VIPKid Review – The Honest Truth

I have been teaching online with VIPKid since November 2016. Having taught ESL in Korea for a couple of years, the idea of teaching ESL online to young Chinese students didn’t seem too far off. Now that I’m nearing my end of my first contract, here’s the honest truth – a VIPkid Review.

What is VIPKid?

VIPKid is an online teaching service. Teachers from North America teach students in China. Most are between ages 5 and 12, but they are expanding to more ages (I occasionally get a 2-year-old!). The pay varies; they advertise “up to $22 USD an hour” and while technically true, it’s realistically $15-20USD per hour. I personally get $19. 

How do I teach for VIPKid?

You can sign up for VIPKid here.

The application process was pretty straightforward; with base requirements of being from North America, having a bachelor’s degree in anything (or a college diploma in early childhood education or something of the sort), and have some sort of teaching, tutoring, or coaching experience.

Not from North America? Check out my list of other sites you can teach online with!

teaching online

The Application Process

First, you fill out the application and get together any supporting documents (TESL Certification, a copy of your degree, etc.). After this stage, you’ll be asked to do an interview. During this interview, you’ll also be doing a short mock lesson where the interview pretends to be a 5-year-old. Having an adult that you just spoke to and you know speaks English pretend to be a small child with no English abilities is a little bit awkward, to say the least – but this part only lasts about 10-15 minutes. You’re given the lesson ahead of time so you’re told exactly what to teach and how to teach it.

Once that’s over in continues on about what you did well and what you could improve on. Then, assuming you pass, you’ll get an email that is like a rubric with your score and comments within each section of your strengths and weaknesses. Along with this rubric, you are given your base pay which will be between $7 – $9 USD per class. Which each class running 25 minutes, you make $14 – $18 USD as your base pay, plus bonuses, which are mentioned below.

After your interview, you’ll be asked to sign a contract. This contract is contingent on completing the teacher training and teaching practicum. The training consists of watching a bunch of youtube videos that explains their teaching methods, the dos and don’ts and general information about booking, how to use their platform, etc. After these video, you need to take a quiz to prove you know your stuff. It’s an incredibly easy quiz if you watched the videos and a sort of easy quiz if you didn’t.

As for the practicums, you may have two, but if they feel you’re ready after the first one they’ll move you onto teaching straight away. It is similar to the demo class in the interview, however, you’ll be teaching a full class. It will be done through their platform (like the demo class) where you can click through the power point and draw on the slides.

Roughly half way through the class the “student” aka practicum teacher will stop pretending to be the student and tell you how you’re doing. Then it will continue again and you are to implement the tips they told you about. I was moved onto teaching after my first practicum, but I’ve been told that in the second practicum they’re mostly looking for you to implement what they told you in the first one to improve upon.

Tips!

They love  “TPR” (which stands for Total Physical Response). This is a teaching method that is based on the coordination of language and physical movement. Basically, use a lot of hand and body movements while teaching. Also, being bubbly and smiling a lot will do wonders.

Actually Working There

Once you get into the teaching part, it’s pretty simple stuff. You open up your availability on the scheduling tab and wait to be booked. Filling out an awesome teacher profile is a big part of this. You have an introduction paragraph, a short video, and a few (smiling!) pictures. That’s it. 

There are also TONS of Facebook groups where you can talk to other teachers, get tips and ideas, and ask any other questions you may have. Most answers can be found on VIPKid’s Freshdesk site (along with all the updates you need to regularly check), but sometimes they’re confusing and asking the veteran teachers in the Facebook group is helpful. You can also check out my Teacher Resources page for my favourite stuff for teaching online!

The Pros & Cons:

PRO: There is nearly no prep work. You can ‘enter the classroom’ the evening before and review the slides you’ll be teaching the next day. The slides are there and made for you and they tell you exactly what they want you to teach. You have to prepare the props you want to use with it (letter flashcards, maybe a puppet or stuffed animal if they’re young, etc).

CON: The instructions aren’t always clear. Occasionally you’ll come across a slide that is a sort of game with limited instructions at the bottom and you either have to figure it out or make it up for yourself.

