Teaching kids a new language can be a fun and exciting experience for both students and teachers. It can be a financially rewarding home based business opportunity for the right person while making a true difference in the world. In this review, we will take a look at VIPKID which provides an online educational platform that claims to $18-$22 per hour if you're qualified. Let's get started!
What is VIPKID?
VIPKID is an online platform that teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) to children between 4-12 years of age. Cofounders Cindy Mi, Jessie Chen, Forest Huo, and Victor Zhang started the company in 2013 in Beijing, China. The company's curriculum meets the Common Core Standards required in the United States. VIPKID lists numerous awards for its platform on its corporate website. Investors include Innovation Works, H Capital, Northern Light Venture, Matrix Partners, and Sequoia Capital.
What Do You Do As A Online ESL Teacher For VIPKID?
VIPKID provides teachers with the curriculum for teaching enrolled students. Teachers review the material at least 6-12 hours before each class. Classes are 30-minutes long. During this time, teachers present the material for 25 minutes, elicit response from the students, and then leave comments at the end. Teachers submit their time availability for classes. The company then provides a schedule each week of classes booked by students. The company has both regular and trial students.
What Are The Requirements?
VIPKID teachers must speak English as a native language and have a Bachelor's Degree. They must also have experience working with children ages 4-12 and be available to teach for at least 7.5 hours per week. Teachers will need to have a desktop or laptop computer with webcam and microphone, high speed Internet, and either a Chrome or Firefox browser. If you do not meet these qualifications, feel free to visit SurveyJunkie.com or my Top Free Work At Home Recommendation for a more suitable way to make money online.
What Are The Hours?
Class schedules are based according to Beijing time, which is a 13-hour time difference from the United States. Peak hours are typically between 6-10 p.m. During the week and 9 a. m-10 p.m. on the weekend. Weekday hours translate to roughly 5 a.m-9 a.m in the United States. Teachers must commit to working at least 7.5 hours per week. Teachers have the flexibility to work as much as they want during these peak times. It's possible to work beyond the peak hours, but highly unlikely due to the time difference between China and the United States. If you want to have a more flexible schedule to work at home, you may want to consider SurveyJunkie.com, Swagbucks.com and FusionCash.com instead.
How Much Are You Paid?
The company offers a $7-$9 base pay per 30-minute class plus bonus incentives depending on their demo class performance. If teachers teach more than 45 classes in one pay period they will receive a $1 per class bonus. Teachers also receive an $1 attendance bonus per class for showing up to teach even if a student doesn't show up to attend class. Teachers receive payments through direct bank deposits between the 10th and the 15th each month.
How Do You Get Started?
Qualified individuals submit an online application as well as a resume for consideration. There is no information on how long it takes for an application to be accepted for interview status. The company will then schedule a Skype interview and ask applicants to complete a 30-minute demo class. Applicants then watch training videos on VIPKID's curriculum, standards, and technology. The next step will be participating in a mock class with one of the VIPKID teachers. Once all these steps are complete, applicants sign a renewable contract for a minimum 6-month timeframe.
Crappy Support System: Past independent contractors report that it's extremely hard to get a hold of the company about any questions or concerns. Apparently, the company doesn't always respond back in a timely manner.
Pop Goes The Weasel Tech Support: There have been a few complaints about tech support agents randomly interrupting teacher's classes with feedback.
No Smartphone or Tablet Love: According to the company's FAQ section, the online platform doesn't work with smartphones or tablets. So for those of you that don't have a laptop or desktop at this point, this is not going to work for you.
Not as “Flexible” as They Claim to Be: Teachers must submit their hours of availability to teach a month in advance. It is tough to cancel classes if you have a personal emergency. The company may penalize or fire you for doing so. If you want total freedom to work at home when you want, you may want to consider Swagbucks.com, SurveyJunkie.com and FusionCash.com.
Don't Quit Your Day Job: You will only get half your base pay if you have technical difficulties. You also only get half of your base pay for trial students. It can take at least a month to get a significant amount of booked classes. There is no guarantee that a teacher will get any bookings from students. You might be better off reviewing my Top Free Work At Home Recommendation for a better home-based business opportunity.
