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I want to take a second to talk to you about why and how I teach English online without a teaching degree through VIPKID.
A friend of mine had started working part-time teaching English online and had been telling me to give it a try. So I decided to apply because when freelance work slows down, it’s always nice to have another type of work!
So for the last little bit, I’ve been teaching English online with a company called VIPKID, and I wanted to tell you about it because I’ve been having so much fun!
- My Honest VIPKID Review: After one year of working with VIPKID here is what I have to say (read this if you want to apply)
- VIPKID Teacher Requirements: Here is everything you need in order to get hired with VIPKID
What Is VIPKID
Founded in 2013, VIPKID is one of the top Chinese education companies that allows Chinese students learn English online.
VIPKID makes use of a flipped classroom approach, which means that the students study at home and do work before the class, so that the classes you would teach are interactive, fun and are used to help the student understand what they have previously learned.
The students range in age from 4-12 and can have a very basic understanding of English or a fairly intermediate one. The classes are divided up based upon level, and teachers are divided up based upon level as well.
Currently, I teach the younger levels and we work on things such as the sounds each letter of the alphabet makes and simple sentences!
I had seen VIPKID floating around the expat community for about a year, but to be honest I didn’t know how reputable the company was. I asked myself “is VIPKID a scam?” and I assumed it was, so I didn’t bother going forward with the application.
But after my friend began teaching there and told me about it, I knew it was actually an incredibly reputable company and definitely not scammy. She told me how she was always paid on time and paid correctly!
VIPKID has also won many awards, such as the Shengjing Top 21 Global Innovation Award in 2015, the US-China Entrepreneurship Leader Award in 2014, Sina’s China’s Most Valuable Online education brand and best teachers award in 2015, and Tencent’s China’s Most powerful education brand in 2015.
One of the best parts about VIPKID is that you can set your own hours (as long as they line up with the Chinese timezone) and you can work as much or as little as you’d like.
Some teachers only teach part-time and make an extra $1,000 a month, and some choose to teach full-time and make upwards of $60,000 per year.
So now you know a little bit about the company!
How Do You Teach English Online Without A Teaching Degree?
VIPKID trains all their teachers so they can teach English online without a teaching degree.
To teach English online without a teaching degree you only need a couple of things. For one, everything is done on your computer within the VIPKID portal, so you do not need to download any software to your computer. You and your student meet in a virtual classroom over webcam, and you go through a simple powerpoint with them for the class. Classes are 25 minutes long and the PowerPoints are provided to you by VIPKID.
You are required to have a strong and reliable wifi connection, headphones and webcam (or built in webcam through your laptop).
You will also need a couple of props to help the students stay engaged. I use things like flashcards with the letters on them, a chalkboard, a whiteboard and a stuffed animal.
It’s also recommended (but not mandatory) that you wear an orange shirt as orange is the company color. You can wear an orange t-shirt, orange hoodie or an orange dress shirt. You aren’t required to dress super fancy and I always wear a pair of sweatpants with my cozy orange sweater.
How Much Do You Get Paid To Teach English Online With VIPKID?
Your pay is determined after your first interview and how well you do, and can range from $7-$9 USD per class. As each class is 25 minutes (with the remaining 5 minutes to be allotted to filling out student feedback), this works out to a base pay of $14-$18 USD per hour. On top of that, if you start your class on time you get an extra $1 incentive for that class, and if you teach a minimum of 45 classes in a month, you get an extra $1 incentive for each class.
If you plan to teach very casually, you may not hit the 45 class a month minimum (although it’s very easy to hit as that’s only an average of 1.5 classes per day).
With the incentives added on, your hourly pay can range from $16-$20 USD. And if you’re from Canada, this will be the one time you will be happy our dollar is not as strong as the American dollar because we end up with a little more once it has been converted 🙂
There are also extra incentives such as booking a class within 24 hours (which will get you an extra $2 for that class). So even after you’ve hit both teaching incentives above, there are others you can still get.
Also, VIPKID covers the cost to transfer the money into your bank account and has all the necessary tax forms available.
In terms of payment, everything is clearly laid out.
What Is Required To Teach English Online With VIPKID?
In order to teach English online with VIPKID, the first requirement is that you have a Bachelors degree of anything. You do NOT need to having a teaching degree, but you do need to have SOME kind of degree. I have a Bachelors of Business, which isn’t related to teaching at all but that’s totally fine.
It’s also good to have SOME kind of experience with kids (but not required). When I was in high school, I volunteered for a semester at my neighborhood elementary school and spent a few hours every week working with the kids, which was what I put down as my experience.
If you have ever helped children learn in some way (babysitting, tutoring or interacting with them in any job you’ve had) then you should put that down as your experience.
You also need to have ANY kind of experience in a K-12 classroom within the United States or Canada. Even if that experience is just that you attended school from K-12 within Canada or the United States.
That is all! You do not need to have any certifications (like TESOL) to teach English online with VIPKID, although it certainly wouldn’t hurt. But it is not required and I do not have any teaching certifications.
What Is The Time Commitment For VIPKID?
VIPKID used to require their teachers to teach a minimum of 7.5 hours per week but not anymore. I teach 30 minutes to 1 hour per day, which is enough to break up my day, give me something fun to do, and get me away from my business for a little bit!
