Teach English in China

China – a business and economic powerhouse which boasts of a panoply of geographic variety. Not only is it rich in culture and history, it is one of the most popular destinations when considering teaching English abroad. But why do so many people decide to teach English in China? Is it the culture which draws English teachers, or its geographical beauty? Teaching English in China offers a myriad of benefits in an experience that extends way beyond its high salary.

What to Know About Teaching in China

With a continuous history of over 3,500 years, China is rooted in tradition. Sites such as the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City, along with Buddhist or Taoist pagodas will have you feeling like you’ve travelled back in time. And yet, its position as an international goliath and the modern skyscrapers of Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong will contradict that statement. China will make you question whether you’ve stumbled upon a time warp. 

Demand for English Teachers

China is without a doubt one of the go-tos when it comes to teaching English abroad. This is because English teachers in China are in high demand. Not only does an English teacher in China’s salary reflect this statement. China has around 400 million students learning English at any given time. Because of its dominant status on the front of international business, its demand for English teachers is almost unquenchable. 

If you hope to teach English in China, you will not be short of options. The market for teaching English in China is enormous to say the least. In 2018, it was estimated that there was a shortage of 100,000 English teachers in China. Additionally, the academic front in China has been competitive for students. Students learning English are becoming younger, and their workloads are increasing to keep up with the competitiveness of Chinese culture. 

With the need for English teachers only increasing, teaching English in China is a viable option for those hoping to teach English abroad. Not only that, it is an option which is enriching both in experience and salary. 

English teachers in China will be able to gain insight into its rich culture. Whether English teachers in China want to visit the Great Wall, learn the intricacies of Tai Chi or Kung-fu, visit the ancient capitals or indulge in the hustle and bustle of its city life, they will have a long list of activities to complete during their stay.  

How to Get a Teaching English Job in China

Because of the need for English acquisition, English teaching jobs in China are rife. Teaching jobs in China will come in a wide range of options, from teaching at public schools, private language schools, international schools or even universities. 

To teach English in China, you are expected to be a native English speaker holding a Bachelor’s Degree. While having a TEFL certificate will bolster your options and salary potential, it is not a legal requirement, unlike a Bachelor’s Degree. 

Private schools might require some experience for those who want to teach English in China. It is not strictly required, however, it will boost their chances of employment in a competitive market. 

Requirements for teaching jobs in China will be much higher if it’s an international school or a university that you’re applying for. Usually, they will require that teachers have a home teaching license or a CELTA. They are likely to require that English teachers have two years of full-time teaching experience in their field. 

teach english in China

When to Apply for Jobs in China

In China, the academic year starts in March and will last until June or July. After a semester break, the academic year will continue in September. Because of this, it is recommended that teachers apply for teaching English jobs in China around 6 months in advance. Most internships or placement programmes have teachers applying in the months leading up to February and August to secure them an English teaching job in China. 

If those teaching English in China wish to secure placements at a private school, however, dates are more flexible. This is because private schools often hire teachers throughout the year. With the high demand for teachers, as well as teachers leaving positions, there are a high number of vacancies making it flexible for teachers looking for private school TEFL jobs in China

As for universities, the Spring semester begins in March and until July. The Autumn semester will then initiate in September until January or February. Those wanting to teach English in China at universities, they should apply months in advance to ensure that they guarantee a work placement and navigate the visa process stress-free. 

What Do I Need to Know About Teaching English in China?

Factors such as monthly salary, schedule, duration of teaching contracts and so on will vary for English teachers in China. They will vary according to their experience and qualifications, along with their school’s requirements or format. English teachers in China will work for either public or private schools, international schools, or universities. Each will affect the logistics of teaching English in China.

Public Schools

Teaching in China will see those in public schools earn around RMB $1,400-$2,200 or £1,150-£1750 a month. Teaching English in China at a public school will have a typical working schedule starting from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. English teachers in China may be working at primary (elementary) or secondary (high) schools. They are likely to be following a structured curriculum which makes their lesson planning much easier. 

Private Schools

Private schools will offer a similar salary for English teachers in China, however, they can also be higher than public schools. This is also reflected in their expectations of English teachers in China.  They may even ask more from teachers in terms of their qualifications and experience. 

Classes may be smaller, but often the facilities will be of higher quality. Additionally, they may have their own unique curriculum to follow. While lesson planning may be more detailed, their salary will reflect their responsibilities. 

