A Comprehensive Guide for Teaching in China

(Last Updated On: December 6, 2023)

China, with its rich cultural heritage and rapid economic growth, has become one of the most popular destinations for foreign teachers. If you’re contemplating a teaching career in China, this guide will provide you with the necessary insights to make an informed decision.

Understanding the Teaching Landscape in China

China’s demand for English teachers is prodigious, driven by the country’s commitment to global communication and the increasing value placed on English proficiency. Opportunities abound in public and private schools, universities, and private language institutes across diverse cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and even in smaller towns.

Prerequisites for Teaching in China

Here are the basic requirements for teaching in China:

  1. Bachelor’s Degree: Most schools require a bachelor’s degree in any discipline.
  2. TEFL/TESOL Certification: A TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification is typically required.
  3. Two Years of Work Experience: Some schools require at least two years of teaching experience, although this can sometimes be overlooked if you have a strong educational background or a TEFL certification.
  4. Clean Criminal Background Check: This is a standard requirement for most schools.

The Application and Hiring Process

Teaching jobs in China are typically advertised online on various ESL job boards. You can apply directly, and if shortlisted, interviews are generally conducted via Skype. Peak hiring seasons are before the start of school semesters in February and September.

Work Conditions and Benefits

Working conditions vary depending on the type of institution. Public schools generally have larger class sizes, while private schools and language institutes offer smaller, more manageable classes. Salaries are competitive, and many schools provide benefits such as housing allowance, airfare reimbursement, and paid holidays.

Experiencing Life in China

Living in China is a unique cultural experience. The country’s millennia-old history, diverse culinary traditions, and dynamic urban life make it a fascinating place to live. Additionally, the cost of living is relatively low, allowing for a comfortable lifestyle.


Teaching in China opens the door to a unique cultural exchange, professional development, and the opportunity to make a difference in students’ lives. With the right mindset and preparation, teaching in China can be an enriching and rewarding journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the prerequisites for teaching in China?

A: Typically, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree, a TEFL/TESOL certification, two years of work experience, and a clean criminal background check.

Q: How can I find a teaching job in China?

A: Jobs are generally posted online on ESL job boards, and you can apply directly. Interviews are usually conducted via Skype.

Q: What are the working conditions like?

A: Working conditions vary. Public schools tend to have larger classes, while private schools and language institutes offer smaller classes. Salaries are competitive and often come with additional benefits.

Q: Can I save money while teaching in China?

A: Yes, the cost of living in China is relatively low, and the salaries are generally quite good, which allows many teachers to save a significant portion of their income.

Q: What is life like in China?

A: China offers a rich cultural experience, diverse food traditions, and dynamic city life. It’s also an excellent opportunity for cultural exchange and exploration.

Elise is an enthusiastic and passionate Australian teacher who is on a mission to inspire and support fellow educators. With over a decade of experience in the classroom, Elise leverages her expertise and creativity to provide valuable insights and resources through her blog. Whether you're looking for innovative lesson ideas, effective teaching strategies, or just a dose of inspiration, Elise has got you covered.

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