VIPKID Review: A Current Teacher’s Thoughts and Walkthrough of VIPKID
Working with VIPKID can be a positive experience, as long as you meet the requirements and follow all the policies. Bookings can fluctuate a lot though, so it's best not to depend on VIPKID as a sole source of income. The teacher support team is usually responsive, but not always very helpful.
- Flexible scheduling
- Easy onboarding process
- A thriving teacher community
- Inconsistent support
- Repetitive teaching materials
- Very difficult to get a raise
I personally wrote this VIPKID review. I am a current VIPKID teacher and have been with the company since July 2018. I have taught over 2,500 classes on the VIPKID platform, and I still teach to this day! You can read my story to learn more about me.
Last year, I made $18,237.50 from teaching English online with VIPKID, and I look forward to earning more income from home this year. This article is meant to be a walkthrough of the VIPKID platform, as well as a review of VIPKID from a current teacher. If you’d like, you can skip ahead to my honest VIPKID review.
Don’t qualify to teach with VIPKID? Don’t worry! You can explore some other great places to teach English online.
What Is VIPKID?
VIPKID is an online educational platform that connects Chinese children to English teachers around the globe. The company facilitates interactive online lessons using its own curriculum that is designed to help young children learn to speak English fluently.
Is VIPKID Legitimate Or A Scam?
VIPKID is a legitimate company. I currently work with VIPKID and have consistent bookings each week. I have always received my correct payment from VIPKID. The support team at VIPKID has also always been very responsive to my questions.
If you’re considering teaching online, you should always check to make sure you’re applying to legitimate companies. Unfortunately, there are a lot of scams out there for companies and online schools that don’t exist.
To find reputable and legitimate online teaching jobs, check out my list of places to teach English online!
How Does Teaching With VIPKID Work?
Teaching with VIPKID is very straightforward. Once you have successfully completed the VIPKID interview process, you need to complete your teacher profile on the VIPKID platform. After that, you are free to open your schedule based on your availability.
Once a student books a lesson with you, you can review the teaching material for the lesson and prepare your props. Then it’s time to teach!
There is a very simple structure to VIPKID lessons, and you will find your own teaching style as you complete more lessons.
Although the amount of your bookings can fluctuate each week, you will gain more regular students as you teach more lessons.
Regular students are dependable students that can fill your schedule every week, so it’s important to be consistent with your schedule and teaching style!
Is VIPKID Worth It?
VIPKID is definitely a good place to work! It has a straightforward and easy-to-use website, and the lessons are simple and engaging. Compared to other online education companies, VIPKID pay and bonuses are somewhat high, too.
VIPKID is a growing company, so there are definitely some inconveniences that come with that. Balancing the number of teachers and students is a difficult task, and this is sometimes reflected by fluctuations in your weekly schedule.
You may have a full schedule one week, but only a couple lessons the next. For that reason, I always suggest teaching with multiple online English schools to help you balance your weekly schedule.
Another pain point I’m starting to experience is in-class technical support. There is always a risk for technology to stop working during class, and immediate support is necessary.
Most VIPKID classes are only 25 minutes long, so waiting for a few minutes to get help can negatively affect your class.
The “firemen” (VIPKID tech support team) are trying to automate some basic tasks, and this may help in the future, but it’s somewhat difficult at this point.
What Are The Requirements To Work With VIPKID?
The requirements to work with VIPKID are somewhat strict compared to other online schools, but there are reasons for this:
- The Chinese government issued a press release about online English schools and said it will blacklist poorly-managed companies.
- VIPKID has a reputation for high-quality lessons given by native speakers, and this is reflected in the price parents pay.
- The competition to teach English online is growing, and online English companies have a lot of teachers to choose from. This means it’s important to continue developing as a teacher!
Ongoing professional development is important for any job, and teaching English online is no exception. Your qualifications can also affect your base pay, so there’s definitely an incentive to grow professionally within this career!
VIPKID Teacher Qualifications And Requirements
To teach with VIPKID, you need to meet four basic requirements:
- Hold a bachelor’s degree in any field
- Be a native English speaker with a US or Canadian accent
- Have a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate
- Have one year of previous experience teaching or tutoring children
VIPKID verifies each of these requirements during the interview process, so it’s important that you meet all of them.
