Last year, a friend of mine decided to try out VIPKID and had some good success with it. She taught 432 classes over 6 months, at 25 minutes each class, and was making an additional $1000 a month on top of her regular job. She didn’t end up continuing with the program, but there is no doubt she successfully made money with it.
I decided to look into it further to see if it’s something I’d be able to do myself. I have since passed the video interview for teaching, with a starting offer of $8 per 25-minute class, and the possibility of an extra $2 incentive depending on how much I teach and being on time.
While my initial contract is just for 6 months, at which point we will see if I want to continue, and if VIPKID wants to keep me, but in general I think I’m seeing that I can make good money working from home, and teaching kids English with VIPKID.
It only requires 25-30 minute classes at a time, so it seems like something that I can keep up with despite my disorder. Maybe it would be a good fit for you, too?
If you have a bachelor’s degree (in any subject) and an interest in kids, this could be a great way to easily add to your work-from-home income. Read on to learn more.
What is VIPKID?
VIPKID is an online company and platform, started several years ago in Beijing, that connects English-speaking online teachers with students in China who want to learn to speak English.
VIPKID supplies the training and class materials, and recruits people like YOU and me to teach 20-minute classes online.
The idea is to engage with kids, one-on-one, using hand signing (TPR) and fun games, as a way to best help them use and understand the English language.
Here’s one of my favorite videos of active VIPKID teachers and how they have benefited from being a part of VIPKID.
Who Can Teach with VIPKID? – VIPKID Qualifications
There are 3 major qualifications to teach with VIPKID.
- Eligibility to work in the US or Canada.
I am a U.S. citizen with a social security, so I fit this. If you live in Canada or the US and can legally work, that’s you too.
- Bachelor’s degree in any field.
When they say “any,” they mean it. I have a Bachelor’s degree in hospitality management. This means I’ve taken college-level English and other courses that would make up this degree. But I’m nowhere near the degree a teacher would usually need.
- 1 school year of traditional teaching experience or the equivalent in mentoring, tutoring, or alternative education.
This one may seem hard if you have no formal teaching experience. I was an assistant teacher throughout and after high school for K-3rd grade. So I have actual experience teaching in a class, and on a one-on-one basis. In fact, I took several kids from phonics to reading when I was only 17 years old. I am kind of proud of that.
If you don’t have a similar experience, and many won’t, there must have been times you helped a student. If you’re a parent, this one is easy – how much tutoring or mentoring have you done with your kids?
If you feel like you can’t meet this need, put it on the back burner, but find a way to help or mentor kids. Even if you just babysit and tutor for family and friends, it’s a great way to gain the experience you need to do something like this.
The Process for Becoming a VIPKID Teacher
0. Application and resume
You’ll submit a resume so that VIPKID can confirm you meet their basic requirements. They let you know pretty fast whether you do or do not.
1. Live or video interview
I chose to do a video interview, but you can schedule a time for a live interview.
I studied some materials for the class and watched a few helpful videos of other mock classes. Then I clicked a link and recorded a video of a short intro and a demo of myself doing a pretend class with a non-existent student. I was basically talking and miming to my camera and pretending someone was responding. It was pretty weird.
I had 2 hours to record my video, with the option to record a new video repeatedly within that time. I ended up making about 5 videos until I felt satisfied. Within 24 hours I was told I was approved and could move on to the next step.
2. VIPKID teacher training
There is about 2-3 hours of videos and material to read. It’s all very simple stuff, and basically shows you the tips and tricks of how to have a really great class so your students will want to reschedule with you.
There is a quiz that goes along with this section that you have to pass with a 90%, but you can retake it as many times as you need to. It’s basically a way to get the basics to sink in. I had to retake it once in order to pass.
3. Mock class
There is a time line to finish your teacher training within 2-3 days, and then you will have 6 days to schedule a mock class. This is where you will be paired up with a VIPKID teacher and do a pretend class.
This is my next step, and I will give more detail on this once I’ve completed it.
After the first mock class, based on the notes of your trainer, you will either do some training and do a second class, or you will be ready to get started.
4. Contract, etc.
After you pass your mock class, you will have to sign a 6-month contract with VIPKID. This will confirm your pay rate and the minimum amount of classes you are expected to do each month. Once the 6 months is over, both you and VIPKID can decide if you’d like to become a permanent teacher and sign a new contract.
