Teach English in China
We are sad to say that teaching in China has become next to impossible since 2020 as China has clamped down on entries due to COVID. They have also cracked down on the ESL industry. Reach To Teach decided to close its China program in January 2020 as we did not feel safe sending teachers there. In the following two years, we’ve watched as teachers have tried to get into teaching positions in China through other agencies. They were not able to secure their PU letter to enter.
Reach To Teach has plenty of opportunities to teach in other locations in Asia, such as Taiwan, South Korea, and Thailand. We strongly recommend you try teaching in one of these countries first while we wait to see if things start to improve in China.
Feel free to review our Job Board and come back to visit us regularly as we add new jobs each week!
Travel abroad is a unique and special experience. Truly living that experience is even more rare. There is no better time to teach and live in Asia. As China continues to open itself to the outside world, a case can be made the uniqueness of the experience may quickly be fading!
Reach To Teach Offers a Diverse Number of Teaching Opportunities
Visit our Job Board to learn more about our teaching opportunities
We have only begun to discuss the many diverse and varied experiences waiting for you in the People’s Republic of China. You will find both challenges and rewards in learning to speak Chinese, developing friendships with locals and striving to understand the Chinese perspective on world issues and politics.
Development is occurring at a staggering rate throughout China. At the same time, evidence of the oldest and most diverse culture in the world can still be found all around you.
Imagine standing in front of an ancient temple in Beijing, just after using the modern subway to get there… or eating a delicious dumpling from an old market stand in Shanghai right next to their brand new sports stadium or even hiking up the Great Wall with your Starbucks coffee in hand! However you decide to spend your time while teaching English in China, you are bound to have a new and exciting experience every day!
These schools offer an after-school and weekend curriculum for students between 3 and 17 years of age. You can also find private language schools that cater to adult learners. Your schedule will include full days on Saturday and Sunday, but you’ll have two consecutive days off during the regular work week. These positions are perfect for new teachers that are looking to gain experience or teachers who don’t want to spend more than a year in China.
Public schools are just what they sound like. You teach at a local public school in China. Public school teachers typically deal with a number of classes throughout the day. You can expect large classes, but most teachers enjoy an easy teaching schedule. The norm is 20-22 hours per week. Your school will take care of your living arrangements. Private school positions typically pay more and offer a better teaching package than public school positions.
Colleges and Universities
College and university teaching positions are usually coveted positions amongst foreign teachers. You might only teach English classes, or you might teach other subjects in English. These types of positions usually include living arrangements, generous paid vacation time, and a lot of freedom in your classroom.
These positions are highly sought out by credentialed teachers. Competition for these positions tends to be fierce as your schedule and curriculum will be very similar to what you experienced in your home country. Many international schools have their own internal recruitment centers, and teachers are typically scouted out at job fairs in advance.
Requirements to Teach in China
UPDATE: Requirements to teach in China have changed completely with COVID-19. You must have a PU letter from your school.
Teachers must meet the following requirements to teach in China:
- A Bachelor’s degree
- Two years of post graduate work experience
- A TEFL certification (120+ hours). Some schools will still accept a 100-hour certificate, but 1st-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai require at least 120-hours of TEFL training.
- A clear national Criminal Background Check
- A clean bill of health from your doctor in your home country. You’re also required to do a second health check in China
First-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai require classroom based TEFL certifications or combined TEFL certificates that include online and classroom hours. If you are unsure about a TEFL course, go with a TEFL provider that will provide you with a certificate that does not have ‘online’ stamped across the front of it. Your 12o TEFL hours must be listed on the same certificate. The Chinese government will not accept multiple certificates from multiple courses.
M. Ramsey - 2014 - An American Teacher in Quanzhou, China
None of this would have been possible without the amazing support and dedication that you and Reach to Teach gave me, for that I am beyond appreciative! The reviews and reputation that Reach to Teach has absolutely were 100 percent correct, you really do care about finding the best possible position for every individual. Thank you again for all of your help! - M. Ramsey
After you’ve aced your interview and been offered a position at a school of your choosing, you will move through the following steps to obtain the proper paperwork to teach legally in China.
