Thanks for stopping by to check out my VIPKid Review. Teaching is one of my favorite methods of making money online because you are providing a valuable (and tangible) service to others, often changing lives in the process. It’s one of the best ways, in my opinion, to use the internet to make money.
With the economic challenges many predict are coming (a topic for a different article 😀 ), platforms like VIPKid are providing options for teachers to become independent contractors and entrepreneurs.
Please note, I am not a member or an affiliate for VIPKid. This review has been researched with information and/or testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any recommendations and/or conclusions are strictly opinions and may not apply to, or agree with, all persons or situations. See full disclaimer for more info
What is VIPKid?
VIPKid is an online ESL teaching platform that provides a virtual classroom setting for teachers and students in China; specifically children between the ages of 4-12.
Founded in 2013, they have been the recipient of awards such as the US-China Entrepreneurship Leader Award, and the Top 21 Global Innovation Award. I was hoping to provide links to these awards, but unfortunately I wasn't able to find a source or confirmation that this claim is true.
I'm not saying it isn't true, I just wasn't able to find proof online (meaning my research skills may be lacking) 🙂
They can, however, boast about major investors, including Kobe Bryant.
But of course you can learn all of that from their website.
The real question is whether or not the systems works as claimed and if you as a teacher can make real money with it.
Is VIPKid a Scam?
We might as well get this out of the way now.
Is VIPKid a scam? What would you call a conspiracy... a secret Government takeover aimed at forcing the English language onto the non-English speaking world? Control their language… control their mind.
Am I kidding? Yes... absolutely! 😀
Having read some articles and watched some video’s claiming VIPKid was a scam, I wanted to join in on the fun.
But, in all seriousness, VIPKid is the real deal. It’s NOT a scam. I’ll get into some of the challenges and growing pains they are going through, but VIPKid is a legit “side hustle” for teachers to leverage their skills and education to make money online.
In fact, some have made it their full-time job and earn a decent income.
How Does It Work?
The first hurdle you will face, is getting hired. This is NOT a general freelance site where you post your profile, credentials and then bid for jobs.
The process to becoming a VIPKid teacher is strict (which is ultimately a good thing for students and teachers who do get hired). You will require a Bachelor’s Degree, and they are very clear that they do not make exceptions.
Don’t have a bachelor’s degree? Check out my number one recommended program to make money online.
If you meet that criteria, you will then have to go through an interview and demo lesson process. You will have to demonstrate activities such as how you will elicit complete answers from students, time management and of course, your ESL teaching skills.
Specific areas of evaluation also include;
Teacher manages the class by rewarding the student for doing well and reprimanding the student when necessary. An age appropriate reward system is in place.
Teacher has prepared for the lesson before class; he/she has included engaging, fun, and educational activities which are explained clearly (teacher doesn’t halt class to read tips).
Efficient Pacing & Timing
Teacher displays efficient pacing and timing of the class. Time spent on slides depends on the student’s comprehension and grasp of the content, but teacher strives to cover all slides.
The teacher eases into the class after a greeting or introduction that establishes good rapport. He/she sustains positive rapport throughout the class and ends with proper closure (that is not abrupt).
Teacher demonstrates an energy level that is appropriate to different parts of the lesson such as reading, activity, introductions, etc.
Teaches content as laid out in the lesson objectives (math, phonics, vocabulary, HFW, social studies etc.) to complete them
One comment I read claimed that only 10% of applicants get hired. I don’t know if that number is accurate or not (probably just someone’s guess), but it’s clear that they don’t hire everyone.
If you’re not able to get hired on by VIPKid, there are other options to making money online.
Getting hired will take some time as well. While you're going through the process you can always earn some quick spending money by doing surveys with legit sites like surveyjunkie.com, as well as doing things online you'd be doing anyway, like searching the web and playing games with Swagbucks. They'll also pay you to watch videos and visit websites.
Of course, these sites can't provide the kind of income VIPKid can.
Another option if you're not able to get hired is to start an online business.
If you want to work from home because of health issues, young children to take care of, or you'd just like to have more time and freedom in your life, an online business might be what you want.
With so much misinformation out there though... knowing how (and where) to get started is what you need in order to get what you want.
Payment and Expenses
On the topic of expenses I’m going to ask for some reader input. I have read (and watched video) of comments with some people saying VIPKid reimburses your expenses, while others say they won’t.
These expenses include a whiteboard as well as teaching props such as a puppet, alphabet magnets, flash cards, toys etc.
If anyone has a definitive answer as to whether or not they compensate you for those costs, please leave a comment below… it would be greatly appreciated.
As far at the payment goes, they have a great reputation for paying in full and on time.
Base rates range from $7.00 – $9.00 USD per half-hour (or $14 to $18 per hour) plus incentives.
The base rate is determined by your credentials and demo lesson performance, and the incentives are applied to each half-hour rate.
Incentives and Contests
Participation Incentive – up to $1 USD (per half hour)
- Based on punctuality and teaching according to schedule.
Finished Class Incentive – up to $1 USD (per half hour)
- This incentive is determined by the number of students who book with you each month (number of classes you finish in a month). VIPKid uses this to assess your teaching quality.
With incentives, your total wage ranges from $14/hr to $22/hr. Some teachers report to be earning consistently $100 plus per day.
