VIPKid review — application process and requirements. Should you teach with VIPKid?
VIPKid has become the go-to company for potential teachers looking to break into the online teaching space.
The world of online English teaching has plenty of ESL giants, but VIPKid appears to be the biggest among them. Established in 2013, they've become the go-to company for potential teachers looking to break into the online teaching space, with more than 100 000 teachers and 800 000 registered students.
Despite the stiff competition among teachers, VIPKid has no plans of slowing down as the company continues to expand - which is excellent news for applicants. According to Glassdoor, they're one of the top ten places to work for in 2020. If that's not a huge motivator, then perhaps their competitive salary may convince you. They offer one of the highest base rates in the online ESL industry, with a great work-from-home opportunity that includes a flexible schedule.
VIPKid aims to connect young Chinese learners with passionate and high-quality teachers from the USA and Canada. Unfortunately, this does mean that if you're not eligible to work within North America, you'll be unable to teach with this company.
If you’re ready to jump onto the VIPKid bandwagon, and you're eager to learn more about this incredible company, here are a few things you'll need to know before starting your application:
VIPKid is well-known for being incredibly strict with their teaching requirements. They are remarkably hands-on when it comes to their screening process, leaving little wiggle room for prospective teachers looking to teach with this reputable company. If you're unable to meet their core requirements and technical specifications, your application will, unfortunately, be rejected.
Here are just a few essential requirements you'll need before starting your VIPKid application:
● Bachelor’s Degree or above
● TEFL/TESOL certificate (or equivalent)
● Native English speaker eligible to work in the USA or Canada
● Two years of teaching experience
VIPKid teachers have reported that you will need to undergo a background check before you can start teaching. This is conducted via a third party and can take anywhere between a few days or a few weeks. VIPKid also requires that you have at least two years of teaching experience with kids. Fortunately, this doesn't have to be a formal teaching experience and can include tutoring, online teaching, babysitting, or volunteering.
You'll need an Intel Core i3 or above, an HD webcam (internal or external), a headset with microphone, and a wired internet connection. You'll also need to have a download and upload speed of 20 Mbps for the platform to perform effectively. And lastly, the latest Flash version, an updated version of Chrome, and at least 4GB RAM are also required.
VIPKid offers prospective teachers the chance to work from anywhere in the world while creating a flexible schedule that works for them. They are one of the most prominent online English schools in the ESL space, and they are Forbes #1 rated company for Remote Teaching Jobs. They offer teachers a chance to earn a lucrative salary within an incredible work environment while sharing their passion for teaching with their nearly 800 000 students. Because you can create your schedule, how much you earn is dependent on you.
VIPKid caters to young Chinese learners between the ages of 5 - 15 years old, and they offer lessons within a one-on-one class setting via their teaching platform. They have a well-designed curriculum that's easy to teach and requires little prep work. Unfortunately, you will need to be a native English speaker that's eligible to work in the USA or Canada to apply.
How much can you earn with VIPKid?
If you're passionate about teaching young students, then VIPKid is the perfect opportunity to earn an excellent salary while living your passion. They offer one of the most competitive salaries within the online ESL space. And you can expect to earn between $14-22 per hour. Your salary will depend on your availability, experience, and teaching ability during the demo lesson. However, teachers have reported that you can earn a bit more via VIPKid's incentive system. VIPKid has recently implemented a new pay structure, called: New Service Fee Structure.
New Service Fee Structure
VIPKid’s new pay structure divides teachers into different tiers - from 1 to 10. Which tier you fall under is dependent on how many overall classes you’ve taught with VIPKid. For example, if you’ve taught 1600 classes with VIPKid, then you’ll fall under Tier 6. Based on this new payment structure, you’ll receive $0.80 for each of the first 20 classes you’ve taught. After that, you’ll receive an additional $1.20 per class for the next 20 classes you teach. Therefore, if you teach 40 classes for the month, you should receive your base rate + $40 in incentives for the month.
Referral and Affiliate Program
VIPKid's referral and affiliate program is another great way to boost your income. Using your referral code, teachers can recruit and refer prospective teachers to VIPKid. Here's what you can expect to earn with your referral code:
● $10 for every applicant passing the demo class
● $100 for every applicant who teaches their first lesson
The affiliate program works a bit differently. You’re only paid once prospective teachers who have used your affiliate link have signed their contract. This does mean that you won’t receive a bonus if they pass their demo, but it does mean you don’t have to wait until they teach their first class. The affiliate program works according to monthly milestones:
● 1 teacher – $50
● 2 teachers – $65
● 3-6 teachers – $80
● 7-10 teachers – $100
● 11-20 teachers – $120
● 21+ teachers – $130
For example, if you're able to recruit six teachers in one month, you'll earn $80 per referral if prospective teachers use your affiliate link. The referral and affiliate program is another fantastic way to earn extra money while getting the word out about VIPKid. Here's a great video explaining VIPKid's referral and affiliate program
VIPKid pays their teachers via direct bank transfer between the 10th and 15th of each month.
