Update: Please read our guide on the online teaching ban in China. VIPKID is the largest online teaching company and will spend the next year pivoting their business model so it’s still worth applying. The following content was written before the new regulations took effect, however until they change their business model we will leave the content as is.
VIPKID is the industry leader in online teaching. They were founded in 2015 and have rapidly grown from a small company of a few hundred teachers to more than a network of 80,000+ teachers located around the world.
Hi, my name is David. I’m the founder of Teach and GO and was one of the first few thousand teachers back when I started with VIPKID in 2016. It’s been amazing to watch VIPKID go from some little unknown platform, to the industry leader for online teaching.
While things in the online teaching space have recently changed due to China’s online teaching ban, VIPKID is positioning themselves to be a global platform for online learning and will now focus on countries outside of China as well as different product verticals.
Is it still worth applying? Yes, while the company is in flux, if they work things out and find a new, effective business model then it will be worth being a teacher on the platform.
Teach English online from the comfort of your home. Americans and Canadians only.
VIPKID Job Description
Let’s cover what VIPKID online teaching job is like currently. Granted, as they work to reorganize their business these points may change over time:
- $7 per class base pay. Not including incentive bonus. Learn more about VIPKID’s pay structure.
- Flexibility with no minimum. You can absolutely take a week of for vacation and it won’t affect your booking rates.
- Curriculum is provided for you. You will be required to have applicable teaching props.
- A supportive community of 80,000+ teachers. There are internal forums for VIPKID as well as Facebook groups and meetups.
- VIPKID classes are 1 to 1.
- Class time is for 25 minutes. After class your expected to leave student feedback. You have 12 hours to submit feedback before you’re penalized for being late.
- No quizzes, test or homework to grade. You just teach and go.
Do you teach the same students?
In general you will see the same students week to week. Again, it is up to the parent to book you, as such if a parent likes your teaching style you can expect to see the same kids every week.
As a VIPKID teacher, you will have “followers” and students who have list you as their regular teacher.
Is there any interaction with the parents?
No, the parents book you but the only thing you’re required to do is teach the lesson.
In order to maximize the number of classes you could get scheduled, we recommend you to be available for at least 8-12 hours a week (20 time slots per week roughly at 30 minutes per time slot) during Beijing peak times.
Peak Times For Online Teaching With VIPKID
VIPKID acted as an after school program the students participate in once they finish school for the day. As such, if you’re based in America, hours were early morning. For a lot of teachers this is fine. Wake up at 6 am, teach 3 or 4 classes then head off to work for the day.
For Beijing, the peak times were 6-10 pm and for Saturday and Sunday it’s 9 am to 10 pm. You can get booked during non peak hours of course. While I was in Thailand, I was teaching 11:00 am to 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm to 9:00 pm Monday to Friday.
Going forward, the hours will change as VIPKID will try to expand to countries outside of China, including America. They could potentially develop customized product verticals for different countries.
VIPKID Teacher Requirements
The requirements for teaching English online with VIPKID were as follows:
Be a US or Canadian citizen. This was VIPKID’s main selling point and was non-negotiable as Chinese want a North American accent. Going forward, they may follow an Outschool approach where anyone can teach if they have relevant experience.
Have a bachelors degree at a minimum. This could very well change. This was in place because Chinese law states that teachers must have a degree from an accredited university. This is normal in the teaching world of ESL and not unique to VIPKID.
Have experience working with kids for at least 1 year. You can be a coach or you could volunteer or be a teacher. You just need some experience working with kids.
VIPKID as with any online teaching company also has technical requirements for teaching English online. They are:
How Much Does VIPKID Pay?
The compensation for VIPKID is good compared to other options, but don’t expect any sort of wage growth. Back in 2016, I was paid $8 with bonus an don average I was making $22 an hour before tax. With the pay structure change a year ago, even though I had two raises to $9 an hour, I was making only $19 an hour with bonus before tax.
That’s right, I was making functionally less money per hour even though I had been teaching with VIPKID for years. We have a dedicated guide here at Teach and GO on the pay structure for VIPKID (click to read). With your base pay plus applicable bonuses you can comfortably make $20 an hour working from home if you’re willing to do 20 hours a week.
VIPKID pays a base rate of $7-9 an hour per 25 minute class. All teachers now start at 7$ per class but are eligible for raises – see our guide on how to get a raise with VIPKID.
In addition to your base pay, you get an incentive bonus depending on your tier and the amount of classes you teach. Your tier is based on how many classes you have taught all together at VIPKID.
For veteran teachers, it’s not uncommon to have taught 1000+ classes. Then, you’re paid an incentive for how many classes you complete in a given month.
|Base Rate||$7 per class||This is VIPKID’s standard rate.|
|Tier||There are 10 tiers||You are placed into a tier based on how many classes you have taught cumulatively over your contracts with VIPKID.|
|Finished Classes||.08 cents to $3.2||You are paid a bonus rate per class completed based on your tier.|
Here is the current VIPKID pay structure:
Please note however that the pay per class is not cumulative. That is, if you were teach more than 181 classes, only classes past 181 would be paid at the 181 class rate. The rest of those classes would be paid at their respective rates.
So a new teacher would receive a base rate of around $8 typically. If you teach 100 classes, the first 20 classes are paid your base rate + .08 cents per class. The next 21-40 classes are paid a $1.2 bonus per class and so forth.
