Everything You Need to Know About Teaching English Online With VIPKID

by Rachel Story

Updated February 2019 to reflect the current recruitment process.

Teaching English online is becoming very popular. It’s a great way to move abroad without the stress of lining up a job first. You could even bounce around different countries until you find one you like, earning money along the way. Aside from traveling, it provides the opportunity to simply work from home.

More and more online teaching companies are popping up every day. How do you choose the best one?  In this article, we go into detail about what it’s like to teach with VIPKID so you can decide if it’s a good fit for you. You’ll learn about the company, the job itself, the pros & cons, and the application process.

About VIPKID

VIPKID is a Beijing-based online English teaching company, paving the way for online language learning. Started in 2013, it has grown exponentially over the past year. In January 2016, they had a few hundred teachers. Now, they have grown to have over 20,000 teachers and over 200,000 students, and they don’t plan to stop growing anytime soon. They have become so popular that many investors are lining up to chip in. Even Kobe Bryant has invested in the company!

VIPKID’s mission is to provide children in China an American elementary school education. Their one-on-one immersive program is based on the US’s Common Core State Standards curriculum. Children from the ages of 5-12 years old are able to have classes with a native English speaker without having to leave the comfort of their home. They use a flipped classroom method that has been proven to increase student’s understanding as well as foster critical thinking skills. As people who used to teach in China, we know critical thinking is rarely taught in Chinese schools.

VIPKID is becoming more and more popular. They have had write-ups by multiple news organizations. Read this article from Bloomberg Technology and this one from the South China Morning Post. They’ve even been ranked Forbes #1 work from home job in 2018. Furthermore, VIPKID is planning to expand into 100 countries over the next few years and they’ve announced 4 new product lines set to launch in the near future.

There has never been a better time to teach with VIPKID!

Ready to apply? Click this link.

VIPKID Requirements

Requirements:

    • American or Canadian
    • Bachelor’s Degree in anything
    • One year of experience teaching or working with children
    • A TEFL Certification will be required as of March 2019

Read more: The Best Online TEFL Courses

VIPKID requirements are minimal. Because their curriculum is based on the American Common Core State Standard, they only hire teachers with a North American accent. You don’t have to be based there, but you do have to submit a scan of your passport to prove you’re from there.

You must have a Bachelor’s Degree in any field and at least one year of experience teaching or working with children. This can include working at a daycare or summer camp and can even include babysitting. You also must be very high energy. It requires more effort to excite the students than teaching in a conventional classroom.

The pay is $7-9 USD per class with the potential to earn a $2 bonus per class. That makes the earning potential $11 per class.

Classes are 25 minutes each, scheduled in 30-minute time slots because you have to put in feedback for the parents when the class is finished. The extra 5 minutes gives you time to do this while the class is still fresh in your mind.

Your base pay is calculated based on your previous experience plus your interview and demo. They offered me $8 per class when I was hired. The company deposits your salary directly to your bank account by the 15th of each month.

Teachers whose bank has an ACH number can opt to receive bi-monthly payments.

Contracts are 6-months long. You have the ability to earn a $.50 raise after two contracts if you successfully complete the raise criteria.

Not the job for you? Find one that is in our post all about The Best Online English Teaching Jobs.

VIPKID Hours

You set your own schedule and the parents book the teachers. You will make a profile for yourself that has all your information plus a VIPKID teacher bio that you write and a video the parents can watch.

The company suggests you open up 15 time slots (7.5 hours) each week as this will provide more opportunities for parents to book your class. Previously this was a requirement but now they’ve changed the wording to say it’s a suggestion.

There is no limit to how many time slots you open up so you could potentially teach up to 50 classes every week!

This is what it looks like when you put in your availability.

The slots turn green with the student name when they are booked.

Start your application process by clicking here!

VIPKID Peak Hours

The kids are school-age so VIPKID classes take place in the evenings and weekends. The VIPKID peak hours are the times when they have a demand for class. The VIPKID peak hours are 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm Beijing time every day as well as 9:00 am – 10:00 pm (all day) Saturday and Sunday.

Beijing time is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and 12 hours ahead during Daylight Savings Time. It’s important to note that China does not do Daylight Savings Time. When Daylight Savings Time ends in Noth America, your classes will start an hour earlier.

Here are the VIPKID hours look like in different time zones:

VIPKID hours in:

  • EST 5:00 am – 9:00 am; EDT 6:00 am – 10:00 am
  • CST 4:00 am – 8:00 am; CDT 5:00 am – 9:00 am
  • MST 3:00 am – 7:00 am; MDT 4:00 am – 8:00 am
  • PST 2:00 am – 6:00 am; PDT 3:00 am – 7:00 am

On the weekends and in July and August, you have the option to teach more hours. Many teachers based in the US go nocturnal during those times and teach through the night to maximize their earnings.

My favorite thing about VIPKID is that you can take this job on the road and change your VIPKID hours by moving to a different time zone.

European time zones are ideal if you want to do VIPKID hours in the middle of the day. Asian time zones are better if you want to teach at night. Do you prefer morning hours? Chile, Argentina, and Brazil have the ideal time zone.

VIPKID PPT vs. Peak Hours

VIPKID’s classification of class times can be pretty confusing. PPT stands for “peak peak time.” Those are the hours they have the highest demand for classes from students. They are 7:00 pm-9:00 pm Beijing time. It’s 4 time slots on the teaching schedule.

VIPKID peak hours are inclusive of all the times that are in high demand, 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm. They will often reward teachers who open slots during the peak peak times (PPT) so it’s in your best interest to teach as many as you can.

