Teach English in China

Ready for a change and have a passion for travel? Your new teaching job in China is just around the corner. Read on for full country details, types of jobs, locations, visa info and more.

Apply Now

We will introduce you to good schools to interview with
We will help find you a job that's perfect for you - and explain the different choices along the way
We guide you through the entire application and visa process - and don't charge any fees

Teach English in China Today!

If you would like to teach English in China, your timing is great! China is the biggest growth area in worldwide ESL instruction. There is a huge amount of opportunity for foreign teachers! It’s also an amazing place to be; a bustling mega country with a rich 7000-year-old culture, at the forefront of modernization and the global economy. The recent growth and demand for teachers has led to salaries catching up to Korea. Additionally, the cost of living in China is lower than both Korea and the USA! Take a look for yourself how it compares to the United States or Korea.
Living costs are even more affordable outside of the main cities like Beijing/Shanghai/Guangzhou/Shenzhen. So consider some of the other locations. Keep reading to learn about specific teaching jobs in China, salaries, benefits, qualifications, and more!

Teaching Jobs in China:


You can expect your teaching salary to provide a comfortable life for you. The average salary for teaching jobs in China is $1,500-$2,500 a month. We have even seen some positions paying $3,000 and above. The school also covers:
  • Your return airfare
  • Housing
  • Health insurance
You will be able to save up for the future (or for travel)! Contract completion bonuses and travel allowances are becoming common as well. Teaching hours are very reasonable and are frequently capped at 20-25 a week. Your contract will be for 1 or 2 years, with definite prospects of renewal and raises.


Most teaching jobs in China are through a large chain like English First or individual private schoolsStudent ages range from preschool up to adults and good job descriptions detail the makeup of the student body. As a foreign teacher, you will be teaching English. Opportunities to teach other subjects are rare. Although there are some university-level and international school positions for experienced professional educators. 
Most teaching opportunities are in urban areas, but there are no shortage of options. Did you know China now has over 160 cities with a population of a million or more? There’s an opportunity to live and work in almost any corner of the country and to see its regional and ethnic diversity for yourself. Teach in megapolises like Chongqing, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Chengdu. Or smaller, more exotic, locations such as Sanya (an island beach town in the South), Wuhai in beautiful Yunnan province, and European-influenced Dalian in the north with its ski resorts and hot springs
Teaching in China
Hong Kong and Macau also have frequent openings for teachers – both maintain close ties and easy access to mainland ChinaProspective teachers should know that the ESL industry in China is growing very quickly, with little in the way of regulation. This means school quality varies and it can feel a bit like the Wild West when trying to choose a reputable school. That’s where a good recruiter becomes your best partner.
With such a breadth of possible choices, it’s best to do some research on provinces and cities to find the best balance of cost of living, salary, and quality of lifeReports from other expats, cost of living comparisons, and even air quality indexes are available online and can help you decide among citiesHere at Footprints Recruiting, we do a solid screening of all schools and teaching jobs in China before we recommend it to our teachersThat process includes speaking to past teachers about their experiences to make sure there are no red flags. We look out for our teachers and take the pressure off of doing everything yourself!

Qualifications and Criteria to Teach English in China

China has a lower barrier for entry for teaching jobs than many other countries we work with. If you have a BA degree and are a citizen of a native English speaking country, we can almost always find you a good job.
Having TEFL certification helps your job prospects and it makes you a much better teacher. A 120+ hour certificate is generally required for all positions (even if not stated). Having an in class component as part of your TEFL course is becoming essential for the better jobs. You need to complete a reputable course before you begin teaching. This is often done between the time you first apply for a job and your departure for China.
There is a lot of flexibility with hours of instruction that allows you to get your certificate, even working full-time. Some schools will help pay for your TEFL certificate. Other, larger school chains have their own in-house certification programs they’ll pay forPrevious teaching experience is a tremendous asset and will help you land a higher paying jobA public school teaching license from your home country is not always required, but check the job description to be sure.

Living in China

You will constantly be surprised by the way people in China live a mix of a traditional Asian lifestyle with 21st century modernity. It goes without saying that this country’s history, its epic sights, and the food are all awe-inspiring. You will also find the Chinese people friendly, quick to laughter, willing to help, and endlessly curious about foreigners. Expats get treated a bit like celebrities in much of China and you’ll often be asked to pose for a photo with strangers. You can expect something new to happen to you every day and will need to expand your horizons accordingly, adjust to cultural differences, and keep in mind that living standards may not match everything available back home.

Keeping an open mind and being flexible will take you a long way in China, as will making some local friends and learning a bit of the language. Even a few common courtesies from a good phrase book like Lonely Planet Mandarin will help open many doors for you. Working here will give you a tremendous opportunity to become conversational in Mandarin, a language that will become more useful as China’s global influence continues growing. Some schools even provide free Mandarin instruction for their foreign English teachers!

These days, the expat community is also well established and you will have little trouble finding other English speakers if you branch out. Many have already blazed the same path so you won’t be left to figure everything out on your own. There is so much to see and experience in China beyond the Great Wall and Forbidden Palace. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the country on weekends and holidays – inexpensive high-speed rail is ubiquitous and flights between major cities are relatively cheap. Getting out of China for a break is also easy – many teachers head to Vietnam and Thailand for their vacations.

Visa Process

One big relief about working in China is that the school arranges your visa for you. You will still have to provide the requisite paperwork and stay on top of the process together with your recruiters, but it’s a far smaller hassle than securing a visa for another country on your own. In the past, some foreigners arrived on a tourist or student visa and found teaching work locally. The government has been cracking down on this practice and it’s definitely a lot safer to get the correct “Z” working visa along with your signed contract before you arrive to avoid getting in trouble and having to leave the country. Of course, the advance knowledge of a guaranteed flight ticket, job, and apartment waiting for you in a specific spot in China also makes planning your big move much easier.

Apply Now to Teach English in China

Useful Resources for Teaching Abroad

We want you to succeed. We want you to have the experience of a lifetime, teaching in places around the world! To help you along your journey, we have curated some helpful resources below: