Teaching English in China is one of the most amazing experiences you'll ever have.

Whether you decide on a gap year or you stay long term, teaching in China will change the way you see yourself and the world. 

As a TEFL teacher in China, you'll get to experience an incredible culture, meet new people, and have the opportunity to travel across Asia.

Loads of flexibility

There is lots of flexibility when you apply with us. You can choose:

Awesome benefits

You can get great benefits teaching in China including:

  • Generous local salary
  • Free accommodation
  • Airfare reimbursement
  • Sponsored visa
  • Paid holidays
  • Mandarin lessons.

China's education system is unique and foreign English teachers are welcomed with open arms.

So what are you waiting for? Apply for a teaching job in China today.

Not quite ready yet? Then read on for all the essential information. Let us know if you have any questions!

Primary school students in China

Why teach English in China?

China is an incredibly diverse country. You’ll get to experience different cultures and people, visit stunning attractions and eat delicious food.

China is also close to other countries in Asia, so there are plenty of travel opportunities between semesters.

The country is developing at a rapid rate. This means the salary and benefits for TEFL teachers in China keep on improving.

You can earn a generous salary teaching in China, and enjoy perks like free housing and the reimbursement of the cost of your return flight.

Teaching in China will give you the opportunity to visit attractions like the Forbidden City

You'll have the opportunity to visit stunning attractions while teaching in China (pictured: Forbidden City, Beijing).

The lifestyle is pretty good too. Essentially, you can work part-time hours and enjoy a full-time local salary!

Teaching English in China truly is an unforgettable and life-changing experience.

If you’re still not convinced, here are even more reasons why you should teach in China.

What are the requirements for teaching in China?

To be able to teach in China you should:

  • Be a native English speaker
  • Have a bachelor’s degree (in any field) and TEFL certificate
  • Be under age 55, have a clean bill of health and no criminal convictions
  • Be flexible and adaptable.

Check your eligibility to teach in China here – it only takes a few seconds!

According to the Chinese governing body which sets the guidelines for foreign teachers in China, you should hold a bachelor’s degree and more than two years of related work experience to teach in China.

In reality, however, most schools require you to have completed a China TEFL course instead of the work experience. This is because many people are teaching for the first time and don't have experience.

If you have a degree in education or teaching, then you don’t need a TEFL certificate. (Liked this tip? See more tips for teaching in China here.)

Working legally in China requires a Z visa from a Chinese embassy or consulate. The Z visa is the only valid work visa.

Sponsorship from an employer, i.e. a school, is needed in order to obtain this special visa. Every school we work with provides the proper sponsorship.

TEFL teacher in China

You generally need a bachelor's degree and TEFL certificate to teach in China.

There are particular visa requirements that you must satisfy to teach in China. For example, you should be in good health and not have criminal convictions. 

It’s important to remember that China is still a developing country. The Chinese way of doing things can be quite different to what you’re used to.

This means the ideal teacher should be flexible and adaptable, and can just go with the flow.

How do I get TEFL certification to teach in China?

You need to complete a TEFL course. You can do this online, face to face, or both online and face to face (called a combined course).

No matter which option you choose, 120 hours of study is the minimum requirement for teaching in China with us.

To make it easy for you, we offer discounted TEFL courses for China in our TEFL Store. Simply choose a course, pay the low price, and start!

Once you successfully complete the course, you'll receive your TEFL certificate.

What are the visa requirements for teaching in China?

You need a working visa to teach in China. This is known as the Z visa.

You should not enter China on any other visa.

Teaching in China requires a Z visa

You need a Z visa to teach in China.

Once you’ve accepted a job offer and signed your contract, you need to apply for the Z visa. This involves a number of steps:

  • Getting your documents together, such as your degree and TEFL certificate
  • Getting your documents notarized by a notary public
  • Getting your documents authenticated by the Foreign Affairs department
  • Getting your documents legalized by the Chinese embassy
  • Emailing the documents to your school so they can arrange your paperwork
  • Submitting your visa application to the Chinese embassy by post or in person.

