Are ETS Home Scoring Jobs A Scam?

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Here is a work at home job that I know will not be for everyone. But for those of you who are teachers or just regular folks with some college under your belt, you might be able to use the following opportunity to bring in some decent income. So please read on!

Who is ETS?

ETS (Educational Testing Service) is one the best known standardized testing organizations out there. They do all sorts of testing but are best known for the AP (Advanced Placement tests) and the SAT. Aww the good old SATs. Remember that test and according to your teacher it would basically determine the outcome of your life or something to that effect? I didn't score that high in my SAT and somehow I still managed to be successful in life. Go figure. But I digress. LOL

How do I make money with ETS?

This was interesting to me because I thought all standardized tests were scored by machine. You know the #2 pencil, fill in little circles, don't go out of the circle and all that type of stuff. (Brings back nightmares to me!) But nowadays there are some test that involve the students actually writing their responses, essays, etc. (Despite my awful grammar and spelling, I was way better at tests like this.) Fortunately machines can't really grade student's writing yet. So ETS hires good old fashion human beings to grade these type of test based on certain criteria they have decided is relevant. The testers are trained and hired by ETS to help them score these tests. That's exactly why we're reviewing this company. Because it's another way to make money at home.

Apparently there are a whole slew of standardized tests where they need qualified people to get certified to grade them. The cool thing is all of this can be done at home with just you and your computer. Here is a list of tests that you may end up grading if you become trained and get hired by ETS.

How do you become a tester?

First of all, you can only become a ETS scorer or rater if you have a at least some college. Many tests require several years teaching experience in the subject you are scoring. Sorry, they are not being stuck up! But think about it, if your kid is taking one of these tests, would you want just anyone scoring the test? Of course not, just like you want your kids teacher to have a degree, these folks scoring the tests need to have a certain education level.

There is no blanket test scoring certification. You become trained and certified for each test. You could become an AP specialist and only work on AP jobs, or get trained and certified for several tests. The qualifications for certification are similar but will have elements specific for each test.

What kind of training are they talking about?

Here is is straight from the horses mouth, I can't say it any better that the ETS site, so here is their spiel:

‘The process that raters will go through for each testing program includes: training via program-specific instruction provided either on a website or on paper certification via tests that prospective raters must complete successfully in order to score for a particular program scheduling procedures for assigning certified raters to scoring sessions based on the availability of raters and on the volume of tests mentoring by ETS scoring leaders who work with raters throughout each scoring session to help them score responses according to testing program standards'

Okay I lied, let's see if we can break this down a bit better.

They have a bunch of sample tests, that the writers of the tests score according to their rules. That becomes the target score for the test. ( It is usually a range). In your training you get that list and practice scoring those same tests. You practice until you consistently come up with a score within that range. If you don't, then the mentor works with you to explain which areas you were too stingy or too generous. Each time you do one, you learn more about what ETS feels is important. Once you are to the point where you consistently have your score fall within their target ranges, then they figure you get it and you will be put on their list to begin scoring real tests. They do this so your scoring is based on personal opinions but rather guidelines set by the company which is good and bad depending on your point of view.

To keep things on the up and up, each time you do a job you are asked to do a re-certify exercise to ensure you stay within the guidelines of grading according to ETS standards.

What kind of equipment will I need?

Unfortunately they only want PC users and don't support Macs. But Mac users can get around this "discrimination" (lol) by using bootcamp to load the windows operating system. So in general the requirements for PC users are as follows:

PC is running Windows ME/2000/XP/VISTA

15-inch or 17-inch SVGA monitor for display of 1024 x 768 resolution

At least 512 MB RAM

At least 10MB of free disk space

High speed Internet connection

Internet Explorer 6.x and Internet Explorer 7.x

Java Runtime Environment (JRE) Vendor/version:

A phone line that can make and receive calls while you are connected to the internet

Call waiting or voice-mail

Most of this you will have, but you might have to upgrade (or down grade if you use Windows 7–lol)

How much money can I earn?