PRO: You set your own schedule. They no longer have the 7.5hr commitment per week which you may see on some older training material, but you will still need to work over 30 or 45 classes per month to get the related bonus. Also, your schedule doesn’t need to be the same each week, it’s really whenever you are available and want to work.

CON: Once something is booked, it’s booked. There’s no changing it unless you want a cancellation – which you only get six of per contract. If you want to build up regular students and bookings, it’s better to have regular availability.

PRO: Short time commitment. Like with the hours, you’re not required to work too much a week, and your contract is only six months long – many other online teaching positions require a year with a regular schedule – not ideal for travellers.

– No con to go with this one, just good stuff –

PRO: The bonuses. VIPKID is great for bonuses. You get a $1 bonus for starting and finishing all classes on time (you’d think you’d do that anyways if you want to keep your job), except for those with tech issues. You also will receive a 50 cent bonus (per class) if you teach 30-44 classes per month, and a $1 bonus if you teach more than 45 classes per month. This bumps my base pay from $7.50 per class to $9.50 per class – that’s $19USD per hour. Also if a student books you short notice (within 24 hours) you get an extra $2 for that class. If they’re a ‘trial student’ (not a regular course student), you receive an extra $5 if they sign up. So there is potential for $16.50 for one class!

CON: Trials are sometimes difficult, you have to switch the lesson around and figure out their level. Also, if they don’t show up, you get paid half rate, unlike if course students don’t show up – where you’ll still get paid. Trial students are less likely to show up, but I guess the sign-up bonus helps make up for that.

PRO: The students are generally well behaved and they often have their parent with them to help them. You hear sweet stories and they get really excited to talk to you and learn. It’s typically a 1-1 environment where you get to know the kids and see how they grow and progress with English.

CON: VIPKid has started accepting younger children lately (2-3 years old) which can’t stay focused during class. Also, not all of them are so well behaved. If they decide to get up and run around, there’s little you can do about it. The young ones are also sometimes a little scared and nervous and start crying.

PRO: They use a ticketing system (Freshdesk) when errors do occur. It’s a growing company so sometimes things don’t run 100% smoothly, but they tend to reply to issues in a timely manner as well as any questions you might have.

CON: Sometimes you get random emails that seem poorly worded and can come off as harsh. The especially occurs if you had a network or tech error on your end (or they deem you did whether or not it’s the case). I think it may be that the person sending the email isn’t a native speaker and it can come off as really harsh when you get something like “if you continue to have technical problems your contract will be terminated.” So getting those certainly makes me question my job security.

Final Thoughts

So far so good!

In general, I’m a big fan of working for VIPKid and find that the Pros outweigh the Cons. Due to it being a new company, they have some growing pains. But from what I’ve seen things just seem to be getting better. You can see another review of my thoughts on the changes they’ve made on VIPKid, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. There are some things I don’t understand or find transparent. These things include how they determine their base pay, (people with multiple years experience and masters degrees have the same base pay I do, and some with less experience have more), but hey, whatever works for them. If VIPKid seems like something that would interest you, feel free to drop me a line or sign up here!

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VIPKid Review

By | 2017-07-29T16:03:49+00:00 April 1st, 2017|Reviews, Teaching, Work Remotely|48 Comments

48 Comments

  1. Elizabeth July 20, 2017 at 6:54 am - Reply

    Do you think having not having an education background is a disadvantage for VIP Kids? I have a bachelors and masters in communication.

    • Ashley July 20, 2017 at 10:25 am - Reply

      I don’t think it’s a disadvantage at all! I don’t have a background in education, and honestly, they don’t always hire teachers that do as it is a totally different environment! I’d definitely mention your education background though as they’d love to see that you have a masters.

  2. Ryan Kreis July 22, 2017 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    Really glad I came across your blog! I’m considering VIPKID to supplement my location independent income and fund my travels. (I’m currently staying in Cluj-Napoca, Romania…definitely a place you should visit if you get the chance!) Needless to say, I’m finding your content pretty helpful right about now.
    Just wondering–how do you consistently find a quiet spot with good Wifi to teach from while on the road?

