Remote working encompasses several jobs - you could be a writer, developer, marketer, and - one of the most popular online job opportunities - a teacher! One of the most popular sites for lessons is VIPKid but how much is the VIPKid Teacher Salary?
Being an Online English Teacher is becoming a growing profession for many people. Some use the opportunity to earn extra income while others have made it into a full-time gig. Needless to say, there is definitely a growing market of students, from young kids to even adults, mostly based in Asia who are looking to improve their English.
The English language is an international language which many people hope to master. In many Asian countries, being fluent in English actually opens up many job prospects and opportunities. While there are definitely many schools in those countries that offer good English lessons, a modern approach has made it more convenient for them to learn from actual native speakers.
There are now many online companies and websites that offer English lessons. VIPKid is a popular site for students who want to learn English, they are also a growing company which is constantly recruiting more and more English teachers to join them.
Is being an Online English Teacher with VIPKid worth it?
What is VIPKid?
- Company name: VIPKid
- Founded: 2013
- Founders: Cindy Mi
- Website URL: www.vipkid.com
- Type: Online Educational Platform (English Classes)
VIPKid is an online platform that hires English teachers from the USA and Canada to teach students from China. Basically, the site connects these students and teachers through an online-classroom portal where students are able to schedule classes with the teachers. Lessons are one-on-one video chats that last 25 minutes.
VIPKid was founded in 2013 by Cindy Mi, who has shown passion for education rooted in her early experiences. VIPKid has grown into a multi-billion dollar company, with a valuation of $3 billion as of November 2018. The main goal of the platform is to “inspire every child for the future.” Aside from just teaching English, VIPKid teachers also cover subjects, such as Math, Science, and Social Studies among others, and teach these subjects in the English language. By teaching these children, VIPKid teachers will be able to “provide them with a learning and cultural experience as they become global citizens.“
Well, students are definitely able to learn better by learning from a native speaker. However, are VIPKid teachers qualified to teach?
Here’s how their system actually works.
How Does VIPKid Work?
On the students end, they simply browse through the site and book lessons on a specific time slot with their selected teacher. New students are able to avail of a free trial lesson - don’t worry, teachers still get paid regularly if they teach a trial lesson. Students get to rate their teachers and improve their English as they go through their lessons.
VIPKid is in no way a replacement for an actual school. The lessons on VIPKid are more like tutorial sessions than actual classes at school. Students don’t move up from the 1st grade to the second grade after a year of lessons - and they definitely don’t have to schedule a class each day. Instead, VIPKid lessons are supplementary lesson which kids take - or rather their parents make them take - to help them learn English better and get an advantage against their peers.
It’s a convenient system since kids are able to do the lessons at home for just a few minutes a day. No doubt, the online teaching scene has definitely shown some major benefits since it is actually a fast growing industry. Aside from VIPKid, there are many other companies that offer similar services.
For teachers, it is also a good opportunity to work from home.
VIPKid Teacher Requirements
The requirements needed to be a VIPKid teacher are classified as technical requirements and personal requirements. The technical requirements refer to the tools that teachers need in order to conduct lessons.
VIPKid does not provide you a laptop or internet to teach. Those are all on you. Even at the start of your application, you need to verify that your “teaching station” which is basically your computer and desk, are able to meet their requirements.
Device requirements state that teachers will need to have either a Desktop, Laptop, MAC, or Surface to access the VIPKid platform. A headset with a microphone and an external camera are also needed in order to conduct lessons. The camera can be integrated into the laptop.
Another major requirement is that your computer should be running either a Windows 7 or higher, or the MAC OS X 10.10 or above operating systems. On top of that, your computer should also have at least 4GB RAM, and a minimum Intel Core i3 CPU or equivalent. You should also have the latest Flash version installed, use Chrome 58 or newer versions, and be connected to a stable internet connection with a bandwidth of at least 20 Mbps.
These technical requirements are all rather basic and with a modern computer and good internet connection, most people should be able to meet these requirements quite easily.
With all those requirements checked, the next things you need to have are experience, a Bachelor’s degree, eligibility to work in the USA or Canada, and a TESOL certificate - although the first and last ones may actually be optional.
The first requirement is that teachers have to be eligible to work in the USA or Canada.
But isn’t this an online job?
Yeah, teachers can actually work from anywhere in the world. They can choose to stay at home or spend each week traveling a new country, as long as the internet is stable, they can teach at VIPKid. Even during the application process, people who are already based in other countries but are still able to work in the USA or Canada can join VIPKid - provided that they meet all the other requirements of course.
The second requirement is that you need to have a Bachelor’s degree. It doesn’t have to be a degree in teaching, but being a college graduate is a necessary requirement if you want to work with VIPKid.
The third requirement is TESOL certification. However, you don’t really need to go through a TESOL certification course since VIPKid actually offers a course on this for their teachers. But, having TESOL certification may help increase your base pay when you first apply.
The last requirement is experience. Experienced teachers are definitely welcome but this is not exactly a strict requirement. Experience can actually also refer to experience as a tutor, or in any position that involves working with children. Although having experience as an online english teacher or as a school teacher might also be one factor to help increase your initial base pay.