What You’ll Need for Your Classes

Necessary Materials:

  • Computer (desktop or laptop) – I recommend the Lenovo Yoga 2-in-1 laptop. Writing on the slides is much easier thanks to the touchscreen. It’s portable and easy to travel with. Check the price on Amazon
  • Webcam
  • Microphone
  • Headset – VIPKID recommends the Logitech H151; Check the price on Amazon

All you need to do the job is a computer, headset, webcam, and microphone. They can’t legally require you to do anything as we are independent contractors, but they will love it if you show up to your interview and mock classes wearing an orange shirt (their brand color) and a headset.

The company makes all the lessons as PowerPoint presentations – one of the many reasons why working for VIPKID is great. You don’t have to prepare any lessons yourself. You simply need to familiarize yourself with the PowerPoint slides.

VIPKID has designed its own teaching platform on their website. It’s a sophisticated video chat similar to Skype. There is a box to upload the PowerPoint lesson where it’s visible to both the teacher and student, two smaller boxes for the video so the teacher and student can see each other and a chat box where you can type messages to the student.

It looks like this:

Your VIPKID virtual classroom.

The mouse turns into a pen allowing you to write on the slides. There are teacher directions on the bottom of each slide telling you exactly how to teach the content.

Props

The most essential props to have are:

Having props makes the class more engaging. There is an internal reward system of giving stars but it’s more fun to show the student’s race car zipping around the track every time they do something great.

When you’re ready to take your job with VIPKID on the road, make sure you have all the best tools in your teacher toolkit! Here are our recommendations for the best teaching supplies for the portable classroom.

Props to make your class more fun.

Sound Good? Apply Here

Need more convincing? Keep reading for the pros and cons.

We believe that the pros seriously outweigh the cons when working for VIPKID, but Sasha and I want to give you an honest snapshot of all the ups and downs of the job. We came up with a pros and cons list to show you exactly what we enjoy and dislike about the job.

Pros of VIPKID

  • Set your own schedule
  • Flexible schedule
  • Work from home (or the road)
  • Travel without taking time off
  • Supportive company
  • Many options for support
  • Well-paying
  • Easy and fun
  • Great intro to the world of ESL
  • Kids are adorable

The first reason VIPKID appeals to so many people is that it’s a flexible job you can do from anywhere you have an internet connection. We absolutely love the control we have over our schedule. It enables us to hunker down and teach more when we’re stationary and book fewer classes when we’re on the road or have visitors.

It’s also pretty awesome that you can do the job so long as you have space and an internet connection. In our first year, we worked from Bali, Las Vegas, Austin, and Mexico City, just to name a few places. When we are actually living somewhere, having a 5-second commute is amazing!

Teacher testimonials speak to how much everyone loves working with VIPKID.

Another awesome thing about this job is being able to take time off to travel or do whatever else you want very easily. It’s very easy to schedule travel time around classes. For example, you could bust your butt one week, then take 4-5 days off to go on a short trip, then jump back into it.

This was great when we were traveling around South America. We were able to take a few days off to check out the Casa en el Agua off the coast of Colombia. Then we went to the Galapagos Islands for a week without having to ask permission from anyone. We just simply let our students know in their class feedback.

If you can’t accept 2-day weekends and only two weeks off per year, this job rocks!

Support

One concern many people have when starting this job is support.

There were complaints from teachers in the company’s first two years but they’ve got a great support system in place now. They listen to their teachers. All the new support systems they’ve implemented over the past year were a result of teachers’ requests.

They’re usually quick to respond to issues by e-mail and the “firemen” (helpers during class) are always on point. In addition, there are multiple Facebook groups for teachers to get advice and ask questions.

They often add stuff like this to help you feel good about what you’re doing.

VIPKID is a Well-Paying Job

Both of us average $22/hour thanks to the bonuses. Add in the potential for referral bonuses and all the other incentives they throw in, and it works out to be a pretty good deal.

Did we make more at some jobs in China? Sure.

We also had to spend hours crammed on the Beijing subway to get there, had to plan our own lessons, and had huge classrooms of kids to deal with. We’ll take the slight pay cut for the ease and flexibility of this job.

vipkid

A screenshot of my July 2018 earnings

VIPKID is Easy and Fun

Speaking of ease, at the end of the day this is a pretty simple gig. Show up with your orange t-shirt on, load up the lesson, and spend 25 minutes cruising through it with one student. It seems like it was all a bad dream when we look back on the times we had to create our own PPT lessons to last 1.5 hours with a room full of lazy college kids.

Working for VIPKID is also fun. You get to bring in toys and other props, make silly voices, sing songs, and play games. Happy kids = happy parents = happy company. As a teacher, you play a big part in keeping that harmony.

The Students Are Great

We can’t talk about VIPKID without mentioning the stars of the show – the VIP kids themselves. One of the best parts about working for them is all the adorable little emperors and empresses you get to meet. Before long, you’ll start having regulars who book your class on a weekly basis. Soon you’ve got a whole crew of xiao peng you (little friends) who will brighten up even your darkest day.

Finally, working with VIPKID is a great intro to the ESL world. Many people are interested in taking an English teaching job in places like China or South Korea, but that’s a huge commitment. Before signing a year-long contract, going through all the red tape, and spending $1,000 or more on a flight, give it a try for six months with VIPKID. If it goes well and you like it, you’ll be better prepared for that first job and you’ll have experience on your resume to boot.

Now that you’ve read about how awesome it is, let’s get started on the application!

Cons of VIPKID

  • Time (depending on where you live)
  • Student cancellations / No Shows
  • Strict Teacher Cancellation Policy
  • Must be done at a specific time and place
  • Extremely dependent on the internet
  • Hours are not guaranteed
  • Can be tiring/repetitive

Life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, and that’s the case working with VIPKID, too.

