Palfish Review Palfish Freetalk Teach English online from your phone

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This Palfish review will break down exactly what Palfish is and why it might be a good option for aspiring online English teachers. You’ll also find a step-by-step guide to becoming a Palfish Freetalk Teacher and a Palfish Official Teacher.

Palfish is an excellent teaching English online company that doesn’t require teachers to have a degree.

After hearing excellent reviews from other teachers, I decided to download the Palfish App on my phone to learn more about the platform. Shortly after, I taught my first class with Palfish and it was really fun!

In this Palfish review, I’ll walk you through exactly what you need to do to get started with Palfish for yourself!

What is Palfish?

Palfish is an app where you can teach English online to students and adults. Teachers love palfish because:

  • You can get hired without a degree and no experience is needed
  • You can teach adults or children
  • The application is quick and easy – I started teaching the day after I signed up! (UPDATE: Due to the higher number of applicants and the fact that Palfish team members are likely working remotely, it’s now taking Palfish longer to approve applications. Most people don’t hear back for 1-2 weeks.)
  • Palfish is taught from a smartphone or tablet, no need to worry about a laptop
  • While the primary client base is in China, there are some adult students from other parts of the world so there are more teaching hours available

There are two versions of Palfish you can use – Palfish Freetalk and Palfish Official Kids Course. You can read more details about both on the Palfish Website here.

Palfish Freetalk

Palfish Freetalk is the most relaxed teaching option. Here’s a quick run-down:

  • Freetalk phone calls with adult students
  • Set your own pay rate per minute (average $10-$18/hour)
  • No lesson plans – what you talk about is based on student interests
  • You don’t have to set your schedule in advance –  just log on and start teaching when you want
  • You need to be a native English speaker and have a TEFL certification – no nationality requirements or experience needed

Palfish Official Kids Course

The Palfish Official Kids course is more similar to the structured lessons of VIPKID. The big difference is that you can teach from your phone instead of a laptop and there is no degree or experience required.

  • Video lessons with children in China
  • Fixed pay rate – Typically higher pay than the FreeTalk rate (average $16-$22/hour)
  • Lesson plans and materials provided – the teacher is expected to use props and a classroom background
  • Set your schedule in advance, must commit to being online approx 10 hours a week between 6 pm – 9 pm, Beijing Time
  • Need to be a native English speaker, have a TEFL certification, and be from the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, or Australia.

First, we’ll talk about the differences between FreeTalk and the Official Kids Course. Then, I’ll explain exactly what you need to do to sign up for palfish and become a teacher.

Sign up for Palfish through this link to let them know I referred you!

Palfish Freetalk

How does Palfish Freetalk work?

Palfish free talk is essentially a way for adult English learners to practice their speaking skills with a fluent speaker. English speakers and learners make accounts on the app and can connect with each other to chat.

To find clients, teachers can use the app like they would social media. Teachers share pictures about their day and let students know they are online. Interested students can call available teachers to practice their speaking skills.

One of the best parts of this freestyle Palfish teaching is how flexible it is. You can just open the app on your phone and click the green “start tutoring” button when you are accepting calls. Click “stop tutoring” when you’re finished for the day.

Palfish Freetalk Requirements

To be a palfish free talk teacher, you must be

  • A Native English speaker
  • Have excellent communication skills
  • Have experience in English teaching
  • Have an English teaching certificate like a TEFL Certification (find out the best and most affordable companies to get TEFL certified here)

See other online companies where you can teach without a degree here

What does Palfish Freetalk pay?

Palfish Freetalk teachers choose their own pay rates. You’re paid by the minute for how long you’re on a call so divide your hourly rate by 60 to find out how much you’ll make in a minute.

According to their website, most palfish tutors in free talk charge between $10-18 USD per hour.

You’ll also be asked to set your price for trial classes. The first class a student has with you is a trial class.

This rate is usually discounted to encourage new students to try you out, but you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to.

Keep in mind that Palfish keeps 20% of what you make on free talk lessons, so set your Palfish salary accordingly.

How do palfish teachers get paid?

To get paid by palfish, you’ll either need a Chinese bank account or a Payoneer account. You can set up your Payoneer account through this link then connect it to your Palfish App to receive payment.

Palfish English teachers are paid between the 1st and 7th of the month. You have to meet a minimum threshold of 200 yuan (about $30 USD) in order to receive your payout.

