You are currently viewing How to be an English Teacher in China – Base in Shanghai

How to be an English Teacher in China – Base in Shanghai

  • Post author:
  • Post category:Jobs

China is considered the largest market for English teachers. It is a large country with a population of nearly 1.4 billion people and is the second largest economy after the US. Thus, English Teacher is best job in the top 10 most popular career Opportunities for Foreigners in Shanghai.

This necessitates a vast number of English-speaking teaching vacancies. There is a huge demand for well-qualified professionals for recruitment as English teachers in China.

There has been a change in the policy recently and only native English-speaking applicants are eligible for becoming English teachers.

It opens a plethora of opportunities for the nationals of English-speaking countries to find lucrative and rewarding jobs as English teachers in China.

Scope and Opportunities for English Teachers

China offers immense scope for native English-speaking professionals. They are highly sought after for recruitment as English teachers.

China has been emphasizing the importance for its citizens to learn English for them to continue being a major world economy.

In 2019, it was estimated by China Ministry of Education that more than 300 million Chinese nationals were learning English. This establishes the need for a quality pool of English teachers.

The average salary of English teachers in China is approximately 15,000 RMB.

The salary depends on the city and the type of institution. Tier1 cities offer the highest salaries but the cost of living is also more there.

Benefits of being an English Teacher in China

Being an English teacher in China offers many advantages. In addition to the salary, the teachers are widely respected in the country.

The teachers will get a unique opportunity to earn and also integrate themselves with the Chinese culture and traditions.

They can get an insight into the rich culture of China which will be a memorable experience for them.

Undertaking a teaching assignment in China can also add to the experience and profile of the applicants and help them grow in their career.

The teachers get free flights to their home country, airport pickup, generally free housing at the schools, health insurance etc.

while working in China. They also get the opportunity to explore the major tourist attractions in the country during holidays.

 Eligibility for Being an English Teacher

China has stringent policies and requirements in place for recruiting English teachers.

The policies are designed to aid in the recruitment of the best possible talents. The following are the eligibility criteria for being an English teacher in China:

 Native English Speaker

China has come up with new stricter eligibility criteria for English teachers in China.

One of the most important changes is the new government policy of only recruiting native English speakers as English teachers in China.

The new policy thus rules out nationals on all other non-native English-speaking countries’ nationals as ineligible to become English teachers in China, even if they possess a degree from an English-speaking country.

Only nationals from the following countries are eligible for becoming English teachers in China:

  • Australia
  • UK
  • US
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • Canada
  • South Africa
  • Dominica
  • Jamaica
  • Gibraltar
  • Bahamas
  • Bermuda
  • Ireland
  • Guyana
  • Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada

This provides immense opportunities for the nationals on native English-speaking countries to be recruited as English teachers from small kindergartens to the most reputed universities.

Relevant Teaching Experience

China recruits only the best professionals as English teachers. The policies in China state that the applicant must have at least 2-years’ experience as an English teacher for being considered for recruitment as an English teacher.

Applicants who have TESOL/TEFL (Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language) certification are exempt from this criterion and they can be considered without the minimum experience also.

Some schools may accept a 100-hour TEFL certification but the institutions located in tier-1 cities like Beijing and Shanghai generally require 120-hours of TEFL certification.

These certifications also add to the credibility of the applicant.  Some cities require the TESOL/TEFL certification to be notarized and validated by the Chinese Embassy in the applicant’s host country.

Bachelor Degree or Above

The applicant must possess a minimum of a bachelor degree for being an English teacher in China.

The applicant who has completed the bachelor degree or above in an English-speaking country should get their certificates notarized and validated in the Chinese embassy in their countries or in China.

In some cities academic transcript is a must for recruitment of English teachers, hence the applicants should make the same available during the recruitment process. 

No Criminal Record

Chinese policies require that the applicants for the position of English teachers should not have any past criminal record.

When the applicant submits their documents, the Chinese authorities conduct an in-depth background check to ensure there are no criminal records against them.

It is in the best interests of the applicants to be honest and upfront about any criminal records while applying for the post of English teachers in China.

Reporting incorrect facts in the applications and then getting caught during the verification can lead to unnecessary issues later.

Successfully Getting the Z Visa

To work legally in China, the applicants need a Z Visa, irrespective of the profession. The Z visa is the equivalent of a work visa in China.

It is illegal to work on an M-type of L-type visa in China. Only the registered schools can provide a Z visa to their teachers.

Hence the applicants should check with the school on the same. The basic eligibility criteria for applying for a Z visa are:

  • Minimum of a bachelor degree
  • At least 2-years’ work experience
  • The applicant should be a native English speaker

In addition to this, the applicants are subject to similar retirement age as the Chinese nationals- 60 for men and 55 for women.

The applicants can apply for Visa in the Chinese Embassy or Consulate near them or they can also hire agencies for doing this for them.

If the Visa has been applied at the Chinese Embassy, then the average processing time is 4-5 days.

The applicants can also pay extra for rushed service. After their arrival in China, the applicants need to register at the nearest police station within 24 hours.

They need to turn their Z Visa into a residency permit within 30 days of their arrival. It is important to note that the Z Visa only gets the applicants to China, but they need the residency permit to stay back.


Hi, I’m Fiona Hua, CIO certificate,  Expert of Management & Human Resource. About ten years work experience in Shanghai. Familiar with business management, HR outsourcing, and tax planning. BIS provides one-stop business service for enterprises like registering companies, finding office service, Accounting and Tax, HR outsourcing, VISA & working permit, Marketing and legal services.

Leave a Reply