You will also have to upload tax documents, and your diploma, etc.
5. Schedule your students
Once you are ready to start teaching, you will see a posted schedule and can start choosing the class times you want, up to two weeks in advance.
The most popular hours, based on the students in China, are:
Peak Time, Beijing time (high booking rates)
School Year Time
Monday – Friday
18:00 – 19:00,
21:00 – 22:00
19:00 – 21:00
Saturday – Sunday
09:00 – 19:00,
21:00 – 22:00
Summer Vacation Time
Monday – Sunday
09:00 – 19:00,
21:00 – 22:00
This is in Beijing time, so if you are in Pacific Time like me then it is 15 hours ahead of us. Example: 4:15 PM Friday, Pacific Time (PT) is 7:15 AM Saturday, Beijing, China (GMT+8)
This means that the most popular class times would have me working in the wee hours of the morning. These are just the most popular booking times, I believe there are class times available at other hours, although I’m told it may take longer to build up students if you don’t want to work on China-time. I personally am up at all hours, so it’s kind of perfect for me.
I can’t wait to start scheduling my students. I’ll keep you posted on how that works out.
How Much Does VIPKID Pay?
The initial wage per class is based on how well you do in your first interview. You can be offered anywhere from $7-$9 per class ($14-$18 per hour).
There are also a few incentives on top of that automatically increase your hourly rate!
For example, just for showing up on time to each class, you get an extra $1 per class. If you do more than 45 classes in a month, you get an extra $1, and if you do between 35-45 classes you get an extra $0.50.
All told, depending on how much you put into it, you have the potential to earn anywhere from $14 to $22 an hour, just for the classes.
Then there are other commissions that can be earned.
Trial Students Vs. Real Students
When you first get started, it may take some time to book a student. Once you do, if you do well with that student, they can book again with you.
While you’re waiting to build up your students and classes, you can book trial students.
These are prospective students that have not yet signed up to a class subscription with VIPKID. You give them a small 15-minute taste of what VIPKID classes will be like. If they sign up for classes, whether you end up teaching them or not, you get an additional $5 referral commission.
I’m excited about this because I can handle doing some trial, 15-minute classes to get things flowing.
Make Extra Money for Referrals
You can also make an extra $50 for every teacher you refer to VIPKID, once they successfully teach their first class. My friend should be getting $50, although she would have $80 if she had been able to continue teaching. Full-time VIPKID, hired teachers, get $80 for every referral.
So if you want to make VIPKID a full-time thing, bring in your friends, and consider getting into marketing by creating your own website like mine. I usually recommend what I use, Wealthy Affiliate, for free domains, hosting, and point-and-click website building.
I personally plan to take full advantage of the referral system. I know so many people who have their Bachelor’s degree but can’t work a full-time job, and would love to work from home. So do you! So be sure to get some sort of promotion going to your friends once you get started.
Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like any help getting started.
This is seriously fulfilling work.
Fill Your Life with Meaning and Purpose
Do you ever feel like your life is devoid of any sort of real meaning or purpose?
I feel that way all the time.
I try to give dollars and change to the needy who ask for it as a sort of penance for my lack of participation in life. It’s hard to accept that in my condition I may also be considered part of “the needy.” No one wants to feel they are a burden on anyone else.
Most of us have gotten off-track in our intentions to give back to society and the world. Teaching kids and giving them knowledge is one of the most valuable thing we can give to our future. And if you are getting paid for it, so what?
I worked non-profit for 11 years. I had a place to live and food to eat, and this gave me the time to do work I wanted to do, helping people.
At the time of this writing, I’m physically unwell. I find it hard to leave my home on many days, and most days I can barely get out of bed or stand without suffering.
But can I put on a smile for 25 minutes a day, and connect with a child from another country, giving them an experience that might positively affect their future?
I have to at least try.
Have Fun without Leaving Home
….and get paid for it!
If you have the qualifications and think you’d like working with kids, take your career down a new path and try scheduling your VIPKID interview, today.
I’ll try to keep you updated with how this goes for me as I continue.
If you have any experience with VIPKID, please share it in the comments below!