Getting an English Teaching Job in China

Date Created: 09.05.2014

Getting an English Teaching Job in China

With many countries experiencing a lack of job opportunities for millennials, many are leaving their home countries in search of opportunities overseas.

And with teaching English as such an easy opportunity – and often relatively high paying – this is often the first choice for those looking to be expats abroad.

Here are a few key tips to ensure finding an English teaching job abroad in China goes well.

#1 Make sure you know the agreement, and make sure it’s legitimate.

Because of the demand of English teachers abroad, many schools and universities are willing to take teachers as quickly as they’ll come – with or without documentation.

As a result, there are sometimes (depending on where you are) many foreigners and expats who aren’t technically "legally" working in the country.

Some schools will not require an official work visa or official documentation, while others will have very strict requirements before you apply and begin the job.

Check with the recruiter or local school first to see all the paperwork you need – and be very upfront in asking specifically what’s expected of you.

If you are not explicit about what’s expected and how much you’ll pay, it’s not uncommon to see the agreement suddenly change once you land overseas.

#2 Where you are will affect your pay.

If you’re looking for opportunities in Beijing or Shanghai, two of the biggest and most popular cities, you’ll often get paid the most – but the cost of living will be the highest.

Frequently, with just a few emails or phone calls, you can have a job lined up that pays as much as $30 USD an hour.

If you go off the beaten track a bit – Yunnan, Hainan or Sichuan – you can often guarantee at least $1,000 a month in salary for a much lower cost of living.

The choice is up to you – whether you want to live in a "Tier 1" city, and spend more money, or whether you want to get off the beaten track and earn less but also spend less.

The application requirements will also likely be much less demanding in a tier 2 or tier 3 city.

#3 Search popular forums

Very often, English Teaching programs advertise on popular websites like the following:

The Beijinger (Beijing-based) -

E China Cities -

Dave’s Esl Café – All of Asia and ESL -

Not only can you find opportunities using these resources, but they have very popular forums where you can ask questions to get the inside scoop on work assignments in various places abroad.

If you’re really unsure on the local English teaching situation, there are thousands of active users in these forums who are often locals willing to give you the real scoop.

#4 Decide if documentation is necessary.

Many countries in Asia are starved of English teachers – and are willing to take a native speaker (and sometimes not native speaker) under any conditions.

Very often, these positions aren’t listed, and are sometimes "under the table" jobs where you’re paid in cash and don’t fill out any paperwork.

You might be wondering if you need some kind of professional ESL certificate or teaching degree; in reality, these often depend on the country and the program. It’s best to check with the recruiter or contact at the school you intend to work at.

Most of the time, your typical English teaching job won’t require any kind of teaching degree or TOEFL degree, but in more competitive locations (like universities) they may be necessary.

By following these few key tips, you’re much more likely to have a fulfilling, enjoyable and lucrative English teaching job overseas.