To begin, the time difference can be pretty rough. For example, during the winter months, a teacher on Pacific Time will be facing peak teaching times of 2:00 am -6:00 am. Ouch. This is a deal-breaker for many potential teachers, and it’s totally understandable.

VIPKID Cancellation Policy for Students

Not surprisingly, the company wants to be as flexible as possible for parents and their kids.

Sadly for teachers, that means a lot of classes cancel at the last possible minute. If a parent cancels on you 25 hours before the class, there is no penalty and there’s a chance that that slot goes unbooked.

That being said, it’s now possible to have your class times booked inside of 24 hours. You get paid $2 extra for those short notice bookings, too!

On a similar note, trial classes often don’t show up at all. They only pay you half for that. This can be frustrating and is definitely something to consider. When it comes to teachers canceling classes, they’re a lot stricter.

This is a part-time job. That’s a very important thing to keep in mind. While we have heard of teachers who somehow manage to work 30-40 hours a week, the only way to do that is to either work every day or teach ten hours per day on the weekends.

Obtaining Full-Time Hours is Hard and You Must Pay Your Own Taxes

If you’re in the US or Canada, there’s no way this can work out to be a full-time job at normal hours. You can become nocturnal and/or completely sacrifice your weekend, and even then you still won’t really get full-time hours.

Regardless of your hours, you’ll still be an independent contractor, which brings us to the next point.

As an independent contractor, you’re responsible for paying your own VIPKID taxes. That means you get the added joy of more tax work. If you’re American, you have to fill out a W-9 form.

If you will owe the IRS more than $1,000 at the end of the year, they expect you to make quarterly payments. No matter where you live in the world, you’ll still owe the 15.3% self-employment tax to Uncle Sam. Trust us – we tried to figure out a way around this and there isn’t one.

Disclaimer – we are not tax experts. Discuss your situation with an accountant.

 VIPKID Cancellation Policy For Teachers

The VIPKID cancellation policy for teachers can seem like it’s a little strict. You’re only allowed 6 cancellations in a contract period. Your contract is terminated on the 7th offense unless it’s a catastrophic event (see below). One perk is that you can bundle three classes into one cancellation. For example, if you have 6 classes one day that you need to cancel, you will only be charged two cancellations.

If you cancel your classes more than 24 hours before the start time, VIPKID only charges you with a cancellation. A cancellation within 24 hours of the start time will result in VIPKID taking $2 per canceled class from your paycheck. If you cancel within 2 hours, they take $10 per canceled class from your paycheck.

If you oversleep or forget you have class and incur a teacher no show, you will be charged a cancellation and you’ll have $10 docked from your pay.

In my first contract, I had 5 cancellations, very close to the maximum. It was mostly due to me adjusting to teaching online while transitioning from living in Bali to being back in the US. I once had to cancel a full week of classes because I was so sick, I couldn’t speak because of a massively swollen gland in my throat. Thankfully, I was able to work it out with the company.

As long as you are honest, communicative, and can show proof of your issue, the company will do their best to work things out with you.

Soft and Medium Cancellations

Over the last few months, the VIPKID cancellation policy has chaged a bit. They introduced new policies called “soft” and “medium” cancellations.

These cancellations do not pose a risk of your contract being terminated. They are only in cases of serious illness, disaster, birth, or death. The company will determine the type of cancellation on a case-by-case basis based on your particular circumstance and supporting evidence.

These new policies are further proof of how VIKID really listens to their teachers. Neither of these policies were in place when I first started teaching with them in May of 2016.  They are constantly growing and changing in order to improve the experience for everyone.

Internet Intensive

Unlike other online jobs, you have to teach your classes at a specific time and place. Parents book the classes and expect teachers to be there. This usually isn’t a problem, but obviously, stuff comes up. Your internet cuts out, you get sick, etc. This isn’t a job you can just do when you feel like it. You have to set your schedule in advance and then stick to it.

This shouldn’t be a problem for most of our American and Canadian friends living in the cozy first-world bubble, but if you’re working with VIPKID from developing countries, this can be a concern. You need a reliable, relatively fast connection to avoid the dreaded “Teacher IT” and to make this job happen.

Unstable Hours At The Start

One thing lots of teachers complain about is the unpredictability of hours. This is especially true when you’re just starting out. Parents choose their own teachers for classes, primarily based on your profile and your reviews. If you don’t have any reviews, you might see a lot of empty time slots to start. During China’s biggest holiday – Chinese New Year – you’ll also see your hours slip substantially as they’re all traveling and visiting family.

Finally, the job can be quite tiring and repetitive. Sure, it seems super easy – you wake up, pour some coffee, sit down at your computer, and speak English for 25 minutes. Do this six times in a row, though, and you realize how draining it is. You’re teaching little kids and you need to keep them excited, which means being very active, smiley, and encouraging.

We’ll get a good night’s sleep and get up to do our three hours of teaching and then crawl back into bed immediately once finished. It can also be quite repetitive. Most of the students are in Level 2, which means you end up teaching those classes over and over. If we had $1 for every time we’ve said “The big pig is in the hut,” we could take a nice luxury vacation for a few weeks!

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – a place we were able to call home for a few months thanks to VIPKID.

VIPKID Application Process

Here are all the steps in the VIPKID application process:

  • 1: Click this link to go to their website and create your own login. Enter the code RACHE0006
  • 2: Enter all your personal info and previous teaching experience. Be sure to type out all your relevant teaching experience in the space provided (this is very important!)
  • 3: Do a live interview + 10-minute demo or record your demo and send it to VIPKID
  • 4: Decide which level you want to get certified for
  • 5: Do the mock class for that level
  • 6: Sign your contract OR go back to prep for another certification level
  • 7: Do the mock class for that level
  • 8: Sign your contract and upload your other documents

Previously, your chances of getting hired by VIPKID depended on your mock class performance. That is no longer the case.