If you are not eligible for VIPKid affiliate program, take a look at teach.fm referral scheme. Recommend your friends and followers looking for jobs offline or overseas and get paid for every succesful hire.
When it comes to the application process, VIPKid prefers quality over quantity. They're incredibly strict when it comes to the application process, so you'll have to bring your A-game. If you can do this and meet all the requirements, the process should be a breeze.
To complete the first step, you'll need to head to the VIPKid website and complete a profile. You'll need to provide your basic information - name, teaching experience, education, etc. Once you've completed this, a message will appear on your screen indicating whether you've made it to the next round.
Interview and Demo Lesson
Once you've passed the initial screening, you'll be invited to schedule an interview and demo lesson. There are two options to choose from: a smart demo and quiz and a live interview and demo. As of 2020, VIPKid only offers a smart demo and quiz. However, here's a look at both:
Smart demo lesson and quiz - The smart demo is completed via the VIPKid app on your phone, making it a convenient and stress-free option. You'll need to prepare before your scheduled demo, and you can access the materials via the app. VIPKid wants you to do well, so you have the opportunity to read and watch a few videos via the app to help you prepare. Once you've read through the materials and watched the videos, you'll be directed to start your quiz. The VIPKid quiz is five multiple-choice questions that relate to the materials you've just read. You'll have 90 seconds to complete each question.
Once you've completed the multiple-choice questions, you'll move on to the teaching slide. VIPKid will provide you with an example video. This is a great way to get familiar with what they're looking for, which includes repetition and plenty of TPR. You can record, delete, and re-record until you're satisfied with your performance, but make sure that your recording is a maximum of two minutes.
Live interview and Demo - If you choose this option, you'll schedule a live 30-minute interview with a VIPKid recruiter. You'll follow the standard interview format, after which you'll complete your demo lesson. While the smart demo will only take 5-minutes to finish, the live demo offers you a chance to negotiate your base rate. However, it's up to you to decide which works best for you.
Once you've aced the interview and demo lesson, it's time to move on to the mock class. This is the certification stage and may be the most nerve-wracking portion of the application process. The mock class is essentially your teacher training, and it's VIPKid's way of making sure that you're comfortable within an online classroom setting. During this stage, you'll be granted access to VIPKid's training material to help prepare you for the mock class.
Before the class, VIPKid will ask you to choose between two levels:
● Lower levels (2 & 3 )
● Intermediate levels ( 4 & 5)
While it may be more convenient to choose the intermediate level, you'll have to keep in mind that most students on the VIPKid platform are levels 2 and 3. Once you're feeling confident about the material you've chosen and practised, it's time to schedule your mock class with a mock class mentor. During your mock lesson, your mentor will pretend to be a young student. It's your job to engage the student using the tips and tricks you've learned so far. Once you've completed this lesson, you'll be given feedback on how it went, with suggestions on how to improve.
If you've done well, you'll get the chance to read over and sign your contract. However, it's not uncommon for applicants to fail their first mock class. Don't worry; you can re-do your mock lesson as many times as you'd like.
One of the perks VIPKid provides is that you can complete your TESOL certificate with them at a discounted rate. To finalize your position with VIPKid, you’ll have to upload your bachelor’s degree and TEFL certificate (if you haven’t completed it yet), pass your background check and sign your 6-month contract.
Once you've sent through all your documentation, you'll be loaded on to the VIPKid system within 3-5 days. You'll need to complete your profile, which will include a friendly photo and short bio.
One of the benefits of working with VIPKid is that you get to teach as little or as much as you want - no minimum or maximum hours required. You will need to keep in mind that you'll be conducting classes according to Beijing Time, which could translate to early mornings or late nights if you're working from North America. They offer lessons from Monday to Sunday. Chinese Peak Hours are the most popular times with students and opening slots during this time will help boost your earnings. Chinese peak hours are Monday - Friday between 18:00 - 22:00, and Saturday - Sunday between 09:00 - 22:00 Beijing Time.