They pay varies between tests but from I have read, the website doesn't tell you, it is around $10/hour and up to $20 an hour. They pay by check twice a month.

How much will I work?

Depending on which test you certify for, you would work in 4-8hr blocks during the times of year the test is given. These standardized tests are give on certain days , and everyone taking that test takes it on the same day, same time. Some are given once a year others several times during the year. In other words there will be several weeks a year you work 4-8 hours a day, and many weeks during the year you will not have any work from ETS to do.

How do I apply?

You go the the ETS Scoring Job Opportunities page and look through the list of openings. At the time of this review, AP scoring jobs were available, but a few weeks ago it wasn't. Underneath each job are links, View Details gives you all the details about the job, requirements, and pay. Apply gives first time users a chance to create an account, once you do that it sends you to the application for that test, the third one is Add to basket, and honestly? I have no idea what that is for since I am not buying anything. I assume it is for when you are applying for more than one test. Remember, there is a separate application, requirements and specific training for each test.

It should be noted that ETS actually hires you as an employee. So you work for them and they deal with taxes and such. This is different than many opportunities we cover where you're treated like an independent contractor and have to manage your own tax situation. All and all this all sounds good.

But like always there are some things to keep in mind along the downside, so lets see what cautions I came up with.


– The first I mentioned at the get go, it is that you really have to be a teacher or in education somehow to do this, so it is a specialized, limited opportunity situation.

– They only hire when they need to add to the pool, so there might be times when you look into this and see they are not hiring, or the tests they are hiring for do not suit your background. You will need to keep checking back as I am sure this is a fluid thing, people come in and out. Also don't wait until testing season, get in the game before hand so you are trained by the time they need to use their pool of scorers.

– Eight hours at a pop is a lot of brain power to be reading, it is easy to get bug-eyed reading and scoring these things. Even four hours at a pop would be rough, reading the same thing over and over.

– You will work a lot during key times and not work at all other times. This is better pay than many other work at home opportunities, but it won't be reliable over time.

Are ETS Online Scoring Jobs Legitimate?

It definitely seems that way. This is a real work at home job, by a legitimate company that has been around a long time. So their reputation pretty much speaks for itself. If you're a teacher, recent college grad still looking for work, or retired educator this may be the opportunity to try.

Now if you read this and thought this definitely isn't for me, thanks for wasting 10 minutes of my life Eddy. Settle down, as always we list various other jobs daily on our pre-screened work at home jobs page. Or if you're open minded and want to expand your horizon to non-traditional opportunities that can earn you a bit of money now, you might want to visit my recommendations page as well.

Either way we have you covered. Hope this article proves helpful to some of you out there! If not, maybe the next articles that I write will. So be sure you're one of my loyal subscribers or become one of my facebook fans. Trust me you'll be happy that you did! Keep grinding my friends!

48 thoughts on “Are ETS Home Scoring Jobs A Scam?”

  1. I have been working for ETS for well over 10 years. It is good side $$ depending on your need. I had a full-time job when I started and used the extra cash for my pets. I have certified and worked for a dozen tests over the years. Some are now discontinued. It sounds glamorous but it is WORK. You must sit at your computer and input your scores for the 4- or 8-hr shift. There are scheduled breaks, but they can see a timestamp of your submitted work. The 8-hr shifts can be killer depending on your energy and attention levels. And you can easily cancel a schedule but if you cancel an 8-hr shift because you’re not available for 1 hour, you will lose the entire shift. I picked up a lot of exams so I am able to work a full-time schedule when available. BUT, you really cannot be disturbed or distracted so if you have young kids that you think you can take care of while working, think again. ETS also follows your local city/state laws depending on where you live. It is definitely a legit job. They pay every 2 weeks, direct deposit, they have leaders and training, good communication practices, and are very organized.