Now, if you pass the interview + demo, you are guaranteed a position and you can do the mock classes as many times as necessary to pass.

Manually Enter All Relevant Experience

It’s very important to enter all your relevant teaching experience when you input your personal information in step 2 because you’re not uploading your resume right off the bat.

If you pass that step, you will be invited to book an interview + demo which you can do live with a staff member at VIPKID HQ or you can record your demo and send it to VIPKID.

Preapre for your Interview + Demo

Once you have scheduled your interview, they will send you the necessary materials for your demo class. The interview is 30 minutes long with 10 minutes for the demo.

Do not go over the 10 minutes! That is a huge factor in deciding whether or not to offer you a job.

If you pass the interview, you will be directed to a Certification Center where you will choose which level you want to get certified for – beginner or intermediate. VIPKID curriculum has 6 total levels.

Levels 2 and 3 are beginner English students learning letters and simple greetings. Levels 4 and 5 are intermediate English students who are a bit more advanced. You can choose which one you want to do and you can get certified for both levels if you want.

Level 6 is invite only and you’ll have to teach a certain amount of classes before you can become certified for it.

Prepare for your Mock Classes

After you choose your preferred level, you will begin training for that level. You will be directed to a prep center where you can watch videos and get all the information you need.

You will book your mock class from within the prep center. It will be with a Mock Class Mentor – someone who has been teaching for VIPKID for a long time and understands what to look for in an applicant.

The mock class is 30 minutes long. You will go through an abbreviated version of a full class with the evaluator pretending to be a Chinese student. They will take notes on your performance.

VIPKID not on a quest to find perfect teachers. The company is looking for teachers willing to accept constructive criticism and then implement the advice given to them.

Sign Your Contract or Get More Certifications

If you pass the mock class, you can either sign your contract, do your background check, and begin teaching OR you can go back to the Certification Center and train for the other level.

I highly recommend the latter option.

It’s best to have as many certifications as possible when you sign your contract. This will increase your chance of getting booking more quickly.

Once you’ve passed the mock classes, you can sign your contract and begin getting booked by students of all levels.

If you don’t pass you can take the mock class again. If you fail a second time, you will be directed to a Support Center where you can get more information and watch your mock class to see where you went wrong.

I Can Help You Pass!

I created a self-paced, online course to help you cruise through the application process! Click here to read all about it.

I’ve been teaching for VIKID since May 2016. I’m very familiar with the teaching style and I know what they look for in the mock classes. I also taught English in China for 5 years so I have a lot of experience that I’m happy to share with you.

If you apply through my link or use my referral code, I am more than happy to offer you 50% off the total price.

Your chances of success are much higher if you practice with a seasoned vet and get useful feedback before heading into your mock class.

Once you have applied through my link by following the instruction above, click here to contact me to let me know and I’ll send over a coupon code for the course.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the pros seriously outweigh the cons. At least for us, having the flexibility and a job that pays $22/hour with potential for bonuses makes it well worth dealing with the time difference and paying our own taxes.

After all, we originally wrote this post from Puerto Vallarta, went digital backpacking around South America, and now we’re enjoying the digital nomad lifestyle by alternating between slow travel and backpacking.

Working for VIPKID makes this all possible and we’re incredibly happy with our choice to do so.

Apply today! Quit dreaming about working remotely and having more freedom in your life, and just go for it.

We’ll buy the first round when you decide to join us on a beach somewhere.

 

 

What are you waiting for?! Apply now!

This post contains my personal referral link which will earn me a commission if you become an active teacher. You will have this same opportunity when you become a VIPKID teacher. As a way of saying thanks, Sasha and I will coach you through the full application process and answer any questions you may have! 

working for VIPKID

This post may also contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we will earn a commission at no extra cost to you! We are grateful for the support.

VIPKID

 

63 comments

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63 comments

Mitch May 26, 2019 - 9:56 am

Thanks for your in-depth posts on ESL teaching. They support the videos in your course (which I am enjoying and finding informative). I’m still not sure if I’ll take the plunge into online teaching yet.

Reply
Rachel Story May 28, 2019 - 11:49 am

Hi, Mitch! I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying the course! What’s holding you back from taking the plunge?

Reply
Ted C. November 30, 2018 - 3:35 pm

Thanks Rachel, great article and as timely today (late 2018) as when you wrote it. The updated info is appreciated too. I followed the link from the Location Indie community, I’m glad you shared it!

I live in Canada and I’m wondering if you know of any particular issues or challenges for Canadians working with VIPKID, since we would presumably have our own curriculum standards that might be different from the American one. There may also be other logistical issues like payments or taxes. Obviously you have the experience as an American, but maybe you’ve heard stories from or met Canadians working for the company as well.

Or do you know of any resources or discussions for Canadian VIPKID teachers, like any FB groups or discussion boards somewhere?

Cheers

Reply
Rachel Story December 1, 2018 - 12:17 pm

Hi, Ted! Thanks for getting in touch! There is a Facebook group for Canadian VIPKID teachers where you’ll find answers to all your questions. However, you’ll need to be an active teacher to join but there is a Facebook page attached to the group that you can like and follow. You’re responsible for your own taxes. Our accountant is Canadian and specializes in working with VIPKID teachers. The only other differences/difficulty in pay is that Canadian banks don’t do ACH transfers which means there will be a fee for transfers that VIPKID will cover. I hope this helps! Let me know if you have other questions ?

Reply
Cherry Walter July 20, 2018 - 9:36 am

Hi my question is do I need to pay to register in VIP?

