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Teaching for VIPKID lets you work from home with minimal effort.
You can make up to $22 an hour, create your own schedule, and work from your home — or a hostel.
Sounds great, right? But how do you get started?
We’re about to break down exactly what it takes to teach for VIPKID: we’ll explain what basic qualifications teachers need, what materials and personality traits you need to teach, and more.
And the best part is, we’re even answering some frequently asked questions about the job!
Table of Contents
- What is VIPKID?
- Basic Qualifications
- Pass the Background Check
- Props and Teaching Setup
- Personal Traits and Behaviors
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is VIPKID?
If you’re not familiar with it, VIPKID is an online teaching platform that lets you conduct classes with students in China for $14-$22 an hour.
Depending on how often you work, that works out to anywhere between $150 and $6,000 a month.
Read our primer on VIPKID salaries to find out more about how much you can make teaching for them!
The requirements for VIPKID teachers are pretty straightforward: you need a bachelor’s degree and license to work in the U.S. or Canada. Oh, and you need to be fluent in English.
You also need 2 years of teaching experience — note that this number was recently updated from one year of teaching experience.
If you haven’t been a classroom teacher, don’t worry. Tutoring, mentoring, and “alternative education” also count.
What does that mean? It means that if you’ve been a camp counselor, you can include that. Been a nanny? Fantastic. Coached soccer? Great! Do you have kids? Perfect.
If, in your estimation, you have had a leadership or teaching role with children, you really should be good to go for VIPKID.
The Requirements to Work for VIPKID
- be eligible to work in the U.S. or Canada
- have a bachelor’s degree
- have two years of experience (teaching, babysitting, coaching, etc)
- be fluent in English
Pass the Background Check
Every teacher who works for VIPKID must pass an FBI Criminal Background Check. It’s not entirely clear what findings will disqualify you from teaching, but if you have a misdemeanor or DUI on your record you should be fine.
Some people say that VIPKID is mainly worried about applicants who’ve been convicted of violent crimes or crimes involving children.
Because VIPKID is taught online, there are a few things you need to be equipped with to make sure you’re able to conduct classes smoothly.
Ready to get technical?
Just kidding. I’m writing this at my level of tech fluency, so your grandma should be able to understand everything covered in this section.
Hardware and Accessories
First off, you need a desktop or laptop computer to teach for VIPKID. A Microsoft Surface is fine, but an iPad or other tablet isn’t adequate for teaching through VIPKID.
Second, you need an HD camera and a headset with a microphone. Your computer probably already comes equipped with an HD camera, but if it doesn’t you can get one online.
And you can use your iPhone earphones or similar ones as your headset, or you can purchase a more heavy-duty one.
Beyond all the gadgets, you’ll also need an adequate operating system, meaning Windows 7 or Mac 10.x or above, and at least 4G of RAM on your computer.
Not sure if your computer meets these requirements?
No problem! Just follow these instructions:
If you have a Mac, click on the Apple logo on the top left corner of your screen. Click “About this Mac”, and a box will come up.
Under the name of your computer, it will say what version it is, and then by “Memory” it will say how many gigabytes of RAM you have!
If you have a PC, search “Control Panel” Windows search bar. Then click System and Security > System.
That should bring up a box that tells you what version of computer you have, along with how much RAM your laptop has.
This box will show you your computer’s specs if you have a Mac.
You’ll also need a stable internet connection that has upload and download speeds of at least 20 Mbps. You can use Speedtest to find out if you meet this requirement.
If your computer doesn’t meet the speed requirements, you can try situating yourself closer to your router or getting an Ethernet cable.
Last, you need at least Chrome version 51 and Firefox version 47 and updated Flash.
Props and Teaching Setup
Okay, you guys — this is the fun part!
Besides the technical requirements for your computer, you need a good classroom setup for VIPKID.
What does that entail?
Classroom Setup for VIPKID
- Great lighting
- A cool rewards system
- Some fun teaching props
- An engaging teaching background
- A quiet space with no distractions
You can go all-in with your teaching space, making it totally fun and immersive, or you can be more simplistic.
I personally don’t like having my teaching background up during the day because my classroom doubles as a home office (and I don’t want to be in “teacher mode” 24/7), and I also travel a lot, which means I need to take my teaching things with me sometimes.
Because of that, my whole classroom setup is super mobile and transportable — and less flashy and impressive than some other people’s. At the end of the day, though, it gets the job done and the students love it. And that’s what matters most!
Let’s bust a common VIPKID myth:
All VIPKID teachers used to have to wear orange t-shirts to teach, but that is no longer the case!
Rejoice and wear whatever solid-colored shirt makes you feel comfortable (and doesn’t make you look like you have freaking scurvy).
Just make sure you’re not wearing anything with logos or anything that’s stained or too revealing.