The best part is, is that if I do feel like I need a break from my business, I can add on as many classes as I want. So although I’m only teaching 1-3 classes a day right now, if I ever feel like working a full day of classes I definitely could.
What Is The Hiring Process Like For VIPKID?
The VIPKID application process can be a bit tedious. Mine took almost a month to go through so I will walk you through the steps I had to go through for my application.
Step 1: Apply To Teach At VIPKID
The first thing you have to do is fill out an application form. On this application form you must talk about why you think your qualified to teach!
Here’s what I’ve noticed about their application form: it’s really picky and people I know who have filled out their application were denied the first time even though they were qualified to teach.
You really need to make sure you are talking about your experience with children and how you have taught them in some way. It’s not enough to say you were a nanny or a babysitter. You need to expand on how you used your time as a babysitter to work with children through their homework and teach them new concepts.
Or how you helped younger children you were nannying learn their ABC’s. Trust me on this one. Be specific as possible.
After that, you will get an email shortly after letting you know if you are going to go through to the interview round.
If you failed, I suggest to try again with a different email. 🙂
Step 2: Record Your First Mock Class/Interview
For your first class, you have the option to record yourself teaching a class or teach one live. I decided to record mine. You have a set amount of time to record your mock class and during that time you can teach it a couple of times and submit the recording you are happy with.
After your first interview, you will either get accepted to teach, declined, or asked to go through another round of interviews. After this first round is also where your pay will be determined.
Step 3: Teach A Mock Class (Or Classes)
If you get accepted to move on, you will be asked to teach a mock class. During this round, you will be given a mock class, and asked to teach it for the interviewer. Your interviewer is a man or a woman who is pretending to be a young child who can’t speak much English.
You may pass on your first class taught, or asked to teach one more. I was asked to teach two!
Step 4: Contract, Personal Information Etc.
If you make it past your mock classes and are accepted to start teaching, you are ready to go! Your next step is to familiarize yourself with VIPKID by reading their training materials, signing your contract and submitting your bank information and other personal information so you can get paid by VIPKID.
Step 6: Start Booking Classes
Once you are ready to go, you can open up as many time slots as you would like to start teaching English with VIPKID.
At first, it may take some time to book your classes. The parents are the ones who choose what teacher they want to book with based upon the teachers profile, so I uploaded a fun video of myself introducing who I was. My intro video was nothing spectacular, but I used some background music and I would say it definitely helped me get bookings right away.
I have heard of some teachers not getting very many bookings during the first few weeks they start teaching, so don’t worry if during those initial weeks you are not booking up. Use this time to dive into the workshops that VIPKID offers and learn as much as you can!
Where Do You Sign Up For VIPKID?
If you’d like to sign up, feel free to use my referral link and reach out to me if you have any questions! Going through the process with a referral link makes it a bit easier as you have someone who you can directly ask questions to.
I likely wouldn’t have made it through the process without being able to ask questions to my friend who referred me. It was a bit challenging at times and to be honest I wasn’t sure I was going to like it.
After the whole process was over and I started to teach, I loooved it.
What Are The Pros And Cons of VIPKID?
Pros Of VIPKID
- Flexible schedule
- You do not need a teaching degree to teach English with VIPKID
- Fun and creative job
- Ability to earn money on the side
- Reputable company
- Working from home
- Supportive online Facebook community
- You still get paid if a student doesn’t show up to class
I absolutely love taking an hour each day to teach English. Especially on days when my husband’s work schedule is hectic so we can’t hang out, or my brain is fried from doing client work!
This last week I had 3 students not show up to class, which meant that I didn’t have to work, but I still got paid.
Cons of VIPKID
- You need to remain energetic throughout all your lessons (this isn’t like an office job where you can sit at your desk and keep quiet if you aren’t feeling well)
- The hours might not be the best depending on your timezone
- You need to buy props and materials for your interview, which could be a sunk cost if you don’t end up getting hired on (I spent less than $20, however).
- Limited cancellation policy
When working with VIPKID, you need to keep in mind that you will be working within China’s timezones. This is what the schedule will look like (this is for my timezone in Europe).
The orange and dark orange times are the peak booking times as that is when most children are off school for the day.
For me, during the week I usually book my class at 10am but I could work from 10am-3pm if I wanted to. I haven’t tried booking classes earlier than 10am, so I’m not too sure if I’d be able to book any earlier (update: I was able to book as early as 8am).
On weekends, I can start work as early as I want and schedule my last class for 2:30pm and finish at 3pm.
So as you can see, I have lots of options to open up a class or two during the week! If you wanted this to be more of a full-time (or heavy part-time) gig, you would have to work odd-hours. A lot of the teachers in North America work throughout the nights.
Overall, I would say the pros outweigh the cons! Being able to teach English online has been very rewarding and I would really recommend you to look into it if it seems like something you’d like too.
If you apply through my referral link, send me an email and let me know! In fact, I really encourage you to send me an email as I mentioned above, the interviews were a long process so any questions you have are welcome!
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Dana Nicole is an award-winning freelance writer for MarTech/SaaS who was rated one of the best SaaS writers by Software World. She specializes in writing engaging content that ranks high in search engines and has been featured in publications like Semrush, ConvertKit, and Hotjar.
Dana holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and has over 15 years of experience working alongside national brands in their marketing departments.
When Dana’s not working, you can find her dancing en pointe, cooking up new recipes, and exploring the great outdoors with her two big dogs.