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Rachel Story July 20, 2018 - 10:02 am

Hi, Cherry! Nope! You don’t have to pay to register or anything else.

Reply
Shelbie Embro June 3, 2018 - 3:02 pm

Your post is very helpful… but I do have a question that I have not seen covered. I have a three year old son… who should be asleep while I am teaching but my fear is what if he wakes up and comes into the “classroom” I could get him to be independent after a couple minutes (thank you Netflix and cereal lol) but will there be a penalty for my son entering the classroom? Also, I am pregnant with my second child, due in November. What if my baby wakes up during class and I need a minute to soothe her? I dont see this being a daily occurrence, but want to be prepared. Thoughts?

Reply
Rachel Story June 7, 2018 - 7:28 pm

Hi Shelbie! I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to your comment! If either of these things were to happen during class, it would really all depend on the parents of the student and whether they complain to the company. VIPKID has been known to send emails to teachers who’ve had this happen. I wouldn’t let it deter you from applying, but in the case you were hired, you should take measures to try and prevent it from happening and if it does, get the situation resolved as quickly as possible. Obviously, it’s impossible to totally prevent it, and I think most parents would be understanding to that. There’s no longer a minimum requirement of classes so you could take some time off in the first few weeks after your daughter is born to assess her sleeping habits before opening lots of class times. I hope this helps! Let me know if you have other questions! 🙂

Reply
Micah June 22, 2018 - 12:39 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4Alql5TTJs&frags=pl%2Cwn
Teacher Nancy does a great review of how it’s worked for her!

Reply
Rachel Story June 22, 2018 - 1:53 pm

Thanks for the tip!

Reply
Rachel June 1, 2018 - 10:28 pm

Hello! I’ve read about 10 blog posts now on VIPKID and now I’m totally confused! Is there anyway you could give me a basic timeline of getting a job with VIPKID, it sounds like quite a long process, but maybe I’m misunderstanding? I am currently applying, but have yet to do the interview. I’m looking to travel abroad in September and would love to be settled in with VIPKID prior to that, is that too soon to hope for a steady income (if I was to get the gig that is!) It also sounds like I would be hired before having to complete the myTEFL course? I just want to make sure that’s correct, so I’m not going into the interview unprepared. I have my degree in Elementary Education and a valid teaching certification in the U.S., I’m also wondering if I need the TEFL course or if my teaching certification will suffice? You seem to know your stuff, I figured you’d be the one to ask! Thank you!

Reply
Rachel Story June 1, 2018 - 11:12 pm

Hi, Rachel! Thanks for reaching out! Becoming a regular teacher with VIPKID doesn’t take long at all. It all depends on how quickly you can do the interview and mock classes. It took me two weeks from applying to teaching my first class. What does take some time is building up a full schedule of classes. These days, it’s much faster than it used to be. New teachers with low booking rates will be invited to participate in a jump start program that will help them get more classes quickly. I think now is a great time to start as July begins their summer holiday in China and that opens up more times for classes. You should have a full schedule by the time you head out on your travels if you get through the recruitment process and begin to get classes booked as you’ll have the opportunity to meet more students.

A TEFL certificate is not required to teach for VIPKID. It just makes you more competitive. I don’t think it’s necessary for you based on your existing qualifications. You’re the exact candidate that they look for – an already qualified teacher. Hope this helps! Let me know if you have other questions!

Reply
Rachel June 7, 2018 - 10:04 pm

Thanks again! I got the job today 🙂

Reply
Rachel Story June 7, 2018 - 10:05 pm

That’s awesome!! Congratulations!

Reply
Michael Ruth May 13, 2018 - 5:03 am

Thanks for the info! I am a VIP kid teacher, living and working 2 jobs in Vietnam. I am out of the country more than 330 days out of the year. I assume I may still owe the 15.3% despite being out of the country over the threshold?

Reply
Rachel Story May 13, 2018 - 12:54 pm

Hey Michael! There are ways around paying the 15.3% if you do, in fact, stay out of the country 330 a year. We finally hired an accountant to help us figure it out and we’re pretty impressed with his services. I can send you his contact info if you’re interested. Let me know!

Reply
Martha Coombs August 9, 2018 - 10:41 pm

I’m also interested in accountant information. I work for TAL Education Group but would like to see if VIPKIDS is better.

Reply
Rachel Story August 10, 2018 - 10:31 am

Hi, Martha! Thanks for reaching out! I can email you our accountant’s contact information. I’m also happy to give you more information about VIPKID. I don’t know much about TAL Education Group but I’d love to learn more!

Reply
Eva April 9, 2018 - 5:38 pm

Does your Lenovo have an Intel Pentium processor? That’s what I have and I’m wondering if it would work. The VIPKid website tech requirements list an i3 or better. Is it worth interviewing with the computer I have?

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Rachel Story April 9, 2018 - 8:07 pm

I’m sure that would be fine! It’s definitely worth doing the interview. I’m happy to offer any pointers if you need them!

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Lindsey Baxter March 30, 2018 - 1:40 pm

Your post was very inspirational and I loved your podcast with Jason from Zero to Travel! Because of you guys, I am going to get certified with myTEFL. and apply with VIPKID! I do have a quick question though, which course through myTEFL is best to purchase? I will be using your code but was unsure if doing the basic or standard courses through them would help find jobs teaching english online? I just want to make sure that companies like VIPKID will accept myTEFL certifications. Thanks for all you guys do!