    • Ashley July 22, 2017 at 9:54 pm - Reply

      Hey Ryan, glad you’re finding it helpful. Some places are consistently better than others, but I tend to go with Airbnb so I know that I will have a private space and I can contact the host to confirm the wifi standard and ask for a speed test if need be. I wrote a post regarding using Airbnb as a remote worker as well — http://wanderdolls.com/why-airbnb-is-a-remote-workers-dream/ ! And I definitely need to check out Romania!!

  3. kk b July 25, 2017 at 10:52 pm - Reply

    Hi there, I found your post interesting, I know this question is going to sound weird but I’m a bit concerned with having the pay wired in my account and giving my social security number to a foreign country employer. Is there a way to check legitimacy of the company? Thank you for the info, just want to be cautious.

    • Ashley July 28, 2017 at 8:28 am - Reply

      Hi KK B, not a strange question at all. Many people are skeptical about providing information to an online company, particularly a foreign one. If the bank info concerns you, you can always create a bank account specifically for this income to be deposited. As for the Social Number, like for any job, it is required for you to get your tax forms. That part recently came in for American employees as I believe they opened a branch in the states and are now required to comply with American tax law, issuing W-9 forms, and therefore collecting such information. As for the legitimacy you can look at the reviews, you’ve seen mine here already, but there’s also quite a few on places like indeed and glassdoor. They’ve also been in legitimate news sources like bloomberg and techcrunch and have had pretty high profile investors (like Kobe Bryant). Hope this info helps!

  4. Shari July 28, 2017 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    Hi Ashley! I too am concerned about giving out my personal info to a foreign employer. Perhaps your idea of a separate account is the best idea. Also, it’s done on google chrome and not skype? Also, realistically what EST hours are you working and do you require a puppet and flash cards? I have an MA in education. Thanks! Do you have to send copies of your degrees?

    • Ashley July 28, 2017 at 3:22 pm - Reply

      While I’ve personally not had issues with my deposits going into my main bank account, I understand the concern. Working for a foreign company is a new and scary thing for a lot of people. As for teaching, it’s done through your web browser. It does not need to be Google Chrome, but that is what I use. It also works fine on Firefox and Safari, just make sure your FlashPlayer is up to date (the only issues I’ve had teaching beyond the occasional spotty internet is when my FlashPlayer decided to crash).

      I currently work in EST hours, from 7am to 10am. Every so often I also work from 9pm to midnight. I could work earlier or later, but just choose not to (I like sleep too much). You don’t require a puppet, I don’t use one, but I can see why they’d be helpful for younger students. I’m lucky in that I primarily teach the older ones, but if you get a lot of younger students I would suggest a puppet or a stuffed animal. In my younger classes sometimes I grab a stuffed animal as they can be as young as 3 years old and just stare at you. Then I just think of it like I’m a kids TV show. I talk to myself and have a “conversation” with the stuffed animal.

      I use flashcards, the Playskool first words and alphabet are the ones I use most. Great for showing examples and extension activities. These are the ones I have – http://amzn.to/2uFWAcs

      I sent a digital copy of my degree. You don’t need to physically send anything.

      If you have any more questions let me know 🙂

  5. Zest August 1, 2017 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    Hi Ashley I’m intrigued with VIPKIDS and would love some tips on how to pass the interview process.

    • Ashley August 2, 2017 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      Hey Zest. Where you are at in the interview process? It’ll be easier to know what tips to provide

  6. Carolyn Lamberth August 7, 2017 at 11:01 am - Reply

    Hey Ashley, your blog is great! I am also considering VIPKID and read some horror stories, so it’s a lil scary, but I have been an ESL teacher in the Okinawan Prefecture Schools, as well as in Korea, and I have taught preschool phonics as well as worked in kindergarten. It seems like a perfect set up for me, but just nervous.

    When you were filling out your app, does it allow you to input more than one job for your work experience? That seemed odd to me.

    Thanks, Carolyn

    • Ashley August 7, 2017 at 1:00 pm - Reply

      Hi Carolyn, you do seem like a great fit for VIPkid. The online platform can be a bit of a learning curve so your nerves are totally normal. Upon looking at the newest application form, it doesn’t seem as though you can (things update ALL the time), however, in the description box I would mention all your experience. Plus, once you get an email from them, you can always reply with your resume. I would do this prior to the interview as it is often during that stage your pay is determined if hired. You’ll want them to know about all of your experience before they make that decision.

