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VIPKID: Teach English Online While Traveling the World

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Do you want to have a flexible schedule while working anywhere in the world? Teaching English online with VIPKID is arguably one of the best and easiest ways to make money while traveling the world.

I decided to start teaching English online in the evenings and on weekends to make a little bit of extra money for traveling. This was while I was also teaching at a school in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I found the company VIPKID, and it has turned out to be a better job than I ever expected.

I wanted to share this company with you because it is a great way to make money while working from anywhere in the world. VIPKID has been a life-changing job for me, and I hope that it can be the same for you.

Forbes even named VIPKID one of the top 10 best jobs working from home.


About VIPKID | The Vegan Abroad

VIPKID is an online platform that provides English lessons to kids in China using an online classroom. Teachers will guide students through pre-made slides to help them to improve their English and conversational skills.

Requirements to Work for VIPKID

Requirements to Work for VIPKID | The Vegan Abroad

The main requirement to work for VIPKID is a pretty obvious one: you must be fluent in English. Duh! You must also have a Bachelor’s degree. It does NOT need to be in education. I have a degree in business. You do NOT need a TEFL or TESOL certificate to apply.

If you are interested in receiving your TESOL, you can get it from International Open Academy for $19.

VIPKID advertises that you must have a minimum of 1-year experience with children. This does not only have to be teaching. It can be anything from babysitting, tutoring, or summer camps. It also doesn’t have to be a full year in one thing. You can add different jobs together to make a full year. Make sure that you do NOT select the 12 months of experience on the application. The application is scored by a computer, and you will automatically fail. Make sure you choose the option that says 1-3 years (or more).

Other Requirements for VIPKID:

You must have a computer, laptop, or tablet; and reliable internet. Starting in August 2019, you will no longer be able to teach with a Chromebook. It is highly recommended that you use headphones with a microphone. You can use the iPhone earbuds, but real headphones are preferred. I have also taught without any headphones when I taught from my iPad Pro, but this is not recommended. You also should have a few props. You do NOT have to go overboard with this if you don’t want to. I only use around 10 props. I made a video explaining the props that I use that you can watch down below. Some teachers only use a whiteboard to teach. Feel free to use as many or as few props as you would like.

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    How much does VIPKID pay?

    As much as I love teaching English, I also have bills that need to be paid. Let’s get to the important stuff: How much can you really make with VIPKID?

    VIPKID updated its pay structure for new teachers ONLY in January 2020. If you read any articles or see any videos about VIPKID’s pay structure that were posted prior to January 2020, they are probably wrong.

    You can make up to $22 per hour, but I would say that $20 is about average. How much money you will earn will depend on a few factors. You will have a base pay between $7-$9 per 25minute class. This means that you can make a base rate of $14-$18 per hour. But there are also bonuses!

    The following chart shows exactly how much you will make in bonuses. Your bonus will depend on how many classes you teach in a month and how many you have taught overall.

    VIPkid updated pay structure chart 2020

    Additional Bonus

    On top of the bonuses shown in the chart above, there are a few other ways you can make additional money with VIPKID.

    Short Notice Classes:

    You will typically open up your schedule at least 2 weeks in advance, so students have time to book a class with you. However, if a student books a class with you less than 24 hours in advance, you will earn an additional $2 per class ($4 per hour). You can turn this feature off if you don’t want to be booked with less than 24 hours until the class.

    Trial Classes:

    Most of your students will probably already be enrolled with VIPKID, but you also have the opportunity to be certified to teach trials. Each student has the opportunity to take 3 trial classes before signing up with VIPKID. If the student signs up for VIPKID after your class, you will earn a $5 bonus.

    Referral Bonus:

    If you refer someone to VIPKID, and they are hired, you will earn a $100 bonus after they teach their first class.

    A note on referral bonuses: If you have received a lot of information from this article, and want to apply for VIPKID, I would really appreciate if you apply through my referral link here. You can also enter my code on your application: HALEY0125. I am not affiliated in any way with VIPKID. Referral bonuses allow me to spend more time working on putting information out on this blog and my YouTube channel. I genuinely do love working for VIPKID, and I want people to know that it is possible to make money while traveling the world.