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Rachel Story March 30, 2018 - 2:23 pm

Hi, Lindsey! You just made my day! Thank you so much for reaching out and telling me how you found us. VIPKID will accept any myTEFL certification but I personally think that the 120 hour course is the best way to go as it will also give you a bigger leg up if you decide to teach in an actual school overseas. I’m more than happy to coach you through the application process when you do apply to VIPKID. I can also help if you get stuck at any point in the TEFL course. Keep me posted on your progress! Thanks again for reaching out!??

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Tara March 21, 2018 - 6:54 pm

Hi! Thank you for such an informative post! I have one quick question that I can’t seem to find an answer to anywhere: Is teacher pay only via direct deposit, or do they have an option to send you paper checks in the mail?
Thanks in advance!

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Rachel Story March 21, 2018 - 7:32 pm

Hey, Tara! Thanks for reaching out. Direct deposit is the only option.

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Allison March 19, 2018 - 8:01 pm

Hi!! I would love to do this so much but do not have a bachelors degree. Do you know if all online teaching programs require it? Do you have any recommendations for programs that don’t require? Thank you!! 🙂

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Rachel Story March 19, 2018 - 11:51 pm

Hi Allison! Thanks for reaching out! I’m not sure if other online teaching companies require a Bachelor’s degree. You could check DadaABC or English First. I’ve heard good things about both but I don’t know their requirements. Sorry, I can’t be of more help!

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Jimmy March 12, 2018 - 6:27 pm

Hi! Thank you so much for this informative post! I’ve been trying to research potential income streams for traveling and this seems like a great way to fund my potential travels. While I do have my bachelor’s degree in engineering I don’t have any teaching experience, but I am a godfather to two boys (I’ve helped raise them) and one of my exes had a daughter where I was like a father figure to her. I think I’ll probably still give it a shot but I wanted to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

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Rachel Story March 12, 2018 - 10:43 pm

Hi Jimmy! Thanks for reaching out! I think you should still give it a shot. You don’t necessarily have to have teaching experience, just experience with kids. If you’ve ever done any tutoring, babysitting, or even sports lessons that would count. You’ll need to make sure you include your most relevant teaching experience when you’re putting in your information in the resume section as you have to enter it manually rather than upload a PDF. If you have the time and the funds, you could also get an online TEFL certificate. Although it doesn’t guarantee you a position, it will certainly make you more competitive. Let me know if I can help in any other way! If you apply through mine or Sasha’s referral link, we’re more than happy to coach you through the process.

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Laura February 3, 2018 - 8:32 pm

Hello! I just started with VIPKid…I was looking for info regarding using the Lenovo Yoga for the class. I am having trouble drawing in the classroom on the touchscreen unless I am in full screen mode. If I am in full screen, I cannot see the stars and must toggle back and forth. Can you offer any help? I can draw with a mouse in regular classroom mode with stars. Thank you kindly. 🙂

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Rachel Story February 4, 2018 - 12:41 pm

Hi Laura! Which internet browser are you using? I find that Google Chrome works the best. Are you able to use the touch screen normally to click buttons when you’re in the classroom? It could be that the touch screen is turned off.

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Kimberly March 14, 2018 - 9:09 pm

Quick question- I just was hired as a VIPKID teacher. Is it okay if I see a class isn’t booked and change the availability from available to not? Is there a plenty? Like oh no one signed up for Friday night and now my friends want to go to a movie- make it unavailable…is that okay?

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Rachel Story March 14, 2018 - 10:32 pm

Yep! As long as it’s not booked you can close the time slot. That’s one of the best parts of this job. Welcome to the clan!?

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Rachel January 31, 2018 - 5:30 pm

Hi and thanks for your blog! I have a question that I have not seen on any of the forums–After they get your application and resume (I assume you have to submit a resume?) –what information do they require regarding contact info on your resume? Do they check your references/employers and if so via mail? or email? or phone? Also do you have to have fingerprint backgtound check locally and submit to them?

Thank you so much for your response -I have been looking at doing this for 3 months now…..rachel

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Rachel Story February 1, 2018 - 9:41 pm

Hi, Rachel! Thanks for the comment! You actually don’t submit your resume until the end of the recruitment process. When you put in your basic info, there’s a field to enter your most relevant work experience. It’s very important here to be sure you enter any and all teaching experience or experience with kids. They don’t require any contacts or references. So no worries about that. You will have to agree to a criminal background check that they are working together with a third party to investigate. All you have to do is give your consent. It’s quite easily, actually. Any other questions, feel free to ask! If you apply through our link, we’re happy to Skype with you and coach you through the process. Let me know!

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Rachel February 2, 2018 - 3:23 am

Thank you so much for the quick and so complete answer! That’s exactly what I was wondering. I will get back to you all when I get to the application process!
God Bless you in your travels!! Rachel

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Reina January 31, 2018 - 3:57 am

Hey! I am thinking of applying for an online teaching position like this….sizing up different companies now! My biggest concern is the taxes. They have you fill out a form but to my understanding you dont get a w2 or any tax forms? NO federal or state type taxes are deducted from your wages. But of course, you still have to report the income and pay the taxes on what you earned. Right? How do you know what you’ll have to pay into SS, medicare, federal income tax, etc? I cant find ANY info on how to do taxes as an indpendant contractor being paid by a foreign country.

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Rachel Story January 31, 2018 - 3:40 pm

Hi Reina, Thanks for the comment! Taxes can be complicated and I’m still figuring it out, but here are the basics:

If you work for VIPKID, you’re an independent contractor. You’ll get a 1099-MISC form in January for tax purposes. Basically, you’re responsible for the 15.3% self-employment tax. The fact that you’re being paid by a Chinese company doesn’t matter –
you’re still self-employed and need to pay tax on that income. Federal and state taxes all depend on your situation. If you’re a digital nomad (like us), you can avoid those by being out of the US for 330 days a year or more. This year we finally hired an accountant and he’s setting up an LLC for us which apparently will help us avoid most taxes.