Palfish Freetalk tips

  • When you’re first starting out, set your prices lower to encourage more students to book you. You can always increase your pricing later once you have more reviews and experience
  • But don’t get too extreme with your pricing because you can only update your pay rate two times a month. After updating it twice, you’ll be stuck with what you have for the remainder of the month.
  • One of my biggest palfish tips is to use the social media element to your advantage. On the Palfish App, you can share “moments” which are like status updates. Share what you’re doing or post a discussion topic to get student interest.  I got my first booking after posting a picture of myself in my online teaching classroom with the message “Hello Students! I’m online for FreeTalk! Let’s chat!” Other teachers post pictures of their pets, families, meals, anything to help start a conversation
palfish review

Palfish Official Teacher

How do the Palfish Official Kids courses work?

The other option you have with Palfish is to become a Palfish Official Teacher.

The Palfish official kid’s course follows a similar class structure to companies like VIPKID. Palfish provides the lesson plans and curriculum for a set pay rate. Lessons are for children between the ages of 3 and 12 and last 25 minutes long. 

The palfish official teacher course typically pays better than Freetalk and there are opportunities for bonuses.

The downside is that you’re required to open time slots for at least 3.5 hours every week during China peak time (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm China Time). 

Palfish official teacher requirements

  • Native English speaker with a neutral accent
  • Experience teaching or tutoring kids
  • Teaching certificate required (TEFL, TESOL, etc)
  • Must be from USA, Canada, UK, New Zealand, Ireland, Australia
  • Can teach at least 3.5 hours/week from 6 pm – 9 pm China time**

**Note, their website still says 10 hours/week is required but I think this is out of date. When I looked through the Official Kids Course application,  it only asked me to commit to 3.5 hours per week.

I’ve also heard from current teachers that the requirement is a minimum of 3.5 hours/week so the 10-hour requirement on their website could be old. 

What does palfish pay official teachers?

The official course teachers on palfish make $16-$22/hour with the possibility for bonuses. Bonuses can be earned for arriving in class on time, getting a new student to sign up, and perfect attendance.

Official course teachers also get a stipend worth around $15 to buy classroom props! (Shop my online ESL teacher props on Etsy here!)

Like with Freetalk, you’ll be paid monthly through your Payoneer account if you meet the minimum threshold of 200 yuan.

Discover Printable Props for Online ESL Teachers

Palfish Review: Pros and Cons

Palfish is definitely a good option if you want to teach English online without experience. 

Palfish Pros:

  • 2 options (Freetalk and Official Kids Course) for different teacher needs
  • Options for non-native English speakers
  • No degree or experience required
  • Can teach from a phone or tablet, no laptop required
  • Options to teach adults or children
  • You can get started quickly/short application process
  • Can teach outside of Beijing peak hours

Palfish Cons:

  • Freetalk lessons pay by the minute and rates can be low at first
  • Freetalk teachers can only change tuition rates 2x month
  • Freetalk lessons require teachers to market themselves (though this could be a pro if you like this kind of thing)
  • The Official Kids course requires a weekly time commitment which reduces the flexibility of the platform
  • Minimum payout threshold of 200 Yuan (about $30 USD) must be met before your money will be transferred

How to sign up for Palfish

In the beginning, the signup process for Palfish Freetalk and the Official Kids Course is the same. Everyone starts out as a Freetalk teacher and you’ll have the option to sign up for the Official kid’s course after you’ve been approved.

If you’re reading this on your phone, you can click this link to sign up for palfish now.

This link is my referral link so I’ll get a bonus for inviting you. These bonuses help me run this website and allow me to provide you with free information about teaching online

You can also download the Palfish app and sign up from there. Go to the Apple or Android store and look for the app called “Palfish Teacher – English Tutor.” The icon is white with two orange/red colored fish forming an oval.

Palfish Review

You’ll download the app and enter your phone number to sign up. They’ll text you a verification code that you’ll type in and then you can complete the sign-up process.

Palfish Freetalk sign up process

After downloading the app and verifying my number, becoming a Palfish teacher was surprisingly easy! Follow these steps and you’ll be teaching English online in no time:

  1. You can either sign up through this link or download the Palfish Teacher App on your phone (You can use my referral code 06917373 to let Palfish know I referred you​)
  2. Put in your phone number and receive a verification code.
  3. Choose a username and password. Remember this because it will be your Palfish login information moving forward.
  4. Fill in your name and gender
  5. Write your Introduction – According to the Palfish website guidelines found here, the intro should be simple and highlight your qualifications. You should also use emojis!
  6. Add your qualifications and TEFL certificate number
  7. Record a 30-second audio clip of yourself, introducing yourself and demonstrating your pronunciation skills.
  8. Add your profile photo and additional pictures
  9. Make a Payoneer Account to link to your palfish account. (This is how you’ll get paid. You can make a Payoneer account here, it’s similar to PayPal)
  10. Wait for them to process your information. (Your Palfish teacher application can take up to two business days to process.)