  2. I am currently an ERS Rater. I actually did my first shift earlier this month and I am scheduled for an eight hour shift tomorrow. I am a college professor, who reads student assignments all the time, yet I flubbed the certification exam the first time. I rescheduled, saying to myself, “what’s the worst that can happen” and I passed it on my second attempt. The training component really helped me to obtain a feel for ETS’s expectations.

    As for the the question, “is it a scam?” Absolutely not! I provided my tax information and they provided me with direct deposit payments for all of the training hours (remember I had extra hours because I did not pass the certification the first time). I would not recommend this for someone who finds reading or sitting in front of a computer for hours to be tedious. It is good work-from-home employment.


  3. ETS is definitely not a scam. Although I have a full time job outside of ETS, it’s still nice to bring in some extra cash and the at home opportunity that ETS provides is perfect for that. They give you plenty of hours for training and two shots to pass certification, all in all, it’s very fair. They don’t give much feedback on when you fail certification, I’m assumming, is because they want you to be able to run through this process by yourself. These kids’ future are in our hands, it’d be kinda crazy to let someone that couldn’t pass certification, even when all materials and directions are given, more help on scoring when there are heaps of qualified individuals out there.

    With that said, it is a legit opportunity. I have zero experience in education, however, I am currently pursuing a master’s degree. I actualy find the job enjoyable, to see the many different perspectives of students based on a single prompt. It does get tiring, especially if you are scheduled to work 8 hour shifts. I usually do the 4 hour blocks.

  4. Currently in my first month scoring SATs, and while it’s certainly legitimate, I’m not impressed. I submitted 87 hours of availability this month and got picked up for two 4-hour shifts, one of which was subsequently cancelled. So I’m getting paid about $40 this month. Hardly worth it.

  5. ETS is not a scam. I have not been paid yet but I know people that have. I’ve attempting to get certified for the GRE. You have to get certified for two different sections, argument and issues. They don’t give feedback on what you miss so I suggest you go through all the training documentation. I didn’t so I have to retake both certifications.

  6. Hello All,

    ETS is definitely no SCAM. I was a little hesitant about providing my SSN, but it was asked for on a verifiable I-9 document so I was okay with doing so.

    I completed the training which was pretty simple. I scored high/aced all of the practice exams so it truly boggled my mind as to how I didn’t pass the certification exam. It is also quite frustrating that you are not able to get any type of feedback on your scoring on the certification exam, so you have no idea of what you did well and what you need improvement on.

    But I do commend them for paying me for all of the hours I spent training and taking the practice and certification exams. As mentioned before they do pay bi-weekly/twice a month and I was able to receive two legitimate paychecks from them for the time I invested.

    I would say if anyone has any pointers on how to successfully pass the certification exam, that would be AWESOME!!!

  7. I just applied to ETS for several Reader/Rater positions. Does anyone know the acceptance rate or how likely it is to get hired on? In addition to my Master’s degree, I have about 2 years of online teaching experience in the field. Any insight is appreciated! Thank you!

  8. Hi, I am currently a SAT rater for ETS. It is not a scam. The application process alone took me almost 10 hours though. This included touching up my resume. There is a 2-day training and certification, but that is paid ($11 hr.)So, unless you are really serious about completing this, don’t get started, just to avoid wasting time. You can work from home, but the hours are set. You have to log on and off at exact times. I believe they want either a degree or a least experience in the education field.

  9. I currently work for ETS and it is legitimate, but has many downsides. I’ve recently dealt with Scoring Leaders that refuse to believe that the scoring program (ONE) can have technical issues and even call you a liar! The real problem is that these mistaken SLs can cancel your shift at any time, then your out of work. There are also no benefits, and you do not always get paid $15/hr. Most of the time you are paid slightly above $11/hr even when you are grading the same test. The hours are also inconsistent. March and April seem to be the busy season, but the rest of the year you’re lucky to get full time for even 1 week out of the whole rest of the year. I would say do it if someone else is supporting you and you just want to get some extra cash when you can.

    • Hey G,

      Thanks for sharing your real world experience with this company. I appreciate that you’ve have also listed the bad things people should consider.