VIPKid aims to offer students consistency. Therefore, they have quite a strict cancellation policy, which can be broken down into two categories: Regular and Soft/Medium cancellations. Each one has different penalties, which can range from pay deductions to your contract termination.
Regular Cancellations - Teachers are allowed six cancellations per contract. However, after the seventh cancellation, they can terminate your contract unless you provide an excellent reason. If you do not give 24-hours notice before your class, you'll receive a $2 fine. If you're a no-show for your class, you'll receive a deduction of $20. VIPKid does group their cancellations into groups of three, so if you cancel three lessons, you'll only get marked for one cancellation.
Soft/Medium Cancellations - Emergencies do happen, and VIPKid provides leeway for this. If you're sick or have a family emergency, you can claim this as a soft/medium cancellation. You'll need to speak to your supervisor directly, but if you're successful, it won't count towards your six cancellations.
Platform and Curriculum
Lessons are done via the VIPKid video-calling platform. The platform is simple and easy to navigate and provides teachers with plenty of teaching tools to create a more engaging classroom. These tools include a writing tool and a rewards system. The lesson material is automatically displayed at the start of the class, and teachers are encouraged to engage students further by using flashcards and various props.
VIPKid aims to create an engaging learning environment within a one-on-one setting. The class length is 25 minutes of active teaching, but each slot is 30-minutes in total. You can use the remaining few minutes to leave student feedback or have a rest before your next class. Students can book their teachers 24 hours in advance, so it’s a good idea to set your schedule a few weeks in advance.
Pros and Cons
● Along with offering a competitive base rate, VIPKid has been voted one of the best places to work for in 2020.
● They offer a cutting-edge platform and a well-developed curriculum that requires minimal preparation.
● They have a strong online community of teachers, which allows you to share ideas with your fellow teachers.
● They have a strict cancellation policy which can be a bit inconvenient if you don't have an excellent reason for cancelling classes.
● For teachers based in North America, the early hours can be a bit of a nightmare.
● As of 2020, they don’t offer pay raises, but they have implemented a new pay structure that could benefit teachers willing to put in the hours.
Q & A
Can I teach without a TEFL certificate?
No, but you can opt for the 10-hour course offered by VIPKid.
Can I teach from anywhere in the world?
Yes, as long as you’re eligible to work in the USA or Canada.
Do I need a bachelor's degree?
Yes. Unfortunately, this is a non-negotiable.
Should I teach with VIPKid?
While no company is perfect, VIPKid seems to be one of the good ones. Along with a flexible schedule that allows you to work from anywhere in the world, you also receive great incentives. VIPKid has switched up their pay structure, but they still provide teachers with an incredible base rate. If you have a passion for teaching and would love to work for one of the best companies in the ESL world, then this is the perfect job position for you!
If you're ready to get started, be sure to start your application journey with VIPKid today!
Here are a few VIPKid reviews that may help you decide:
- Working from home. Choosing your own schedule. Meeting and teaching the cutest kids! Not a lot of prep necessary. Waking up early! Unexpected technical issues can cause a teacher to get a "Teacher IT" and lose payment for that class.
- It is great to be working from home. The time difference is not bad if you live in the East Coast of the US. I have several repeat students whom I have come to know over the past 3.5 years. There are many ways in which the company tries to support the teachers. I enjoy using my teaching skills and am able to have fun while doing this job. I think my personal mindset and teaching style is what makes this job most enjoyable. Each day I practice being happy and enjoying my students. You will not make a livable wage at this job. It is part-time and they are changing the pay scale to most instructors detriment. But, during a pandemic, this job is valuable. Sometimes the students are apathetic and classes can be an energy drain. The company puts out an overwhelming amount of Public Relations content. It can be extremely time-consuming if you get involved. It is overwhelming for introverts, or anyone who has other responsibilities. Sometimes it is difficult to fill your schedule. Students cancel classes within 24 hours and you get no pay and the filling of the time slot is unlikely, leading to unpaid time where you can't earn money. It seems like the curriculum is being developed to phase out human teacher/student interaction. So I worry a bit about job security. There are constant updates to the curriculum, and teachers are encouraged to take continuing education for no pay. I am surprised to see my cons list is longer than the pros.
- Before I signed up to teach with VIPKID, I thought this opportunity was too good to be true. Although I love this company and truly appreciate all that it has done for me, we all know that every company has its flaws. Overall, I think it is awesome to work with VIPKID. The positive VIPKID reviews heavily outweigh the negative VIPKID reviews.