China is the most-visited country by ESL teachers abroad. With a population of 1.4 billion people, China has a diverse range of job opportunities. With a unique food culture you have to experience to understand and media industry that rivals Hollywood, teaching English in China can be one of the greatest and most rewarding journeys of your career. Best of yet, with all its job competition, China has some of the highest average salaries and greatest benefits of any potential destination.
As one of the oldest civilizations and most developed modern countries, China has both a rich history and fantastic luxuries. From mega-cities to rural escapes, China has a unique culture that is easy to thrive in. Native English speakers with bachelors degrees or experience teaching will have no trouble finding excellent work.
If you’re a native English speaker and want to teach English in China, continue reading so you’ll know everything you need to start a career as an English teacher in China.
Teaching English in China
With a large population eager for English jobs, there is a high demand for English teachers in China. In order to teach English in China, you will need a bachelor’s degree and TEFL certification, or two years of teaching experience. The average salary is 1,400-2,200 USD per month, which varies greatly depending on if you work in the country or city. There are an increasing amount of private and international institutions that offer higher salaries, up to 4,300 USD per month.
If the fantastic pay wasn’t attractive enough, Chinese schools regularly offer competitive benefits in order to entice the best teachers, like airfare reimbursement and subsidized accommodations.
Intrigued? Continue reading to find out more about how to teach English in China.
Requirements for English Teaching Jobs in China
Like other developed countries seeking skilled educators, there are legal requirements in order to teach English in China. These are:
- Bachelor’s degree
- TEFL certificate
- Passport from English speaking country
- Supporting travel documentation
- Two years teaching experience
These requirements will allow you to obtain a Z visa, which is the document needed for teaching English in China.
Many schools will have specific requirements, especially private and international institutions. You can expect the higher-paying jobs with better benefits to have more strings attached! But don’t worry, if you still want to teach ESL in China without some of these requirements, there are many programs to work online.
Salary and Benefits for ESL Teachers in China
In a highly competitive job market, if you have the qualifications, you won’t have trouble finding a great salary and benefits. But teaching ESL in China offers more than that. Though the pay is lower in the countryside, your cost of living is lower, and the nature of your adventure changes.
Check out the average salaries of teachers in China:
- Public school – 1,200 to 1,600 USD per month
- Private school – 2,800 to 4,300 USD per month
- International school – 2,800 to 4,300 USD per month
- Private tutoring – 3,400 to 3,700 USD per month
- University – 1000 USD per month
Keep in mind that a university position is part-time, which will allow you to seek other work. These jobs also come with amazing perks and freedom in your classroom. Some private schools teach only adults, while some teach children. Overall though, these high salaries are enticing to new graduates and experienced teachers alike.
Check out these great perks you might find when you teach abroad in China:
- Health insurance
- Airfare reimbursement
- Subsidized or free accommodations
- Subsidized documentation and Chinese lessons
- Network of support from recruitment agencies and other teachers
Because of the large job market, there are teaching agencies and a community of international teachers there for support. That being said, the cost of living can be very high in the cities, even though affordable rent is usually achievable. You may also find that China has an intense work schedule, so consider seeking employment that suits your schedule or allows you greater freedom.
Public schools offer less support to the teachers through the application process, while private schools will outbid each other for the best teachers. That being said, the cost of living can be very high in the cities, even though affordable rent is usually achievable. You may also find that China has an intense work schedule, so consider seeking employment that suits your schedule, or allows you greater freedom.
There are many world-class international schools in China, like the Beijing City International School, which are recognized on the global community for excellence. For example, the IDEATE program is prevalent in many Chinese international schools. Students and teachers from all over the world gather here to learn. Some are non-profit, while others are privately run. These schools provide sophisticated curriculum, and they are constantly providing excellent English teaching jobs in China with high salaries.
With so many opportunities to teach ESL in China, you can even teach outside the traditional classroom. Many chains and companies provide opportunities for teachers looking for part-time and full-time work. You can even venture on your own and run an independent tutoring service with a good amount of success, especially if you’re experienced in travelling in China. If you like the independence of creating your own schedule and clientele, China is one of the best locations to find success.
Things to Consider for ESL Jobs in China
At this point, you may already be excited to send in your application to become a teacher in China. But before you do so, you should read through the following things to consider before you apply to teach in China.
- Because of the size of the education market, there are many scams and untrustworthy institutions. Keep an eye out for reputable recruiting agencies, and contact official communication lines only.
- More than any other country, there is a grand difference between the countryside in China and its cities. Take some time and consider which of these, you prefer. If you plan for it, you can travel and work from the coast to country, and to the cities all in one trip.
- The professional life of a teacher in China can vary a lot depending on the school you work at. Many Chinese schools have high expectations for a teacher’s community involvement. Sometimes, you might have to participate in school culture or professional relationships that are unfamiliar.
- The dress code for teachers in China is usually casual. Men and women can dress as they please, so long as it’s professional. However, some schools still ask female teachers to dress more conservatively, which is a cultural aspect you should consider beforehand.
- In China, it’s common to greet with a gesture like a nod, wave, or handshake. As a foreigner, people will shake your hand because they know it is a traditional Western greeting, men especially. If you want to use more professional Chinese culture, make sure to pass all business documents with two hands.
FAQ for Teaching Abroad in China
Looking for information on how to teach English in China? Check out this quick list.
What is the average salary for English teaching jobs in China?
China is an excellent location to travel abroad with a high salary. At the lower scale, public school positions average between 1,200 to 1,600 USD per month, while private and international schools can provide salaries up to 4,300 USD per month. Part time university work pays fantastically, on average 1,000 USD per month.
What qualifications for I need to teach English in China?
You will need a Z visa to teach English abroad in China. To get this, you need a passport from an English speaking country, or plenty of teaching experience. You will need a four year bachelor’s degree, and a TEFL certificate.
Is teaching English in China hard?
There are options for teachers of all experiences. For brave newcomers and veterans, you can teach English in Shanghai or teach English in Beijing. These mega cities will let you teach any age and at any level if you are qualified, but the cities present their own challenges. If you want an easier transition from the West to China, you can try teaching English in Hong Kong. There are more English speakers here, with a more familiar culture and layout.
Can you save money as a teacher in China?
Because of the high average salaries and flexible cost of living, it is absolutely possible to save money while teaching English in China. Many schools will provide free or subsidized accommodations, which greatly helps expenses. Even if you don’t find this benefit, there are many rental agencies that can help you find affordable housing.
Join the Conversation About Teaching English in China
What are your thoughts about teaching English in this amazing country? Is it the right option for you, or are you looking for another high-paying Asian destination like Japan? If the climate and culture is what interests you, Thailand is an amazing place for teachers to practice their craft.