How to teach English in China

Teach English in China, tefl, esl in China, EFL in China, Recruitment, jobs in China, Teaching jobs in ChinaThe English Language teaching market in China is skyrocketing and more and more teachers are choosing to teach English in China because it has a lot of diverse positions, schools, and is a great opportunity to travel and teach abroad to start your English teaching career! I’ve been connecting with a lot of teachers in the English teaching community online and more and more I have heard great things about teaching in China even over Korea! With more opportunities, great positions, and multiple places to teach, China is a popular destination for ESL/EFL teachers.

Why teach English in China?

There are a lot of reasons to choose to teach English in China. I’ve visited Beijing and Shanghai and the rich culture and history there is amazing! You will never run out of places to visit and things to do. If you’re considering teaching in China here are the reasons why you should choose this country:

  • China is full of rich history and culture with a number of places to see and explore! For more information on traveling and places to visit check out guides on Lonely Planet or trip advisor. You can explore temples, hike the great wall, or eat Duck at a local restaurant.

Teach English in China, TEFL, ESL in China, EFL in China, Recruitment, jobs in China, Teaching jobs in China

  • There are a lot of teaching positions available so you can really explore and choose from the different positions on offer to choose one that is right for you!
  • You can work there as a NON-NATIVE teacher as long as you have the right qualifications and skills as an English teacher.
  • The food! Living in a bigger city affords you the option of choice! You can choose from a large variety of food (including western). While China tends to be known for some, shall we say, interesting food choices? There are actually a lot of really good flavourful food options that you can enjoy. Plus, if you live in a bigger city you should be able to find foods you like to eat. (Don’t forget online options like Iherb! More info on that HERE.
  • For newer teachers, China can provide you with a starter position to gain experience teaching while making money and traveling! For older more experienced teachers there are a lot of great teaching jobs on offer that you can choose from based on your experience and preferences.
  • There are a lot of different places and locations to choose from, city and rural! If you’re worried about pollution levels move to a smaller city or more rural landscape. If you like to be in a big city for convenience and nightlife etc., there are a lot of cities to choose from besides the main one (Beijing and Shanghai). There is a lot of variety!

What you need to Teach in China

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In order to be eligible to teach English in China in a public or Private institution, you will need the following (required by the government):,

  • An Undergraduate Degree in any subject (for a general English Language teaching positions)
  • TEFL certification (may not be required for ALL positions but is definitely recommended and will increase your salary! For information and advice on TEFL courses check out the post Get TEFL/TESOL Certifed)
  • An official Medical Exam (completed  in your own country)
  • A clear criminal record! You will need to submit a Certificate of Police Clearance (a copy of your criminal record or a statement that you do not have a criminal record)
  • For Non-Native Teachers (You will need to have near-native fluency)

These items will all be required to apply for any job in China and will be used to apply for a work visa. Most schools will provide you with a list of additional requirements (forms, authorizations, and documents) when you are offered a job.

Teaching Jobs in China – What can you expect?

Much like Korea, you can teach at private institutions,  public or middle schools and international schools (for certified teachers or teachers with a Masters degree and experience).  Today, I’m going to focus specifically on the private and public schools (Kindergarten, primary, middle and high school) as those are the most common positions you will find as a TEFL teacher.

Basic teaching positions include the following:

  • 6,000 – 18,000 RMB (Depending on experience and education)
  • Monday to Friday work week (with possible opportunity for additional paid working hours depending on the school) – Afternoon (2- 9pm, 1-8pm etc.) for private schools, anywhere between 8-6pm for public schools
  • Flight reimbursement (either a percentage, one way or full)
  • Accommodations provided (shared or single)
  • Overtime payment for any additional hours
  • Standard Chinese Holidays off
  • Insurance

Is China Right for you?

If you are thinking about teaching in China, don’t forget to do your research to find out if China is the right place for you! Read blogs, post to facebook groups and get in touch with teachers who have worked there to get their opinions and feedback before you make your decision. No matter where you decide to teach make sure to do your research and reach out to the English teaching community. For more information and advice on how to choose the right place to teach for you, check out Applying for TEFL Jobs abroad.

Also, it’s important to remember that China doesn’t have as much access to social media as other countries. So there is no access to Facebook in China. That being said, reaching out to other expats in the community will help you to figure out the best ways to access social media platforms and keep in contact using other resources.

For teaching opportunities in China have a look at the TEFL Job Board

If you want to find out more about teaching jobs in China contact me! I have partnered with a company in China and would be happy to help you with the recruitment process to place you in a school there! I will also hook you up with a community of teachers to help you with any specific questions I can’t answer!

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Teach English in China, TEFL, ESL in China, EFL in China, Recruitment, jobs in China, Teaching jobs in China

Teach English in China, TEFL, ESL in China, EFL in China, Recruitment, jobs in China, Teaching jobs in China

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Any Questions, tips or advice to teach English in China? Comment below!

Welcome to the Unconventional Life Blog! I'm Eliza a professional English Langauge teacher living an international life. Find out everything you ever wanted to know about teaching English, working and living abroad.


  1. cynthia terso

    What is the age limit for applicants?

    • Hi Cynthia, the legal age for applicants is 18years. The typical age range of teachers currently working in China varies from 18 – 50. The cut off due to vis restrictions is 65. Let me know if you have any more questions! If your interested have a look at the TEFL job board!

  2. Nice details on what to expect in China. I hear that Chinese national holidays are more plentiful than Koran ones, so teachers may have more vacation time away, and that would definitely be an improvement from the standard 2 weeks that hagwon teachers in Korea receive.

    • Agreed! I hope so! That would also be a big difference. I’ll have to look into that! I’ve also found it difficult to even ask for the standard vacation time given in Korea. They really don’t want you to take vacation! I’ve had that experience at a lot of my schools in Korea.

  3. I have a Filipino friend who worked as an English teacher there but has since left after she married a co-teacher. Apparently, China accepts qualified teachers from Asian countries, too.

    • Yes, I think the Visa process is a bit different for non-native teachers and would depend on the location and teaching position, but there are definitely a lot of possibilities!

  4. I would love to hear more about the possible opportunities China has to offer when it comes to teaching at International schools, based on your post its sounds like both my husband and I would qualify. Also, did you work there yourself at all?

    • I haven’t worked there no, but I have visited there and have done some research on the job market there. I also work with a couple schools in China to recruit teachers for them. Depending on where you work and what experience you have they have a pretty big market to choose from! Unlike Korea, I think they have more competitive salaries for teachers. If you’re interested let me know..I’d be happy to help!

  5. I’ve also been to Beijing and Shanghai and agree that China is a place rich in culture and history. I have thought in several different countries and have never considered China. The information in this piece is very informative and has definitely put China in my mind as a possible destination for teaching in future. Thank you!

  6. Thanks for the information, Eliza! Reading this reminded me of why I used to want to teach English in China. My first introduction to the world of ESL teaching was through a friend who was teaching over there and hearing his stories made me really want to work in China as well. Over the years that desire changed focus and as I already had many friends in Korea I decided to pursue that option instead. Maybe one day…

    • Well it’s always an option! There seems to be more and more teachers choosing China now because they have higher paying jobs and the cost of living is lower. However as with any job it always depends on your experience!

  7. It’s great that you have a partnership with a company in China. This is very comprehensive!
    I have a friend working there! She’s from Philippines too.

    • That’s great Karla. China is definitely the place to be just now for teaching positions. They are hiring for a lot of different positions.