How to Get Hired and Teach for VIPKID in 2019
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What Is VIPKid?
If your journey into online teaching is just starting then then you might not know much about teaching for VIPKid. While they might seem like they are everywhere now (seriously – just check out an online ESL jobs board and count the number of listings), the reality is that they are a pretty new company.
Founded in 2013 and backed by more than $100,000,000 in investments from leading venture capital firms, VIPKID now boasts more than 500,000 registered students along side 30,000 teachers.
Not bad, huh?
Despite being challenged by other mega online teaching companies like DadaABC (read our guide on teaching for DadaABC here), VIPKID shows no sign of slowing and is definitely the leader in China’s online English learning industry.
VIPKID delivers it’s lessons via a proprietary learning management system (LMS) and bases the curriculum on the US Common Core Standards. For teachers, this means that if you have experience teaching in the United States, the methodologies should be familiar.
VIPKID Requirements: What Do You Need?
VIPKID is admittedly strict when it comes to their teacher requirements – while you might see some of their competitors hiring blindly and without defined criteria, VIPKID has earned the reputation of being very thorough and hands-on with their screening process and has requirements for everything from a teacher’s experience to their technical equipment and internet speed.
In short, this means if you don’t meet the following criteria, it’s probably not worth applying until you do.
VIPKID Teacher Requirements
VIPKID advertises the following requirements for their applicants:
- Eligibility to work in the US or Canada
- Native English speaker
- Bachelor’s degree in any field
- 1 school year of traditional teaching experience or the equivalent in mentoring, tutoring, or alternative education
- Background check
The long and short of it is that you need to be a resident of the US or Canada (though you don’t have to currently live there), a native English speaker with at least a bachelor’s degree and some previous teaching experience (this doesn’t have to be in the classroom).
Related: The Best Online TEFL Courses
To unpack this a bit further, check out this great video on the VIPKID requirements for teachers:
The VIPKID Background Check
Yes, you will need to complete a background check to work for VIPKID. However, where it falls in the overall application process is a bit confusing. Various teachers and applicants report that it can take anywhere from hours to days to weeks while others state that you are still able to book classes without it.
We definitely recommend asking your interviewer about this, but in the meantime here is what VIPKID says on their website:
VIPKID Tech Requirements
In addition to the teaching requirements, VIPKID also requires you to adhere to technology standards to ensure your classes are consistent – their tech requirements are broken out into equipment and system.
Equipment and Computer Requirements
- Desktop, Laptop, MAC, Surface – this is simply stating the types of computers the with which the VIPKID platform will work
- Use a headset with a microphone, stable output and input – your lessons will be much more clear with a dedicated headset (read: not just headphones with a mic) – we wrote an entire post about the best headset options here but you can also go straight to our favorite, the Logitech H390.
- HD External camera or HD integrated camera – if you have a modern computer you likely have a webcam – if not, check out our recs here.
System and Internet Requirements
- Windows7, Windows8, Windows10, MAC OS 10.8x – to find out what system you are using, click here for Windows and click here for Mac.
- At Least 4GB RAM – to check your RAM click here for Windows and click here for Mac.
- Intel Core i3 above CPU – to check your CPU click here for Windows and click here for Mac.
- Wired DSL Internet Connection – at least 20 Mbps – you can use Speedtest to check your internet speed.
Want more detail? Here is another great explainer video on the technical requirements from a VIPKID Teacher:
How Much Does VIPKID Pay and What Can I Make?
Like many of the other online teaching companies out there, the VIPKID pay system is based on a variety of factors. They advertise the ability to make between $14-$22/hr but getting to the higher end of that scale is not easy (keep in mind this is based on a 2 classes per hour model where you will make $7-$11 per 25-minute class).
In fact, according to Glassdoor, most of the reporting salaries are right in the middle of that range:
So, how do you get to the higher end of the VIPKID pay spectrum?