For more details, check out this step-by-step process for getting a Z visa to teach in China.

We can help you every step of the way.

What's the best way of finding a teaching job in China?

1. Work with a trusted recruiter

One of the best ways you can find a teaching job in China is by working with a reputable recruiter.

A recruiter can help you find the ideal role and school based on your needs. 

Choose an objective and trustworthy recruiter. They should be able to help you with the visa and any questions you have along the way.

We've showcased a few of our teaching jobs in China here.

Foreign woman teaching in China

Using a recruiter to find work in China is a safe option.

2. Use a job board

Another way you can find a teaching job in China is by using a job board.

You can find teaching jobs on Jooble, and there are plenty of other ESL job boards too.

Sign up for job alerts and have jobs emailed straight to your inbox.

Just remember to do your homework and research the schools thoroughly.

What is it like teaching English in China?

China regards the teaching profession highly and teachers are respected. Teaching in China truly is a rewarding experience.

If you teach in the public system, you’ll spend time outside the classroom creating lesson plans.

On the other hand, if you teach in a private center or language institute, you’ll generally be expected to work from set lesson plans created by the school.

Managing student behavior in China will be a key part of your role. While most students are well behaved, you may need to pay special attention to a few students.

Some students in private centers may lack motivation, knowing that they really can't fail.

Younger students are very active and often noisy, while older students can be passive and quiet. You’ll therefore have different challenges depending on the age of your students.

The more experience you get, the more comfortable you’ll be working with different types of students.

Teaching English in China is a rewarding experience

Teaching kids in China has its challenges but is very rewarding.

Conditions vary between schools, provinces and cities.

For example, schools on the richer east coast typically have better conditions and pay higher salaries than schools in inland China. However, the cost of living in the eastern provinces is higher.

If you prefer a more contemporary way of life, consider working in one of the big cities on the east coast. 

Teaching English in Shanghai is a popular choice for many first-time TEFL teachers.

If massive cities aren’t your thing, teach in a smaller city or less densely populated province. Many teachers prefer a more relaxed lifestyle and revel in the opportunity of immersing themselves in Chinese culture and language.

A typical ESL teacher’s day in China varies depending on a number of factors, like the type of school and the amount of classes.

One thing is for sure though – teaching in China is incredibly rewarding and one of the best experiences you’ll ever have.

What kind of schools can I teach in?

You can teach in a range of schools in China, helping little kids right through to adults:

  • Kindergarten
  • Primary school
  • Middle school
  • High school
  • University
  • Private language institute (all ages).

International high school in China

A typical high school campus in China.

In terms of working hours, facilities and salaries, there is a big difference between the public education sector and the private education sector in China.

For example, if you choose to work in a private language institute, you may have classes at night and on the weekend, and the workload may be bigger than at a public school. However, in return you’ll earn a higher salary.

Foreign teachers have a number of decisions to make as to what options would suit them best. It’s not always a case of higher salary equals better position.

What is the foreign teacher accommodation in China like?

Teachers' housing in China is comfortable and you will live in a clean and simple apartment.

It will be situated within your school’s campus or a few minutes away by foot or public transport.

Foreign teacher apartments generally contain the following:

  • Bed
  • Wardrobe
  • Sofa
  • Table and chairs
  • TV
  • Fridge
  • Toasting oven or microwave
  • Shower
  • Western toilet
  • Washing machine.

This should be everything you need to feel comfortable.

As each school is different, you can clarify exactly where your apartment is located, and what it contains, before signing your China teaching contract.

A typical TEFL teacher's apartment in China

A typical foreign teacher apartment in China.

One of the great perks of teaching in China is that most positions include free accommodation.

In other cases, you may receive a generous subsidy or stipend (extra money in your pay) to go towards housing.

What is the salary?

