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A Guide To Teaching English in China

Teaching Jobs In China Feature

Teaching English in China


Bachelor’s Degree: Required

Monthly Salary: $1,000-2,500 USD

Peak Hiring: Year-round

Visa Information: Work visa

Housing: Compensated or subsidized

Airfare: Fully reimbursed

Student Types: Business English and children


China is a country that strives for success. It all starts in the education system. With over 1.4 billion people living in China, it’s one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. No other country in the world has more demand for English teachers than China. Although the demand is high in China to learn English, it’s still relatively new for English teacher acquisition.

A Bachelor’s degree is a requirement for teaching English in China and the majority of schools require a TEFL certificate. You need a work visa and be invited by a Chinese company.  You get your work visa before even entering China and it’s illegal to work with a tourist visa. In general, kids are enthusiastic to meet you and learn a new language.

You have lots of space to grow and develop your career. Most English teachers feel like their jobs are rewarding and feel like they are making a difference. Almost everyone starts as an English teacher. But it’s easy to diversify into different roles. If you go to China with an open mind and a sense of adventure, you’ll get over the culture shock and have an amazing time.

Pros of Teaching English in China

  • Salary: You have the potential to save a lot in China because salaries are high and accommodation is usually free. Additionally, there is a low cost of living with bonuses and flights paid for.
  • Tight Community: In general, there is a tight foreign community in China. There are a lot of opportunities to make local friends and learn to speak Mandarin.
  • Easy to Travel: Chinese transportation is cheap and efficient because of its high-speed railway network. In terms of tourist sites, there are a lot of attractions to visit in China.
  • Dating Life: There are a lot of dating opportunities for both men and women alike. However, this is especially true for guys as Chinese women are generally interested in foreigners.
  • Students: The vast majority of students are motivated to learn English. Although some children can be a bit spoiled, the general attitude toward learning English is positive.

Cons of Teaching English in China

  • Pollution: The air quality is bad in China. Its most polluted cities are in the northeast and ranked among the worst in the world.
  • Society: Despite the fact that some individuals are wonderful, society and behavior can be rude in China. When it comes to Chinese society as a whole, it is very self-focused and over time this can wear down on you to a point that you feel fatigued.
  • Lack of Freedom: There is a lack of freedom in China, especially when it comes to political and religious expression. The Chinese government strictly controls what its citizens can do, and anyone who steps out of line can be punished.
  • Product Quality: It’s difficult to find genuine, high-quality products in China. This makes them appealing to consumers who are looking for a bargain. However, it also means that these products may not meet the same standards as products from other countries.

English Language Schools in China

The job prospects for native English speakers in China are excellent right now, but it’s important to understand what you’re getting into before making the leap. Teaching English in China can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding and interesting if you’re prepared and committed.

TEFL jobs in China range from anywhere such as an English Training Center, kindergarten, or university. But the two main options for teaching English in China are working in a public school or a private language academy.

English Training Centers

There are thousands of English language training centers for before and after-school learning. The aim is to increase fluency through English conversation. Here are some options for English teaching jobs in China.

  • Premier TEFL China Internship – Get paid, earn TEFL certification, and experience China all at the same time in an internship program for China.
  • English First – English First has job openings for teaching English to children, teenagers, and adults in China.
  • CIEE – Council On International Educational Exchange is a non-profit intercultural exchange organization for teachers who want to teach abroad.

In general, teachers work 10 hours a week on average during evenings and weekends.

Public Schools and Universities

The most desirable jobs are in public schools because you get more vacation time and a higher salary. One way to work in the public school system is through CIEE. Once you apply and get accepted, China is a flagship location to teach.  Not only in grade school, but you can also work in universities around China.

English Teaching Programs in China

The Council On International Educational Exchange (CIEE) is a non-profit intercultural exchange and non-governmental organization. As part of the CIEE, teachers are given the opportunity to teach abroad in a variety of different countries and cultures around the world.

One of their most sought-after programs is to work in the public school system in China through CIEE. CIEE makes the overwhelming difficult processes of teaching abroad more manageable by giving step-by-step instructions on how to do everything. For example, CIEE helps applicants apply for a work visa and find placement in schools abroad.


Salaries are competitive in China with an average pay of about 12,000 RMB monthly. But you can make anywhere between $1,000 to 2,500 USD per month teaching English in China. It’s easy to save money when you’re teaching English in China.

One of the nice things about teaching in China is that schools tend to offer generous welcome packages. For example, benefits include subsidized rent, housing allowance, and contract completion bonuses. They also cover your departure and return flights to your home country.

The cost of living is reasonable in China. But it’s on the rise, especially in cities like Shanghai or Beijing. Despite the higher cost of living here, you can expect higher salaries in these cities too. You don’t have to try hard to save and it’s easy to come out ahead at the end of your contract.

Monthly SalaryTotal
US Dollars (USD)1,000 to 2,500 USD
Renminbi (RMB)7,000 – 15,000 RMB


If you love languages and enjoy meeting new people, teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) might be the perfect job for you. China is one of the most popular destinations for TEFL teachers right now, with fully-qualified native English speakers in high demand throughout the country.

If you’re interested in a new adventure and have a passion for helping others learn, TEFL certification is how you become a proficient English teacher in China. Here are the most recognized TEFL providers that offer certification at an affordable cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much money do you make teaching English in China?

You can make anywhere between $1,000-2,500 USD per month teaching English in China. There are also extra benefits including paid expenses, accommodation, and flights.

Do you need a degree to teach in China?

Yes, it’s now a requirement to have at least a Bachelor’s degree to get a work visa in China. Although you don’t require any prior teaching experience, a TEFL certificate will improve your chances of high-paying jobs (especially if you are not a native English speaker).

Is it safe to work in China?

China doesn’t have the same standard of law and order, political correctness, racial/gender equality, or individualism as many Western countries do. In general, China is safe to live and work in. But you need a very open mind and try to read up on culture shock.

Do you have to speak Mandarin to teach English in China?

No, you don’t have to speak Mandarin. But speaking the local language is helpful for daily life and classroom teaching. It also helps you interact with teachers at your school.

What are the requirements to teach English?

Typically, you need a Bachelor’s degree and a criminal background check. Some schools require TEFL certification as it will help you improve your skills to become a better ESL teacher.

Can you negotiate your contract?

Don’t forget it’s you who has the negotiating power. You will be the centerpiece for your school. You bring a lot to the table. Negotiate for better living accommodation, a better salary, or even more vacation because typically you get less than 10 days a year.


  • China is the most populous in the world with over 1.4 billion people.
  • China has a rich culture and history of more than 5,000 years.
  • It’s one of the fastest-growing countries in the world in terms of GDP growth.
  • Mainland China stretches from the Himalayas in the west to the tropics in the east.
  • It has plenty of festivals to enjoy in China like the Lantern, Dragon Boat, and Tomb Sweeping festivals.
  • China borders 14 other countries so it’s perfect for traveling and collecting stamps in your passport.
  • The country is big and diverse to travel from within giving visitors unique and new experiences.
  • Chinese cuisine is flavorful, but also unusual at times.

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