  10. I have worked for ETS for over 4 years (TOEFL, Wyoming SAWS and SAT scoring). It is 100% legitimate. The actual hiring process was very long (applied in Feb., got an acceptance email in March, mailed in required paperwork and didn’t train/certify until April). My first actual working shift wasn’t until the end of April. The long process was worth it though. I have worked this job around my full time teaching job since 2012 and average about $10,000/year. The pay depends upon which test you score, although I would guess the average is around $15/hour. They offer 4, 6.5 and 8 hour shifts 7 days a week from 8:30am-9:30pm (a few tests have shifts until 11:30pm). If hired, I suggest overscheduling yourself (most tests ask you to submit available hours a month ahead of time). I typically get 1/3-1/2 of the hours I put in for each month. Some tests score all year round and some are only certain times of the year. ETS will notify current raters first when they have a need to hire for other tests before hiring outside applicants, so it is easy to end up scoring more than one test. I hope this is helpful!

  11. Lisa,
    After failing the first cert test on Monday, I am trying to discern a pattern: I noted that my HIGH 3 = 4 ETS score; HIGH 2 = LOW 3 ETS score; and HIGH 1 = LOW 2. Do you think that this algorithm help me to successfully pass my next (and final) attempt tomorrow?

  12. I’ve recently begun scoring as a rater for ETS. I’m not an educator but I have a bachelor’s and master’s. I’ve had to calibrate/test three times, one to begin and twice for two different tests. They offer training exercises: six sets of ten papers before you calibrate, 60 papers. Calibration is 15 papers with two chances to test. It usually takes me 8 hours to train and calibrate. I spread them out over two days. It can be daunting. I have a to take a quick break to regroup. It is legitimate.

  13. I was contacted to work for ETS and they sent me paperwork for tax reporting and I completed it , but never heard back.. I think this is a scam. sounds fishy and not professional, because they don’t respond to my email.. They asked for my social security number but I didn’t provide it until I prove it is not a scam.

  14. I am working for ETS as a rater currently. You do have to be a teacher, but it is a legitimate opportunity. I actually enjoy the work. To respond to an earlier response, the “certification test” for me was to actually score three submissions, thus there were no “questions.” And I was provided a rubric. Perhaps you were scoring something different than I have scored. If you’re getting out of teaching for whatever reason, this is a great opportunity.

  15. In case anyone is still thinking about this, I do not have teaching credentials but had experience giving trainings in a professional environment and they accepted me into their online scoring program. Give it a shot! My pay is $15/hour in 4 or 8 hour increments! It’s an awesome side job if you want to make some extra money.

  16. Yeah these types of jobs are not scams, but much harder for a typical person looking for a stay at home job to get.

    I’ve been working for Pearson for about 4 years now, which is another company that is contracted to score major standardized tests throughout the US (mostly elementary – high school) but also some college prep/placement. All this year we’ve been contracted with ETS to score some of their tests, actually.

    I don’t know how it works when you’re hired directly for ETS, but the only reason I was able to start working at home with Pearson is because I first was an employee at an actual job site, where I had to go in to work the typical 9-5. They’re very selective about who they let do at home work, and I was only able to do so because I was a good scorer.

    I don’t have an educational background, the only requirement you really need is a college education. After that there’s some pretty rigorous testing, but if you can pass that and score well, you’re good to go.

    I would recommend anyone with the college background (whatever the requirement is for ETS) looking for part time work to give it a shot, because it does pay well. Most at home projects are piece rated (which may be why they don’t specifically state the income), so it is pretty easy to earn $20-$30/hour.

    • I also worked for Pearson a few years ago to score the PARCC exam. A friend of mine was scoring as well. We both had the same experience. I found them to be very disorganized which made working for them frustrating. Needless to say, I stayed with ETS.