The only exception is the TEFL certificate.
Because this is a common obstacle for many new teachers, VIPKID has partnered with TESOL International Association to create its own certificate made specifically for VIPKID teachers.
While this is a great way to join the VIPKID platform, I still recommend getting your own TEFL certificate. The VIPKID certificate is only valid for teaching on the VIPKID platform. You can’t use it when you apply to other online English schools.
Technology Requirements To Teach With VIPKID
VIPKID requires the following system settings to teach on its platform:
- Desktop, Laptop, MacBook, iPad, or Microsoft Surface
- Windows 7, 8 and 10; Mac OS 10.X or higher operating system
- ≥ Intel i5 processor
- ≥ 8GB RAM
- Wired high-speed internet connection of ≥ 25 Mb/s
It’s important to note that Linux and Chrome OS are NOT supported by VIPKid. This means you cannot teach from a Chromebook.
VIPKID also strongly recommends the following accessories:
- A headset (such as Logitech H151or H150)
- A webcam (such as Logitech C270 or Logitech C310) or a high-quality built-in camera
- A backup device such as an iPad
- A backup power supply or mobile hotspot
The power supply or mobile hotspot are useful in case you experience power outages or blackouts in your area.
VIPKID Hour Requirements And Peak Times
VIPKID has no minimum required hours you need to teach each week. This is great because you can work as much or as little as you would like. You can even take unlimited time off while keeping your contract active.
As far as peak teaching times, it’s important to remember that your students are in China. This means that VIPKID operates on Chinese Standard Time (CST).
China also does not participate in Daylight Savings Time, so keep this in mind when opening your schedule throughout the year! VIPKID peak teaching times during the school year are:
Local Time in China:
VIPKID Level Certifications
As you can imagine, each student is at a different level of English when they join the VIPKID platform. Teachers need to have different skills to teach each level. Because of this, there are different certifications you can get on the VIPKID platform.
As of March 2020, VIPKID has various certifications for level 1 (beginner) through level 8 (advanced). You can also get certified for supplementary courses that focus on different skills. These courses include phonics, grammar, vocabulary, reading, music, and other subjects. The certifications change quite frequently, so they may differ at the time you apply.
VIPKID Classroom Background And Additional Props
The VIPKID platform has a digital classroom that automatically uploads the teaching materials when you enter the classroom. All the classes are video classes though, so you should also make your background look like a classroom!
Including your name, maps, numbers, letters, and other classroom materials behind you helps encourage a positive learning environment for your students.
You are also strongly encouraged to use props during your classes. Props can include puppets, dolls, flashcards, and other learning items. A pet can also be a great prop during your lessons, like my cat likes to be!
Having an attractive and creative background can make your lessons more fun and engaging for students. This in turn can lead to more bookings!
What is the VIPKID Interview Process?
The VIPKID interview process is very simple and quick. Some people begin teaching within a week of applying! The interview process for VIPKID consists of the following steps:
- Submit basic information and background check
- Interview and complete demo lesson
- Certification and complete mock class
- Sign your contract
- Open your schedule and teach your first class!
Basic Information Required for VIPKID
When you start your application with VIPKID, you will submit the following information:
- General information, like your name and address
- A scan of your bachelor’s degree
- A description of your past teaching or tutoring experience
- Agreement for VIPKID to conduct a background check
3 Ways To Complete the VIPKID Demo Lesson
In the demo lesson, you will pretend to teach a 5-year-old child. While applicants used to teach a live demo lesson to a VIPKID recruiter, there are now three options:
The live interview takes about 10 minutes. First, the interview verifies your information and asks if you have any questions. Then, the interviewer pretends to be a young child and you teach him or her a demo lesson.
For the recorded demo, there is no live recruiter. You simply log onto the VIPKID platform and enter the designated classroom. You describe yourself and teach the demo lesson to a pretend child. The demo lessons for the live interview and recorded demo are the same.
The smart demo is the fastest option, and it’s also the easiest option. You download the VIPKID app on your phone and take a brief quiz (5 questions). After you pass the quiz, you record yourself teaching one of the slides from the demo lesson.
