Qkids vs. VIPKID: The ultimate guide to teaching English online.
You have decided you want to teach English online. You come across the top two companies: Qkids vs. VIPKID.
How do you choose which company you should teach for? Both companies are highly reputable and pay well.
Working as an online English teacher can be a rewarding way to make money from anywhere. I love the flexibility of being able to travel while continuing to earn money.
When my family went on vacation to Disney World, I was able to continue to make money online. I would wake up early and teach from my hotel room.
Then by 9am, I would be done working for the day and would go explore the theme parks with my family.
There are several ESL (English as a Second Language) companies available to work with, but two of the best and most reputable companies are VIPKID and Qkids.
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Which is the best company to work for? Let’s discuss the pros and cons of VIPKID vs. Qkids.
What is VIPKID?
VIPKID is an online teaching platform that provides English lessons to students ages 3 – 15 in China. VIPKID’s main office is in Beijing, China, and they have a second office in San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.
VIPKID provides online classes 7 days a week that run for 25-28 minutes each. The online classroom is similar to Zoom or Skype, showing both the teacher and student, as well as the lesson slides.
As a teacher for VIPKID, you are in complete control of your schedule. You can work as much or as little as you want.
To become a VIPKID teacher, you must be legally eligible to work in the U.S. or Canada.
VIPKID hires teachers as independent contractors, which means you are responsible for your own taxes.
Unfortunately, due to new laws regarding independent contractors, VIPKID is no longer hiring teachers from the states of California, New York, or Washington.
Potential teachers must have a Bachelor’s degree (it can be in any subject).
They must also have two years of experience with kids through teaching, tutoring, coaching, homeschooling, volunteering at Sunday school or summer camp, mentoring, working in childcare, etc.
VIPKID requires the use of a desktop computer, laptop, Macbook, iPad, or Microsoft Surface. They provide their own teaching app that you will work from. Their app currently does not support Chromebooks.
They recommend a wired high-speed internet connection of ≥ 25 Mb/s in order to teach successfully. Learn more about the essential equipment needed for teaching online.
VIPKID TESOL Certification
Due to new laws in China, online English teachers now require some type of teaching certificate or license. Teaching certificates that are accepted are the TESOL, TEFL, CELTA, or ESL certifications.
At VIPKID, they will give you the materials and quiz to earn your TESOL at the end of the hiring process if you do not already have a certificate. It is free and is required to complete before you start teaching classes.
New teachers are offered a base rate of $7.50 per class. Each class is 25-28 minutes. This would be $15/hour.
On top of the base rate, you can earn an extra $2 per class for short notice bookings (classes booked 24 hours ahead of their start time), as well earn a finished class incentive.
The finished class incentive is based on the lifetime number of classes you have taught, as well as the number of classes taught per month. This tiered scale increases your pay by an extra $.80 – $3.20 per class.
You can also earn a $5 bonus for any student who signs up with VIPKID after taking a trial class with you. If you refer a friend to teach for VIPKID, you can earn an extra $100 referral bonus, as well.
VIPKID states that most teachers are paid $15-$22/hour.
Payments are made through direct deposit or via PayPal. You have the option of being paid weekly, biweekly, or monthly.
Here is an example of two weeks of my pay from my payment tab on their portal.
VIPKID classes are taught one on one. This means that you will teach one student per class for 25-28 minutes.
At VIPKID, parents choose you as their child’s teacher based off of your profile. This means that you may have many students that you see regularly, along with new faces.
It can be very rewarding to continue to see regular students because you can watch how they improve as time goes on and you will know what their strengths and weaknesses are.
You can also learn about their interests so you can customize their classes to make them more enjoyable. As your relationship with your regular students grow, you can really get to know them and their families.
VIPKid gives teachers the potential to make more money than Qkids. Qkids only offers a maximum of 38 classes per teacher per week, whereas with VIPKid you have the opportunity to teach more classes, resulting in more money.
At VIPKID, you can teach as many or as little classes as you choose to. This means if you are traveling while working, you can decide if you want to teach a handful of classes, or choose to work as many as possible.