In addition they have periodic contest/bonuses.
A hundred bucks a day is not going to make you rich, but when you consider you can do it from home, the numbers become quite attractive. They get better if you consider the savings of not commuting to a job everyday.
- Less fuel and less wear and tear on your car.
- Depending on your situation you may be able to eliminate your vehicle entirely, saving on payments, insurance and possibly parking.
- Reduced clothing budget.
- Not eating out for lunch as often, and not grabbing quick (but expensive) dinners on the way home.
- Potentially moving to less expensive neighborhood or city could cut your expenses significantly.
- There are tax benefits when working from home.
An online teaching career, that you can do from anywhere with an internet connection can be life changing.
So we’ve gone over some of the good stuff, but as I mentioned earlier, VIPKid is a relatively new company (2013) and is still experiencing some growing pains. Some of the complaints are;
Technical issues can be a big deal. They can range from a momentary glitch to not being able to connect and if you can’t connect, you can’t teach. If you can’t teach, you can’t make money.
For this reason alone, making this a full-time job could be risky, especially if you eventually consider quitting your current job. If you’re living the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle, this is something you might consider.
Having said that, VIPKid loses money when their system goes down as well, so I'm sure technical issues are something they take seriously and fix as quickly as possible.
And, VIPKid is not alone here. I don't think I've ever worked for a company that did not have technical issues of some kind. They're frustrating and not something you want to deal with on a regular basis… pay or no pay.
Inconsistent Hiring Practices
Although you can find dozens of complaints online related to VIPKid’s hiring practices, they must be taken with a grain of salt. They are likely the product of frustration, rather than objective observation.
Someone who spent hours preparing and going through the interview process is going be upset if they don’t get hired. Of course, someone with decades of teaching experience is going to think it’s unfair and it's a big hit to one's ego.
I’m reminded of the contestants on American Idol who don’t get chosen, telling Ryan Seacrest that the judges are idiots and don’t know what they’re doing.
Those who don’t get chosen by VIPKid will understandably complain.
I’m not saying they’re wrong… it’s just difficult to validate their claims. Just because you have an extensive teaching background doesn’t mean you can adapt your style to a web camera. Maybe you're just not good on camera. I know I'm not.
Connecting With Students
I’m not a teacher, but I can understand this point. Some teachers are going to be good at it, while others will find it difficult to connect with their students online… especially younger children.
The unfortunate consequence of a round planet, is that daytime in China means nighttime in N.America. Well, depending on your exact location, time and season, this might not always be true… but close enough. Peak hours in China are not the same as the US so a regular 9-5 schedule isn’t likely.
Parental Complaints and Control
Some report that dealing with parents can be difficult as they sometimes try to control the lesson and/or leave negative feedback that VIPKid usually sides with. It's understandable since the parents are the ultimate customers, and the customer is always right... even if they're wrong.
What I Like About VIPKid
- They pay on time and accurately
- Earning a living, while making a difference in someone’s life. It’s a unique time in history when you can impact the futures of children a world away.
- Curriculum is prepared by VIPKid, providing consistency for students, as well as saving time and not putting that accountability on teachers. If parents complain about what’s being taught, it’s not on you. “How” the curriculum is taught though… that is still on the teacher.
- You can make your own schedule, within reason. Of course, the time change makes it somewhat difficult, but you can still choose when to work, and when not to work.
- Unlike other freelance sites where the competition for work is high, VIPKid’s strict hiring practices maintain an efficient teacher to student ratio. Good teachers can work as often as they like.
What I Don’t Like
- You are dependent on their platform. There’s no reason to think they’ll shut the doors or make big changes that leave you unemployed, but it wouldn't hurt to diversify with other work-at-home opportunities, especially if you rely on VIPkid for an income.
- VIPKid has a referral program which has the potential of creating passive income. For the most part though, as a teacher there is no financial freedom and you're still dependent on an hourly wage.
- The only subject they teach is ESL.
- Although you get paid a decent rate for the hours you teach, you don’t get paid for your time preparing lessons.
- It’s not easy to get hired. This is both a pro and a con, depending on what side of the fence you’re sitting.
People have been teaching online now for awhile, but it’s just the beginning of a trend. Experts such as Peter Diamandis predict the future of education will be online (and include virtual reality). I tend to agree.
When you consider the cost of building and maintaining large campuses (including infrastructure such as roads, electric, water and even public transit lines) just to serve a local market, virtual schools may become the default option. Especially in emerging economies.
As a teacher, there’s no better time to start looking at a career online
If you're unable to get hired by VIPKid or it's taking longer than you expected, you can also earn money while you're waiting with online surveys. It's not a lot of money but sites like Survey Junkie and Swag Bucks can give you a little extra each month and they're free to join.
For a real work-at-home income if you don't qualify for VIPKid, an online business can also be a good option for the right person.
If more time and freedom is what you're looking for and the extra effort doesn't scare you 😀 , an online business might be exactly what you want.
There's so many false promises and junk out there though, that knowing how (and where) to get started is what you need in order to get what you want.
I hope my VIPKid Review was helpful, and please comment below. I’d love to hear your opinions. Are you a teacher, or have you had experiences with VIPKid before (good or bad)?
Also, if you found this article useful, and think it may be helpful to others, please share 😀