How To Pass Your VIPKID Demo Lesson
Passing the demo lesson is easy if you prepare. If you don’t prepare though, it will be obvious and you will probably need to redo it. Here are some quick tips for passing the VIPKID demo interview:
- Read through each slide and practice what you’re going to say. Remember, you are teaching children, so your language should be simple and easy to understand.
- Watch examples on Youtube for inspiration. There are a lot of walkthroughs and guide videos about the VIPKID demo class. Here’s a great one:
- Design your background and find props to use during your class. This is very important! Doing this will show VIPKID your creativity and ambition.
- Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! Practice going through the slides at least three times. You should almost have them memorized! Also, avoid using incidental language like uh, um, and so. Little kids won’t understand this.
VIPKID will usually respond to your demo class within 24 hours. If you passed, congratulations! You’re moving on to the next step: the mock class.
Teach A VIPKID Mock Class
The mock class is similar to the demo class, but it’s a little bit longer. This stage of the interview process is more about getting feedback from a Mock Class Mentor (MCM) and learning more about how to be an effective teacher with VIPKID.
A Mock Class Mentor is an experienced VIPKID teacher who wants to help you succeed on the platform. They’re there to help you, not to critique you!
This stage is similar to other job interviews and consists of three steps: introducing yourself, teaching the mock class, and feedback.
The mock class lasts about 25 minutes, and you will teach for 10 of those minutes. After you introduce yourself and get to know your MCM, they will pretend to be a child. You’ll then teach the mock class, just like you did the demo class.
After you finish, the MCM will give you constructive feedback about how you can improve your teaching, and also which levels they think you would teach best. (Just an FYI, the lower levels usually have the best bookings!)
Here’s a great example of the mock class for lower levels:
It usually takes about 24 hours to get the official results of your mock class, but your MCM may give you a hint during your session whether or not you’ll be successful.
Sign Your VIPKID Contract
After you successfully complete your mock class, it’s time to sign your contract! This will have all the details you need to have a successful career with VIPKID, including cancellation policies, technology and attendance requirements, and most importantly, your pay!
At this stage, you can also upload profile pictures and an introduction video for your teacher profile. Make sure you put a lot of effort into these because they will be your first impression to potential students!
Prepare For Your First VIPKID Class
Then it’s time to teach your first class. Remember to review the slides beforehand and prepare your props and classroom background.
VIPKID also recommends the following to ensure a positive classroom experience:
- Change your operating system updates from “automatic” to “manual” to prevent automatic updates during your lesson.
- Reboot your computer and router at least 15 minutes before class
How Much Does VIPKID Pay Online English Teachers?
You can make up to $22 USD per hour with VIPKID. This amount includes your base pay, participation incentives, and finished class incentives. There are also other forms of compensation available. Here’s a breakdown of how you can make money with VIPKID.
VIPKID Base Pay
Base pay is the minimum amount you receive for teaching with VIPKID. The VIPKID base pay ranges from $7 to $10 USD per 25 minute class. Base pay is calculated based on your qualifications and past experience.
Bonuses And Incentives
In addition to base pay, VIPKID also offers additional bonuses and incentives to teachers. While the amounts may vary from teacher to teacher, standard incentives include attendance and participation.
With these incentives added to your base pay, you can make up to $22 per hour teaching with VIPKID.
In addition to the standard incentives, VIPKID also offers different bonuses and challenges throughout the year that have cash payouts. These typically occur during holiday periods or other high-demand times, and they’re a great way to grow your income!
Money isn’t the only thing you earn with VIPKID. They also have a reward program for completing different tasks throughout the year, and the reward is tokens.
Tokens can be used to purchase a lot of different rewards, including gift cards, teaching props, stuffed Dino dolls (the VIPKID mascot), raffle tickets for large prizes, and even a free flight to an educational event!
A Walkthrough Of The VIPKID Platform
You may be curious what it actually looks like to work for VIPKID. Unfortunately, I can’t include screenshots of the VIPKID platform in this article. I’ll do my best to describe it though!
Once you sign your contract and start teaching, you’ll have access to all areas of the VIPKID platform. Here’s an overview of what you’ll see.