VIPKID hiring process
1. Fill out your application. (Don’t forget to include your experience if you want to be considered for the job! This can include work in child care, camp counseling, tutoring, homeschooling, mentoring, etc.)
2. Complete a demo lesson.
3. Complete a mock class.
4. Start teaching!
Pros of VIPKID
Getting to know your students
One of the best things about working for VIPKid vs. Qkids is the relationships that you make with the students and their families. Many students will choose one teacher, or a few teachers that they will see regularly.
This allows you to get to know the students very well as you continue to teach them. With Qkids, you are teaching more students at once, and they are often randomized.
Just like teaching in a classroom, at VIPKid you can grow attached to your regular students. Some of my most cherished teaching moments over the years have been showing my favorite regular students my dog and my Christmas tree, and seeing the delight on their faces.
You will become more familiar with Chinese traditions and holidays. One of my regular students was taking a class during Chinese New Year last year, and shared the fireworks going on outside with me during our class.
These shared moments are what make teaching so rewarding, and part of why I love being able to build connections with these families across the world.
VIPKID teaching and traveling
Both VIPKID and Qkids allow teachers the opportunity to travel to China every year. (Pre-Covid). Many VIPKID teachers who have traveled to Beijing have been able to meet their regular students in person and spend time with their families.
As a VIPKID teacher, you can work from anywhere in the world. This makes it a great way to earn money while you travel, because as long as you have internet connection and your computer or tablet, you can teach.
Many VIPKID teachers work as they travel the world. However, as a Qkids teacher, you can only work from anywhere in the U.S. or Canada, limiting where you can travel.
You are able to travel in the U.S. and Canada as you work with Qkids, but are not permitted to work outside of North America. This may make VIPKID a better option for those who wish to travel outside of this region.
Who should work for VIPKid (and why)?
During the month of Chinese New Year and during the summer, both companies will open additional time slots for classes. But during the school year, Qkids does have a limit on the number of classes that are available to teach.
This means that VIPKID will give you the opportunity to make more money as you travel. You can expect to make an average of $1,640 per month if you teach a class during every time slot with Qkids during the school year, and up to $2,700 during the summer months.
With VIPKID, you have the opportunity to earn more than that by teaching more classes. If you are looking to earn more money, then VIPKID might be the right fit for you.
Perhaps the most important factor of choosing between these companies is deciding if you will be traveling outside of North America while working.
As a VIPKID teacher, you can travel the world and continue to work from anywhere. As a teacher for Qkids, you must work from the U.S. or Canada. So while you may travel in North America while working with Qkids, it does limit you on where you can travel to.
Qkids vs. VIPKID: Part II
What is Qkids?
Qkids is another online teaching platform, connecting native English speakers from the U.S. or Canada to young students in China. Students are 4-12 years old and offices are located in Shenzhen, Xiamen, Guangzhou, and Beijing, China.
Qkids provides English lessons through the use of games, making learning more interactive and engaging for the students. Qkids lessons are 30 minutes each and instructed through their own teaching app.
QKids Teacher Requirements
To become a teacher for Qkids, you must be legally eligible to work in the U.S. or Canada.
Similar to VIPKID, you will work as an independent contractor and must have a Bachelor’s degree. This four year degree can be in any subject.
New laws in China now require online English teachers to have a teaching certificate or license. Accepted forms of teaching certificates include the TESOL, TEFL, CELTA, or ESL certifications.
Similarly to VIPKID, Qkids also requires either a teaching license or English teaching certificate (TESOL, TEFL, CELTA, ESL). You can earn a TESOL easily through International Open Academy with their 120-Hour TESOL Certificate.
Qkids requires internet with a minimum upload speed of 2Mbps and a minimum download speed of 4Mbps.
Qkids offers teachers a base pay of $8 per lesson. (Each lesson is 30 minutes long so this would equate to $16 per hour). On top of the base rate, you can earn extra incentives.
You can earn an extra $1 performance fee based on the families’ reviews of your teaching. You can also earn $1 for an attendance bonus if you teach 15 or more classes a week.
If you earn all of the incentives, you will be earning $20 per hour (for two 30 minute lessons). Each class does have a ten minute break before the next lesson will begin.
