Teaching English in China

Teaching English in China 2017-03-09T23:55:59+00:00

Teaching English is something that has played a very big role in my life over recent years. I was first a teaching assistant in England before trying some volunteer teaching in Uganda, before I took my first full time English teaching job, teaching English in South Korea. It was a great experience that I look back upon fondly, and I followed it up by teaching in Turkey before turning to China. One thing led to another, but I never actually got to teach English in China, but I had been looking forward to it due to the cultural experiences and affordable cost of living that would have awaited me. Several of my friends have taught English in China and this page is a resource for people who are also wishing to teach English in China.

What Qualifications Do You Need To Teach English in China?

Qualifications are a very important issue that need to be considered early on, thus we will address the question: What qualifications do you need to teach English in China? The reason that this is important is because in order to teach English in China, you need to obtain a work visa, typically the Z visa, and this can only be done if you meet the requirements. As China is so huge, the requirements can vary between provinces and the rules are updated regularly, but typically you must meet the following criteria:

  • Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) holder in any subject
  • Clean criminal background check
  • Commitment to a 12-month contract
  • Citizen of US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, or South Africa
  • 120+ hour TEFL certification (varies between jobs)

If you do not meet all of the above criteria, unfortunately you will find it difficult (I don’t like to use the word impossible) to teach full time in China due to the need to obtain the Z visa (specifically for teaching) – however, you can take part in a Chinese Immersion Programme if you are aged 18-30 and have a good level of English. If you are a specialist in a certain field or subject, you might get around these requirements, but in general there are other countries where you can teach which might be easier to get the required work permit. In addition to the above requirements, any teaching experience that you have will work heavily in your favour. I did some volunteer teaching when I was first looking into teaching English in China and South Korea, and this ultimately led to me getting a job at a decent school in Korea.

Obtaining TEFL certification is not always necessary, but for many schools in China it is a requirement. Getting qualified will increase your job prospects and hopefully make you a better teacher when you step into the classroom for the first time. You can read more about which TEFL certification (if any) you should obtain by reading this page.

The Chinese Immersion Programme

If you are aged 18-30 and speak a good level of English, you can take part in a Chinese Immersion Programme. You don’t need a degree, you don’t need a TEFL, and you don’t need to be a native speaker. In exchange for teaching English to the children of a host family, you will receive free accommodation, food, flight reimbursement, monthly pocket money (around $250), Chinese language classes, and regular social events. Click here to learn more about the Chinese Immersion Programme and fill out the application form if you are interested in taking part.

The Benefits Of Teaching English in China

The benefits of teaching English in China are quite numerous (read my full article about this topic), hence why so many people do it. After leaving South Korea, I did lots of research on teaching in different countries and the following reasons were my personal reasons that I chose to apply to teach English in China:

Job / Financial Benefits

  • 12,000-15,400 RMB Per Month, Based Upon Qualifications
  • 8,000 RMB Annual Flight Allowance
  • Sponsored Legal Z Work Visa
  • Health insurance
  • 10 paid annual leave days plus 11 national holidays
  • Airport pick-up upon arrival
  • Free hotel accommodation during your first two weeks
  • Free Mandarin Chinese Lessons

Quality Of Life Benefits

  • Good potential for saving / spending money
  • Job and housing arranged in advance
  • Very low cost of living
  • Many foreign teacher communities
  • An ‘easy’, comfortable life
  • Opportunities to travel
  • A diverse country to explore
  • A new experience and chance to explore the world

These are very brief points, and many of them are related to the company I was applying through, but each of them contributed to my decision to apply to teach English in China. For more of the positives, read my full post, 10 Benefits Of Teaching English In China. If you like the sound of what you see above, I have partnered with the school I was originally applying through in order to offer people the opportunity to apply for jobs teaching English in China, which you can do here.

Getting A Visa To Teach In China

Typically teachers obtain a Z visa to work in China legally. Either your school or recruitment agency will guide you through this process, though it is the school who has to submit the application. Once again, you need to meet the requirements to obtain this visa.

There are other visas available when certain conditions are met, but I don’t know enough about them to list them on this site.

How to Find A Job Teaching English In China

If you meet the prerequisites listed above, you can apply for a job teaching English in China directly through this page on my site. This page will link you up with my preferred contacts in China who will help to guide you through the application process, ultimately ending (hopefully) in finding you a job. I use these contacts because I believe them to be trustworthy and I value my recommendations, so please don’t hesitate to get in contact with me if you have any issues.

If this doesn’t bring you any joy, you can try applying directly to postings around the internet. There are so many sites and postings that I can’t even begin to list them here, so I would simply suggest finding them using a search engine. Please do try and find out as much information as possible about any potential job and speak to ex-teachers: There are a few dodgy schools around, but there are also many wonderful schools too.

As an aside, teaching experience will really help your application and boost your chances of getting a job. If you don’t have any experience, try doing some volunteer teaching – that got me a job in Korea.

I have also teamed up with other recruiters to offer opportunities for teachers in other parts of the world. You can find out typical salaries, job benefits, and apply for jobs around the world on this page.

Learning Chinese

Learning Chinese is not a requirement to teach English in China, however many older people do not speak English and it will limit your interaction with locals if you cannot speak to them. I did not take the time to learn Korean or Turkish whilst I was teaching and I regret this because I wasn’t able to communicate effectively. My two suggestions for learning Chinese are as follows:

Taxes in China

Once granted the teaching visa (Z visa), you will pay regular income tax on your wages in China. These taxes vary between provinces, with higher salaries resulting in higher taxes, but as a teacher you are typically looking at a tax rate of 5-10%.

FAQs About Teaching English in China

Due to the volume of emails I receive about teaching English abroad, I have compiled country specific pages about teaching English. Please read the full article, FAQs About Teaching English In China, to have all of your questions (and more) answered. If there is something that you want to know that is not included on the page, please post your question in the comments and I will work hard to find an appropriate answer or point you in the direction of someone who can.

Other Useful Content About Teaching English Around The World

There is a lot of information about teaching English around the world on Great Big Scary World. If you are interested in teaching English in China, or anywhere else in the world, you will find some of the following pages useful. If you can’t find what you are looking for, leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this page are entirely my own and based upon my knowledge and research of teaching English in China. I share this information freely for your learning, but some of it may be inaccurate or out of date, so please do further research before making any decisions. The link to the language course is an affiliate link, meaning I will get paid a small commission if you buy the course after clicking my link. It will not cost you any extra, it will help to support this site, and I only recommend the course because I think it is a brilliant language learning option that I one day hope to use myself.