Teaching jobs in China are some of the most popular and lucrative options for foreigners! China’s education system is improving rapidly, so there is a big market for qualified teachers of foreign languages and other subjects like science, mathematics, history, and even extracurriculars like sports. There are hundreds of schools actively recruiting right now. Because it is so difficult to enter China at the moment, foreigners who are already in China or who have enough work experience are in high demand.
How can you become a teacher in China? Our guide is here to help you through every step of the way.
1. Qualifications for teaching jobs in China
Who is eligible for teaching jobs in China? It depends on what country you are from and what subject you want to teach.
If you want to teach English in China…
- You have to be from a native English speaking country (UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa*)
- Have a 120-hour Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Certificate
- Exception: You have a university degree in Education or Teaching English
- Must have a Bachelor’s degree
- Must have a clear criminal background check
- Must be between 18 and 60 years of age (men) and 55 (women)
- Two years work experience if you don’t have TEFL certification or degree
- Must pass health checks
*Yes, we know that people from other countries also speak English fluently. However, these are the requirements China has laid out, and unfortunately, they are very strict.
If you want to teach other subjects in China…
- TEFL certification and having a passport from a native English speaking country are not required
- Must have 2 years teaching work experience
- All other criteria are the same
- May require that you have teaching certification in your home country
Some schools may have more specific requirements based on the position you apply for. Some of them may require you to be a native speaker even for a non-English-teaching job, or that you have experience teaching AP or IB curriculum.
Getting a Work Visa during Covid
Teachers in China are on a Z visa (the work visa).
Due to Covid-19 entry restrictions, it can be difficult to enter China. The only way to enter China as a worker right now is if you get a PU Letter (invitation letter) from the company that hires you. Having the PU Letter is the only way to get a Z Visa. Make sure you ask whether the company is able to provide you with a PU Letter before you get hired.
Additionally, some schools may require you to get the Sinovac vaccine before you can get a visa.
Because it is so hard to bring workers into China at the moment, you will likely only be hired from abroad and be offered a visa if you are an extremely qualified candidate. If you are applying for teaching jobs from outside of China, you will definitely need to have certification and plenty of experience to be considered for the position.
If you are in China, you will just need to switch to a new work permit from your previous job or from your student visa–only after you graduate, of course!
Can students teach on the side in China?
If you are a student at a Chinese university, can you teach or tutor on the side?
The answer in most cases is NO. In the past, it was fairly common for students to find side jobs teaching English and get paid under the table. However, this is actually an illegal practice, and students who are caught receive fines for illegally working. In 2021, China released new, strict laws about the tutoring industry in China. The new laws heavily restricted the industry. You can read about it here.
Can students work in China then? The answer is here: Jan 12, 2022: Updated Policy for Foreign Students Working in China.
2. Where can foreign teachers work in China?
There are basically limitless options for foreign teaching jobs in China. You can be hired in a kindergarten or a university, to teach dance classes or advanced physics, at a Chinese public school or international school.
Basically, as long as you meet all the Z visa requirements and the school can hire you, you’re good to go!
3. How much do teaching jobs in China pay?
Teaching jobs in China are known to be extremely lucrative and offer competitive pay and benefits.
Salaries can range from 11,000 RMB a month to 60,000 RMB a month. Some schools even offer insurance coverage, fully paid sick and vacation days, medical and flight reimbursement, housing allowance, relocation fees if you are moving from another city, and holiday bonuses.
This salary might not seem like a lot in the US or the UK. However, even making 15,000 RMB a month in China can allow you to live fairly well. If you are making more than that, you’ll definitely be able to afford a good apartment and even put some money aside to save.
Teaching jobs in big cities (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing) or at elite schools (universities, international schools) tend to pay a lot more. However, they are much more competitive.
Teaching jobs in smaller cities or for public schools pay less but are less competitive to apply for.
Here are some sample teaching job posts in China so you can see what benefits are offered…
5. How to find teaching jobs in China
Teaching jobs are often advertised on WeChat. You can follow these accounts to see teaching posts in China…
- TopTutorJob: website is here https://www.toptutorjob.com/jobs
- Totally C
Online Job Boards
- SmartShanghai Education Jobs Board
- China by Teaching
- Dave’s ESL Cafe
6. Increase your chances of getting a teaching job in China!
So, after reading this article, you’ve decided you want to try and get a teaching job in China. How can you prepare ahead of time to give yourself the best chance of getting the job?
Based on the eligibility criteria for a teaching Z visa, here are the top ways you can start preparing now…
1- Get work experience
If you have never taught in a classroom before, it’s extremely unlikely you will be able to get a teaching job in China unless you know someone personally or the school is really desperate. Try to find a position as a teacher in your home country (or a country with easier visa requirements) to get experience. Teaching in a school is preferable to online tutoring or working in an after-school training center.
2- Get TEFL certified
If you are from one of the 7 countries China recognizes as native English speaking (UK, Ireland, US, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand), you should get TEFL certified with 120 teaching hours as soon as possible.
3- Study education
If you haven’t yet finished your Bachelor’s degree but you know you want to teach in China, studying education is a great step in this direction.
4- Figure out what age/subject you want to teach
If you want to teach young children, focus on building up your experience by working at kindergartens or studying early childhood development. If you want to teach business at a university level, studying an MBA from a Chinese university would look much better than experience at a daycare!
5- Write a good CV
Having a good CVresume is essential to get the job. You can start by following our guide here: How to Write a CV for Chinese Universities
6- Improve your English and/or Chinese
Most schools in China operate in either Chinese or English. As a foreign teacher in China, you will likely be expected to teach your students in the English language (even if you teach another subject like mathematics or painting). Additionally, learning Chinese is a great benefit because it will be the native language of your students and also your fellow teachers and school administrators. If you don’t have a good level of fluency in either language, it can be very hard to break into the teaching industry.
Have any more questions? Leave us a comment or check out our other resources for jobseekers here:
How To Find An Internship in China
Jan 12, 2022: Updated Policy for Foreign Students Working in China
Find a Job in China in 2022: Companies Hiring Foreigners in China
10 Things to Consider while Signing an Employment Contract in China
- When can international students go to China? (Updated) - January 8, 2023
- Career Opportunities After Graduating from United International College - December 28, 2022
- 10 Popular Chinese Idioms You Must Know! - December 21, 2022