Cambly is an online tutoring platform that teaches both children and adults to speak English through one-on-one conversations with English-speaking tutors
Expected pay: 0.17 – 0.20 cents per engaged minute ($10-$20 per hour)
Commissions & fees: NA
Where: Nationwide (remote)
Requirements: Over age 18; able to sign a binding contract; stable internet connection
Cambly is one of a dozen online platforms that help teach English to people in other countries. All you need to qualify for this teaching job is to be over the age of 18, capable of signing a legal contract, and fluent in your native English tongue.
You don’t need a college degree or a teaching certificate. You choose when you want to work by either signing up for “priority hours” or simply signing on.
The site pays you once a week via PayPal. However, it will generally wait to pay you until you have earned at least $20. If you haven’t earned $20 within 60 days, the site will pay out whatever amount you earned to that point.
Conveniently, because Cambly’s students come from every corner of the world, work hours are whenever you want. There is no set time that you need to be available. Most lessons are casual video conversations between you and the learner that can last a few minutes to more than an hour.
The bad news
While being able to work when and where you want is attractive, there are a lot of negatives with Cambly too. The most significant shortcoming is that you are paid by the minute — 0.17 cents per minute for Cambly and 0.20 cents per minute with Cambly kids. And you are not paid for minutes that you’re on the site waiting for someone to chat with you.
You have no control over whether you’re fully booked for the hours that you work on the platform. Indeed, several freelancers who have worked with Cambly estimate that they are engaged only about half the time. That makes Cambly’s poor pay even more dismal.
Then, too, the site apparently does little to reign in bad student behavior. And several tutors mentioned miserable students who “flashed” their instructors, and spit at them. Of course, when you spit at an online instructor, the joke’s on you. You’re the one who’s cleaning that goo off your computer screen. But, other sites don’t have similar complaints about bad and disrespectful customer behavior.
The site also has a provision in its terms that gives it the right to any “inventions, creations, improvements, discoveries, methods, developments, software and works of authorship” that were discovered by the tutor on Cambly’s time.
Given that you’re only paid for the minutes you’re chatting with a student, it’s hard to imagine that you’d manage to create something patentable on Cambly’s dime, but we don’t like the attempt at legal overreach.
There are a lot of online platforms that need English teachers. We’d suggest you check out our post on 12 best tutoring platforms. If you have English as a Second Language or English as a Foreign Language credentials, also look into VIPKID and MagicEars.
If the work hours with these other platforms simply don’t work for you, and you don’t mind the poor pay, this site may help you earn a few bucks. We’d also recommend you check out AmazingTalker and iTalki, which works in much the same way but allows you to set your own rates.
You may also want to consider multi-tasking during your Cambly hours, since you’re likely to have stretches of time between tutoring sessions. You could potentially flip between Cambly and simple a survey app, such as Swagbucks. While neither site pays much, you may be able to earn a decent hourly wage by using both sites concurrently.
What their users say: (from Indeed)
I enjoy talking with the majority of students, the difficult ones are far and few between. I don’t like the company’s rating system. Tutors seem go be given no feedback about a bad review. And the way ratings are calculated is not at all transparent. A reduced rating really impacts a Tutors ability to find work. Some students have unachievable expectations which are, I think, encouraged by Cambly’s advertising spiel and can lead to disappointment.
I tutor online with a few companies, and have enjoyed teaching English as a second language for many years. Cambly allows me to improve my skills. I also enjoy the flexibility to work when I want and as little or as much as I like. The weekly pay is also a plus. And I can work harder if I have some unforeseen costs come up and know that the money will be in my Paypal the following Monday.
Cambly offers complete flexibility in hours and does not require teachers to market themselves in order to find students. The main drawback is the low pay. Teachers are paid per minute that they interact with students. If it is a slow time, teachers might find themselves waiting online without compensation. Although this rarely happens, this can make the already low hourly rate even lower.
It is extremely low paying.
Not bad pay if you are living and working overseas. Low if you are living in the USA.
I can work flexibly which is what I appreciate the most, but the pay is so low that I am not motivated to go the extra mile. However, as it is a conversation based platform, I don’t think that tutors should be expected to prepare in advance as we aren’t paid for any work outside the teaching hours.
The students can get away with a lot of stuff (late or no-show for reservations, rudeness, etc) with little to no consequences whilst we are the ones who suffer with the ratings and the possibility of immediate termination. I do not recommend anyone to work on here especially if you have qualifications to teach. Please take your resume and go to other websites that can offer you more money per hour and treat you fairly.
Cambly is not making clear to their students whether this is an English instruction site or a site for casual conversation practice. Many students come wanting the former, when the latter is what Cambly says they’re about. Thus, students often want tutors to teach them English which is work way beyond the pay grade.
Flashers and perverts can happen. And aside from giving you an option to ban them from the platform, Cambly does not do enough to prevent this.
You meet a few good students, but most callers are only looking for a way to become fluent in English without having to work for it. A few are perverts flashing their body parts. On top of all that, pay is criminally low.
You do get people calling just to swear and spit at you in front of their friends but they usually stop when you laugh at them for spitting at their own screen. I find it very relaxing!