Again, this was the old pay rate and will likely change once VIPKID comes up with a new business model.
What Hours Do You Teach With VIPKID?
There used to be a 7.5 hour minimum with VIPKID, but they no longer enforce this requirement as you can’t require independent contractors to work a minimum amount of time or wear a uniform.
You could have taught as much or as little as you like week to week. You simply open hours a week in advanced and parents book you. The ideal day to open hours for the following week is Sunday each week. For actual class time for US based teacher here:
Peak Times were:
|TIME ZONE||MON – FRI||Daylight Savings|
|EST||5 am – 9 am /||6 am – 10 am|
|CST||4 am – 8 am||5 am – 9 am|
|MST||3 am – 7 am||4 am – 8 am|
|PST||2 am – 6 am||3 am – 7 am|
|HAWAII||12 am – 4 am||1 am – 5 am|
As China has implemented a ban for online teaching, these hours are only relevant if VIPKID starts teaching students online in Vietnam, Korea, Japan and so forth.
As VIPKID is looking to be a global company for online learning, your hours will simply depend on where your students are located. One thing is for sure, VIPKID will still be an afterschool and weekend platform for young learners.
How Do You Get Hired With VIPKID
VIPKID takes a bit of work to get hired. They don’t want lazy people. It’s worth going through the process because once you’re setup as a teacher, you’re basically good to go and you only need to open hours and teach classes.
Step 1 – Apply to VIPKID
Do you meet the basic requirements to be a VIPKID teacher? Great! Go ahead and apply. It’s essential you have some sort of experience with kids so even if it’s something like coaching children after school, volunteering or whatever – indicate it in your application.
Step 2 – Short Interview
If you pass the requirements to be an online teacher, VIPKID will conduct a short interview with you. This interview will be with a Chinese staff member at VIPKID. It’s just a short 10 minute “get to know you” interview to see what you’re like.
You’ll have to answer questions related to VIPKID and your background and the goal of the interview is to simply see what you’re like as a person. For the interview make sure to wear a nice shirt, style your hair and conduct the interview in a quite place with a nice background.
You may be expected to teach a handful of slides. Again, pay attention to what they say in the emails you get. I personally had a 10 minute interview followed by a 5 minute demo.
Overall, it’s not too formal, but make the effort. You have a few different options for the interview:
- Recorded demo class
- Interview express
- Coaching day meetup
- Simple interview
Recorded Demo Class
This is the new normal for VIPKID. The demo class is a bit nerve racking but just DO IT. You will have to record yourself giving a demo lesson. Yes it’s silly, but they need a way to see if you’re able to follow instructions and meet the lesson objectives.
It’s a one time thing. You do this once, you get hired and you’re good to go so just set aside time on the weekend and get it done.
This is for invite only and is typically reserved for highly qualified teachers who already have a few years experience teaching English online with other companies.
Coaching day meetup
VIPKID now hosts meetups all across America and Canada. You can attend one of these meetups and go through the hiring process in person.
The simple interview is 6 slides long and is designed to expedite the hiring process for select candidates.
Please have good lightning, a nice place to teach that has an appropriate background and a good internet connection. Also review the VIPKID applicant performance indicator.
For good lighting you need light on your face. You can use the light on your phone or better yet, buy a small lamp that can give you a nice looking glow. If it’s in the morning, consider using teaching near a window for natural lighting.
Your background is also important. At a minimum have a plain background with no distractions like laundry, animals or posters. At best, create a background appropriate for a classroom. Something like a map, large white board, stickers and your name are all fine. The background if your chance to show some of your personality.
Step 3 – Demo Class and Certification Center
Once you pass the interview you’ll have access to the self study section of VIPKID where you go through a self study process to learn about VIPKID and the various policies at work with the company. The self study part is your orientation to VIPKID so you can start learning about this organization.
You’ll be required to start completing certifications for different levels. VIPKID has levels 1 to 6. Most students are at the lower levels but there are some students at level 6. Depending on what level you choose to get certified for will dictate what lesson you teach.
For each level you can be asked to teach two different lessons. Prepare for both. The lesson is 10 minutes long and is with a mock class instructor.
Once you get certified for at least one level you’ll be given your contract. Make sure to certify for all levels as most students are at level 2, 3 and 4.
Step 4 – Sign Your Contract
The process from start to finish takes a few weeks. But once you’ve taught numerous classes with them, the lessons become easy and second nature. Allowing you to do minimum prep for each class.
When first starting, you need to review and prepare but after you’ve taught the same lesson over and over you’ll start to have mastery over the VIPKID curriculum. After your first month or two, you’ll be able to quickly and easily teach with VIPKID.
Step 5 – Open hours!
The last step is to open slots. Once you’re booked, check the lesson and review in great detail and prepare as best you can for your online class.
Teach English online. Americans and Canadians only.
VIPKID – A global education company conclusion
Things are tough right now for a lot of teachers and companies that build their business primarily around the Chinese market. Some online teaching companies are outright closing down, others are going to take the next year and reorganize with a new business model.
VIPKID is still one of the largest, most established online teaching companies today. It’s still a good idea to apply and get setup on the platform, but don’t expect regular bookings until they sort things out.