    Ready to Apply Now?

    Hiring Process

    VIPKID Hiring Process | The Vegan Abroad

    The first official step in the VIPKID hiring process is an application. To pass the application process you must have at least a Bachelor’s degree, over one year of experience with children, and you are legally able to work in the United States or Canada. You don’t have to currently be living in the United States or Canada, you just have to be legally able to work in either of those countries. I was actually hired while I was living in Thailand. If you have questions before submitting your application.

    Interview for VIPKID

    The next step is the interview! You have a few options on how you want to do your interview. You can do a live interview, a recorded interview, an express interview, or the Smart Demo. The coaching day is listed on the chart above. VIPKID no longer offers that option. I did the live interview because the Smart Demo wasn’t an option when I was hired. The Smart Demo is probably the best option now.

    Smart Demo

    To do the smart demo, you will download the VIPKID teach app on your phone once you pass the application process. You will learn a bit about VIPKID foundations such as TPR and incidental language. Then you will take a quiz with 5 questions that are all multiple choice. You only have 90 seconds to answer each question, and you have to get at least 3 questions correct to pass. You can retake the quiz, but the questions will be different. Then you will teach one slide. The slide is randomly assigned to you out of 6 possible slides, and all of the slides are geared towards beginner-level students. You will have two and a half minutes to teach that slide, but you do NOT have to teach for the full two and a half minutes. You can also try again if you do not like what you recorded. 

    Live Interview

    Your first interview will be with someone who works at VIPKID in Beijing. You will be given a short lesson in advance, so you can prepare for your interview. The interview will take place over video on the VIPKID website.

    The first part of the interview is to find out about your experience and to make sure that you are fluent in English. They will also talk with you about VIPKID, and make sure that you have a good internet connection.

    You will then teach that lesson that you have prepared based on the slides that were given to you in advance. Your interviewer pretends that they are a 5-year-old student with limited English. Yes, it can be strange talking to an adult-like they are a child!

    Make sure that you have looked over the slides and practiced before your interview. You DO NOT want it to look like you have never seen the slides before. The interview is the most crucial stage in the VIPKID hiring process, as it will determine your fate as an online teacher and your paycheck. Don’t be freaked out though, it really is not that scary. You can also always re-apply if you don’t pass your first interview.

    Recorded Demo

    You also have the option to do a recorded demo without the interviewer in Beijing. I don’t suggest doing this option though. It doesn’t make much sense to do the recorded option when the Smart Demo is much easier.

    Mock Class

    After your interview, you will go to the Certification Center, where you will choose which levels you’d like to be certified in and complete the corresponding mock classes. I recommend that you certify for Level 2/3 because somewhere around 75% of VIPKID students are in Level 2. This will give you the best chance of getting booked quickly. You can always add other certifications once you are hired.

    Your mock class is different from your interview because there are two lessons you will have to prepare for. However, you will only be teaching ONE lesson during your mock class. You will be partnered with a veteran VIPKID teacher for your mock class. These teachers are very experienced because you have to teach at least 1,000 before you can become a mock class mentor. Your mock class mentor will tell you which lesson you are going to do. I have heard some people say that their mock class mentor let them pick which lesson they wanted to do. This did not happen to me, so don’t expect that to happen to you. Be prepared to teach both! You cannot fail your mock class, but you can be asked to do it again and again until VIPKID feels that you are ready to be hired.

    TESOL-VIPKID Foundational Program

    Applicants will need to complete a short TESOL training and quiz in their VIPKID portal right before signing their contract. The Chinese government requires that all online and classroom teachers have some sort of teaching credentials or certification. If you indicated on your application that you already have a Teaching or ESL certificate, then you may be able to bypass this step by uploading proof of your verification. Even though I already have a teaching certificate, I took the TESOL with VIPKID. This is nothing to stress about because you can take it as many times as you need to until you pass.