Personal Traits and Behaviors
Waking up super early to teach young students who might not speak any English takes a specific personality type.
For one thing, you need to be on first thing in the morning.
You might be teaching pretty young kids who can’t understand the bulk of what you’re saying, so you’ll have to rely on exaggerated facial expressions and movements to help them understand you and keep them engaged.
You should be enthusiastic, friendly, and smiley to make your students feel comfortable and engaged in your classes.
A note on this: you might see Youtube videos from VIPKID teachers who are super duper chipper and preternaturally happy all the time.
That kind of personality is great, but if that’s not you, don’t worry. It’s not me, either, and I get along just fine.
You don’t need to act like you’re in the cast of Disney on Ice during your classes — just be friendly, awake, and welcoming, and don’t be afraid to be a little silly. Your kids will love you for it!
That’s especially important during the mock class: learn how to pass the VIPKID mock class successfully here.
Be Patient and Understanding
While we’re talking about personality traits, I’d like to note that all this smile-ness goes along with plain old not being rude.
It can be really frustrating when a student doesn’t understand a concept you’ve explained 46 times, especially when it’s 4:30 in the morning.
But remember that your student is probably frustrated, too, and your impatience will only make them feel worse.
A little patience and understanding go a long way when you’re teaching for VIPKID.
Not being rude also means listening. It can be hard to stay focused in class (especially if you’re teaching the same lesson for the 3rd time in a row), but it’s important to stay engaged, listen to the student, correct their mistakes, and provide encouragement.
Yawning in class is a big no-no, and some parents will call you out on it.
I definitely have days where I can’t help but let a little yawn escape from my mouth, but I’ve found ways of disguising it: by covering my mouth with my hand, ducking out of the screen to “grab a prop”, or opening my mouth and acting really surprised!
You’ll find methods of disguising yawns that work for you, too — promise.
Being awake also means not looking like you just rolled out of bed. Again, you’ll see some people on YouTube who go to class at 5:00 in the morning with freshly curled hair and a full face of makeup. Again, I am 100% not that teacher and I do just fine.
I usually go to bed in a solid t-shirt with no logo so I can teach in it, and then I make sure my hair looks just this side of being a rat’s nest before I teach.
If I do wear makeup, it’s usually mascara to make me look more awake and maybe red lipstick to help students pay attention to what shapes my mouth makes when I pronounce words in English.
The great thing about the camera is that it really blurs your features, so you’ll look good even if you have a raging zit on your nose and an eye booger the size of Texas hanging out in your tear duct.
Working from home means that you don’t have a boss telling you what to do and when to do it. So you need to make sure that you’re prepared, organized, and ready for class.
Beyond that, you need to be your own hype man, making sure you’re motivated and confident before class!
You need to hold yourself accountable, making sure you’re aware of when your classes are scheduled and are prepared for them.
Exactly when you need to wake up to teach for VIPKID depends on what time zone you live in.
You don’t need to be available during every slot that you can possibly teach lessons, but it’s a good idea to make sure that you’ll be able to teach some classes before you go through the effort of applying and interviewing.
You can teach for VIPKID anytime between 7:30 PM and 9:00 AM CDT, or between 8:30 AM and 10:00 PM Beijing time.
The highest demand for classes is between 5:00 AM and 9:00 AM CDT, and between 12:00 AM and 9:00 AM CDT on the weekends. And high demand means you have an increased likelihood of getting booked during those times.
Note that there’s no Daylight Savings Time in China, so the schedule shifts forward an hour when Daylight Savings Time starts.
Frequently Asked Questions
This section includes answers to a few common questions about VIPKID teacher requirements. If you have a question that’s not answered here, feel free to drop a comment below!
Am I Locked into a Certain Schedule Once I Sign Up?
No! You can open slots whenever and close them back up again until a student has booked them without penalty. VIPKID is super-duper flexible — it’s one of my favorite parts about it!
How Long Is the Contract Period for Vipkid?
Each VIPKID contract period lasts 6 months.
Do I Have to Teach a Certain Number of Classes Each Week to Stay Employed?
Nope! VIPKID recommends that teachers teach for at least 7.5 hours a week, but you won’t be penalized if you don’t maintain that every week or have to go on vacation or take time off.
Can I teach for VIPKID if I’m not living in the U.S. or Canada right now?
Yes! You just need to be eligible to work in either country.
Teaching for VIPKID is super fun, and almost anyone can do it! All you need is a bachelor’s degree, English fluency, eligibility to work in the U.S. or Canada, and 2 years of experience doing some type of teaching or childcare.
VIPKID has flexible hours, and you can teach online English classes from almost anywhere with a quiet corner and a stable internet connection!
If you’re interested in becoming a VIPKID teacher, drop a comment below — I’d love to answer any questions you might have and help you on your journey!