It’s a bit complicated, but there are plenty of accountants out there who work with a lot of VIPKID teachers so it’s probably best to just pay someone else to do it! If you have any other questions about the job, let us know! If you apply through our referral link we’re more than happy to Skype with you to help you get ready for the interview and mock class. Good luck!

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Melissa Sousa April 4, 2018 - 12:17 pm

I’ve been working as an independent contractor for a long time. I worked as a nanny for years, and then as a behavior therapist, and am now getting started with kidsvip. You can actually call the IRS helpline directly for any questions you have – I’ve done so several times. It’s surprisingly convenient, and free. You can get just as good of info directly from the IRS as you can get from tax preparation stores (at least I always have). You will be filing your taxes as “self-employed”, so you can check the details for paying taxes that way. The amount you pay into taxes will depend on a few factors. Do you have another job? How much are you making there? Do you have a spouse? Are you filing jointly or separately? How much does your spouse earn? How many dependants do you have? etc. Your specific taxes will depend on those details. You can probably estimate what money you’ll need to withhold if you research filing as self employed rather than researching filing as a in independent contractor.

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Amy C. January 8, 2018 - 12:54 am

Thank you so much for this awesome overview of VIP kids! I keep seeing ads on Facebook and think it sounds like something I would enjoy and excel in. I would love to apply and do have a Bachelors, but aside from being a mom, a lifelong off and on babysitter and occasional mentor in my previous career as a chef and hospitality manager (before becoming a SAHmom), I do not have teaching experience. I think I’ll go for it anyway, I was just wondering if you knew anyone of a similar background who continued on to be hired. Thank you, and congratulations on your success and living your dream!

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Rachel Story January 8, 2018 - 12:12 pm

I’m glad you found the review useful! I think you should go for it. There are plenty of SAHMs with no real teaching experience who have been hired. You have a lot of experience with children and that’s something that VIPKID looks for in place of teaching. When you first sign up and enter your basic information, there will be a field for you to put in your relevant experience. That is where you should be sure to put in all your experience with children. Make a note of things you have taught your children and the kids you used to babysit. Be sure to use the words “teach” and “taught.” It’s also wise to mention that you helped teach and train chefs in the hospitality field. We’re happy to coach you through the application process and Sasha has already emailed you. Thank you so much for the kind words!

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David January 2, 2018 - 4:46 pm

Hi, what a wonderful post! My wife is very interested in teaching with VIPKID. One concern we have is our bandwidth. We have very reliable DSL, with around 10 Mbps download as you mentioned in a previous reply. However, our upload is 1 Mbps. Have you ever had trouble with a low upload speed? This post is so helpful, thanks for sharing!

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Rachel Story January 2, 2018 - 4:51 pm

Hi, David! Yes, Sasha and I have both taught on 1 Mbps upload speed before, so it should definitely work for one person. Thank you for the kind words. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have other questions! Happy new year?

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Vikki December 28, 2017 - 3:13 pm

Hi your information is great! I’m not sure if you know the answers to my questions, however I
thought I’d ask anyway:) Do you know if it’s required to have a teaching certificate? I’ve got experience both professionally and personally teaching in a variety of setting and people but my degree is in Social Work. I’ve got a part time position from 6am – 10am M-F at Easten time. Are there teaching slots that would potentially a lot me 8-10 hours week that are not peak times? Your input is appreciated. Thanks!

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Rachel Story December 28, 2017 - 4:09 pm

Hi, Vikki! It’s not required to have a teaching certificate. It doesn’t hurt but you really just need a Bachelor’s degree in anything. There are teaching slots on Saturday and Sunday morning as well as Friday and Saturday night in eastern time. It’s much easier to get your desired amount of hours in the summertime as the kids are out of school and all times of the day are peak times but it’s possible the rest of the year, too. Let me know if you have other questions!

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Justin October 10, 2017 - 7:00 pm

Hi Rachel,

My wife and I are moving to Puerto Vallarta this winter and I will be applying with VIPKid but I am a little bit concerned about internet speed/reliability. You mentioned you had some issues in Mexico. Do you have any recommendations for finding accommodations where you can teach?

Thanks!
Justin

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Rachel Story October 11, 2017 - 1:15 pm

Hi Justin! You should be fine in Puerto Vallarta. We never had any issues with the internet speed. The only problem we had was that our landlord didn’t pay the internet bill so we didn’t have it for a few days. We just used our phones as hot spots. They now have fiber optic internet in Puerto Vallarta. We almost always book places on Airbnb. Before we book we always message the host to ask about the speed. If the download speed is less than 10 Mbps, we don’t book it. We also make sure there are two workspaces separated by a door. It can take some time and effort to find places this way but it saves a lot of trouble later. Your situation might be different if you’re staying long term. You could also try Craigslist. Most of our friends who live in PV find their places this way. Let me know if there’s another way we can help!

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Linda September 18, 2017 - 2:24 pm

Hi! I just signed up using your referral code. I saw your post on the PV Facebook page. I too live in PV. 😉 Thanks for this blog! It answered some of the questions I had. I’m excited to start the interview process!

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Rachel Story September 18, 2017 - 2:34 pm

Hi, Linda! Awesome! Thank you so much. If you need any help going through the referral process, don’t be afraid to reach out! We’re more than happy to answer any questions. We’re actually in Colombia now. Puerto Vallarta is amazing and I’m sure we’ll go back there eventually. South America has been calling our name for a while now so we’re planning to spend the next six to seven months seeing as much as we can.