While you are in your home country, you’ll need:
- A valid passport with at least 12 months on it from the date of expiration
- A formal letter of invite from your school, otherwise known as a Foreign Expert Invitation (Note that this documentation is not provided by your school. They have to apply for your ID, and they have no control over how quickly your paperwork is processed. Some bureaus process paperwork quickly while others don’t. The waiting period is typically two to six weeks.
- A Foreign Expert ID (Your school will send this to you by post.)
- YOU visit the nearest Chinese Consulate in your area to apply for a Z visa (work visa) – Don’t forget to bring your letter of invite!
- A Z visa (Employment visa) – Although this can take a few months to get, it is by far the safest and easiest way to go to China. We don’t recommend that teachers go to China to teach on a tourist visa or another kind of visa unless they really want to arrive quickly and they are prepared to make extra trips to complete their document work for their Z visa. If you go to China on anything other than a Z visa, you must be prepared to do a visa run on your own.
- A health check in your home country
Once you are in China:
- You’ll need to do a full health check
- You’ll register with the local police station so they know where you’re living. Your school will help you do this.
- Your school will help you get your Residence Permit
The Benefits of Teaching English in China
From the moment you land in China, your host school will begin helping you adjust to life in your new home. The benefits of an ESL job teaching English in China include :
- A monthly salary of between 8,000-22,000RMB
- Free flights
- Airport pickup
- Free housing at most schools
- Work Visa (working visa to legally teach English in China)
- Health insurance coverage
- Many of our schools provide a housing allowance and/or flight stipend
- Contract completion bonus
Salaries are typically related to the cost of living in your preferred location in China.
First-tier Cities in China
Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen are first-tier cities. They are known as the big four. The cost of living in these cities is much higher than in other cities in China.
Second-tier Cities in China
Second-tier cities include capital cities of each province or coastal cities like Beihai, Changchun, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Fuzhou, Guiyang, Haikou, Hangzhou, Harbin, Hefei, Huhhot, Jinan, Kunming, Lanzhou, Nanchang, Nanjing, Nanning, Ningbo, Qingdao, Sanya, Shenyang, Shijiazhuang, Suzhou, Taiyuan, Tianjin, Urumqi, Wenzhou, Wuhan, Wuxi, Xiamen, Xi’an, Yinchuan, and Zhengzhou.
Third-tier Cities in China
Third-tier cities are usually medium-sized cities of each province. Note that third-tier cities still have millions of people living in them.
Where Can I Teach in China?
Click on the image for a full list of teaching locations in China.
Deciding where to teach English in China can be a difficult and stressful decision.
There are a myriad of ESL teaching jobs available in China and they don’t always appear to be of the most reputable variety! That’s where Reach To Teach comes in. We carefully screen any school we work with.
As you experience our interview and screening process, you will find we are very careful in accepting teachers to the Reach To Teach program. If you are one of the few we accept, you can be sure we apply the same strict standards to the school locations and ESL teaching jobs we discuss with you!
Expand Your Horizons – English Teaching Jobs at Reputable Schools
If you have decided to move forward in applying for an ESL job teaching English in China, congratulations! You have taken a unique step forward in making the decision to expand your horizons and challenge yourself. Your travels will soon lead you to discover many people who share your passion for exploration, travel and for broadening your horizons.
While you are teaching in China you will find yourself making lasting connections with locals and other expats from around the world with fellow westerners as your co-workers. Chinese people often go out of their way to make teachers feel comfortable in their new surroundings. You will also have fellow westerners as your co-teachers.
Job Duties of an English Teacher in China
Your ESL job duties will include the following:
- 18-25 in class teaching hours per week
- 10-15 office hours per week. This will primarily be spent in the preparation of lesson plans
- Teacher training is also provided and your school will have materials for use during ESL lesson preparation
Being in front of a classroom full of children can be a real challenge. It takes careful preparation and real caring for your students. Teaching English to young students is an important responsibility.
On a day-to-day basis a teacher’s job includes preparing proper lesson plans. An active and interesting classroom atmosphere is always encouraged! In addition to time spent in the classroom you will administer tests, grade papers and participate in school meetings with your Chinese co-teachers.
At Reach To Teach, we support you throughout your year (or more!) teaching ESL. China is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding countries in which to teach English in Asia.