    Setting Up Your Profile

    You will then need to upload all of the necessary documents, including your diploma and certifications. VIPKID will then pay for you to go through a standard background check. You will set up your profile by uploading a few pictures, a short bio, and a short introductory video. Then you are ready to open up your bookings, and start teaching!

    What Is A VIPkid Class Like?

    What is a VIPKID class like? | The Vegan Abroad

    Before Class

    When a student books a class with you, you’ll see which lesson you will be teaching and can load all of the slides. VIPKID creates all of the lessons, so there is no prep work! You can also click on the student’s name to see information about them like how many classes they have taken, when their birthday is, and what previous teachers have said about them.

    I advise that you take what you read in the teacher to teacher feedback with a grain of salt. I have a regular student, and all of the rest of her teacher-to-teacher feedback says that she doesn’t pay attention or participate in class. This is the complete opposite experience that I have had with her, and she is one of my favorite students! I also have seen feedback from other teachers that say that a student is excellent, and I have a less than excellent lesson with them.

    During Class

    You will “enter the classroom” to start teaching the class. I advise that you check to make sure your camera, sound, and internet and working well before your class begins.

    You will push the “start class” button when it is time to start class. I don’t start the class until 10 seconds before the class begins. If it’s your first class, I recommend starting around 30 seconds early. You DO NOT start class early even if the student is there 5 minutes early.

    During the class, the student will see your face on video chat on one side of their screen, and they’ll see the lesson slides on the other half. There is a chatbox that you can use. Your student can also write in the chatbox if they are on a computer. They cannot write in the chatbox if they are on a tablet. I have found that most students take classes from their tablets. You will get an automated message in the chatbox if your student is using a tablet.

    Each slide is relatively self-explanatory. If you are confused about what to do, there are “teacher tips” that you can look at.

    There are typically 25-28 slides per lesson, so you will try to teach one slide per minute. Some slides you can get through in a few seconds, and others that may take a little longer. There is a timer on the screen to help you to pace yourself. It’s okay if you go over the 25-minute mark, but you do need to make sure you are on time for your next class if you have one. It is NOT okay to go under the 25-minute mark.

    After Class

    You will write feedback about each student after the lesson. You will write about what the child did in the class, what they did well, and what they can improve on. VIPKID will translate your feedback into Chinese for the parents to read. If you are hired by VIPKID, I strongly recommend that you sign up for Feedback Panda. I teach around 70-80 classes per week at the time of writing this post, and Feedback Panda has saved me so much time in writing feedback. Work smarter, not harder!

    • A note on writing feedback: Another VIPKID teacher, Ed Nance, wrote a book about writing useful feedback. He lived in China for several years and speaks Chinese. I purchased his book after working for VIPKID for a few months, and it has been incredibly helpful. I don’t think that you need to buy it when you are just starting, but something to consider once you have been teaching for some time. There is no incentive for me to promote this, I have just found it very valuable. You can purchase it here.

    FAQ about VIPKID

    FAQ About VIPKID | The Vegan Abroad

    I’m not American. Can I work for VIPKID?

    You must be eligible to work in the United States or Canada. Eligibility to work includes a temporary work visa, a green card, or citizenship. You do not have to be living in the United States or Canada at the time.

    Unfortunately, California signed a bill in 2019 that imposes much stricter guidelines for companies that hire independent contractors. Because of this, VIPKID will no longer hire teachers that live in California.

    VIPKID is marketed as a company that teaches ‘American English.’ This means that you will need to make sure that you are using the American pronunciation of words. You may not be hired if you have a strong accent.

    Do I need to be able to speak Chinese to work for VIPKID?

    Absolutely not! The only word that I know in Chinese is the word for ‘hello,’ and I learned that from a VIPKID lesson. VIPKID is meant to be an English immersion experience. It has actually been proven that you learn a language best by not using a translator but through immersion. Think about how you learned your first language; it was entirely through immersion!

    How often are you paid with VIPKID?