The answer is bonuses and incentives – the VIPKID team does a great job of awarding their teachers – here are a few ways you can boost your pay:
- Show up on time and teach the entire class: $1 extra per class
- Teach more than 45 classes per month (only about 2 per day): $1 extra per class
- Short notice or fill-in classes (when another teacher doesn’t show up): $2 extra per class
- Student signups after a trial class: $5 per student
So, how much can you make?
Your personal VIPKID salary will depend on your teaching abilities + availability, but for the sake of discussion let’s look at an example.
Let’s assume your base salary is $9/class (or $18/hr) and you teach 50 classes per month – all of which you show up on time for. On top of that, 5 of your students are on a trial and signup after taking your class.
In this scenario, you’d make a $450 base salary ($9 x 50 classes), $50 on-time bonus ($1 x 50 classes), $50 bonus for teaching more than 45 classes in a month ($1 x 50 classes), and $25 enrollment bonus for the 5 students that signed up after taking your class ($5 per student). All of this adds up to $575 for teaching just 25 hours, or $23/hr – not bad, right?
Note: VIPKID pay and bonuses are always evolving, here is an image of the VIPKID pay section on their site taken in March 2018 for your reference.
How much can you save working for VIPKID?
While it’s normal for teachers to want to how much they will save each month teaching for VIPKID, the reality is that it depends on how many classes you teach and your current lifestyle, aka how much money you need to live.
Still, I found a few videos on how much other teachers make so you can at least estimate the first part of the equation:
How do you get paid and do you need pay taxes for VIPKID?
VIPKID payments are delivered via direct bank deposit around the middle of the month for the previous month’s classes. You will need to submit your bank information in order to get paid.
Regarding VIPKID taxes, all teachers are classified as independent contractors and are responsible for reporting all wages and paying all of their own taxes. If you’re American you can read more on the IRS website – if you have a different nationality you can check out this guide, though it’s still written through the lens of being an American taxpayer.
If you want to know more about paying taxes with VIPKID, they have a pretty in-depth guide on their site that covers the topic in far more detail than I ever could:
The VIPKID Interview & Hiring Process
Like their bonuses and incentives, VIPKID continues to adjust and improve their hiring and interview process. We previously did an interview with Genevieve about her experience but it’s worth revisiting here to make sure all the info is up to date in 2019.
As we mentioned above, there are currently about 30,000 VIPKID teachers which means even more didn’t make the cut. VIPKID has streamlined their interview process to ensure only the best candidates make it through – still, if you meet the requirements and can deliver during your interview, you should be fine!
Let’s take a look at the general process once you apply on their site and then dive into each step in detail!
The above image was taken from the VIPKID site in April 2018 and outlines the application process.
Step 1: Submit Info + Resume
Remember earlier when we went over the requirements to teach for VIPKID? This is where you input everything so the hiring team can verify.
Step 2: Interview
This step is either done live or via a recorded video that you create (your choice). If you chose the live option it will be on China time (just like your classes) and will follow a traditional interview format and include a short demo class. Scroll down for details on what VIPKID looks for when evaluating applicants.
“Another big pro [for the live online interview] is that you can negotiate your salary. Which I’m pretty sure I bumped up my salary after talking to my interviewer. She was like, ‘Well you don’t have any sort of certifications [but] I talked to her more in depth [about] the child I helped tutor ESL in and how that changed my life. And I really played that up, and she ended up giving me a higher base pay.”
Erin, Earthchild Erin
If you choose the video format, you will also need to teach a short demo class but you will do it on your own time and submit it online.
For both of these, VIPKID will send you a lesson (or lessons) to use during your demo class so you can prepare – you don’t have to knock their socks off but you should review and prepare (for example, props are optional but can make a huge impact).
Expect the interviewer to look for overall appearance, teaching style (make sure to use lots of TPR) and your ability to teach the lesson they provided. They will provide feedback and make the decision on whether or not you should move forward in the interview process.
Step 3: Training
In this step you will have access to the VIPKID training materials and be expected to review them and then pass a test on the material within 10 days. There are about 3 hours of videos and a training manual so make sure you read/watch everything as much as you need – though you can take the test as many times as you need.