  7. Sharon August 8, 2017 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    Do you know if there’s a version if VipKud for Korean kids?

    • Ashley August 8, 2017 at 11:40 pm - Reply

      Not that I’ve come across yet, but I have heard that VIPkid is planning on expanding!

  8. N September 8, 2017 at 1:23 am - Reply

    Hi Ashley,

    I’ve just graduated from university, but I’m applying to law school for the fall of next year. In the meantime I have to work. I’ve got an extremely well paying oil field job lined up (Northern AB), but the work is soul crushing. I used to do it full-time before I went to university. I’d much rather teach English even if the money is merely a fraction of what I’d make in the oil patch. I came across your blog randomly after I googled vipkid. I haven’t even gone on their site yet. Could you please answer a few questions for me:

    1) How strict are they when it comes to having teaching experience? I have none.

    2) In your opinion, is being a non-European a disadvantage in the field? It’s only natural that the Chinese parents would take one look at me and think I’m no good at this English thing since I’m not “white.” I’m also a guy and we’re not usually seen as teacher material. So it’s a double whammy.

    3) How hard is it to get an interview? I’m assuming it’s a revolving door type of environment so they probably always need people eh?

    Thanks Ashley 🙂

    • Ashley September 10, 2017 at 4:17 pm - Reply

      Hey there, sorry you’re hating your oil job – seems like people either love or hate that work. As for your questions, they prefer teaching experience but it’s not necessary. Play on any coaching, tutoring, general experience with kids and that should be fine. There are tons of teachers that aren’t white, I’ve heard they can have a harder time with bookings initially but I don’t know personally. Men actually get ALOT more bookings. They’re a rarity in VIPkid, and many get bookings off the bat.
      The interview itself isn’t hard, just tedious. I found the mock interviews to be more intensive but it really depends on who you get. Hope that helps, and good luck with your interview!!

  9. Ashley September 8, 2017 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Hey Ashley! I was wondering if they confirmed your degree by a copy of diploma or if they neede official transcripts sent over?

    • Ashley September 10, 2017 at 4:19 pm - Reply

      When I was hired there was no confirmation nor transcripts needed. I have heard some people sent those in addition to it, particularly if they changed their name or something but it would just be a digital copy you never need to mail anything.

  10. Emily September 9, 2017 at 2:11 am - Reply

    Do you have a US bank account? What fees do you need to pay if VIPKID wire transfers money into your Canadian bank account? Would setting up a US bank account be more beneficial as a Canadian citizen (to avoid any extra fees)? or would it not make a difference?

    Thank you

    • Ashley September 10, 2017 at 4:25 pm - Reply

      I personally don’t use a US bank account but a lot of other teachers do. It would have to be an “in US” account, not just a USD account. My extra fees with BMO is 14CAD each month. I haven’t bothered to get a USD account to avoid them.

  11. Alexandra September 18, 2017 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    Hey Ashley, I am having a hard time passing the Standard quiz, Im getting 72. I know these answers are right, could they be having a neck problem, Im just having a hard time. Any advise?

    • Ashley September 23, 2017 at 5:14 pm - Reply

      Hey Alexandra, without seeing the quiz I can’t confirm any answers, but if you believe they may be having a tech problem I would suggest screenshotting and sending an email. Best of luck!

  12. Rachelle Heard September 24, 2017 at 11:25 am - Reply

    Hello…
    I just wondered how often are you paid? And did you organize your background at home in an educational style or just left is normal?

    • Ashley September 24, 2017 at 12:07 pm - Reply

      Hey Rachelle! We’re paid once a month on or before the 15th of the following month. I travel a lot so I don’t have a consistent spot where I teach. I just find a place with a plain white wall and teach from there. I haven’t had any issues with it but the “recommended” background is none distracting but educational

  13. Stanley October 3, 2017 at 11:53 am - Reply

    Hi Ashley! Thank you for all the information! Are you always using a headset (with microphone)? My laptop and computer both work real well. Just curious. I have my interview coming up and am prepping for it.

