I haven’t used VIPKid personally, so am not giving it a star rating at this time, but it is an excellent, reputable way to make money tutoring English online.
With VIPKid, people who are fluent or native English speakers sign up to tutor English online to students in China. Tutors must have a bachelor’s degree in any field, and have a year of experience in teaching, tutoring, or mentoring. The tutoring is done during times of peak demand, so tutors must be available during the evenings and weekends on Beijing time, which can be a challenge for tutors living in North America. However, it’s done from home, using curriculum and grading criteria designed and trained by VIPKid, and the pay is quite reasonable for online work. It’s a good opportunity to pick up some extra money for at-home workers with a degree.
What’s Great About VIPKid
VIPKid is great because it’s not a scam, and the company is driven by a mission to bring the world together using education and cross-cultural communication. The people who work for the company, both in-person and remotely, are committed to this vision and to working as a team together. The company is invested in finding new and important ways to educate, connect, and share with people around the world.
VIPKid tutors need to meet the education and experience requirements, be available for at least 7.5 hours a week on Chinese time, and be prepared to sign a 6 month contract to begin with. You also need a computer with a wired (not wireless) internet connection, an HD webcam, a headset, and a few other technical things.
Tutors conduct 25 minute sessions with Chinese students between the ages of 4-12. Lessons are designed and provided by VIPKid. Each session has 5 minutes at the end for Q&A or any wrap-up questions, so the sessions are 30 minutes long total. Tutors are selected, booked, and rated by the child’s parents. This does mean that at times the students will be inattentive, disinterested, or distracted, since they are not pursuing or paying for the lessons. It’s not the same as other websites where you remotely tutor adult English learners.
Competitive pay. VIPKid pays $7-11 for each tutoring session. Tutoring sessions are a half hour long, so tutors earn $14-22 per hour. While that is much less than a teacher or tutor would make in a conventional setting, it is competitive amongst work-at-home tutoring jobs, and less susceptible to cancellations and last-minute changes. Tutors are also eligible for various incentives that increase their pay.
Flexible schedule. Within the constraints that sessions take place on China time, tutors are encouraged to be available for 7.5 hours a week, and the cancellation policy is tough, you have a lot of freedom to set your own schedule. If you only want to work 2-3 mornings a week, or one day a weekend, or whatever works for you, you can schedule yourself in that way.
Teamwork. People really seem to like their teammates at VIPKid, which always makes work easier.
The cancellation policy. Once you have signed up for a time slot and a parent has booked you, VIPKid only wants you to cancel in case of a medical emergency, and wants to see proof of the emergency. They are extremely strict about cancellations. So, while the hours are flexible in the sense that you can choose them, they are not flexible once they are scheduled.
No push notifications. The VIPKid system will only notify you that a session has been booked 15 minutes before it starts. This isn’t a problem if you are sitting at your computer, actively watching your VIPKid bookings, but if you are doing something else, you need to be vigilant in order to avoid lateness penalties.
Reliable pay. VIPKid pays every month (by direct deposit), and have virtually no complaints about the accuracy or timeliness of these payments.
VIPKid is recommended for:
VIPKid is recommended for people who like kids and like mentoring, since it’s different dealing with children than with adults. It’s a great option for someone who has a regular work or school schedule, but wants to make extra money by getting up very early in the morning a couple times a week (or staying up very late, depending on how you look at it and where you are located).
It’s also recommended for the thousands of people who dream of traveling and teaching English abroad. Time on VIPKid will give you a little bit of experience and context of what that might be like, so you can be better informed before you get on a plane. It also may look good on your resume for the companies that hire English tutors.
VIPKid is not recommended for:
People who need a flexible schedule. The short notifications, cancellation and timeliness penalties, and the fact that the students and their parents are expecting you make it not good for people who need to be able to take up work as-needed.
People who aren’t good on little sleep. Prime time for VIPKid is Monday-Friday 6-10pm, and weekends from 9am-10pm Beiing time. Depending on where you are, that may be very early in the morning, or in the middle of the night. Remember that you need to be not just present and online during those times, but be a bright, informative, and engaging tutor.
Tips for success with VIPKid
Although most of your engagement will be with the student, tutors are booked and rated by the parents. If the parents have a negative review or complaint, it will usually be in Chinese and will take some time for VIPKid staff to work through any issues with the parent. Remember to have positive interactions with the parents if you can.
There are a lot of sites and apps where native English speakers can teach or tutor English, and it’s a viable way to earn money online working from home. VIPKid founder Cindy Mi is a visionary, and has big dreams for the future, looking forward to virtual reality classrooms and immersive shared education experiences. VIPKid may be leading the way, not just into online education, but into a whole new way of educating people around the world.