Occasionally Qkids will book you for “standby lessons.” This means that you are essentially a backup teacher in case a teacher does not show up for class or has to cancel.
In your standby lessons, you must wait ten minutes to see if they give you a class. If they do not give you a class within ten minutes, you may leave.
You will be paid $4 for standby lessons that you do not end up teaching. (50% of the base pay). If you teach the class, you will get your normal rate of pay.
Qkids teachers are paid via direct deposit once a month by the 15th. For example, the classes you teach from January 1st through January 31st will be paid to you by February 15th.
Here’s an example of what their payment center looks like:
At Qkids, classes can hold anywhere from 1 to 4 students. Their lessons run for 30 minutes each.
Qkids will schedule your classes for you based on the availability you give them. Most of your classes will have new kids that you have never met before.
Some teachers prefer to teach one on one and enjoy VIPKID because of that. Some teachers might enjoy teaching more than one student at once with Qkids, because it can help keep the students more engaged and help them understand the material better.
Pros of Qkids
Qkids schedules their teachers classes based on their availability. This means that as soon as you are hired, you are put on the schedule to begin teaching.
At VIPKID, parents choose their child’s teacher based on their profile. Some teachers are able to get fully booked right away, whereas other teachers may take months to fill their schedules with the number of classes that they are hoping to teach.
At VIPKID, they highly recommend that you use props in your classroom. These props are to help the students stay engaged and motivated in the lesson, as well as to help explain what is being taught.
At Qkids, English is taught through their interactive lessons. As a homeschool mom, I know that my kids learn best when they are learning through play and hands-on activities.
Qkids teaches English through fun learning games, which helps the students stay engaged, as well as understand the content. They do not require the use of props from the teacher in the classroom.
This not only saves you money while preparing for your classroom, but also makes it easier to travel because you won’t need as many things to bring.
Some VIPKID teachers use digital props to teach if they travel, or they choose to use minimal props in their lessons.
Here’s what my classroom looks like to get an idea of how many props I have available to use for my VIPKID classes.
Qkids requires a minimum of 12 classes taught per week.
Qkids hiring process
1. Fill out your application. (Make sure you include your experience if you want to be considered for the job! You can include any type of work in child care, camp counseling, tutoring, homeschooling, mentoring, etc.)
2. Complete demo interview 1, & 2. (These interviews review technical requirements and use of their teaching app.)
3. Complete up to five trial classes. (You will be paid for these!)
4. Complete a background check.
5. Sign your contract and start working!
Who should work for Qkids (and why)?
As a potential ESL teacher, Qkids can be the best company to get started with. This is because the hiring process with Qkids is easier and quicker than it is with VIPKid.
Qkids will put all of their teachers on the schedule according to their availability. This means that you will be able to start working right away once you are hired.
At VIPKid, the parents will choose you as their teacher based off of your profile. While some teachers are able to book classes quickly, not everyone does. Many new teachers complain that it can take weeks before they can fill their schedules and start making money.
If you need to get hired quickly and start making money, you should apply to Qkids first.
Many candidates will apply to both companies and start teaching classes with Qkids while waiting for their bookings to increase at VIPKID. Many teachers choose to teach with more than one company, like I have.
Qkids vs. VIPKID Cancellation policy
The best part of working for Qkids vs. VIPKid is that they have a much more lenient cancellation policy. They allow six cancellations per contract, and you do not get penalized for cancelling a class.
I have cancelled a class or two right before I was supposed to teach because my son had woke up sick.
Qkids didn’t penalize me for missing the class, and they were very understanding and kind about the situation. Qkids is very family friendly.
Qkids would like you to cancel your classes at least 24 hours in advance with the Qkids Class Coordination Team but they do understand that sometimes things happen.
VIPKID allows six regular cancellations per contract. (A contract is six months long). When you use a cancellation, your participation percentage will drop on your stats page, which parents are able to view.
If you have supporting documentation of a serious illness requiring hospitalization, natural disaster, or other major life event, then it will not count against your cancellations.
If you cancel a class more than 24 hours in advanced you will not incur any fees.
