 

Over time, you will become more and more comfortable with speaking to students and will improve your teaching skills.

teaching english online with no experience

Does Cambly Provide Lesson Plans?

Yes, Cambly does provide lesson plans. 

Students can request these plans before they call you, and the lesson content will appear, in the lesson window when you connect to the call. 

The planned lessons are from an array of different topics and cater to lots of different learner motivations and abilities. 

For example, I’ve done a tonne of lessons using the ‘intermediate topics’ and ‘advanced conversation’ topics folder. 

(All of these lessons you can check out from the ‘Library’ tab on your tutor dashboard. 

These topics can be a great way to have something to talk about while at the same time really help a student learn something new. 

From a tutors perspective, the lessons built into Cambly are super easy to follow, even if you’ve never seen the lesson before.

Cambly Pros & Cons

Pros

Cons

Is Cambly Right For You?

You’re never going to know the answer to this until you complete a significant amount of tutoring hours. 

 

You can’t decide if it’s for you or not if you don’t have skin in the game, so to speak. So, get a few hours under your belt, meet some students and after a few weeks/months, reassess and then decide if Cambly is right for you or not.

You’re never going to know the answer to this until you complete a significant amount of tutoring hours. 

 

You can’t decide if it’s for you or not if you don’t have skin in the game, so to speak. So, get a few hours under your belt, meet some students and after a few weeks/months, reassess and then decide if Cambly is right for you or not.

Summary - Is Cambly Worth It?

Overall I think Cambly is worth it! 

 

In fact, I think it’s a great job. 

 

The flexibility is hard to beat and I think this makes up for the pay. 

 

As a new tutor who doesn’t have any formal teaching qualifications, I think Cambly is a fantastic place to kick start your career. 

 

You meet some awesome students and can choose (more or less) whenever you want to work. 

 

So, what are you waiting for? 

 

Sign up and get tutoring…