The VIPKID Teacher's Portal Homepage
When you first log in, you’ll see the main homepage. This page shows you any specials or challenges VIPKID is running, as well as important information you need to know. This includes any upcoming classes you have. It shows you:
- Time and date
- Student name
- The lesson you’ll be teaching
The hompage also shows your to-do list: missing class feedback you need to complete, student booking requests you need to answer, and any additional VIPKID tasks you need to complete.
You need to complete a feedback form for every class you teach!
This gives VIPKID an idea of the student’s level and if their lessons are appropriate for their level. It also helps the parents understand what the child can practice outside of class. If you don’t complete the feedback within 12 hours of the class, VIPKID deducts from your pay for that class!
How To See Your VIPKID Class Bookings
To see your bookings, navigate to the bookings page in the VIPKID Teacher Portal. The bookings page shows your current bookings for the week. This is also the page where you can open and close your availability. Each week on Monday, students and parents can book classes for the next week. Because of this, it’s important to open your slots by Monday for the following week!
You can also view your booking requests here. If a student really enjoys your class, they can ask you to open your availability for a specific time. You can either accept or deny these booking requests.
Lately, it seems the booking requests are becoming automated, and the students or parents may not actually be requesting them.
Either way, accepting these requests is a great way to build a relationship with your students.
How To Get Different VIPKID Level Certifications
In the Certification Center, you can see all available certifications. Getting more of these certifications builds your relationship with VIPKID. These certifications can also help fill your schedule during low booking times throughout the year. Here’s more information about VIPKID certifications from Teacher Carla:
VIPKID offers certifications for different levels, supplementary courses, and the Builders Program. The Builders Program works directly with VIPKID to improve the program. These certifications include Mock Class Mentors, Community and Brand Ambassadors, and Curriculum Reviewer.
The VIPKID Rewards Center
The VIPKID Rewards Center is where you can access discounts and promotions from VIPKID’s corporate partners. Depending on how many classes you open, how many teachers you refer, and how much you contribute to the VIPKID community, you can work your way up through different levels. Each level unlocks more discounts and special offers.
Some great offers in the Rewards Center now include Amazon, TurboTax, Purdue University Global, and Busuu.
You can also earn tokens in the Hutong, which is a special section of the VIPKID website.
What Exactly Is The Hutong?
The Hutong is VIPKID’s social network. It has different challenges you can complete to learn more about the company and Chinese culture. You can also submit your friends, coworkers, and family as referrals through the Hutong.
The more you participate in the Hutong, the more points you get. Once you have enough points, you can convert them to tokens! Token can be used in the VIPKID Token Center.
VIPKID Account Center and Information
To find the details of your online teaching account and contract with VIPKID, you can navigate to the Account Center. The Account Center lets you access:
- Account Information
- Contract and VIPKID Agreement
- Associated Accounts
Review And Updated Your Account Information
In the Account Information section, you can upload a profile picture, featured photos, an introduction video, and your “about me” section. This is also where you update your personal information, educational background, and contact information.
Your referral link is available in Account Information. You can also see your VIPKID certifications, your tax forms, and change your account password.
Sign Or Review Your VIPKID Contract Agreement
This is where you can view your current contract and sign your next contract when it becomes available. You agree to your background check in this section, too.
You can choose to connect your social media accounts to VIPKID. If you’d like to do that, you can add them here!
The VIPKID Token Center
The VIPKID Token Center is where you can see your current balance of tokens. You can also see the current challenges you can complete to earn tokens. These challenges usually involve opening a certain amount of time slots each week.
Most importantly, you can see the available gifts you can buy with tokens! The availability of gifts varies throughout the year, but they are always worth saving up for!
Past and current gifts may include gift cards to major online retailers, raffles for electronics and other items, VIPKID-branded items like blankets, dolls, and umbrellas, and printable teaching props to use in your classroom.
How To See Your Teaching Stats
Your VIPKID teaching stats are really important to check each month. These stats are what determine if you get a raise or not. On the Stats page, you can see how many classes you opened and completed each month, your participation statistics, and your parent feedback percentages.
How To Get A Raise At VIPKID
With VIPKID, contracts are six months in length. You are eligible for a raise every other contract. There are minimum requirements you need to meet to be eligible for a raise. Each raise is $0.50 per class, which amounts to an extra $1 per hour!
VIPKID determines your eligibility for a raise based on a points system. 12 is the maximum amount of points you can receive.