A final requirement that is a must-have is this: You must be a Native English Speaker.
This is pretty obvious since you need to have a good control of the language if you want to teach kids how to speak it.
When you meet all these requirements, applying to VIPKid is an easy, but nerve-wracking process.
VIPKid Teacher Application
Applying as a teacher with VIPKid is actually easy. All the steps are outlined on their site. At the top right of the site, there’s a button that says “Become a Teacher.” Clicking on the button leads to a quick sign-up form which, after making an account, will lead you to the application process which is broken down into 4 steps: Basic Info, Demo Lesson, Certification, and Contract Info & BC.
After filling up the form, which requires basic info and asks a few other questions, your application needs to be approved. Filling up the form takes less than 5 minutes, but waiting on approval of your application can take a few days. They’ll send you an email as soon as it is approved or denied.
After approval, applicants need to undergo a Demo Lesson. The demo is simple: you need to show them how you can handle an online lesson. This is where experienced teachers have the edge. But, if you have no experience, there are several tutorials and even online mentors that can help you. A lot of VIPKid teachers actually help out applicants by giving some coaching tips.
Why do they do that?
Well, it’s not just because they are nice people. VIPKid teachers also earn extra when they refer someone who can successfully pass the application and start teaching. There’ll be more on this later.
So, for people wanting to apply for VIPKid, there is a ton of help available on the internet. The only thing you need to do is put in your mentor’s referral code when you apply. That way, they get the credit.
When you’re ready for your Demo Lesson, you can schedule it through the application platform and - well, wait. You’ll be able to find out soon after your Demo Lesson if you passed or not. If you do, you can move on to the Certification process which involves a round of training to help you teach better. This is probably the longest part of the application process but, usually, when you are at this stage, you’re practically a part of the team. VIPKid does do some background checks on their applicants, so unless you have some really bad stuff on file, you should be good.
After everything is cleared, you’ll be presented with your contract information. VIPKid contracts last 6 months, after which you’ll usually just need to renew your contracts.
The entire application process for VIPKid is quite strict. But the company does offer a decent compensation plan so there are a ton of applicants interested to teach with them.
VIPKid Teacher Salary
VIPKid teachers don’t earn on an hourly basis. Instead, they are paid for each class they teach. A special rate applies for classes where students don’t show up. Usually, during the final portion of the application, your initial rate will be discussed. This typically ranges between $7 - $9 per class.
That is $7 - $9 per 25 minute class and NOT PER HOUR.
That means, your hourly rate if you can teach 2 consecutive classes can be around $14 - $18.
The initial rate, however, typically grows over time the longer you are with the company. This is also just the base pay that they offer. The company offers a ton of incentives on top of the base pay. These incentives are based on the number of classes you are able to teach and complete. So, the more you teach for them, the more you earn.
Teachers who are able to complete more than 30 classes per month earn an addition 50 cents per class. Say you did 35 classes and your base pay is $8 per class, you now get $8.50 per class. Those who finish more than 45 lessons earn an additional $1 per class. If you taught 50 classes and have a base pay of $8, you now get $9 per class. Even by just teaching all your classes, you can get a participation bonus of $1 per class.
The only caveat with these bonuses is that you are no longer eligible for any of the above if you have cancelled a lesson.
Other bonuses that you can get, however, are the short notice bookings and trial student enrollments. When a student books a class within less than 24 hours, you get a $2 bonus for that class alone. Trial students are another chance to earn more money; when students who aren’t enrolled in VIPKid take a trial lesson, you can get a $5 bonus if they enroll after the lesson.
Other Ways to Earn Money
On top of the base pay and bonuses, VIPKid still provides other ways to help teachers or even non-teachers earn money. They offer a referral program and an affiliate program. The referral program is open to those who are already VIPKid teachers, while the affiliate program can be joined by anyone.
The referral program is simple. New applicants simply need to key in your referral code and when they pass the demo class, you receive $10. When they are able to successfully teach their first booked lesson, you get $100.
The affiliate program works differently, any applicants can apply through your affiliate link or code. For every applicant who signs the final job contract, you are automatically credited. There are fixed monthly milestones for the affiliate program. With 1 successful applicant crediting $50, 2 for $65, 3-6 teachers for $80 and so on.
Setting up an affiliate site for VIPKid can actually be a good alternative for those who aren’t looking to teach online or those who aren’t able to successfully pass the application process.
And a benefit of having an affiliate site, is that it is a more passive method of earning money than working as an online teacher. Teaching online actually has a good set of perks but it also comes with several disadvantages as well.
Working as a VIPKid Teacher
The hourly rate of a VIPKid teacher is quite good. For those looking for a full-time job online, it is a reliable source of income that can pay quite well - especially compared to working for a minimum wage job.
Aside from the income, the other advantages of working as a VIPKid teacher are that you get to work from home or from anywhere in the world with a stable internet connection and a modern laptop as your main tools, and you also get to work flexible hours.
