VIPKid Teacher Review: How Much Money Can You Really Make?
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Teachers are some of the hardest working people out there.
So it makes sense that when VIPKid launched in 2013, offering teachers a way to make extra money by teaching English to students abroad, the business took off.
But is working for VIPKid a good choice?
In this VIPKid review, we’ll go through all the aspects of teaching with VIPKid, from the application process to booking your classes to increasing your earnings, so you can decide if teaching with them is worth your time.
What is VIPKid, and is it a Scam?
VIPKid is an English language tutoring service available to students ages 4-12 in China. To sign up to teach with them, you need a bachelor's degree, reliable internet, and one year of teaching experience. After completing the application process, you can start booking classes and earning money.Show Hide more
- Flexible hours
- Easy to get started
- Can earn up to $22 per hour
- Opportunities for training
- Technology issues may impact your earnings
- Peak hours are typically early morning (depending on your time zone)
- Difficult to cancel classes
VIPKid is an English language tutoring service for children in China ages 4 to 12. Teachers from the U.S. and Canada provide one-on-one tutoring classes from home. And even though you’ll be teaching English to mostly Chinese students, you do not need to speak Chinese; VIPKid is a full English immersion program.
It’s one of the best online tutoring jobs for teachers.
How Much Money Can You Make as a VIPKid Teacher?
The company claims you can earn up to $22 an hour teaching English through their online classrooms.
But how does that work?
According to the site, the minimum pay is $7 to $9 U.S. dollars per 30 minutes, or $14 to $18 per hour if you teach two sessions in a row. Your minimum pay is based on your credentials and performance in the interview demo lesson.
If you teach for a minimum of one hour, or two 30-minute classes, each weekday, assuming the lowest rate of $7 per class, you could earn at least $280 per month. That’s not included possible incentives.
There are added incentives for showing up on time to lessons, teaching the lesson according to schedule, and for teaching a certain number of classes per month. Incentives are up to $1 per 30-minute class.
Remember that, while it’s possible to earn $22 per hour, you’re also an independent contractor. That means you’ll want to set aside around 25% of your income for taxes. However, you can write off products or services you use for your VIPKid business, including props, a portion of your internet connection, and even the cost of a new laptop, should you need one.
What Are the Requirements to Teach with VIPKid?
Katie Timmins, a full-time freelance photographer and former dance and drama teacher, found VIPKid while looking to make extra money with online tutoring. With her background in education and love for the performing arts, she was a prime candidate for VIPKid.
After nine months with the company, her review of VIPKid is positive, and she recommends it to all her friends. “The kids are so fun,” she said. “Most of them are very interactive. You can be as ‘big’ as you want and they love that.”
If that sounds like the kind of gig you’d enjoy, here’s what else you need to know.
VIPKid requires all teachers to have at least a Bachelor’s degree and one year of teaching — or equivalent — experience. You don’t need any special or up-to-date certifications.
The company offers TESOL certification for new teachers and short courses within the VIPKid online teaching platform to help teachers advance.
“I made sure to get all the certifications I could have,” Timmins recalled. That was about four short tests which made her familiar with more curriculum and allowed her to start taking multiple levels of students immediately.
In addition to reliable internet service, the basic tech requirements include a desktop, laptop, Mac, or Surface device with an HD external or HD integrated camera, and a headset with a microphone. The minimum operating systems are Windows 7 and Mac OS 10.x with a memory of at least 4GB RAM.
VIPKid has its own video teaching platform, so you won’t need to download your own. You will need to be using at least a Chrome Version 51 or Firefox Version 47 browser and have the latest version of Adobe Flash Player installed.
Technology issues, including Wi-Fi outages, computer updates, or software glitches, are among the most common problems and complaints when it comes to working for VIPKid, so it’s important that you account for those when considering teaching for them.
You don’t need to have a big personality to teach on VIPKid. Timmins says anyone who enjoys kids and can use their imagination will make a great teacher.
When parent books classes for their children, they’ll look at what VIPKid calls “personality tags” on your teacher bio. Tags include outgoing, enthusiastic, body language and facial expression, speaking and discussion, and more.
Some parents care about a high level of enthusiasm and others care more about technical qualities. The most important thing is to be yourself and remember you’re teaching kids.
Teachers must be legally able to work in the U.S. or Canada, but there are no location requirements. You can work for VIPKid from anywhere, as long as you have a stable internet connection of at least 20 Mbps.
While not required, Timmins has found that props like puppets, gold stars, and other fun visuals are helpful for engaging and keeping a student’s attention.
“Some of them will bring dolls to the class and when I have my little stuffed animal dinosaur, they’ll interact with me with their stuffed animal,” Timmins said.
Getting Started with VIPKid
Signing up for your new VIPKid job can be a little confusing, so it helps to know the process beforehand. If you get stuck or have questions during the application process, VIPKid offers support and guidance for each stage. There are also Facebook and Reddit groups for applicants to ask and have their questions answered.