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James August 26, 2017 - 9:51 am

Hello Rachel,
I have an aunt that works with the program and has strongly encouraged me to apply due to the interest in male teachers. I’ve recently relocated to Portugal to be with my fiancé and her family (I’m from TN as well), and VIPKID seems potentially ideal. I’ve done some research and learned quite a bit about the program thanks to posts like yours. One consideration I’m having a challenge finding information about is whether or not I’m able to apply for a work visa in Portugal (or any foreign country) under the VK guidelines in order to be here for the extended period of time we need until we are able to return to the US. Forgive me if I’m not posing this question clearly, as I’ve never quite been in such a position and this is only my second time traveling outside the US. I’m ok to be here for 90 days without obtaining a visa, and my plan was to teach here anyway, but I think the VIP program sounds like a wonderful opportunity if there is a way to work this out. Any suggestions or further information is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and and consideration.

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Rachel Story August 27, 2017 - 4:02 pm

Well hello, my fellow Tennessean!

Unfortunately, I don’t think you can get a work visa for any country just for working for VIPKID. You should research the different types of visa options Portugal offers and see if VIPKID falls under any of those. These digital nomad type jobs are very new and most countries haven’t had the time to put something in place or even realize there’s a need for it. I heard Thailand is planning on launching a digital nomad visa but I have no idea when it will be available. That’s the first I’ve ever heard about that type of visa being offered anywhere. If you only work for VIPKID (which Portugal is the perfect time zone, in my opinion) you’ll need to plan on making visa runs. That’s the awesome thing about this job, though. You can take it anywhere! We’re heading off to Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru this fall thanks to VIPKID!

Hope this helps!

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J December 27, 2017 - 4:32 pm

Hello again, Rachel!

Happy Holidays! Thank you for your posts. I’ve recently started working with another Chinese based online English tutoring program. So far, so good. May I ask you to briefly explain how taxes work when filing as independent with these companies? Do they send out any information, etc..? Thank you for your time.
All the best in the New year!

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Rachel Story December 28, 2017 - 9:38 am

Hi! Happy holidays to you as well! I’m no expert when it comes to taxes. You should consult an accountant about your specific situation, but I do know that you have to pay 15.3% self-employment tax as an independent contractor. If you will owe more than $1,000 for the year, you’re supposed to make quarterly payments. The rest depends on the company you’re teaching for. With VIPKID, everyone fills out a W-9 and then they send you a 1099 Misc. in January.

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Nicole June 25, 2017 - 3:43 pm

Wow! I just got hired with VIPKID today thanks to Rachel and Sasha! They both took the time to coach me through the process, told me in detail about the pros and cons and were there for me with a quick response to my every question, concern and nervous prepping for my big Mock Class! I could not have done all of this and succeeded without Rachel and Sasha, thanks to them I’m starting a new career and living my dream of pet sitting and teaching at the same time!

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Rachel Story June 26, 2017 - 1:22 pm

Congratulations, Nicole! How exciting for you. It was our pleasure to help you along in the process 🙂

Thank you for the kind words!

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Mary Alice May 17, 2017 - 7:17 pm

Rachel, if you have the time, I have gone through the VIPKID videos to prepare for Friday’s interview but I have some questions. My email is [email protected] Thank you! Playfully, Mary Alice

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Rachel Story May 17, 2017 - 7:20 pm

Absolutely!

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Mary Alice May 16, 2017 - 12:21 pm

Hi Rachel, I’m sorry I didn’t see your post and videos of Sasha teaching before I applied to VIPKID. I saw a post on the ‘Almost Fearless-Travel and Adventure Community for Parents’ and decided to check it out! I have an interview and demo scheduled for Friday. Looks like a great opportunity to play and explore travel opportunities!

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Rachel Story May 16, 2017 - 3:17 pm

No worries! Let me know if you have any questions or need any guidance for your interview or demo!

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Mary Alice May 16, 2017 - 3:40 pm

Rachel, I would love your help getting ready for interview/demo. I plan on going through some of the info they sent by email tomorrow morning. Then, perhaps you can fill in from there?! Thanks so much!

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Melissa Montes April 5, 2017 - 10:15 pm

Hi! I would like some info on equipment, will the apple earbuds with mic be sufficient?

Thanks,

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Rachel Story April 6, 2017 - 9:49 am

Hey Melissa! I think so. They worked just fine for me. They started to get uncomfortable, though. So I got the ear buds I’m wearing in the photo at the top of the page and I haven’t experienced any problems. I think it’s whatever works best for you. Having an actual headset simply cuts down the possibility of sound quality issues. As long as the parents and students aren’t complaining about not hearing you very well, I think ear buds are fine! Let me know if you have other questions!

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Nikki April 1, 2017 - 1:47 pm

Hi! Thanks so much for writing this post! I’ve been toying with the idea of teaching ESL in Asia and also applying to teach with VIPKid. I haven’t signed up yet, but curious as to how much prep you did for your interview. I know you have experience teaching ESL in a classroom setting before VIPKid so that obviously helped a lot. I don’t have any experience with this but have done a ton babysitting and after school care for 6-10 year olds. Any tips for prepping your resume and for the interview? I’ll be sure to sign up through your link, promise :)!

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Rachel Story April 1, 2017 - 2:56 pm

Hey Nikki! That’s awesome you’re thinking about moving to Asia to teach. It’s honestly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

When you’re prepping your resume, just be sure to highlight your education and how much experience you have with kids. Then include one or maybe two other jobs you’ve had, even if its not related. After you do the initial sign up, you’ll be sent an email with information about the interview and demo prep materials. They will link to YouTube videos of actual VIPKID classes so you can see what they look for in teachers.

If you have any other questions feel free to shoot me an email: getinthevan(at)gratefulgypsies(dot)com. Good luck!

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