VIPKid does not assign specific hours for their teachers to teach lessons. Instead, teachers have access to a platform where a calendar allows them to open a slot for students to schedule a lesson with them. Typically, students can schedule weeks in advance and only on the slots that you leave open. However, if you decide to open 10 slots for the day, these won’t all be filled. For most new teachers, booking rates are usually low. But with more lessons and good ratings, it’s quite easy for most teachers to get 60-70% of bookings filled. There are also specific times, which are noted as peak hours, that will have slots that will most likely be booked.
But, again, you won’t always know how many hours you’ll end up working. You might be planning to “work” 5 hours a day, with 10 slots open but only get 5 slots booked.
One thing that can be quite bothersome is that students might end up booking lessons with gaps in between each lesson. And you’ll find yourself teaching for 25 minutes, and then spending another 25 minutes or maybe even more, waiting for your next lesson. If you have other stuff to work on or do between these times, it can be beneficial but there are others who might find these gaps as a waste of time.
Also, schedule flexibility only pertains to how you open your schedule. But when a student books a class, even weeks ahead, teachers have no option to cancel these lessons. Unfortunately, students do. So you might end up having a lesson booked weeks ahead only to be cancelled the day before. In these cases, you won’t get paid for classes that are cancelled 24 hours beforehand.
But if a student doesn’t cancel a class and just simply doesn’t show up during the scheduled lesson, teachers still get paid - but only half of their base pay rate.
VIPKid is also pretty strict with their teachers. They have cancellation policies and enforce deductions for teachers who cancel a class. While some reasons are deemed excusable, these are still usually counted.
All teachers have a limit of 6 cancellations, with 3 classes equaling 1 cancellation. This isn’t a monthly limit; this is the final limit for all teachers which means that even if it takes you 2 or 3 years to accumulate the 6 cancellations, your contract can be terminated. While some teachers can still appeal and try to get renewed, it can take a while.
“VIPKid is good for making money on the side--not reliable as a main income as you can't get enough hours unless you work all night and have no other life.
Getting sick or going into labor early are real concerns with this job as there is basically no flexibility when you cancel classes.
Students can cancel up to 24 hours with no repercussions, but you the teacher can never cancel a class once it has been booked without it counting against you. This means students can book you during the normal booking hours then drop the class and you may not get rebooked at that time.
There is no one-on-one communication with VIPKid if you need support, but if you are a Type A person who can manage your schedule well within the rules, it works.”
This review covers it all. The main problems with VIPKid is that there is no flexibility when it comes to adjusting booked classes. And since communication is done through the VIPKid site, reaching out for support can be a difficult and long process.
“This is truly a work from home job that isn't a pyramid scheme or some other gimick. I love teaching the students, and the flexibility allows me to work it around my family life. The ability to work from home means no commuting time or gas money!”
Unlike other opportunities you’ll find online, VIPKid actually offers a legit work experience that can benefit some people, especially those who need time for their family and home. And as a work-from-home job, there are definitely some major perks.
“It started off pretty slow in the number of students I got, until I had some reviews from parents that praised my teaching style and that the students liked my classes and got a lot out of them. Now, I teach classes every morning for 2-3 hours each day.”
Starting out, most teachers won’t get that many class bookings. However, with the many students that use VIPKid and its great reputation in China, you’re bound to get a student or two. Eventually, with good ratings and a consistent schedule, many teachers are able to get most of their slots booked.
- Actual Earning Opportunity with no Risk
- Flexible Schedule with Option to Open Booking Slots
- Fun Teaching Experience with Kids
- Conveniently Work from Home or Anywhere
- Competitive Application Process with Requirements
- Strict Teaching Policies with Corresponding Deductions
- Most Students Book During Night Time Slots
Is VIPKid Legit?
VIPKid is a legitimate company, teaching platform and earning opportunity. Unlike other online opportunities, VIPKid is hiring more teachers but still maintaining a high standard for hires. Joining can be quite a challenge but the opportunity is definitely reliable and legit.
As an online platform, the company incorporates proper systems and clearly states their metrics for earning. Payouts are done monthly, usually between the first and second week. Payments are also made directly to the teacher’s bank accounts so they don’t have to worry about transfer fees.
Conclusion: Worth Joining?
Before joining VIPKid, you should clarify what it is you are looking for. If you are looking for a job which pays you by the hour - or in this case by the 25-minute class - and provides a flexible, work-at-home schedule, VIPKid is a good opportunity to try out.
However, the main problems when working with them is that the students are in a different time zone so the peak hours when you’re most likely able to teach students will either be late at night or very early in the morning. Weekend slots are also usually booked since most students have to go to school on the weekdays so there is a limit to the flexibility of your schedules.
But if these are alright with you, and you’re looking for either a part-time or even full-time job, VIPKid may be worth your time. As a fullt-ime job, however, the pay is not fixed and really depends on the number of classes you are able to complete. But great teachers usually get a good number of bookings, earning them a good monthly income.
However, if you are looking for an online opportunity to earn passive income on the side, VIPKid isn’t the way to do it. Although you can become an affiliate partner of VIPKid, there are still other better money-making opportunities online.