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English Ninjas Review Summary

English Ninjas is an online ESL company based out of Delaware, USA. They claim to serve over 400,000 students in countries worldwide, including Taiwan and Saudi Arabia, though their major market is Turkey.

While English Ninjas used to be a decent company, offering flexible schedules, mature students, and requiring no TEFL, their reputation has been tarnished by salary cuts and problems paying teachers on time. Read this in-depth and impartial English Ninjas review to find out whether they’re still worth considering.

Pay (per hour):$6-$7
Native / Non-Native Speakers accepted?Both
TEFL / TESOL / CELTA required?No
Degree / diploma required?Yes/studying
Adult / Child students?Both
Class size:1
Minimum hours (per week):0

English Ninjas Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Flexible schedule
  • TEFL/TESOL/CELTA is preferred but not required
  • Non-Natives are sometimes considered if they’re experienced and have a neutral accent
  • Opportunities to teach both adults and children

Cons:

  • Low pay, which the company has a track record of cutting
  • Problems with paying teachers on time
  • High rate of (unpaid) no shows
  • Unresponsive technical support

What Do English Ninjas Pay?

English Ninjas are not transparent about their pay rates, which we always consider a warning sign from ESL companies. Furthermore, in March 2020 they instituted a large pay cut, ostensibly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though this is a practice we’ve seen elsewhere in the industry. Anecdotally, it’s been reported that teachers are now paid the equivalent of US$6-$7 per hour (reduced from $9.60).

Tutors are meant to be paid within the first 5 business days of each month, so long as their earnings pass the $50 threshold. However, around the same time that English Ninjas cut salaries, teachers also experienced problems in receiving their reduced pay packet on time. This has been exacerbated by a switch from PayPal to Payoneer in March 2020.

English Ninjas no longer pay for student no-shows, and deductions can be levied on teachers if they are not online during their scheduled hours or they misuse that time.

As is standard for the industry, teachers are responsible for paying their own income taxes in the country/state in which they’re resident.

While English Ninjas can terminate tutor contracts without notice, teachers must give at least 4 weeks notice to resign.

English Ninjas Requirements

Officially, English Ninjas only hire Native Speakers, however, there are reports of Non-Native Speakers who have been accepted so long as they possess a neutral English accent and extensive experience teaching ESL.

A TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate is preferred but not mandatory, but you must either already have a degree or diploma or currently be studying for one.

Tech. Requirements

  • Google Chrome browser
  • Reliable high speed internet with a minimum bandwidth of 4MB (you can check your internet speed here)

If your classes are interrupted by poor internet connection, English Ninjas reserves the right to terminate your contract.

English Ninjas Application Process

Teachers begin their English Ninjas application process by registering their name, email address, password and telephone number here.

The English Ninjas sign-up form

After entering these details, you will go to a screen where you will have to verify your internet connection speed and record a quick introduction video demonstrating your teaching skills by giving a (very) short lesson. This should last no more than 3 minutes. No further instructions are given, other than make sure you check your microphone before you start recording.

Once you have submitted your video, you should receive an email acknowledging receipt and telling you to expect to hear from the Human Resources team within a ‘couple of weeks’ to schedule an English Ninjas interview, typically via Skype.

English Ninjas Teaching

English Ninjas teaching is conducted one-on-one via the English Ninjas app., and sessions are available 24/7, though tutors have flexibility as to when and how many hours they wish to teach. Adult classes will primarily be conversational, though students may also request help with a specific language problem or want to practice interviewing in English.

There used to be a messaging system allowing teachers to stay in touch with their students, however, this was disabled at the same time that English Ninjas cut pay, changed their payment provider, and blocked teacher profiles from certain regions.

Here is a recorded sample of an English Ninjas adult session:

English Ninjas Kids

There is also an English Ninjas Kids program which established teachers can be invited to join. These are more traditional lessons based around the ‘Natural Acquisition Method’, with greater emphasis on repetition and verbal practice over grammatical structure. English Ninjas Kids lessons last 30 minutes, and students are children aged between 4-13 years, so some TPR skills are required in this context.

Here is a recorded sample from an English Ninja Kids lesson:

Working For English Ninjas Review

Teachers have given English Ninjas an average rating of 2.8 out of 5 on Glassdoor, with only 40% willing to recommend them to a friend, which is quite damning considering it is lower than some of the worst companies we have reviewed thus far.

Positive comments primarily focus on the nature of the students, flexible hours and the platform’s ease of use. Negative feedback reflected upon pay cuts, a high rate of no-shows, and unresponsive technical support.

Here are the most recent Glassdoor reviews (at the time of writing), which are pretty damning about the pay and management culture:

For balance, this is the only 5* review English Ninjas have received in the last 6 months, so take it with a pinch of salt:

Conclusion – Is English Ninjas Worth It?

In our opinion, the most important factor in picking an ESL company, more than the amount of the pay on offer, is whether the teachers are paid on time and in full. You need to be confident that your hard work will be compensated and that you will be able to meet your financial commitments every month. Unfortunately, with their track record and teacher dissatisfaction, English Ninjas don’t provide that reassurance, and so they are probably not worth your time.

You can apply to English Ninjas here.

Other non-China companies can be found here.

To help update this review or share your experiences, please use the contact form.


Dr Daniel Spence

Daniel Spence is the founder of Online Teaching Review. He has been an international teacher since 2008, an award-winning academic, author of two books, and holds a PhD, MA, BA (Hons), and TESOL.

2 Comments

Elizna Roux · 08/04/2021 at 10:32 am

I am working for English Ninjas part time for a year now. Pay is very low, it is $6 an hour – nothing more. You can’t share any documents or lesson plans with the students, you can only use the reading materials profided for you and the student. 99% of the lessons are communicational lessons, which are great. You can just log in any time of the day and wait for students to appear / to call you, and you can decide to answer or decline the call. They don’t require you to have a degree. I only have a TEFL and a diploma. Unfortunately because they give out Free 5 min classes to recruit students, you don’t always know the type of student you are getting. You can’t see before the class starts how long the class will be, only when you answer the call first. As a female I have experienced male students who thought it was appropriate to pleasure themselves in front of the camera for satisfaction while talking to me. Good thing is you can report such issues to English Ninjas and they will block that person. Bad thing is, you have just experienced a horror porn film you didn’t sign up for.
You get payment for every second – minute that student is online. So if the student decides to cancel the class after 2 minutes, you get paid for that 2 minutes. It takes a looooong time to reach your minimum of $50 before they pay you in your Payoneer account on the 15th.

    Dr Daniel Spence · 08/05/2021 at 2:05 am

    Thank you for sharing your experience, Elizna.

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