If your base pay is $8.50 per class or less, you need to earn 10 points to get a raise, including teaching at least 1,200 classes.
If your base pay is more than $8.50 per class, you need to earn all 12 points.
Points are awarded for the following:
- 2 points: 25% or more 5-Apple feedback for all the classes you taught
- 2 points: Two or less Teacher No Shows (TNSs)
- 2 points: Class cancellation rate is less than 0.6%
- 2 points: Teach more than 600 peak-peak time slots (7pm-9pm BJT)
- 4 points: Teach at least 1,200 classes with finish type “As Scheduled”
As a note, contracts may change during 2020. Although the raise requirements will most likely be similar to the ones listed below, check your contract or send a ticket to the support team to find specific raise requirements.
How To See Your Payments In The Teacher Portal
To see your payment for the current month and previous months, you can navigate to the Payments section of the VIPKID Teacher Portal.
Here, you’ll see every detail of your current and past payments. You can see your total payments, as well as a breakdown of how much of the payment comes from:
- Participation Incentives
- Other Incentives (referrals, finished classes, etc.)
- Adjustments (deductions for cancellations)
This is also where you can adjust your payment cycle.
How Often Does VIPKID Pay Teachers?
With VIPKID, you can choose your own payment cycle from the following:
Most payments from VIPKID come via direct deposit. If you use another method, like wire transfers, your bank may charge a fee. VIPKID subsidizes this fee by paying up to $12 per month. Keep this in mind when choosing your payment frequency!
What Are VIPKID Teaching Tags?
VIPKID categorizes teaching styles based on tags. These tags help students and parents find teachers who can easily match their learning styles. Tags are based on your skills, strengths, and personality characteristics.
They are assigned by parents and students who have taken your classes, as well as your Mock Class Mentor.
For example my tags are:
- Teaching Skills: Comprehension checks and student encouragement
- Strengths: Classroom environment and pronunciation
- Personality: Friendly and patient
You can have up to six tags, and you can also choose your own if you aren’t happy with your assigned tags.
How To Read Your VIPKID Parent Feedback
It’s very important to read your parents’ feedback because this can help you improve your class. Feedback is also a factor in determining your VIPKID pay raise.
Instead of a star system, VIPKID uses an apple system for its feedback ratings. The best feedback is a 5-apple feedback.
Parents are also able to submit comments with their ratings. These comments can be very helpful in improving your classroom. Most parents are very complimentary in their feedback, which also helps keep morale high!
A Peek Inside The VIPKID Classroom
The classroom is where all the magic happens! It consists of your video, your student’s video, the teaching materials, and a comment box for you, your student, and the VIPKID firemen to chat via text.
This video is a couple years old and the classroom has definitely improved, but here’s a taste of what you’ll find during your classes!
It’s very important that you’re comfortable using the features in the VIPKID classroom because this can heavily impact your parent feedback and contract renewal. You’ll be able to enter your own classroom during the interview process to explore the many different interactive features available.
Need help? Visit the VIPKID Support Center
The final part of this walkthrough of the VIPKID platform will be able to answer any remaining questions you have: the VIPKID Support Center.
This is where the company posts Frequently Asked Questions and other information that is useful to teachers.
You can also contact support directly in the Support Center if you have a question that isn’t answered. In my experience, the support team usually responds to questions and inquiries within 24 hours. They’re very efficient!
Benefits Of Working With VIPKID
VIPKID is one of the most established online English education companies in the world. The teaching platform is top-notch, and way ahead of many other competitors. There are a lot of other great reasons to work with VIPKID, too.
High Hourly Pay
Compared to its competitors, the pay at VIPKID is on the higher end. This is great for people who want to earn great money on the side. The high pay also allows people to earn their main income from VIPKID, which isn’t possible for some other online English education companies.
The bonuses and incentives are also excellent and allow you to earn more than your base pay. If you have a flexible schedule and somewhat open availability, you can take advantage of these bonuses and earn a lot of extra money!
Flexible Payment Options
VIPKID is also flexible in their pay periods, which you won’t find at other companies. With VIPKID, you can choose to be paid weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
This flexibility is great for people who want to build up a large payment over the month and save for a big expense, or people who want fast money each week to help cover bills.