Expect the material provided to cover both teaching standards and technological processes (aka how to use their platform).
Step 4: Full Mock Class
By this point you will have received both feedback on your demo class and access to the VIPKID training assets and it’s time to put that information to work.
You will actually participate in 2 mock classes (scheduled at your convenience) with a senior VIPKID trainer overseeing the class and acting as a kid. You will be provided the lessons for both classes and the trainer will evaluate each in real time expect you to improve based on their advice for the 2nd class.
For example, you might teach the first lesson for 10min, get feedback, prepare some more, and then teach the second. You don’t have to be perfect here but you should aim to implement their feedback.
Both of these mock classes are evaluated independently and you can pass/fail either – though failing doesn’t mean the process is over for you, only that you might have to engage in more training before becoming a full teacher.
We recommend preparing in full for these as they are not only your last hurdle to becoming a full VIPKID teacher but also a basis for the hourly rate you will receive. With this in mind, we suggest practicing, using props, and reviewing practice and walkthrough videos on Youtube for advice.
Step 4: Signing the Contract
VIPKID contracts are for 6 months and you will need to sign their documents and submit a few of your own. As of 2018 they are also running background checks on all teachers so keep that in mind if you have any outstanding legal issues that might impact your application.
The process here usually takes 3-5 business days and after that you will need to create a profile on their system and keep an eye out for booked classes.
Congrats! You’re now a VIPKID teacher!
How VIPKID Evaluates Applicants
VIPKID has a great doc called “Applicant Performance Indicators” which outlines what they are looking for when they interview teachers:
One thing to note is regarding VIPKID TPR – they are strong believers in Total Physical Response as a teaching method and want to see their teachers utilize in their classes. If you’re new to the concept, FluentU has a good write up on some TPR activities you can include in your lesson.
What should you do if you fail the VIPKID interview process?
There are a lot of people out there wondering what to do if they fail their interview so we felt it was worth addressing here. If you truly feel that you are a skilled teacher that was incorrectly judged during the process then you can try applying with a different email and start the process over.
However, if you are simply trying to game the system or don’t meet the teacher requirements, I’d say not to waste your time – you’ve read how comprehensive the process is and VIPKID has gotten very good at identifying and removing teachers that aren’t up to standards. If you don’t feel like you can deliver significantly better results than your previous effort (assuming you meet all the other requirements) then our advice is to pursue other opportunities.
VIPKID Hours and Scheduling for Teachers
Let’s recap – you’ve applied, submitted info, done your interview and mock classes, signed your contract and how you’re ready to teach.
The next step is booking classes but we need first need to discuss the VIPKID schedule as there are distinct peak hours when you can expect to book most of your classes (and will be expected to work).
One thing to keep in mind is that VIPKID operates on Beijing time – this means that wherever you are in the world you will need to work around their schedule (for an example, Beijing is usually 12 hours ahead of New York). They also operate 7 days a week so you have incredible flexibility with your schedule!
Source: The Schoolhouse Mommy
The VIPKID platform allows you to ‘open’ the times you are available to teach and the more you open the more money you make (in both hourly + bonuses). According to VIPKID, the most popular times are (in Beijing time)
- 6pm-10pm Monday – Friday
- 9am-10pm Saturday & Sunday
There are also time slots that are more popular than others – these are known as “Peak Times” and are denoted in orange above. If you want to boost your bookings (and money), make sure to consult the VIPKIDs peak hours chart when opening your schedule.
VIPKID requests that teachers set their schedule one month in advance and sends out the weekly schedules every Saturday at 10am Beijing time – once you receive your schedule you start preparing for classes!
There is no maximum number of classes you can teach for VIPKID so feel free to open your entire schedule if you’re trying to maximize earnings!
Bookings within 24 Hours
VIPKID also allows their teachers to open up their schedule and book classes within 24 hours – this will earn you an additional $2 per class if you do this and is a great way to pad your income if you have the availability.