Review of VIPKid’s application process
The VIPKid application process includes five stages, and completing the process takes approximately two to three weeks:
- Fill out an online application with your teaching experience and make sure you meet all the basic requirements.
- Participate in a one-on-one interview with a VIPKid recruiter or record yourself teaching a demo lesson so a recruiter can evaluate you.
- Take the introduction to teaching, where you’ll review slides and watch videos to learn about VIPKid’s technology, standards, and curriculum.
- Perform a mock class using what you learned in the teacher training. This will be with a current VIPKid teacher and can be taken multiple times.
- Sign your contract, upload some documents, and complete your background check.
Once you finish all the steps, you are a fully-fledged VIPKid teacher and can begin booking classes.
Demo lesson & VIPKid interview process
The VIPKid interview and demo class not only determines if you get the job but also how much you’ll be paid.
You’ll mainly be evaluated on your ESL (English as a Second Language) teaching skills and ability to explain lessons to a young English learner. The recruiter will also take note of your time management and preparedness, so reviewing the curriculum ahead of time can give you an edge.
There are two ways to complete your demo lesson:
- Book an interview by picking a time slot up to three days in advance from the calendar on the interview page.
- Record an interview if there are no time slots available and you don’t want to wait.
One-on-one interviews are 30 minutes long with 10 minutes of teaching. In addition to your teaching skills, the recruiter also checks to see if your equipment and internet connection will allow for a smooth full-length lesson with a child in China. If you choose to record a demo lesson, you’ll only need to record the teaching portion.
Timmins opted to record her VIPKid interview demo lesson rather than do a live interview.
“I liked doing that because I was able to do it at my own pace and get used to myself on a camera, even though nobody else was there,” she said. “I just acted as if there was a kid there and they were doing a good job.”
For more VIPKid interview tips, the company has put together a cheat sheet called the Applicant Performance Indicators that covers everything their recruiters look for.
Teacher training and mock class
After VIPKid reviews your application, you pass the demo class, and you’re accepted as a VIPKid teacher, you’ll receive access to the certification center. This allows you to review slides, teacher instructions, and practice mock classes with an experienced teacher.
Mock classes are 30 minutes long with ten minutes devoted to beginner-level students and ten minutes devoted to intermediate-level students. You can do as many mock classes as you need, but you must pass one before moving on.
Timmins says the best teachers are more like tour guides. “You’re really just guiding through each slide, making sure they understand the content on the slide rather than teaching it,” she said. “Most of it is laid out for you and tells you exactly what you need to do.”
As long as you follow the lessons and are comfortable with the material, you should do fine with this part of the process.
Setting your schedule
Once you’ve completed all the stages and signed on the dotted line, you’re ready to fill your schedule.
For the best schedule, VIPKid recommends teachers keep their weekly availability updated one month out. Parents can schedule at any time within that availability window, with no less than 24 hours of advance notice.
Be realistic about what you can handle. Working five hours a day might seem doable now, but after the first week, your students might be suffering through your classes as much as you are.
“I teach five [classes] a morning, for five days a week on average,” Timmins said. “Sometimes I’ll add more if I have more energy, but that’s mostly my capacity with also doing photography full time.”
Note, though, that you are required to book your classes in advance, and VIPKid has a fairly strict cancellation policy. As long as you cancel within 24 hours of the class, they do not financially penalize you and only charge you with a cancellation. However, if you oversleep, have a family emergency, or you get sick and you’re outside of the cancellation window, you might need to teach the class anyway to avoid any sort of penalty.
Review VIPKid’s incentive options to increase your earnings
Once you’ve been approved to teach with VIPKid, there are ways you can increase your earnings above your base pay.
VIPKid has a tiered referral program for teachers to recruit their friends. Timmins said she makes an extra $100 for each new teacher who uses her referral link after they teach their first class.
Short notice bookings
VIPKid blocks open slots in your schedule 24 hours in advance to make sure there are no surprises. If you’re available for a booking within 24 hours, you can manually open those time slots for “short notice bookings,” where you’ll earn an extra $2 for any class booked within that period.
When time blocks are left unbooked, Timmins will reopen for short notice bookings. Those slots typically get booked with trial classes by the time she wakes up the next day. For every trial class she converts to a regular student, she earns a $5 bonus.
Peak time incentives
Occasionally, VIPKid will offer incentives ranging from $15 to $40 for teachers to open slots and get bookings at certain peak time blocks.
Peak booking times are Monday through Friday 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. EST and Saturday through Sunday 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. EST. VIPKid recommends teachers be available for at least 7.5 hours, or 15 times slots, during these peak times.
VIPKid Teacher Review in Summary: It’s a Good Opportunity
Whether you’re a freelancer, stay-at-home mom, or teacher looking to make some extra money, VIPKid is a legitimate option to consider. You can set your own hours, don’t need to leave your house, and it’s possible to make good money. And as long as you meet their basic requirements, you should be able to get started earning with them in a few weeks.
To learn more, visit VIPKid’s Official Website.
If you’d like to check out other options, be sure to read our list of the best work from home jobs.