No BBB Rating: The company does not have a profile nor accreditation with the Better Business Bureau. There is no accurate way to determine how well VIPKID handles consumer complaints or troubleshooting issues. There is also little feedback from past customers available online.
Is VIPKID Legitimate or a Scam?
Despite the complaints listed above, VIPKID appears to be a legitimate work at home opportunity. The company provides all the teaching material and student bookings. However, you must be willing to get up super early in the morning if you live in the United States. You must also meet all the teacher requirements.
I think the biggest issues with VIPKID may be that you can't really depend on this for consistent income and the scheduling isn't as flexible. So that might not appeal to folks, in which case you may want to check out Swagbucks.com, my Top Free Work At Home Recommendation as well as SurveyJunkie.com as alternatives. Remember, true financial freedom is best achievable through multiple streams of income.
Until next time,
Eddy with a y
35 thoughts on “VIPKID Review: Can You Get Paid To Teach Online?”
This is a very nice review, I barely have seen about this website so I’m taking a new look thanks to this post.
I also teach for VIPKID! I am a teacher and I sneak a few classes in before I go to my full-time job. I love that if I have an extra expense I can just open up a few more classes! VIPKID is doing so well that many other companies like it are popping up. I just joined Magic Ears as well because they do group classes. Their platform is pretty cool, too. I like working for both for a little variety.
Thanks for sharing your experience.
You do not get half of your pay for trial classes. You get full pay. However, if your trail student does not show up, you get half pay. Which is still awesome, considering you didn’t even teach a class and they still pay you. Also, they are up front with everything from pay to tech support. They are up front about their cancellation policies too. And with tech support popping in? They only do that if there is a tech issue during class, such as maybe the student can’t hear you or see you. And you are not required to put your hours in a month in advance. They RECOMMEND that, but it not required. You can open time slots/your schedule day by day basis if you want to. It is as flexible as it sounds. I’ve been working with the company almost a year. The drastic gap with the salary that someone mentioned, is that you get paid PER class. They tell you what you’ll make per class, and then also per hour (if you want to look at it that way to). It’s 7-9 per class, but if you break it down and work several hours a day (like myself), thinking about it hourly is a bit easier. They are making their platform more user friendly. Some teachers have the ability to use a tablet now, and they are working to make it available to all teachers. Also you can work as often or as little as you want. One week, I taught only 4 classes because I was traveling a lot. And another week, I taught 5 classes a day. it really is as flexible as they say.
Thanks for clearing things up and sharing your experience.
I got hired over a month ago with absolutely no bookings, i will be resigning this week. I work fulltime as a teacher
I don’t really have any complaints as of yet. I started working with VIPKID in June. At first I had only a few trial lessons, but within a month I was booking most or all of my timeslots (only about 6-8 timeslots per week).
My interview process went well and I liked the sample videos on Youtube. However some of those people are a little over the top, wearing make-up and looking good. I admit, I put on a nice shirt for the interviews, but I’m usually in a Tshirt and ponytail.
Sometimes during lessons there are IT issues, but if I refresh the browser and come back in 30secs, there are no complaints. Sometimes the students have their own IT issues and disappear for a minute.
I didn’t spend much money in ‘materials cost.’ Maybe some items for a reward system, but not more than $20 total.
As far as the canceling of classes… yeah, you get penalized. You will be deducted $10 from the “Incentives” category per canceled class. Typically you should earn $1 extra per lesson you complete, as part of “incentives.” So if I teach 20 lessons per month, I’ll get a bonus $20. But if I cancel just one lesson, I lose $10, from that category. You’ll still get paid the regular amount per class you teach. Last month I taught 16 lessons, but was sick, so canceled 5 lessons ($50). So I just ended up making $0 in Incentives, and still got my regular pay for the lessons I taught.
I have a friend who is a mom and teaches pretty much 8 lessons per day. She makes enough to live. I just use it as extra income to pay for pizza. No complaints.
