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. 

People choose to teach in China for numerous reasons. For many, it's the incredible culture, the generous salary package, and having the opportunity to travel across Asia.

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

As well as receiving a generous local salary, you can get great benefits teaching in China:

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

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

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

Teaching in China

Top 10 questions for teaching in China

So you're thinking about teaching in China and have a few burning questions? Here are some of the most common questions people ask.

1. Why should I 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 benefits and conditions for foreign English teachers keep on improving.

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

Teaching in China will give you the opportunity to visit tourist attractions

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

The lifestyle is pretty good too. You can essentially 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.

2. 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
  • Have a TEFL certificate (unless you have a degree in education)
  • Be eligible to get a working visa
  • Be flexible and adaptable.

You can check your eligibility to teach in China in less than 20 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 Chinese schools require you to have completed a TEFL course instead of the work experience. This is because many people are teaching for the first time and don't have that experience.

If you have a degree in education or teaching, then you don’t need a TEFL certificate.


Teaching 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.

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. 

Applying for a Z visa can take time so it’s best to start preparing early.

Teaching in Shanghai

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

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.

3. How do I get a TEFL certificate to teach in China?

You need to complete a TEFL course. You can do this online, in person, or a combination of both online and in person.

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

To make it easy for you, we offer 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.

4. 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:

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

The visa process can take time, so it’s important to start it early.

Before you start, make sure you’re familiar with all the details of each step in the visa process.

5. What is it like teaching 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.

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 having mod-cons and a more contemporary way of life, teach in one of the big cities on the east coast. Beijing, Shanghai are Shenzhen are good examples.

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.

6. 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.

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.

7. 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 teaching contract.

You will live in a clean and simple apartment while teaching English 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 accommodation.

8. How much money can I make teaching in China?

The amount of money you can make teaching in China will depend 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, monthly salaries for TEFL teachers in China range from about 6,000 RMB to 18,000 RMB.

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


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 salaries for foreign teachers in China mean 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 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.

If you’re chasing the dollars perhaps you could consider an alternative Asian teaching destination like Japan or South Korea.

Check out some different scenarios and see how much money you could make teaching in China.

9. What is the best way to prepare for my teaching job in China?

Make sure you start the visa process as early as possible. This is the most important thing you need to do when preparing to teach in China.

Access to a range of websites in China, including Facebook, Google, YouTube and Gmail, are blocked. That's why you need a virtual private network (VPN) for China. 

Paying for the VPN before you arrive will ensure you have access to the sites you want to use.

If you leave it until after you arrive, it may be very difficult, if not impossible to arrange this, as the sign-up or payment page will be blocked.

Teaching 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 if it’s 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 via apps and videos, using flashcards, attending in-person classes and even being taught 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 a number of high-profile movies about China which are enjoyable to watch.

There are a few things you should pack in your suitcase, 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.

Bring enough money to last you at least a month or so as you may not be paid your salary until a month after your first class (due to the school’s pay cycle).

You'll need your laptop when teaching in China

You'll need your laptop in China.

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 it, like meditation.

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

  • Start the Z visa process early
  • Pay for 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.

10. Do I need to speak Chinese to teach in China?

Not at all.

In the classroom, you’re expected to speak English at all times. Outside of the classroom, you can still get by not speaking any Chinese (Mandarin).

Many signs and metro stations have English, and you’ll find restaurants that have pictures in their menus. The younger generations in China can speak a bit of English too.

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.

When teaching in China you will find it easier if you know a few Chinese words

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

There are many quick and easy ways you can learn a bit of Chinese, such as mobile apps, digital flashcards and videos on YouTube.

If you have a bit more time (and money) to spare, you could attend some classes or even do some live instruction over the internet.

If you have more questions about teaching in China, refer to our FAQs.

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

More information about teaching in China


Why teach in China?

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Your choice of job in China

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Your choice of school in China

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Your choice of city in China

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Salaries and benefits in China

How much money can you earn teaching in China? Salaries for foreign ESL teachers are generous. They range from about 6,000 RMB to 18,000 RMB per month. Even if your salary was at the lower end of the scale, you would still be earning more than...

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China's education system

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