    • Ashley October 5, 2017 at 11:26 am - Reply

      Hey Stanley, honestly I just use my iPhone earbuds. I’ve never had an issue with them. Anytime there was a sound issue it has turned out to be on the student’s end (more of them really need to wear headphones). Best of luck with your interview!

  14. Cinda October 23, 2017 at 11:58 am - Reply

    Hi Ashley. I am a retired school guidance counselor. I am qualified, but self conscious concerning my older overweight appearance, not being as pretty and energetic as my younger years. I also face some physical challenges. I definitely could use the extra income to supplement my retirement. Have you heard any information or success about retired educators working for VIP KIDS? Thank you.

    • Ashley October 23, 2017 at 12:46 pm - Reply

      Hi Cinda, there are absolutely retired teachers that work for VIPKid. You won’t see them as active on external platforms (like Facebook or Youtube), but I’ve seen them on the internal forum within VIPKid. They hire based on need and experience, however, actually getting students is a different story. I’ve heard of a few people having issues booking classes after being hired and there does seem to be a bit of a correlation of bookings with gender (there aren’t many men working for VIPKid, so they book right up), race (people of colour tend to initially have more difficulty), age, overall physical appearance, etc. As the parents are scrolling through pages of teachers, it’s a very short profile and a picture they base off of to hit “book”. While people of all looks and ages do get booked, and by all means I think working for them is a great income supplement, this is something to keep in mind, as it could be a slower start that many people think.

  15. Miranda Holman November 1, 2017 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    Hi do you have a referral code?

  16. […] Ashley @ Wanderdolls […]

    • Ashley November 16, 2017 at 7:35 am - Reply

      Hey! Thanks for the mention in your post. While I’m not a stay at home mom I’m sure the experiences when it comes to VIPKid can be very similar 🙂

  17. Amanda November 11, 2017 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    Hello, Ashley! I’m living in California and I’m a SAHM, but I have a BA in Elementary Education and 14 years experience. I was wondering if I could start up a Paypal account in lieu of a bank account. I really enjoyed reading through your questions and comments because I had similar ones. Thanks for posting. I’m new to this, but I’m thinking of giving it a shot. Right now, I need an income, but the school district here in California is so strict about Sub and teaching positions. I have to have credentials and I’m afraid I don’t have it at the moment. Looking forward to your response and more info. Feeling a little more confident that VIPKIDs is a great way to supplement our income. TC

    • Ashley November 15, 2017 at 11:12 am - Reply

      For VIPKid as far as I’m aware you need to have a bank account to receive your income. You could have a totally separate one just for them if you’re concerned about sharing such information. Many Canadians will open an American bank account to avoid the fees and that account is used just for VIPKid. Good luck with VIPKid!

  18. Amanda November 12, 2017 at 1:17 am - Reply

    Hi again! Wanted to ask how VIPKids and DadaABC compare. Thanks!

    • Ashley November 15, 2017 at 11:11 am - Reply

      Hi Amanda, I’ve never worked for DadaABC personally so I can’t be sure how they directly compare. If you’re looking to teach online, I’d try having interviews with both and seeing which contract you like best! Everyone’s experience with be different with various companies anyways.

  19. Vanessa Lenihan November 14, 2017 at 7:15 am - Reply

    Hi Ashley,

    I am looking for a side job teaching English online (for kids or adults) and heard of sites such as VIPKIDS.

    I have US citizenship (though I currently reside in France and was born there), speak English with an American accent and have teaching experience ranging from teach ESL in preschools in France to having taught French at an American university. My problem is that eventhough I have a Master in English, I obtained it from a French university (I also have an associates degree from the US) and I don’t know if I would qualify.

    Since you currently work for them, can you let me know what you think of my credentials, do I stand a chance at getting hired by VIPKID (or is there any other online teaching company you would recommend with people who have an “odd” background like mine)?

    Thank you very much for your answer !

