Why move into teaching business English?

At some point in their careers, many English language teachers feel unappreciated. We all know it's a precarious industry and many teachers find themselves working under unsatisfactory conditions like low pay, irregular hours, pressure from management, parents, or students to get unfeasible results, or they just feel like they are stuck in a rut teaching the same old thing lesson after lesson, week after week.

Business English teaching, or training as it's more commonly known, can be an alternative to working for language academies. 

Here are 10 reasons why business English might be the right fit for you.

Better pay

Most ESL / EFL teachers don't earn a huge salary. Conditions are precarious and the rise in online teaching means that teachers means that learners can hire teachers living in countries with a low cost of living. However, business English teaching tends to offer better rates than general English. 

Business English teachers have always used branding strategies to increase their rates and using job titles like 'Communication Skills Specialist' or 'Business English Coach' or 'Language Consultant' may help you find clients (not students!) prepared to pay higher rates for a more personalised service.

Better working conditions 

If you're used to teaching large classes, then teaching business English may come as a pleasant surprise. Much of BE teaching is one-to-one and groups are generally smaller, often between 5 and 10 learners. 

Motivated learners

Most business English learners have a clear motivation: they need to improve their communicative skills in English to do their job better. For example, they may struggle to follow meetings, need help preparing to give presentations in English, or write more effective emails. Once you identify their pain points, you should be able to access their motivation and sustain it by showing them they are improving.

Professional development options

Many business English trainers end up specialising. They may find they love focusing on presentation skills or report writing. They may be hired by a company to teach an employee and then find themselves in demand from other departments. This may lead to them being asked to create training for the company and become a learning and development specialist. Others may find that their approach is akin to coaching and transisition into that field. 

Chance to employ your skills and experience

In my experience, there are two main types of business English teachers: those with business experience and those without. For people who move into English teaching after spending time in the corporate sector, business English training can give them the opportunity to draw on their skills, knowledge, and experience. This can also provide them with the opportunity to offer a niche service such as teaching English to Human Resources professionals or project managers.

You learn so much from your learners.

What I love about business English teaching is the chance to meet and learn from interesting people from a range of sectors. You get insight into and information about a variety of jobs and industries. There is also the intercultural aspect and learning about sociocultural, economic, and even political issues on a local, national, and global scale.

Less preparation

Business English learners generally have a minimum of an intermediate level of English. In-service learners (experienced professionals) know what they need to do in English at work and just want to do it better. This means that you will find yourself working on improving their communication skills and specific task performance. This means that you often find yourself repeating and recycling activities. For example, if your learners need to give better presentations, you won't have to teach them how to give a presentation in English as they probably already know the basics. What you will find using doing is responding to their output. Listen to them giving a presentation, give your feedback, and then ask them to repeat. 

More flexibility when using materials

Although there are business English coursebooks, many BE trainers and their learners use other materials such as authentic texts such as TED talks or news articles, learner-generated materials such as your learners' emails or slide presentation, and simple frameworks and graphic organizers like mindmaps and infographics. In my experience, business English learners generally prefer to use materials they actually work with in their professional lives, which makes your job easier.


Business English training isn't for everybody. You might prefer to dynamic nature of teaching young learners or the structure and clear progress of exam preparation classes. You might not feel comfortable working with sometimes demanding learners and may feel out of your depth if you have no or little experience working for companies.

Teachers with no actual business experience benefit from specific training about how to work with business professionals. One of the most respected courses is the CertIBET (Certificate in Business English Training).

If you are interested in getting a recognised business English training certificate, I can recommend Distance CertIBET.

You can read about my experience of doing the course here.