All in all, filling out the application took about an hour and a half. My account was processed quickly and I was able to start tutoring online the next day.

Palfish hiring process for official teachers

Once you’re approved as a Freetalk Teacher, you’ll see an icon in the app that says “Application.” Click this button to begin your application for the Palfish Official Kids Course Program.

Palfish reviews
Image from the Palfish App

The first thing you’ll need to do is select the time slots you’re available to teach each week. As noted in the image, these slots will become available to students after you pass the interview.

Palfish Official Kids Course
Image from the Palfish App
Palfish Reviews 2020
Image from the Palfish App

Now it’s time to complete the Palfish interview. For the interview, you’ll teach a 25-minute lesson to an imaginary student. You’ll receive the lesson ahead of time to prepare. Once you’re ready, you can pick a time to record your interview. 

If you need props or classroom decorations for your palfish interview, you can download some free printables in my Free Resource Library here!

Once you pass the interview, you’ll be sent a teacher handbook and materials about the Palfish company. Review these materials and complete the Quiz no later than two days after your interview.

Throughout the process, you’ll be updated on your status within their app. Remember to check it often. 

How to use me as your referring teacher

You can use me as your referring teacher by applying on your phone through this link. 

If you already downloaded the app and signed up, no worries! You can still use me as your referring teacher by using the invitation code: 06917373​ in your PalFish teacher app. Follow these steps:
  1. Select the “Me” button at the bottom of the screen
  2. Click the gear button in the upper right corner to adjust your settings
  3. Select “Inviter – Enter invitation code” and enter 06917373​ to use me as your referring teacher.

Final Palfish Reviews

All in all, Palfish has been a great platform so far! I love how flexible it is with the hiring requirements and I like that I can get booked for “off-peak” times since I can teach adults and children.

As a Palfish tutor, I also love that I can teach from my phone. It’s really easy to log on and take student calls when it’s convenient.

Palfish jobs are a great option for people who are traveling or who want a way to make some money online during the downtime throughout their day.

Have questions about Palfish? Let me know here!

Want to start teaching English online? This page has resources to get you started!

More Online Teaching Company Reviews

You can check out this page for more online ESL company reviews!

Palfish Review: Teach English online from your phone or tablet, no degree required

Cover Photo by Przemyslaw Marczynski on Unsplash

About the Author

Hi! I'm Nic. Let's chat about remote work and ways to incorporate more travel into your life. Whether you're here to find an online job or need some tips for planning your next trip, I've got you covered! More about me

12 thoughts on “Palfish Review: How to Become a Palfish Freetalk Teacher or Palfish Official Teacher!”

    • Not for Official Kids Course but they do for Freetalk! For Freetalk there aren’t nationality requirements, you just need to be a native English speaker 🙂

    • Hi Tommy, Thanks for your message! Yep, Peak hours are 6pm – 9pm Beijing time, or 6am – 9am EST the following day. 🙂

      • Hi Nicole ,Im from Philippines just want to ask if I can still have my free talk in Palfish even though I failed in Official Kids Course?

        • Hi Mhel! Thank you for your comment! I can’t give advice about individual applications but you can reach out to Palfish directly using their mobile app. At the bottom of the screen, there is an envelope that says “messages.” You should have a welcome message from “Palfish Team” where you can ask questions about your application with one of their staff members. Thanks so much! 🙂

  1. Unfortunately, I operate from a PC- Windows 10 and cannot download the app. The application requires my telephone but this isn’t a mobile phone, but a landline- so even this doesn’t work. I have tried to download the BlueStacks app to access the Palfish app- but again – no joy.

  2. Hi Nicole! I don’t have a TEFL certificate but i’ve been an ESL teacher before and do have a COE from the company. Can i apply for the free talk even though i don’t have TEFL certificate?

    • Hi Zera! Thanks so much for your message! That’s a great question! Palfish does require a TEFL certification but there are several companies that don’t require one. Since you have previous ESL teaching experience, you can check out iTalki, Preply, and Outschool! They don’t require and TEFL 🙂
      Happy Teaching!


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