    • Ashley November 15, 2017 at 4:02 am - Reply

      Hi Vanessa! As you have US citizenship and speak with an American accent you shouldn’t have any issues. I would simply attach your degrees and go from there. One of the questions when submitting documents is whether or not you have experience with a North American school system, and as you attended schooling there, you do. Once you get to the interview, the interviewer will hear your accent and experience, and all will be fine. For more options, I have a list – wanderdolls.com/teaching-english-online as well as some more teaching resources – http://wanderdolls.com/teachingresources/

  20. David Fair November 15, 2017 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    Hi Ashley! Great blog! I’ve noticed from watching YouTube videos that the vast majority of VIPKids teachers are young, actually very attractive individuals and highly energetic. I am a semi-retired health care provider (BA, AGS, Doctorate) and ordained clergyman with minimal actual classroom experience although I’ve been teaching patients and parishioners for 30 years. I LOVE kids, have 3 and 6 grandchildren…I love teaching the kids in Church. To keep out of my wife’s hair (I now have a home practice) I schedule about 15 hrs a week online in customer service…very demanding and almost depressing. Question: Do you think there’s any room in the platform for a grandpa-type individual?

    • Ashley November 17, 2017 at 9:39 am - Reply

      Hi David! Of course there’s room for a grandpa-type. I’m sure kids would love you. While I agree that the majority of YouTube vipkid teachers are young and attractive energetic people, that’s not to say most of the teachers are. There is a great variation of ages, energy, and attractiveness I’m sure. They’re simply the most active ones on YouTube. When I first applied, I worried I wouldn’t be high-energy enough for the job (I’m not exactly peppy), but it’s worked out great because it has allowed me to teach older students and levels 4-6 are my favourite and don’t require (nor do they seem to want) super bubby teachers. Best of luck VIPKids!

  21. Julie November 18, 2017 at 11:13 pm - Reply

    Hi Ashley,

    Thanks for the great info on VipKids! I have a couple of questions though. The main question is, would it be possible to do this full time or is it mainly to supplement income? Also, how far in advance do you set your hours? Is it weekly, monthly, etc.? If you know you have something coming up on a day you’re supposed to work, how far in advance do you have to rearrange your schedule of classes?

    Thank you for all of your help!

    • Ashley November 20, 2017 at 10:32 am - Reply

      Hi Julie! I think it is possible to do VIPKids full time depending on your income needs. But I certainly wouldn’t rely on it at first. It can take a long time to build up regulars and enough to a following to get regularly booked. I also don’t book anything more than a week in advance, but when building regulars at first it’s good to show a regular schedule.

  22. Andrea November 19, 2017 at 10:08 am - Reply

    Hi Ashley! Amazing blog! Quick question… I’m in the process to work for VIPKID… but I needed some suggestions on apps or web pages to make a nice intro video

    Thanks

    Andrea

    • Ashley November 20, 2017 at 10:31 am - Reply

      I made my intro video on my phone, holding it like I would if I were taking a selfie, and that’s it! It really doesn’t need to be fancy. Best of luck with teaching!

  23. Nelson Brod December 10, 2017 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    Hi. Thanks for your blog and also the questions that you have answered for everyone already. I have searched the website, and watched many videos, but I can’t find where to learn how to pass the quiz. I can guess on most of the questions, but I’m wondering if there is any kind of study material where they actually tell you what they’re looking for. That’s the only thing stopping me from doing this so far. Thanks in advance for a reply

    • Ashley December 12, 2017 at 3:40 am - Reply

      I would say the best way to ensure you’re putting in the answers they want is by simply having two tabs open – one in the tthe aching center and one for the quiz itself. Then just search while you taking it should you have any doubts. I wouldn’t stress too hard about it though – it’s quite easy

  24. Marco December 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    HEYYY Ashley, So I opted to take the two hour video conference with the mentor instead of the second mock 2 interview and afterwards had to take a 10 question quiz and now I’m just waiting in limbo any ideas of what I have to do next or will they get into contact with me to further along this application process?

    • Ashley December 13, 2017 at 6:17 am - Reply

      I believe you’ll be awaiting trial classes and once you’re through them onto teaching regular classes. The hiring process has changed a little bit from when I started but that is my understanding. If you’re looking to email someone to ask for more clarity or see where you’re at in the process I would email education@vipkid.com.cn

      Best of luck!
      -Ashley

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