If you’ve been asking around for work at home jobs, chances are you’ve come across (referral link) VIPKid at some point. VIPKid is a popular service that pays teachers to teach English to Chinese students from home. Teaching with VIPKid pays between $14-$22 an hour and allows teachers to set their own schedule, making it a great job for parents. I teach in my basement before my kids wake up for the day and absolutely love it.
VIPKid teachers can work at home (many in their pajamas) and set their own hours. Because you are teaching students in China, the hours can be a bit crazy, but for teachers with young kids at home, the hours can actually be a huge benefit because you can work while your children are sleeping and avoid the need for childcare.
I typically work for 2-3 hours before my kids wake up in the morning and bring in between $1000 – $1500 a month. That’s not too bad considering it is a job that doesn’t cut into my normal schedule at all.
It is a GREAT job and I’ve had a lot of fun with it. The extra money is definitely nice too and I love being able to set my own schedule so that it works around my family’s needs.
Before you apply to VIPKid, there are some things you need to know.
VIPKid is a REAL job. That means you need to take the interview process seriously. They will be doing everything from interviewing you to running a background check. Once hired, you will be a contractor with VIPKid and will be responsible for paying your own taxes and following through with your commitment to teach. You don’t have to open up your schedule when you are not available, but if you do open your schedule up, you are committed to teaching.
The process does take time. The process takes a bit of time and there are no ways to cut corners. You will have to send in actual documentation of your college degree and any other certificates you have. VIPKid is working on Chinese time so most of the time they won’t be getting back to you or responding questions until the next day. The entire process for me, including getting certifications to teach within VIPKid, took about 2 weeks. Some people are able to do it faster and some take longer. Either way, plan on it taking a bit of time. You won’t be working the next day.
The parents choose you. VIPKid is a bit different than some other teaching companies, in that the parents will actually be the ones selecting you as a teacher. This means that even once you are hired and trained, it may take a few days/weeks to get consistent bookings. It took about 5 days for me to get my first booking and then they started to trickle in from there. Within a few weeks I was fully booked.
How to Get Hired with VIPKid
The hiring process with VIPKid is fairly straight forward.
Fill out a VIPKid Application
First, you will need to fill out an application. You can do that here (and feel free to reach out to me if you have questions along the way).
Prep for your Interview with VIPKID
Once you have filled out an application, you will receive an email asking you to schedule an interview. There are several options for this so read the email they send carefully.
You can schedule a live interview or submit a video interview (known as the Interview Express ) or the new Smart Demo Lesson.
I chose to do the Interview Express and feel like that is the simplest option.
In the Interview Express, you will be asked to take a simple quiz and film a 3-minute video. In the video, they just ask for an introduction and a bit about your teaching experience. It is meant to be a super short video so don’t overthink it.
That being said, they will set your base pay after seeing your interview so make sure you do your best.
There are a few things I recommend before filming your interview:
- Check your lighting. You want bright, clear lighting so the interviewers can see that you’ll be able to create a great learning experience for your students. I use a photography soft box (like this one) but any bright lamp with LED lights will work.
- Create a backdrop for your video. This can be simple. You could choose a solid color background or set up a learning poster behind you. For my interview, I bought a cheap educational alphabet poster from the Dollar Store (similar to this) but anything will do. Don’t spend much on this. It’s best if you use things you already have around your home.
That’s it! You don’t have to film your interview live so if you don’t like the way it turns out, you can just redo it.
I SERIOUSLY overthought my interview with VIPKid. It took me an embarrassing amount of time to get around to filming it. I do not like seeing myself on camera and I kept overthinking the entire process.
I’m kicking myself now, though, because I could have been earning money all that time!
Your video interview is WAY easier than you think it will be. Once I submitted my video, I heard back within 24 hours saying I passed (remember, they are working on Chinese time so don’t expect a response in the middle of the day).
Passing your interview is not the end of the process though …
Passing your Mock Class with VIPKid
Once you pass your interview you will find out how much you will make per class (generally between $7 and $9 for a 25-minute class before bonuses).
The next step is passing your Mock Class. VIPKid has different levels for their classes. You will get certified for the levels that you want to teach. You can add certifications anytime you want, but you must get at least one certification to officially become a VIPKid teacher.
You get to choose the level you’d like to start with. Generally, the higher the level, the older the students you will be working with — so keep that in mind when choosing.
I started with Interactive Level 2 and have had steady bookings from nearly the beginning. It’s still my favorite level to teach because of the interactive features.
What to do before your mock class
Your mock class will happen live with a mock class mentor. Don’t let that intimidate you. The mock class mentors are very helpful.
Go over the mock class material. You will be given slides with the mock class material before so you can prepare. Take some time to become familiar with what is in the lesson so that it goes smoothly when you teach it.
Gather some props. You will want to use some basic props during your mock class. They are watching to see if you can use props effectively to teach. You do not need to go out and buy anything for this. Just look for things you have around the house. I’d recommend having a small whiteboard (like this one), a puppet or stuffed animal, and a few small toys or flashcards (I got some from the Dollar Store).
Set up your background. You’ll want a basic backdrop set up for your mock class. Again, I bought a cheap educational alphabet poster from the Dollar Store (similar to this) but anything will do. Try to use things you have at home. A solid color sheet hung on a wall would work or a large map print.
Check your lighting. Hopefully, you have your lighting sorted out after doing your interview video, but if you don’t, make sure you have a good lighting setup. Lighting is so important and is one of the things your mock class mentor is going to be looking for during your demo. I use a photography soft box (like this one) but you can use a bright lamp with LED lights if you prefer. The more light you have, the better. I turn on all the lights in my room plus use my soft box photo light. Be sure to watch for glare on your background (or glasses, if you wear them).
Do a mock class prep session. If you want to do some extra preparation they have mock class prep sessions. I did one and it was super helpful. The mock class prep sessions are live with mock class mentors and a group of applicants.
Once you do these things, you are ready for your mock class. If you don’t pass the first time, don’t worry. You can redo your mock class as many times as you need to. I didn’t pass the first time and the feedback I got during that session was very helpful and included tips I still use today.
So you passed your VIPKid Mock Class!
Once you successfully finish your VIPKid mock class you’ll receive an email letting you know that you passed. This usually comes within 24 hours but sometimes it just takes a few hours.
Now that you have passed, it is time to go through the free TESOL certification. This includes some reading material and a quiz at the end. It is fairly straightforward.
With the TESOL certification and Mock Class finished, it is time to submit all your paperwork (proof of college degree, permission for background check), submit . an intro video (so parents can get to know you), profile picture, and sign your contract.
Once your contract is signed you are an official VIPKid teacher and can open up slots to teach. Parents choose you so it may take a few days/weeks for you to start getting bookings.