However, if you cancel a class within 24 hours, you will lose $2 per class. If it’s cancelled within 2 hours of the class, or you do not show up or cancel it, then you will be charged $10 per lesson that is missed.
Both Qkids and VIPKID require teachers to leave feedback for the parents after each class. VIPKID does require somewhat lengthy feedback in detail about each lesson, whereas the feedback for Qkids is easier and much quicker to complete.
As a teacher who likes to leave a thorough review of my students, I do find that Qkids is much easier to leave feedback with and takes less time, which I find is a pro to teaching with them.
Both ESL companies require a lengthy hiring process that will take several days to complete. However, of the two companies, Qkids has the easier hiring process.
VIPKID can be difficult to get hired by and Qkids may be easier for you to start working with of the two.
How are VIPKID and Qkids similar?
VIPKID vs. Qkids taxes
Both VIPKID and Qkids require you to work as an independent contractor instead of an employee. This means you will be responsible for your own taxes.
Make sure to keep records of your receipts for anything you purchase for your classroom so that you are prepared when it’s time to pay taxes. You can find out more information about paying taxes through this Facebook group.
Online Teaching Education Requirements
If you were a college student, you used to be able to teach with Qkids. But now due to laws in China, both Qkids and VIPKID require you to have a four year degree in order to be eligible to teach.
Your Bachelor’s degree does not have to be in Education, however. It can be in any field. Both companies also require some type of teaching certificate.
Help! I don’t speak Mandarin? How can I teach kids in China?
Many potential candidates for online teaching worry that they must know how to speak Mandarin in order to work for VIPKID, QKids, or other ESL companies.
But online English classes are fully immersive! That means that the entire lesson is spoken in English.
Students learn through TPR (total physical response), props, and lesson slides to understand what the teacher is saying.
VIPKID Lesson plans and Qkids Lesson Plans
One of the best things about teaching with Qkids and VIPKID is that they provide all of the lessons for you! This means that once you have taught most of the lessons already, you will have virtually zero prep time for your classes.
QKids and VIPKID Contracts
Both VIPKID and Qkids require six month long contracts. At the end of your contract, you can choose to continue to work longer or stop.
With both companies, you can take time off and then continue to teach. I have taken months off with VIPKID while still being a teacher and then came back to work.
Qkids also lets you take some time off if you give them notice and remain in good standing with them. This makes both companies great companies to work for if you travel.
Online Teaching Hours
China is 12-13 hours ahead of the U.S. and Canada. This means you are teaching at odd hours.
On the east coast of the U.S. and Canada, your peak hours will be from 5:00 A.M. to 8:00 A.M., 7 days a week. On the weekends, you may also choose to work in the evenings.
Both companies allow you to teach more classes during the summer, as well as during the month of February when many students are out of school for Chinese New Year.
Why should you work for both VIPKid and Qkids?
This is what I did. I first applied to VIPKID.
I was lucky and started getting bookings right away. (This isn’t always the case because parents choose their children’s teachers based on their profiles.)
However, once the summer hit, my bookings decreased substantially. That’s when I applied to become a Qkids teacher.
By July, I was teaching for both Qkids and VIPKID. Qkids requires 12 classes a week, and VIPKID has no requirements.
I would teach my 12-15 classes with Qkids, then teach VIPKID classes around those classes. (I typically taught 4-5 classes a day between both companies).
This worked out well for me, because with VIPKID being slower during the summer, I was getting a fully booked schedule with Qkids. They schedule your classes for you, based on the availability you give them.
VIPKID picked back up dramatically in the fall when school was back in session. At that point, I was working the minimum classes for Qkids, and more classes with VIPKID.
This worked out well for me, because no matter what time of year it was, I was getting bookings. This is why I continued to teach for both companies because there are slower seasons during certain times of the year.
It was important for me to continuously make money, so working for both companies helped a lot.
I also recommend working for both companies, because sometimes it can take a month or two before you start getting fully booked with VIPKID.
Whether you choose Qkids vs. VIPKID, or both, is up to you. I hope I helped you make a decision and that you love your new job as an online ESL teacher!
Have a question? Leave a comment below!