I am sorry that you have highlighted so many negatives about working for VIP Kid. Personally, my experience has been AWESOME! I feel supported. The tech team is amazing, the “Firemen” who help out during classes respond right away. I am always paid on time and paid exactly what I earn including some GREAT bonuses. There is a community of teachers who live all over the world and often meet up in their designated areas to socialize. The job is not easy, but it is fun and does get easier as time goes by. I cannot thank Vip Kid enough for their great support and for an opportunity to work from home. I find their policies regarding cancelling classes, having flexibility with my schedule for emergencies etc. to be more than fair. I LOVE VIP KID!!
My interview went great, and I received praise from the person who did my Mock Class. They even said I covered content near perfect and did a lot that other people neglected. Yet, I received a denial with inconsistent feedback in my second application. Conflicted by my experience in the first application I decided to investigate. In an experiment that friends and I conducted, we found VipKid is biased to dark skinned black males. In a total of 18 interviews with black men, all Ivy League graduates, who already teach ESL in China, with multiple certifications (four of which are currently center directors) only two of the light-skinned (2/3) individuals received a position. However, these two were part of a control group that intentionally messed up their interviews to see if they would receive different treatment. We have recorded all interviews and will release them soon. In these, you can easily see that the information provided for the denials is inconsistent with the interviews and the feedback of the interviewers. Additionally, the videos reveal how poorly the two men who were hired did. It’s remarkably sad that a company would do this, but I guess that’s how life works.
That is a big accusation. It should be interesting to see some evidence of your claims.
I am appalled at the many troubles on VIPKid side [my system & hi-speed internet confirmed at top functioning] in prep for my interview.
A training video on Youtube was “Unavailable. Sorry about that” 3 days in a row; a “Check Your System” feature froze on loading, also 3 days; schedules confused because Daylight Saving Time is not understood – in today’s wired world! I reported all troubles by e-mail.
Then an *interviewer* had system trouble and had to call tech-support. After so much struggle I felt too frazzled to give my best – then was told I am “not a good fit” despite 49 years background, including online teaching, and countless strong references. In responding (as invited) to the decision, I learned of yet another training feature that seems not to have been mentioned in interview prep!
To be *fairly* chosen or not is a life reality – but VIPKid took no responsibility, not even to answer my many e-mails. The process was time-wasting and demeaning in impact.
I doubt I am alone in such troubles. Others may have given up; but bad treatment must be made public. Clean up your act, VIPKid, or at least acknowledge the troubles on your end and accept their rattling effects on a candidate.
Thanks for sharing your experience. This seems to becoming a pattern of late.
I did go to work for them but recently have turned ina resignation due to the lack of professional support from them as well as the negative comments parents are allowed to leave without justification. It would be nice if parents had to take the same amount of time completing feedback and info as we do as a teacher. If you need help the “firemen” are usually already too busy because the connection issues are constant as well as if you email them it may take 48 hours to get a response. I went into this really liking the idea but am now looking into another company that provides support materials. Vipkid doesn’t tell you how many support materials you will be purchasing and no you do not get compensated for the hours of pre planning that must be done. I will miss 4 students and wish there was a way I could stay in touch. If you are looking to do this check out all your options before signing.
Kathy, Thanks for sharing your experience. It sounds like some of the complaints we listed are some of the issues you had with them as well.
30 years teaching experience; Masters degree in secondary mathematics education. I did not get hired. Hiring process has many inconsistencies.
That’s interesting Angel. How did you actual interview go?
Be aware that it’s not an easy job to get. They are very selective and only 10% of people they interview get hired. I have a master’s in TESOL and did not get selected.
Thanks for sharing your experience Tess. That’s good to know.
Current teacher, going on 1 year with VIPKID. They no longer require you to work a certain amount of hours, you can work as little or as much as you wish. They also no longer require that you wear an orange shirt (their company color) and are now in compliance with US tax laws. They provide a 1099 form for taxes at the end of the year. They also have partnered with the TESOL International Association (which is THE name in ESL education). This company is highly legitimate based on these factors alone. They DO require at least a Bachelor degree with teaching experience or experience working with children. However, they are becoming more strict and are focusing on hiring mainly teachers with an education background with preference towards those with K-12 licensure.
The pay is based like this (I’ll use mine as an example):
$8.50 per 25 minute class.
$1 for being in class in time. $1 for teaching over 40 classes a month.