International Schools

International schools will have a higher level of requirements for teachers. The teacher will need to assume more responsibilities when it comes to delivering English lessons. Teaching English in China with an international school can offer salaries beginning from around $2,400-$4,500 or  £1,900-£3,500 per month.

Not only do these schools offer a high salary for people teaching English in China, but they also offer other benefits. Whether at a public, private, or international school, there are benefits that extend beyond salary. Some schools and placements offer English teachers in China visa assistance, free accommodation, flight allowance, Mandarin lessons, and a contract completion bonus. These can be expected with teachers who sign contracts to teach English in China for a year.


How much can you make teaching English in China? Are teachers paid well in China?

How much do you make teaching English in China? is a commonly asked question. The salaries for teaching English in China vary significantly. English teachers in China working for a public or private school can expect to earn around $1,400-$2,200 or £1,150-£1750 a month. 

Experienced and qualified teachers can also teach English in China for international schools or universities. These teachers can earn up to around $2,400-$4,500 or  £1,900-£3,500 per month.

Does Teaching English in China offer a handsome salary for TEFL teachers? 

Not only does it offer a handsome salary, but you can expect other benefits if you teach English in China. Some programmes or schools will even pay for the teacher’s accommodation and airfare. Not only are teachers paid well in China, they are showered with benefits. 

Can foreigners still teach English in China?

Despite the pandemic creating obstacles for people wanting to teach in China, it is still entirely possible. TEFL programmes are still running and there are still job vacancies for teachers who want to teach English in China. Additionally, there is still a huge demand for English to satisfy in China.

When is the best hiring season for teaching jobs in China?

Schools will often have what we call hiring seasons. With the semesters starting in March and September, teachers are advised to apply around 6 months in advance for public schools or universities. International schools might require applicants to apply up to a year in advance. Private schools, however, hire all year round. But it is still advisable to apply around 6 months in advance.

Is there a demand for English teachers in China?

To say that there is a demand for English teachers in China is an understatement. The nation has around 400 million people actively studying English. Academic and occupational competition is high in China. Employers desire employees who have the ability and skill to communicate in English within the context of their profession.  

Is teaching English in China worth it?

Teaching in China will provide you with a rich and authentic experience. Whether you learn Mandarin, gain formal experience, make new friends, or gain insight into China’s long-withstanding culture, you will come out of the experience as a better person.

What is the age limit to teach English in China?

You can become TEFL-certified at any age. However, teaching English in China requires that people be a minimum of 21 years old. This is because they will need a Bachelor’s Degree. On the other end, you will need to be under the local retirement age which is 55 years old for females and 60 years old for males.

Which job has the highest salary in China?

English teachers in China will earn the highest salary teaching at an international school or university. These kinds of teaching jobs in China are extremely well-paid. This is because teachers who work at these schools are highly qualified and experienced. 

Is it safe to teach in China?

China is a safe country to travel to. It has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Ultimately, it is very safe for foreigners to teach in China. Just like any other country, however, teachers should act responsibly. 

What qualifications do I need to teach English in China?

Teachers living and teaching in China will need a Bachelor’s degree from an English-speaking nation and a TEFL certificate. While the TEFL certificate isn’t as important as the Bachelor’s Degree, it is desired. 

Can you teach English in China without a degree?

Not legally. Having a Bachelor’s Degree is crucial to the step of obtaining a working visa. 

What documents do I need to teach in China?

You will need a Bachelor’s Degree from an English-speaking country. Additionally, you should have a clean criminal record and a background check. Travellers will also need to provide negative Covid-19 tests before arriving. 

Can you save money teaching English in China?

Teaching English in China is a very effective way to save money. This is especially true when you consider the fact that many teachers receive free accommodation and airfare.

Do you need to know Chinese to teach English in China?

No! In fact, it is encouraged that you only use English in the classroom. Speaking Mandarin/Chinese in the classroom can cause confusion and interfere with English learning. 

However, to maximize your experience, you should learn some phrases to get by outside of school. Some programmes will offer free Mandarin/Chinese classes for teachers. It can also help you if you want to sidestep into another career in China. 

What’s the normal workload for teachers in China?

Teaching English in China varies in workload. Teachers at public schools will work from Monday to Friday, from around 8:00 am to around 4:30 pm. Teachers at private schools may also work on weekends. Fixed schedules will usually have around 15 -20 hours of teaching per week. 

Working at an international school might require more hours, higher levels of lesson planning, grading, and other administrative tasks. 


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