A commonly asked question is, "How much money can I make teaching English in China?"

Your teaching salary depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The kind of school you teach at
  • The location of the school
  • The subjects you teach
  • How many hours you work
  • Your education and qualifications
  • Your experience.

Generally speaking, the monthly salary for a TEFL teacher in China ranges from about 6,000 RMB to 18,000 RMB.

Even if your salary were at the lower end of the scale, you'd still be earning more than the average local salary in most Chinese cities.

Check the salary calculator for teaching in China here.

There are other factors to consider in addition to the base salary you’ll receive.

For example, your airfare reimbursement and any performance bonuses need to be factored into the equation as well.

You can receive a generous local salary while teaching in China

You can earn a generous local salary while teaching in China.

The generous salary for foreign teachers in China means you can live like a king or queen.

However, please keep in mind that any money you save in China won’t go as far in your home country when you exchange currencies.

Teaching English in China solely for the money is an ill-conceived idea. Most people choose to teach in China to have the experience of a lifetime, not to make lots of money.

What's the best way to prepare for my teaching job in China?

Make sure you complete your TEFL course and start the Z visa process as early as possible.

Most major Western websites and apps are blocked in China. This includes WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google, Gmail, and many more.

To access your favorite sites, you need a virtual private network (VPN) for China.

Download the VPN app to your phone and laptop before you arrive, or you'll be left high and dry!

It's also worth downloading all the China apps you need, like WeChat and DiDi.

Female university students in China

Getting a VPN before you arrive in China will ensure you can access websites like Google and Facebook.

Learning a few Mandarin words before you go, even just ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’ and the numbers from 1 to 10, will help you in everyday situations in China.

There are many ways you can learn Chinese before you go, like using apps, videos, digital flashcards or attending in-person classes.

You can even learn Chinese live over the internet!

If you’re unfamiliar with China and all its quirks, you could do some reading or watch YouTube videos (like the comprehensive one below) as part of your preparations.

There are also some great movies about China which can give you some glimpses into the culture and history.

There are a few things you should bring to China for your teaching adventure, including:

  • Laptop or notebook computer
  • Teaching materials and interesting things you can show in your classes
  • Travel adapter
  • Any special toiletries or medications you may need.

Make sure you bring enough money. You may need to wait a month until you are paid depending on the school’s pay cycle.

And, if you're teaching in a private language institute, you'll need money for rent upfront (public teaching jobs include free housing).

You'll need your laptop when teaching English in China

You'll need your laptop in China.

There are also a few things you shouldn't bring to China, which are outlined here.

Ideally, you should arrive a week before your classes start to help you adjust to your new surroundings and China in general.

Knowing things like where your classrooms are, and how to catch the bus into town, will help put your mind at ease.

Some teachers experience culture shock in China. This is normal and there are ways to help you overcome culture shock, like meditation.

In summary, the best way to prepare for your new teaching job in China is to:

  • Start the Z visa process early
  • Get a VPN
  • Learn some basic Chinese words
  • Acquaint yourself with Chinese culture
  • Pack some special items in your suitcase
  • Bring enough money to last at least a month
  • Arrive early.

Do I need to speak Chinese?

Not at all.

In the classroom, you’re expected to speak English at all times. Outside of the classroom, you can still get by without speaking any Mandarin Chinese.

Metro stations have English, and you’ll find restaurants that have pictures in their menus.

Having said that, you’ll find daily life easier if you learn the Chinese numbers and a few Chinese phrases, ideally before you arrive.

This will help with things like ordering food, getting around and buying things at the shops.

Chinese man selling books

You don't need to speak Chinese to teach in China.

Nowadays, the younger generations in China can speak a bit of English. In fact, they all learn it from a very young age.

If all else fails, there's the Google Translate app. Make sure you download it before you arrive!

If you have more questions about teaching in China, check out our FAQs.

If you're ready to teach in China, apply now!

More information about teaching English in China


Why teach in China?

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