To do this, just check the checkbox next to the timeslot on your schedule and make sure to keep checking back to see if it was book as there will be no reminder due to the late notice.
VIPKID Cancellation Policy
VIPKID has a pretty strict cancellation policy for its teachers and breaks it down into two categories: Regular and Soft/Medium. Each type has different penalties ranging from monetary to contract termination after a set number.
- Regular Cancellations: Teachers are afforded 6 cancellations per contract and can expect their contact to be canceled after the 7th unless it’s a unique event. If you do not cancel within 24hours of your class you will be docked $2 per class; if you cancel within 2hours you will be docked $10; if you don’t show up at all you will be docked $10 per class in addition to another $10. One thing to note is that VIPKID groups their cancelations into groups of 3 classes, so if you cancel all 3 classes you only get marked for 1 cancelation out of the 6.
- Soft/Medium Cancelations: VIPKID understands that accidents happen and you can claim your cancelations as soft/medium if you’re sick, have a family emergency, etc. These are handled on a case by case basis but if successful will not count against your 6 available cancelations.
Student No Shows & Cancelations
Students can also be guilty of no-showing or canceling classes and it’s important to know what happens if they do it to you. First, you still get paid, but it’s only for 1/2 the full class amount (better than nothing, right?). Second, you still have to wait 15min if it’s a trial class or 25min if a normal class – the exception to this is if the ‘Firemen’ aka VIPKID support mark the class as ‘SNS’ or student no show – to check this you have to open the ‘classroom’ tab in a new browser.
Teacher Laura has a great video on what to do during VIPKID student cancelations here:
Understanding the VIPKID Teacher Portal and Platform
If you’re still on the fence about working for VIPKID then the last piece of the puzzle you’re likely curious about is the teacher portal, or how things actually work inside the VIPKID platform.
Let’s take a look at some of the major features available to teachers:
Opening Your Schedule
We just discussed this in the previous section and here is a walkthrough of Teacher Erin (check out her Youtube Channel if you want a great look at what it’s like to teach for VIPKID) explaining how to open and manage your bookings:
The VIPKID platform is really well done – it allows teacher to take an organized and interactive approach to their lessons while also giving them the tools needed to track progress and leave feedback.
The last part of the VIPKID portal worth discussing is the feedback tab – this is where parents and students share feedback on you and your lessons that is a major factor in how many classes you book (nobody wants to use a teacher with bad feedback, right?).
This clip is from the previous video above, FYI.
VIPKID Reviews: Is It for you?
Teaching online is a commitment and given the abundance of online teaching companies, there is always the question of whether or not VIPKID is the right company for you.
To help you answer this question, let’s look at a quote from another teacher, Janice Cook, from something she wrote in The Savvy Couple:
VIPKID in an incredible team of people. The CEO, Cindy, is someone who we hear from as employees. She shares her vision, asks for our feedback continuously, and is grateful for the work of all people in all departments of the company.
As a teacher for VIPKID, I just teach. This company values what I have to offer, applauds my strengths, showers me with gratitude for my hard work, and supports me to make sure I have what I need to deliver the best classes that I can.
She also made this great video to illustrate her experience:
A lot of this has already been covered above but here are some to-the-point answers to common VIPKID FAQs:
Can you teach for VIPKID without a degree?
No, all teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Can you teach for VIPKID with a criminal record?
No, VIPKID requires their teachers to pass a background check in order to get hired.
Do you need a TEFL to teach for VIPKID?
No, it’s not required but it can help you book more classes. Check out our list of the best online TEFL courses if you want to learn more.
Ready to teach for VIPKID?
Hopefully, this answers most of your questions related to teaching for VIPKID – feel free to submit your application here or contact us for anything we forgot to cover!
Can you teach for VIPKid without a bachelor’s degree?
No, you cannot currently teach for VIPKid if you do not have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Can you teach for VIPKid if you’re not a native speaker?
No, you must be a native speaker to teach for VIPKid.
Can you teach for VIPKid without a TEFL certificate?
Yes, you can teach for VIPKid without a TEFL certificate.