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How Much Does VIPKid Pay? – Is $24/Hr Realistic?

The VIPKid base pay is $7-$9 per 25-minute class and the VIPKid hourly pay tends to fall around $14-$18 USD. Calculating your VIPKid pay should also include VipKid incentives and other factors affecting how much you can make teaching ESL on the platform.

You might consider working with VIPKid if you are searching for answers to these questions:

  • Looking for a new work-from-home job that pays well?
  • Considering teaching online?
  • Wondering how much online teachers really can make?

In fact – and this point is particularly relevant for digital nomads when contrasting the standard VIPKid pay with the pay working in-person for many local schools in developing nations around the world — VIPKid pay in many instances far exceeds the standard salary that you might make teaching at a brick-and-mortar school:

I work for VIPKID while living abroad, and it pays much better than what I can earn locally.”

VIPKid Digital Nomad

What Is VIPKid “Base Pay Rate?”

VIPKid classes are 25 minutes long. Accordingly, VIPKid pays its teachers $7-9 for these classes as a “base pay rate,” which translates into an hourly wage between $14-$18.

The discrepancy in the starting base pay schedule depends on two primary factors which the company weighs based on the applicant’s qualifications:

  • Prior experience “working with children.” The exact definition of “working with children” is flexible and by no means limited to teaching in the conventional sense. “Prior experience” can include activities as ambiguous as Sunday school teaching and babysitting – so don’t sell yourself short in the application. Having an accredited TEFL certification also counts towards “prior experience” in the VIPKid context, so you may consider an affordable 120 Hour online TEFL certification from TEFL Hero (a highly marketable professional asset across the globe).
  •  Your performance in the demonstration lesson (demo) required of all applicants. Check out ESL Authority’s hot tips to ace your demo lesson here.

Get Certified to Teach Anywhere!

What Is VIPKid “Incentive Pay?”

Fortunately for teachers who find the $14-18 base pay unenticing, VIPKid sweetens the deal with “incentive pay” that rewards timeliness, reliability, and the number of classes you have successfully completed.

The pay schedules are broken up into “tiers.” Based on the criteria we mentioned in the previous section, incoming teachers will be assigned either “Tier 1” or “Tier 2” status depending on qualifications.

As you accumulate more hours with VIPKid, your tier status increases with a maximum attainable height of “Tier 10.”

As you can see, at a Tier 10 level of $3.20 incentive per class, a maximum hourly rate of $24.40 is possible. To get there, however, is going to require more 10,000 classes.

Within each tier, you gain concomitant bonuses each month based on how many hours you teach in a given month.

This VIPKid pay regime sounds complicated conceptually, but it’s actually more straightforward than it may appear. For the visually oriented among us, the chart below clearly illustrates the schedule.

Thinking of teaching for Magic Ears? See our comparisons at Magic Ears vs VIPKid.

What Penalties (Pay Deductions) does VIPKid Assess?

VIPKid – understandably, given that it is a Chinese-owned firm that relies on the satisfaction of its customers (the students and their parents) — is a stickler for timeliness and thoroughness.

As such, VIPKid docks teachers’ pay for the following reasons:

  • Providing late student feedback. To further the development of the students who learn on the platform, teachers with VIPKid are expected, accordingly, to submit feedback following each and every class they preside over. 

To avoid penalties, you must submit this feedback within a 12-hour window following the conclusion of each class. This is, predictably, considered to be one of the more onerous requirements by teachers who work on the platform, as evidenced by their frequent complaints in online forums and message boards.

However, as with most aspects of mundane employment paperwork, you can develop a system for efficiently producing reports to save yourself time.

The essential bits of information to include in a feedback write-up are areas where the student excelled and areas for improvement (be tactful).

Consider this seasoned Reddit poster, who has boiled down the art of providing satisfactory feedback into a well-oiled machine:

Failure to produce timely feedback (again, within 12 hours of the end of each class) will result in a 50% VIPKid pay deduction.

  • Class cancellations. The formula for which cancellations are penalized and the severity of those sanctions can be somewhat opaque, but the basic rule of thumb is: if you need to cancel a class, make sure you do it 24 hours or more before the class is scheduled to begin. If you notify the company and students of your inability to attend outside of the 24-hour timeframe, you will not be financially penalized in any way.

However, despite the lack of financial accountability, the company does limit its teachers to a maximum of 6 class cancellations per contract. Even prompt cancellations outside of the 24-hour window count toward this. If you exceed the maximum allowable number of cancellations, you risk termination of your contract.