No Required Time Commitment
Unlike many competitors, VIPKID does not have a minimum hourly requirement. Other online English schools expect teachers to work upwards of 10 hours each week.
With VIPKID, you can take unlimited time off during your contract (as long as you don’t cancel classes that were already booked). You can also open your schedule daily, if that’s what you prefer!
Simple Application And Onboarding Process
The application process to become a VIPKID teacher is simple, efficient, and quick! You usually receive feedback or results for each step within 24 hours of completion. You also have multiple attempts to pass each stage, so the company allows you to improve and practice!
Teacher Training And Workshops
There are a lot of different training sessions and workshops you can participate in on the VIPKID platform. These not only help you become a better teacher, but they also help you with soft skills that you can apply to any career or job.
Participating in ongoing training may also help your bookings because when you put your new skills to use, students and parents will notice your improvements.
Prepared Curriculum And Teaching Materials
One of the best parts about teaching with VIPKID is that the curriculum and lesson materials are prepared for you. This means you only need to review the slides before class, and then teach them during class.
There is no lesson preparation and there is no need to create your own activities. This saves your precious free time, and also helps you avoid working for free (other companies don’t pay you for lesson prep time)!
While it’s nice to have all your materials provided, this can also somewhat limit your creativity during lessons. It can also hold your students back if the content is too difficult or easy for them. Overall, the supplied materials are definitely a benefit though!
A Large Community Of Teachers
There are a lot of VIPKID teachers out there! While the company hasn’t released a specific number of teachers, it’s safe to say there are more than 50,000.
There is an official VIPKID Teachers Group on Facebook, and there are also a lot of other smaller groups for special interests. For example, I’m in the VIPKID EU Expats group. There are groups for mothers, gamers, cooks, the LGBT+ community, and others.
Being a VIPKID teacher is a great way to connect with people from around the world!
Of course, the reason VIPKID even exists is to teach children a new language. The kids are the best part of the job at the end of the day. Seeing them progress through the different lessons and levels, and knowing you played a significant role in their education, is worth the late nights and early mornings!
Downsides Of Working With VIPKID
Like every job, there are definitely some things that could be improved if you decide to work with VIPKID. There are also some aspects of the job that are difficult and unfortunately can’t be changed.
The Time Difference For Peak Hours
The hours are one of the difficult aspects that can’t be changed. Especially for teachers in the US, the hours can be difficult to adjust to. You may find yourself working at all hours of the night and early morning.
If you’re able to get in a routine, this may make it easier. The main thing is to respect your health and your family. Those needs should always come first!
VIPKID Cancellation Policy
The cancellation policy at VIPKID is somewhat strict compared to other online English schools. You are allowed six cancellations during your 6-month contract.
However, the maximum number of cancellations you can get in one day is two. This definitely helps! For example, if you have 12 classes scheduled in one day that you need to cancel, this will only count as two cancellations on your contract.
Independent Contractor Status
This is both a positive and negative of working with VIPKID. Working as an independent contractor in the US, VIPKID does not withhold any taxes or provide any form of insurance. You should always keep these expenses in mind when you choose to work as an independent contractor with any company.
However, being an independent contractor also allows you the freedom of choosing your own hours and location, and using your own equipment.
Bookings can fluctuate throughout the year, so your income may also fluctuate. If you’re teaching with VIPKID as a side income, this may not be a big deal. If it’s your main income source though, you should help prepare yourself.
I always recommend teaching for more than one online English school to help balance your bookings.
Company Communication With Teachers Is Lacking
VIPKID is a large company, and with a huge network of independent contractors, communication is difficult. However, I’ve become more frustrated lately because of the lack of communication regarding changes in the classroom and with some policies.
After all, the company has every teacher’s contact details, so they should be able to keep us more in the loop.
Final Thoughts About Teaching English Online with VIPKID
Overall, I am happy teaching with VIPKID. There are definitely some frustrations, but every job has its difficulties.
I think VIPKID is a great opportunity if you want to make some extra money on the side. I would be very cautious recommending it as a full-time job though. I’ve noticed my bookings fluctuating more recently, and sometimes dropping off completely.
Compared to other online English schools, VIPKID offers a comprehensive platform with a developed curriculum.
If you’d like to find out any more information, feel free to leave a comment below!