Online education is currently the rage these days. Numerous free schools such as Coursera, Stanford Online, EdX give away content in the hopes of selling premium content for “nanodegrees” and such. Sites such as Youtube give away everything for free and earn through advertisements. And finally paid content schools such as Udemy, Lynda and others charge for all content, albeit differently. This all gives rise to the question, how much can an instructor earn teaching online?

The answer is not easy to answer due to the different payments systems. But we’ll attempt to give a rundown of all the different types.

Your own online school or ecourse

The most direct way to earn money is teaching online at your own school. But creating the school or ecourse has a few challenges. You can use one of the many Learning Management Systems out there such as our site TruAcademy.com, or you can build your own site using WordPress, or you can pay some developers to write a custom website.

Learning Management System

Here at TruAcademy.com, an instructor can create a school for free, populate it with courses, and manage the school without any fees! We think this is a giant advantage over other systems. The resulting school has the instructors name, looks and feels the way the instructor wants. The only fee comes when students sign up for a course. In that case there is a small revenue share. School operators can pay down the revenue share with a monthly fee if they wish.

Earnings are very clear in this case. You can earn anywhere from 80-95% of the course price.

Advantages:

  • ¬†Low to zero cost startup
  • Easy and fast school creation
  • Built-in technical support
  • Direct control over earnings

WordPress

WordPress is a popular open source software and the base code is free. That being said, you will eventually have to pay a number of fees depending on how custom you would like to go. Going the most inexpensive route you would probably buy a premade theme, host on a shared hosting server and pay some setup fee to a developer to install your system. Based on this article How-much-does-a-website-cost the fees would be:

  • Domain name – $12/yr
  • Web hosting – $90-150/yr
  • Videos – $300-$10,000
  • Theme – $60-100 (premade)
  • Security – $200/yr
  • Plugins – $500-3000
  • Maintenance – $948/yr
  • Time – ?

As you can see the costs start adding up for the free use of open source WordPress. Earnings however, would be 100% minus any processing fees.

Advantages:

  • Customizable
  • Direct earnings

Disadvantages:

  • More costly than expected
  • Requires technical expertise or developer
  • Time consuming