How would you like to get paid $18-$22/hour teaching ESL online? Sounds like a decent gig to me. That’s what VipKid claims pay, but is VipKid a scam or a legitimate job?
Let’s find out….
What IS VipKid?
VipKid is a website that pays ESL teachers to teach kids in China through video calls. It was started in 2013 by Cindy Mi and Jessie Chen, and has since grown rapidly and attracted major investors – including Kobe Bryant!
If you are the teacher-type, VipKid is an opportunity that’s definitely worth looking into. The pay is good, and you get to teach kids from across the planet!
In order to teach with VipKid, you have to go through a vigorous application process. If you get approved, your profile will be visible to Chinese parents, who can select you as a their child’s teacher.
As a teacher, you’ll be teaching kids one on one. Each lesson lasts for about half an hour – 25 minutes for the lesson itself, and 5 minutes for a sort of Q&A session.
The kids you will be teaching range in age from 4-12.
The class follows the Common Core guidelines, and all the material is provided for you. However, you will want to review the material 6-12 hours in advance.
VipKid Teacher Requirements
In order to be considered for a teaching job at VipKid, you have to meet some basic requirements. VipKid’s customers rely on VipKid to provide trustworthy and qualified teachers, so if you do not meet these requirements don’t bother applying.
- You must have at least a Bachelor’s degree. Your degree can be in any field; it doesn’t matter whether or not it’s in the field of education.
- You need some experience teaching K-12 in the United States or Canada. VipKid does not specify how much experience though, so I can assume it doesn’t matter that much.
- Once accepted, you have to sign a minimum 6-month renewable contract.
Here are the tech requirements:
- You need to have a desktop or laptop; a tablet or smartphone won’t suffice.
- Your system must run on Windows 7 or above, or MAC OS 10.8x. It must also have Intel Core i3 or above, at least 4GB RAM, the latest Flash version, and you need a wired DSL internet connection – at least 20 Mbps.
- Your computer needs to have a camera
- You need a good headset with a microphone.
If you’ve checked off each of these items, you should be ready for the application process!
VipKid Application Process
The application process contains five stages. Apparently it’s pretty difficult to get the job, so make sure you are well prepared!
- Send VipKid your resume so they can screen for basic requirements and teaching experience
- Schedule a 30-minute session where you get to showcase your teaching skills to a VipKid recruiter, or record a demo lesson at your own time and send it to VipKid so they can evaluate you.
- Watch videos to learn more about VipKid – their technology, standards, and curriculum.
- This is where it starts to get real! Practice teaching a full-length class with another VipKid teacher.
- If you get to step 5, congrats! This is where you sign the contract, upload some docs, and complete a background check.
- Now that you’re an official VipKid teacher, you can start scheduling when you’re available. You have to schedule at least two weeks in advance, and if you have to cancel a session, you have to let VipKid know at least two weeks in advance (this is a deal-breaker for many).
How Much Does VipKid Pay?
VipKid pays $7-9 per 30-minute teaching session, and offers several incentives. Your base pay rate will be determined by your demo class performance (ooh, the pressure!), and your incentives by your monthly class participation and completion.
Here’s a handy chart which shows a breakdown of the payments:
Teachers get paid via direct deposit, sometime between the 10th and 15th of the month. Once your 6-month contract is up, VipKid may consider you for a raise.
As for taxes, VipKid teachers are independent contractors and therefore responsible for their own taxes.
No job is perfect, even one where you can essentially decide your hours, work from home, and even make a full-time income. VipKid is all of those, but there are still some valid teacher complaints you should be aware of before you get started.
The peak hours are at inconvenient times
Since you’ll be teaching kids from across the globe in real-time, you can imagine your schedule may have to get shuffled around considerably.
The peak hours in Beijing time are Monday-Friday 6-10pm, and Saturday-Sunday 9am–10pm. Here’s a handy chart I made to help you see what these times are in United States time zones.
VipKid Peak Hours Chart
It can be an unreliable source of income
You do not have set hours at VipKid, and therefore won’t always have work available. This means some days or weeks will be slow, while others may be pretty full. Due to this, you may want to look into other income opportunities to help make ends meet. Having multiple sources of income is always a good idea anyway.
After each lesson, parents can leave a review. And since a lot of them don’t speak English, the review has to be translated and it can get confusing. And according to some former VipKid teachers, the parents are able to leave negative reviews without any justification.
Slow support system
One complaint that comes up a lot is the slow support system. Should you need a hand with something from the company, it may take a while before you hear anything back.
VipKid’s acceptance rate is lower than Cornell University’s
According to a comment on this VipKid review, the company only accepts 10% of the people they interview:
Compare that to Cornell University – an ivy league school with an acceptance rate of 14%!
In other words, it’s extremely tough to get a teaching job at VipKid. But if you do get selected, it’s an accomplishment to be proud of!
VipKid teacher complaints
Here are a few more concerning complaints you’ll want to be aware of before applying:
Despite these negative reviews, VipKid has an overall positive rating online, and a lot of people have been quite successful with it.
With that said, you cannot simply ignore the negative reviews, of which there are plenty.
Alternatively, since you are presumably a teacher or interested in teaching, you might want to look into creating and selling your own online course about a topic you are good at. To do that, you’ll need to find a good course-creation platform. Here’s my list of the best online course platforms.
Final Thoughts – Is VipKid a Scam or Legitimate?
Despite the numerous complaints, VipKid is a legitimate company.
There are definitely some glaring problems with it though, so be sure to weigh the pros and cons yourself before you start.
Some of the pros of working at VipKid are:
- You can work from home
- You can set your own schedule (at least more so than with a regular 9 to 5 job)
- You get to teach kids English!
I am not convinced the pros outweigh the many cons though.
Otherwise, if VipKid sounds like a great fit for you and you’re ready to start, feel free to click the button below which will take you straight to VipKid:
I hope you found my VipKid review to be helpful. Do you have any comments or questions? Would you like to share your experience with VipKid? Feel free to leave a comment below!