If you’ve been apart of any Facebook group related to online teaching you’ll notice one annoying thing. Referral links from “recruiters.” Really, the overwhelming majority of these recruiters are simply struggling affiliate marketers trying to make a quick buck referring prospective teachers to online teaching companies.
Some however, are genuine teachers who actually enjoy the company they work with (VIPKID is a genuinely beloved brand). Before we get into this, let’s cover some basic concepts.
What are referral links?
Referral links are similar to affiliate links in that you get a commission for each qualifying teacher you refer through your link. So if you’re able to jump into various Facebook groups and refer 5 people who then go on to get hired and teach you yourself could profit $500 in commissions.
Who can get referral links?
This actually depends on the online teaching company. Some companies like VIPKID only allow current teachers or those with a large audience (bloggers, YouTubers etc) to have referral links.
Other companies like Say ABC, have an affiliate sign-up process where you have to apply to their program and demonstrate how you intend to promote SayABC in a casual interview over Skype.
Then you have teacher referral programs like Palfish that are open to anyone. You simply download the app and are then able to start referring teachers.
Do you recruiters help you get hired?
No. While numerous VIPKID teachers offer “coaching” if you sign up through their link, it’s of no benefit in the hiring process to use someones referral link. You’re not given special treatment and will have to still go through the same process as anyone else.
If you want to help a friend out or you want to take advantage of some coaching or incentive to use someone links then go for it. Online teaching companies use referral links as a means of free marketing and recruitment.
Can you make a lot of money referring teachers?
No. While it may seem potentially lucrative, most people are unqualified to be an online teacher. Combine this with the fact that people are lazy and it’s not surprising why referring teachers is typically nothing more than a nice occasional bonus income.
The reason is that online teaching companies you don’t pay you when someone signs up through your link. That is simply step 1 of the process. You only get a commission on qualified teachers. That means the person you refer actually has to go through and complete the hiring process and teach a class.
As such, this is a high standard and 90% or more of the people you refer simply:
- Won’t have the qualifications to teach
- Won’t complete the hiring process
- Will fail the hiring process
Teaching English online is quite lucrative. As a former mock class mentor for VIPKID, I can personally tell you that people don’t take it seriously. They treat online teaching as some entry level position and not the $25 an hour position it actually is.
How much do companies pay for referrals?
The industry standard right now is $100 per qualified teacher. That means if you refer a teacher who completes the hiring process and then teaches a class you’ll be paid an extra $100.
Also, some companies like VIPKID offer very lucrative bonus pay for successful teachers:
You’ll still get your standard $100 payout, but if you were able to refer 10 successful teachers in a 1 year time span you would get an additional bonus of $500. Get that up to 50 teachers in one year and you’ll get $6,000. Again however, recruiting is tough for most companies.
VIPKID requires you to be North American, with a bachelors degree, some experience with kids and the willingness to get a TEFL certificate.
But if you’re a YouTuber for example like Nancy Taylor who has a large audience VIPKID can become quite profitable.
Shes makes hundreds of dollars a month from advertising on her VIPKID related videos and she is one of the top referring teachers.
Things to note when referring teachers
As with any form of affiliate marketing there are some general rules you should follow as a way to keep yourself in good standing. As this industry grows and evolves, they will eventually match the practices of all affiliate programs. Here are some standard rules companies expect from their affiliates:
- You should not be offering “coaching” or anything free as a way to get people to sign up.
- Don’t use an online teaching companies intellectual property to market your referral links.
- Don’t register a blog and use a companies name. Like “MyVIPKIDJourney.com.” This is form of copyright infringement.
- No paid ads using an online teaching companies name.
- Don’t make misleading claims.
- Don’t post on Facebook or a jobs board that xyz company is “hiring” when really it is just your referral link.
Do people do the above? Yes, for now. They will get away with it but not for long. This is not just applicable to online teaching mind you. Almost any affiliate program has these rules in place. It’s just that people are not aware of them.
Teacher Referral Conclusion
So that is it for online teacher referrals. It’s an excellent way to supplement your online teaching income but it’s not something to rely on. Use it as the way it is intended. As a bonus. Create your YouTube channel, post on Facebook and be helpful to people. But be transparent as well.