I teach around 10 classes a day. $8.50 x 10= $85 plus my $2 bonus per class ($20) = $105. I make $105 a day. And this isn’t counting any additional bonus and incentives.
Their late/cancelled class policy us VERY strict but they are working hard to change this and now allow doctor notes/admission slips to be submitted for forgiveness. They still have a lot of work but overall things have improved a LOT since I first started working with them. The main thing people need to keep in mind is that we are NOT employees, we are independent contractors so certain privileges do not apply with this company.
Thanks for sharing your experience and additional insight. It’s great to hear they’re making improvements.
I teach for Vipkid. You do not have to work a minimum amount of hours anymore. With the bonuses you get most people are making abut $20 an hour. You are onlY booked 2 weeks out not a month. You are encouraged to open it a month at a time but you could do it weekly if you wanted to. Still the parents can only book 2 weeks out evendors if you open it up for longer. This is a great opportunity. We get referral bonuses if we refer someone who is hired. I would be happy to walk someone through the process.
Thanks for the update. Please note there is no self promotion here. I’ve removed your link and put it in the appropriate url field that was made available to you when you made your comment.
As a teacher I would definitely consider this, but the requirements make it difficult. Finding 7.5 hours a week while teaching is not easy, if it were closer to 2-3 I would definitely be able to set aside some time. The scheduling a month ahead is also a headache, as school events pop up with little notice. However, I could see this being a great opportunity for former teachers who have the pedagogical knowledge but have moved on from the classroom.
Thanks for sharing your insight Ken. I appreciate it.
Thank you for your review of VIPKID! I did not know there was an opportunity like this on the internet. I think the idea is very cool! I’d even consider doing it if the pay was better and I was guaranteed students and hours needed for at least part-time work. I meet all the qualifications, but would not pursue this because I don’t have time without quitting my full-time job. I do hope VIPKID improves in the future, maybe with more people getting involved.
VIPKid is truly a side hustle. I actually considered working with them a while back but decided to go another route as the peak hours were basically during the night. But, it seems like a pretty legit way, and you probably will be an independent contractor under them so no taxes taken out.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I totally agree with you.
I agree with you about the don’t quit your day job. So much is out of your control, but as a side gig it may be worth a look.
I had thought about traveling and teaching English, but haven’t got around to it yet. This could be a way to have a side hustle.
Indeed Greg. It may be worth a try as long as you’re not depending on this for consistent and stable money.
Nice review. I’ve looked at teaching ESL but didn’t realize it could be done online. How long has this company been around? It doesn’t sound like you can make a living at this, but the extra income would be good. I’m looking for a business I can do online and move around with. I might check out the alternative you offer in your review.
Thanks. As mentioned above it was started in 2013. I agree this may be a good way to earn a little extra cash.
Hi Eddy, Does it matter if you have no teaching experience? Also, do they pay you for the time it takes for reviewing the material as well as the class time? I see the class time is only 30 mins but if you spend 2 hours reviewing beforehand, it hardly seems worth the effort. Thanks!
Hey Heather, it doesn’t state you need prior teaching experience. They do require a bachelor’s degree though. I don’t get the impression you’re paid for the preparation time. The class time can be up to an hour though and you do get some other bonuses. But you’re right, it may not be worth it for everyone.
I appreciate the review you gave any of VIPKID, Eddy. Working as a virtual teacher is something I have considered in the past but I have very little knowledge on so this is definitely been helpful.
The complaints that you listed are definitely serious ones: bad tech support and the inability to use smartphones or tablets. Since it’s start in 2013, has the company made any efforts to make their platform more smartphone friendly?
You state they claim a salary of $18-22, but then you mention $7-9 base salary. Why the drastic gap?
I would still consider working as a virtual teacher, but VIPKID does not seem the direction I would go. Keep these great reviews coming, Eddy!
Based on their website, they still don’t support the usage of a smartphone or tablet to this work. It may have something to do with the software they’re using. The pay rate varies depending on the amount of time you working. Up to 30 minutes the pay is $7-$9 and up to an hour $14-$22. They do a better job of explaning it here: https://t.vipkid.com.cn/faq/payment