The essential VIPKid requirements for teachers are a bachelor’s degree (4-year university degree), legal eligibility to work in the US or Canada, and a fast web connection – among a handful of others we’ll cover here.
Do you want a job that offers unrivaled flexibility, one in which you set your own hours? Are you looking for a side gig to supplement your primary source of income? If so, you should consider teaching English online where the jobs are plentiful and demand is only expected to grow.
Let’s get into the details of the 10 VIPKid requirements for teachers to join the platform and start making money from home.
VIPKid Requirements for Teachers
Here is a rundown of the qualifications that you will need to be accepted as a VIPKid teacher.
Bachelor’s Degree (Any Field)
A 4-year university degree is a must for VIPKid teachers. Parents want to know that their child is learning from the best, and, fair or not, the bellwether for this is a college education.
Like other online teaching platforms, VIPKid accepts a bachelor’s degree in any field – even one that has nothing to do on the surface with English education, such as mechanical engineering.
No degree? No problem! Check out this list of 21 Best Companies to Teach English to Chinese students where we link to several companies that have no degree requirements whatsoever.
The other major must-have for VIPKid teachers is TEFL certification. While this requirement might sound like too much of an investment, getting certified to teach English as a foreign language via the worldwide web is easier than ever.
Consider TEFL Hero’s 120-hour fully online course. It’s self-directed, meaning you choose your own study hours, it’s very affordable ($99) and most students can finish within 2 months. It’s also fully accredited, so it’s recognized worldwide.
Get Certified to Teach Anywhere!
2 Years of Experience Working With Children
While this VIPKid requirement would appear to disqualify most applicants, what actually qualifies as “experience” is more open-ended than it might seem at first glance.
For the purposes of applying to VIPKid, “experience” can include:
- Sunday schooling
You get the idea – be imaginative in what constitutes “experience.” Don’t make anything up, but don’t limit yourself either to strict definitions of “experience.” Nearly all of us, with wide enough definitional parameters, have accumulated 2 years of experience with children in one capacity or another.
Work Authorization in US or Canada
VIPKid is only open to individuals that are eligible for legal employment in the United States or Canada. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be a citizen of that country nor even a resident. Instead, the relevant credential at play here is a US or Canadian tax ID that can be used to verify your legal status as open to work.
Not able to meet this requirement? You can look at teaching English online to Japanese students, which has no work authorization requirements.
Not a Resident of California, New York, or Washington
Unfortunately, due to tax laws that regulate independent contractors, VIPKid is not open to teachers that currently reside in California, New York, or Washington. For technical purposes, this means workers whose tax residency – a distinct legal concept apart from where you live at any given moment – is in these states.
Pass a Background Check
Once you pass the initial steps of the application process and receive a tentative job offer, getting started hinges on you passing a federal background check.
You supply all your info; VIPKid then performs and pays for the check, which takes 7-10 days to process along with all of your other application materials.
Obviously, successfully teaching English online requires a strong, stable internet connection. VIPKid requirements for minimum connection speed for teachers at ≥ 25 Mb/s. You can test your speed instantaneously for free here.
In addition to a fast web connection, you’ll also need to meet a few technical requirements in terms of your equipment.
- Desktop, Laptop, Macbook, iPad, or Microsoft Surface (no Chromebooks*)
- Windows 7, 8 and 10; Mac OS 10.X or higher operating system*
- Intel i5 processor or higher
- 8GB RAM or higher
*Important note: Sorry, Google-philes — Google and all of its software products, including the Chrome operating system and web browser, are banned in China and therefore are not suitable for interfacing with the VIPKid platform.
If you are not a computer nerd and don’t know how to check your computer specs, use this helpful tutorial to guide you.
More on VIPKid’s technical requirements can be found here.
Availability During ‘Peak’ Hours
Due to China’s position on literally the opposite side of the world from the continental US and Canada, the timezone issue might pose a difficulty for some.
Most of VIPKid’s clientele are school children who, of course, go to school during the day. Most of their extra time to learn on the web – what VIPKid calls its “peak hours” — is therefore between 6-9 pm Beijing time.
So, if you live on the Eastern seaboard, that means your peak hours are between 6am-9am on weekdays and 8:30pm-9am on weekends.
That said, you absolutely can teach outside of these “peak hours” if you so desire – just be advised that there are much fewer offerings during these times.
VIPKid, fortunately, does not require a minimum time commitment, so you are free to teach whenever and however often you would like within the timeframes offered by the company.
Native English Speaker
If you already have ESL teaching experience in a foreign country, then you are likely already familiar with learning institutions’ heavy emphasis on dialect and accent.
Asian learners and schools, in particular, are fixated on accent – indeed, that is largely the reason they hire foreign teachers in the first place. There is no shortage of adult Chinese English speakers that could, in theory, teach ESL; they want foreign teachers because they can impart their native-sounding accents into the vocal patterns of young learners.
For this reason, you must be a native speaker or, at the very least, meet the other requirements listed here such as legal working status in the US or Canada and sound like a native speaker.
Don’t meet all of these requirements? There are plenty more English teaching companies to choose from.
VIPKID Teacher Requirements FAQs
Let’s transition into some of the most frequently asked questions that potential teachers have about the application process and how it works.
What’s the VIPKID application process like?
If you just glance at the VIPKid site, the application process might appear more complicated than it actually is. The four-step procedure for onboarding new teachers goes like this:
- Sign up with a valid email address and verify it
- A short “demo” class covering the subject provided by VIPKid [protip: make sure you use an ESL technique TPR (total physical response) in your demo to ace it]
- A “mock class” with a current VIPKid teacher who can offer feedback and guidance
- After the company verifies your uploaded necessary documents, the contract is on the table and you are ready to start teaching once you sign on the dotted line
How does VIPKID verify my degree?
For those wondering if VIPKid will actually check to see if your degree is legit – yes, they absolutely will. The documents you will need to upload are:
- A photo of your physical bachelor’s degree certificate
- A copy of your official transcript from your institution
- Degree verification from National Student Clearinghouse
- A verification letter from your institution’s registrar office (signed, sealed or watermarked)
Do I need to speak Chinese to teach at VIPKID?
It’s a logical question, but if you stop and think about it, how many North American ESL teachers could VIPKid actually recruit if they made Mandarin fluency a requirement? Only about 1% of the US population speaks Mandarin. So, no, you don’t need to speak Chinese to teach at VIPKid.
The Bottom Line on VIPKid Requirements
To recap, here is what you’ll need to teach online at VIPKid:
- Bachelor’s degree
- TEFL certification
- 2 years of experience working with children
- Legal permission to work in the US or Canada
- Tax residency in states other than Washington, New York, and California
- Clean criminal background
- Fast internet
- Minimum technical requirements
- Availability to teach during “peak hours”
- Native English-speaking status
Do you meet all these requirements? You can also consider teaching for Magic Ears. Have a look at how it stacks up to VIPKid in our guide Magic Ears vs VIPKid.
If you meet these basic pre-conditions, you are already ahead of the game to land a well-paying gig at VIPKid. The company is generally highly rated by current and former employees, with a 4/5-star rating at Glassdoor and a 3.7/5-star review at Indeed based on thousands of comments from real-life teachers.