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Spicus Review Summary

Spicus teaches Korean adults English via conversational 10-minute 1v1 audio classes. They hire teachers with a Native accent from the US, Canada and Philippines, a degree/teaching certificate is not essential, pay is $12-15 per hour, and booking rates are high.

Pay (per hour):$12-15
Native / Non-Native Speakers accepted?US, Canada, Philippines
TEFL / TESOL / CELTA required?No
Degree / diploma required?No
Adult / child students?Adults
Class size:1
Minimum hours (per week):4-20*
*officially it is 20, though some teachers report working as little as 4 hours a week

Spicus Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Good booking rate
  • Relatively quick and easy hiring process with no formal interview
  • A degree, teaching certificate and experience are preferred but not essential

Cons:

  • Only hires teachers from the US, Canada and Philippines
  • Must commit to a fixed schedule, ideally 4-hour shifts on 5 days (20 hours) a week (though 4 hours across 2 days is negotiable)
  • Back-to-back classes in 2-4-hour shifts with no breaks

Neutral:

  • Short 10-minute classes may not suit all teachers
  • Some teachers will miss not being able to teach visually (audio only)
  • Adult students only

Is Spicus Legit?

Spicus is a legitimate South Korean ESL company, founded in 2009, with offices in the USA and Philippines. They hire American, Canadian and Filipino teachers to deliver one-on-one audio (not video) English classes with Korean adults.

Spicus Online Teaching

Most Spicus English classes are conversation-based and last 10 minutes (Nil English also offers 10-minute lessons), though some will be 20 or 30-minutes long. They are audio-only (no video), and conducted one-on-one.

A textbook is provided, with lessons including business English.

Students are Korean adults and are booked for regular slots by the company.

How Much Does Spicus Pay?

Spicus tutor pay starts at $2 per 10-minute phone call/class, though some candidates are offered $2.50 depending on experience and qualifications. The hourly Spicus rate thus works out as $12-15 per hour.

A Spicus salary is paid monthly via direct bank deposit, around the 24th of the month.

Spicus Hours

Officially, Spicus home based teachers are asked to work a minimum of 20 hours a week, divided into fixed 4-hour shifts on 5 days a week. However, there is some flexibility in that the contract says a 2-hour block on 2-3 day week (Monday/Wednesday/Friday or Tuesday/Thursday) can be arranged (this has been corroborated by Spicus teachers who work such arrangements).

Spicus Teachers choose to work either a morning or evening shift, typically covering 7-11am or 5-9pm (Eastern Standard Time).

A standard Spicus audio class lasts 10 minutes (Nil English also offers 10-minutes classes). Students may also choose a 20 or 30-minute lesson, though these are less common.

All classes run back-to-back, with no breaks.

As Spicus books regular students, the schedule you provide must remain fixed for the first month of the semester at least.

Booking rates are good, with most Spicus teachers reporting that their schedules are virtually full.

Spicus Requirements

  • Teachers from the USA, Canada or the Philippines
  • Must have a Native accent
  • Mature demeanor (for teaching business professionals)
  • Good character and work ethics
  • Hardworking and with a passion to teach
  • Quiet area to work
  • Available to work a 3-4 hour shift*

(*This is somewhat flexible as a minimum shift in the contract is 2 hours)

Teaching experience as an English/ESL tutor online and a TESOL certificate/degree are advantages but are not mandatory.

Military-experienced candidates are encouraged to apply.

Spicus Technical Requirements

  • Reliable PC or Mac computer
  • Windows 7/8/10 or Mac OS equivalent
  • Mac, AMD Ryzen 3 or Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processor
  • USB headset with a microphone and noise-cancelling
  • Clear webcam
  • Hard-wired high-speed internet service:
    • Teachers in North America require a super fast connection of at least 50 Mbps (you can test your internet speed here)
    • Teachers in the Philippines require a 10 Mbps connection and their ISP must be with PLDT or Converge (test your internet speed here)

Spicus Application Process

To apply for Spicus jobs you must send your CV/resume and intro video to one of the following email addresses, with ‘HOME BASED APPLICATION’ written in the subject line:

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

(Please note, Online Teaching Review has no affiliation with these individuals and receives no referral commissions.)

The Spicus hiring process is relatively quick (completed in just a few days) and involves a:

  • grammar quiz
  • 5-minute screener call on Skype (voice only) – introduction to the company
  • 10-minute Skype audio demo (no video) – lesson provided
  • 2-hour orientation with their software (VoIP phone app) – recorded for reference

There is no formal Spicus interview.

Spicus Reviews

The Spicus Glassdoor page gives the company an average rating of 3.3 out of 5, with 60% willing to recommend them to a friend (this is calculated from 36 reviews, at the time of writing). Most of these are rather brief but, in summary, the positives mentioned include having regular students, supportive staff (particularly shift managers), and relatively easy work, while there are complaints about the low rate of pay, poor attitude of some students, and fixed schedule.

The Spicus Indeed page gives the company an identical rating of 3.3 out of 5 (though this is from just 12 reviews). Here, there seems to be more negative recent reviews, with criticism over the intensity of the back-to-back lessons, poor communication, removal of classes if a student complains and, again, low pay:

While the back-to-back classes might get overwhelming for some, it is indicative of a high booking rate, something confirmed in a couple of Facebook teachers’ threads:

And here:

Conclusion – Is Spicus Worth It?

Their good booking rate, relatively short and simple application process, and absence of any particular horror stories makes Spicus worth considering. There are a number of factors that might put off teachers, however, notably the pay rate which will be low for some, the lack of younger students, the short classes and absence of video. While the minimum hours commitment seems excessive on the face of it, in reality this is more flexible than it appears, and so should not in itself serve to dissuade one from applying.

To apply for Spicus jobs, email your CV/resume and intro video under the subject ‘HOME BASED APPLICATION’ to [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected].

Other non-China companies can be found here.

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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.

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