As the most-visited country by ESL teachers abroad, China has an abundance of opportunities. With a population of 26.23 million people, the ‘Pearl of Asia’, Shanghai, has diverse jobs and a fantastic quality of life. This travel hub is famous for the sweetness of its cuisine and distinct local dialect. Teaching English in Shanghai will be one of the most rewarding journeys of your career. And if the food and social life isn’t everything you’re looking for, Shanghai is a thriving city for art, fashion, and film.
With its rapid industrialization and quick growth, there is a high demand for English teachers in Shanghai. 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 for English teachers in Shangai is 1,500 to 2,200 USD per month. But if you’re looking to increase your savings, each year there are more private and international institutions that offer higher salaries, up to 4,300 USD per month.
Are you a native English speaker with an interest in teaching English in China? Continue reading for updated information on China’s best city and how you can teach English in Shanghai. Or, have a look at our guide: The Best Places to Teach English in China.
Teach English in Shanghai
One of the reasons many choose to teach English in Shanghai is the high wages. And as a skilled teacher, you can negotiate high salaries and fantastic benefits. These perks make living in Shanghai more affordable and accessible than other destinations in China. China has the highest demand for international teachers, so reputable institutions compete with each other by offering great perks.
With your fantastic new job, you can take advantage of the low cost of living in the city, where food and accommodations are cheap and abundant. Living here you will quickly realize that the quality of life in Shanghai is one of the highest in China. This is similar to teaching English in Poland.
A large ex-pat community and international culture make transitioning to teaching English in Shanghai very easy. And much like teaching English in Beijing, the city of Shanghai is safe and has a low crime rate. And 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.
Do you want to experience the best that China has to offer? Keep reading for the updated information on teaching jobs and salaries in Shanghai.
Requirements to Teach English in Shanghai
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.
Particularly in Shangai where there are many private and international schools, you will benefit from having more teaching experience. Many schools will have specific requirements, so research into the institution you are interested in. 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.
How to Find English Teaching Jobs in Shanghai, China
There are a few concerns that you should take into consideration before moving internationally. You should start looking for work in June or July if you want to have a contract teaching English in Shanghai public schools in September. Positions are available throughout the year and they are numerous, however, the best and most reputable positions will advertise during these periods. Also, it is easier to get a high-paying position while avoiding scams if you are living in China while looking for work.
Word of mouth is definitely the best option when looking for ESL jobs in Shanghai. Pretty much everyone in Shanghai knows someone who has taught English in the city or has connections. On the other hand, you can visit this website for ex-pats or this local jobs board for English teaching jobs in Shanghai. If you are currently a student at a university, look around your campus for global opportunities to teach English. Often there are very reputable agencies looking for talented new graduates with an interest in teaching ESL in China.
Avoiding Scams when Teaching English in China
Because of the size of the education market, there are some scams and untrustworthy institutions. Keep an eye out for reputable recruiting agencies, and contact official communication lines only. If an institution has very minimal requirements, it might likely be a scam. Try to use reputable job hunting sites. If you’re a student, look through your university or college for opportunities to teach English in China.
Salaries and Benefits for Teaching English in Shanghai
In a highly competitive job market, if you have the qualifications, you won’t have trouble finding a great salary and benefits. With high salaries and wonderful benefits, English teaching jobs in Shangai are highly desired.
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.
Types of English Teaching Jobs in Shanghai
As said before, China has the most opportunity for teaching English abroad. As a global finance hub, Shanghai offers some of the most exceptional positions. Here is a quick look at the most commonly available positions.
There are many world-class international schools in China, like the Western International School of Shanghai, which are recognized by 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 English in Shanghai, 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 traveling in China. If you like the independence of creating your own schedule and clientele, China is one of the best locations to find success.
Shanghai is a bustling professional city where adults and university students all seek to improve their English. As a teacher in Shanghai, you will have the opportunity to tutor adult students or teach adult classrooms. There are even positions available within companies, where you can be hired to run English-speaking clinics for professionals in all fields of work. These positions can be very profitable depending on which company you work for, so when you apply, look out for them.
Universities and Public Schools
If you’re looking for the safest job available in Shanghai, government-owned schools are usually the safest. And fortunately, these are the most widely available positions in the city. These schools are very reputable because conditions for foreign teachers are standardized and enforced. These positions are contracted usually for ten months with the possibility to extend your employment if everything goes well.
If you have an advanced degree and plenty of teaching experience, you’ll be able to negotiate a longer contract with a higher salary. Although these positions pay less than other English teaching jobs in Shanghai, the workload is often lighter and vacation time is longer.
FAQ for Teaching Abroad in Shanhai
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 Shanghai?
Shanghai 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 Shanghai?
You will need a Z visa to teach English in Shanghai. 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 Shanghai hard?
With a large ex-pat presence in the city and many reputable schools and employment agencies, teaching English in Shangai is a great choice if you want to experience China’s grandeur. Transitioning to the local culture is also easier because of the international presence in the city. Whether you’re looking for comfort or ease, Shangai will have it when you need it.
Can you save money as a teacher in Shanghai?
Because of the high average salaries and flexible cost of living, it is absolutely possible to save money while teaching English in Shanghai. 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 Korea? If the climate and culture are what interests you, Hong Kong is an amazing place for teachers to practice their craft.