    You can choose to be paid weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly. You also have the choice to be paid through direct deposit or Paypal.

    Do you need to prepare for lessons in advance?

    I recommend doing a little bit of preparation when you are first starting. At the time of writing this post, I have been with VIPKID for over a year, and I no longer prepare for lessons. You will begin to notice that all of the lessons in a certain level have the exact same format, and many of the lessons I have taught before. Now I just log on, teach, and submit feedback. Easy peasy!

    Can I set my own schedule with VIPKID?

    Absolutely! You can work as much or as little as you would like.

    Can I take time off with VIPKID?

    Yes! I took an entire month off from teaching when I backpacked around Australia. I taught over 60 classes the week I returned back home.

    Do VIPKID teachers always have the same students?

    Yes and no. Parents book which teachers they want for their children. If a parent and student like you, they can book you as many times as they want. If they don’t then they will book someone else. Now that I have been teaching for 6 months, most of my classes are from students that I have previously taught, but I definitely do get new students as well.

    Is work steady with VIPKID?

    The work has been very steady for me even when I take time off for traveling. I may lose a few students if I take a month or so off, but a lot come back, and I am always gaining new students. The earlier that you open up your schedule, the more likely that you will get fully booked. The start may be a little slow, but it definitely does pick up. I taught 59 classes in my first month with VIPKID. This was when I was still working at a school. May 2019 was my first month with VIPKID as my full-time job, and I taught 295 classes (my sixth month with VIPKID)!

    Does VIPKID provide benefits?

    Besides the benefits of setting your own hours and working from anywhere in the world, VIPKID does not provide benefits. VIPKID teachers are independent contractors.

    How old are the students? What is their English level like?

    This generally depends on which levels you teach. I am currently certified to teach level 1 – level 6. Level 1 students are around 4-6 years old and have very little to no English ability. As you move higher up in the levels, the students generally are a little older and have much better English abilities. Levels 6 students have a nearfluent level of English.

    What are the VIPKID teaching hours like?

    You will teach Chinese students with VIPKID, so all classes are created around Beijing time. Students will take VIPKID classes in the evening, after their regular school and on the weekend. The hours that you work will depend on what time zone you are in. If you live in North America, most class slots will be early morning. Some teachers in North America will do overnighters on Friday and Saturday nights because that is Saturday and Sunday in China. The weekend is the easiest time to get booked because the students are not in school.

    If you live in Asia, then you will probably be teaching in the evenings, and you can teach all day on the weekends. If you live in Europe, then your teaching hours will be more like a typical workday.

    Some people do VIPkid before going to their regular 9-5, and others teach VIPKID as their sole source of income. I started teaching with VIPKID when I was teaching English in Thailand. I would work at my school from 8-3:30 and then teach for a few hours in the evenings and on weekends.

    Peak Times Daylight Saving Time

    Peak Times

    Both of the above charts are a bit outdated now because the Chinese government made a new law in November 2019 that students can longer take online classes after 9 pm. You can still get booked with trial lessons or with students who do not live in mainland China, but is VERY rare that I get my open slots booked from 9-10 pm Beijing time.

    What happens if I miss a class? Can I cancel a class?

    You are allowed to cancel up to 6 classes within your 6-month contract. It is best to cancel as far in advance as possible. If you cancel within 24 hours, you will be deducted $2, and if you cancel within 2 hours of your class, you will be deducted $10. If you don’t show up for a class, you will be deducted $10.

    Is VIPKID a Scam, MLM, or Pyramid Scheme?

    The short answer is no. You are not required to recruit a single person to work for VIPKID. I worked for VIPKID for over nine months before I referred my first teacher. VIPKID was my full-time job for several months before I referred anyone. The referral program is just a way for VIPKID to reward current teachers for referring new teachers. There are teachers who have worked for VIPKID for several years and have never referred anyone.

    Are you ready to be a VIPKID teacher?

    Congratulations! I hope that you will love VIPKID as much as I do!

    Last but certainly not least, I would really appreciate if you use my referral code HALEY0125

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