  17. I think this is a scam because the ETS Raters training and certification is one of the most opaque processes ever. They don’t
    1.Tell you how many questions are in the certification exam
    2. Tell you how many questions you need to get right in order to pass
    3. Tell you exactly what type of recordings you will be tested on (there is just a pool of types of recordings)
    4. Provide a grading rubric so you can understand how each section is graded and how scores are calculated

    Additionally, even though you have 2 chances to take the certification exam, they don’t give you a tally if you fail the first attempt so you don’t know what you did wrong and so can’t prepare adequately for the second attempt.

    I am a teacher and if I gave an exam like this I would have to answer to administration because so many students would be unable to pass and complain. Exams have to have more transparent criteria to help candidates prepare for the certification exam better. It is as if they don’t want anyone to pass so don’t want to give them too much information.

    • Hey Iris,

      Thanks for sharing your point of view. You make some great observations and criticisms about how they conduct their testing. It definitely gives us all something to think about. Thanks again.

  18. Larry,
    Man I totally agree with some of your statements. In college I remember there were tons of professors that knew their stuff but sucked at teaching it. I’m one those people that firmly believe that there should be another requirement for teachers or professors in order to teach our students because just knowing the material isn’t cutting it. For example I failed my stats course. I’ll be the first to admit I suck at math. Then I did a little research to find the reviews on the best stat teachers in my school. I picked the one that all the students loved and there were on the money. This guy knew his stuff but his teaching was off the wall. He literally broke down a complicated formula into little pieces week by week. By the end of a semester I had mastered many of the formulas that were totally greek to me when i took it with another professor. I got an A in that class. I’ve never received an A for math in my life. If I had a professor like this for all my tough subjects, I probably would have had a 4.0 in college. So I totally agree with you.

    I don’t really know why the education field is a requirement but then again I’m not in the industry so I can’t really speak on it. In any event, I appreciate the feedback. Insightful and humorous! Glad to hear that I don’t waste your time! =)

  19. I did something like this before. It was fun. Yes, you have to be pretty geeky. You take tests yourself to qualify and it’s devastating to your ego if you don’t qualify. There are clear parameters for scoring. And there was someone (I don’t know how it works online) there to speak to if you were unsure of a score/grade. For example sometimes there was an essay (short, very short) a student might write really well but not fully answer the question. A student with who answered the question might get the higher score even if their writing was well…The point is they answered the question correctly. . But, they do what they do to make it as fair as possible. Of course math was easier (not my strong point). The essays where handwritten which was a huge challenge.  

    Thank you for suggesting this, Eddy. I did not know it was available. There used to be centers in certain cities open during testing “seasons”.

  20. Eddie_ I am having trouble applying online as I am not teaching now but have a teaching degree.   What page did you use to get this info?

  21. Huh… I always thought that the ETS was the “Evil Testing Serpent”; I guess I relied on “Up Your Score” too much as my SAT study guide 😉

    Seriously, it does sound like a good opportunity except for your #1 con: that you have to be in education to join. I never really understood that, whether it be for this, tutoring jobs, or even teaching… It doesn’t matter your skill / knowledge in a particular subject; you need to have teaching credentials in order to do these jobs. I mean I’d rather have some hot-shot researcher at Pfizer grading my AP Biochemistry exam or Bill Gates grade my AP Computer Science exam than your average high school teacher.

    Ok, I guess I can see needing to know how to best communicate the information to the students if you want to teach, so for actual teachers I can go along with needing a teaching degree. I know some college / grad school professors were brilliant minds in their field, but had poor communication skills to actually teach anything to the students. LOL. But for grading tests (esp. if there are certain criteria that they are looking for), you don’t need to teach the kids anything — you just need to say whether something is right or wrong. I would think that at least for this job opportunity, a subject-matter expert should be just as qualified as a teacher in that particular subject. Then again, they are the experts in testing and grading, so maybe they have their reasons…

    Well, because of that requirement, I guess I’m out. But it does sound like an interesting opportunity, and I have a few friends that are teachers so I can at least let them know. And you never are a waste of time; if anything I can at least get a little chuckle reading your posts.


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