In instances when a teacher cancels between 2-24 hours before class, you’ll incur a $2 deduction from your VIPKid pay.

Lastly, if a teacher simply doesn’t show up for an assigned class or cancels within 2 hours of the class beginning, he or she will be docked a whopping $10 per class.

The company does carve out exceptions in rare circumstances, such as severe illnesses or natural disasters. However, staff will ask for documentation proving that such an event occurred.

  •  IT issues. We all know that the internet connections we rely on, even from the best providers, don’t always come through as they should – with glitches often coming at the most inopportune times. Unfortunately, as a VIPKid teacher, you will have to eat the penalty if the IT issue occurs on your end. In these instances, you will forfeit 100% of your pay for the classes you miss due to poor connectivity or other technical issues.

You can follow all of your statistics, including any penalties you may incur for the reasons listed above, through the VIPKid teacher portal.

VIPKid Teacher Salary FAQs

Let’s run down some of the frequently asked questions pertaining to teachers’ VipKid pay and strategies to increase your teacher salary:

How does VIPKid pay?

You have two options to collect your earnings from VIPKid: Direct deposit into your bank or PayPal. You can track all of your income from VIPKid through the VIPKid Teach App.

How often does VIPKid pay?

Conveniently, VIPKid allows its teachers to choose their own pay schedule from a list of options: weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
Once a class is completed (and you fill out the student feedback on time), you will be credited for the money you are owed and it will be automatically included in the next payment.

What are the VIPKid raise requirements?

As of August 2020, VIPKid will not increase the base pay for teachers, regardless of merit.
However, teachers receive a de facto raise under the progressive incentive pay structure in accordance with how many total classes they have successfully completed in their career with VIPKid (please see the pay tier chart in an earlier section for reference).
However, it is possible to earn up to $4 more per hour with “short-notice” bookings. Read about how to book these types of so-called “short-notice” classes and earn extra income here.

How do I earn a VIPKid referral bonus?

Due to a relatively high turnover rate, VIPKid is constantly recruiting new teachers. As such, you can earn an extra $100 by referring qualified teachers who end up getting hired to join the platform. The three-step process goes like this:
1) Register to get your referral link
2) Recruit qualified friends, family, or professional contacts (meaning they have at least a bachelor’s degree, legal eligibility to work in the US or Canada, and 2 years of loosely-defined “experience” working with children) to sign up with VIPKid
3) Track their progress through the sign-up process and collect your bonus once they’ve started
Get your referral code here.

Are there ways to earn a higher VIPKid salary?

Based on everything we’ve discussed earlier, here are the ways you can increase your take-home pay through VIPKid:
1) Gaining more experience before applying (easier said than done) to get a higher initial base pay rate
2) Dominating your demo class for a higher initial base pay rate
3) Showing up to all assigned classes and accumulating more completed classes to move into a higher incentive pay tier
4) Referring friends
5) Booking more short-notice classes

Do I need to file taxes for my income from VIPKid?

You won’t need to pay taxes in China if you are based in another country. However, you have a tax liability as an independent contractor in your own country if, for example, you are currently living in the United States or Canada or elsewhere.
The responsibility is entirely yours to understand your personal tax liability in your own local jurisdiction – including, potentially, national, state, and local taxes.

Is working for VIPKid worth it?

Yes! Compared to other online ESL platforms, VIPKid is relatively well-reviewed by current and former teachers. As of June 2021, the company has a 4/5-star rating at Glassdoor and a 3.7/5-star review at Indeed based on the feedback from teachers who have worked there.

The Bottom Line on VIPKid Pay

In terms of the broader online ESL industry, VIPKid pay falls somewhere in the middle-to-upper range – higher than the majority of other well-known platforms like Cambly (which have more lenient requirements to get hired) but VIPKid requirements are not as high as the most elite online ESL providers.

Cambly doesn’t require a diploma – see our Cambly Review to learn more about what it’s like being a tutor.

The relative benefits of VIPKid’s payment structure are:

  • Decent base pay (industry average or slightly above)
  • Respectable incentives for performance and time with the company
  • The option for frequent payment (you can opt to receive your pay weekly if you so desire)

$24 per hour from the start, however, is not realistic in working with VIPKid. However, if you have minimal ESL teaching experience, meet the basic VIPKid requirements, and are looking for an opportunity to prove your worth in the field, you should consider giving VIPKid a sincere looksee.

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