Teach in China

China is considered one of the best destinations for ESL teaching. This is mainly because of the competitive salaries, low cost of living and the increasing demand for foreign teachers. You will be able to save and send some money home. Pay off that mortgage or those student loans. Most teachers also enjoy the travel opportunities to neighboring countries like Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea or mainland China.

Choosing where to teach in china

Choosing where you want to teach in China can be a daunting task. With thirty two provinces and hundreds of cities, China is a big country. To help you decide the ideal location, ask yourself what you want in a city? Do you want the bustling city life? Do you want to be where there’s a huge foreign community? Do you love the outdoors? Are mountains and bamboo forests appealing to you?

In China there are 1st, 2nd and 3rd tier cities. There are four first tier cities, namely Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzen and Guangzhou.  All these big four cities have something different to offer. These cities are also highly populated. People from rural areas migrate here every day, in search of greener pastures. International companies have also settled here. The cost of living in these cities is considerably higher than the rest of China but so are the salaries. These big four also have a developed transport system; subways, buses, taxis and e bikes. It’s also easier to find western foods and amenities. There are western stores like Walmart, Carrefour, H & M, Starbucks and many more. The nightlife scene is also vibrant. Teachers tend to supplement their salaries by doing tutoring jobs in their spare time. Naturally in these cities there’s a high demand for teachers. If all these tickle your fancy, get your resume and start applying today.

Second tier cities are also big with high populations. The cost of living is slightly lower than the big four. They also offer competitive packages and are well developed. They too have the conveniences of the big cities. You will still find most Western stores. Most of them will also have a subway. Some will have some foreign community. So you won’t be completely isolated. Sort after 2nd tier cities are Tianjin, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing just to name a few.

Moving on to third tier cities, third tier cities are for those who are looking for a real China experience. Here you have an opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the culture. Access to western goods is limited and there won’t be many foreigners around. The cost of living is considerably lower as well. For transport you will rely on buses, taxis and e bikes are quite common.  Salaries vary from low to high depending on the type of institution.

At Laowai Teachers we work with all three systems with majority of our jobs being in 1st and 2nd tier cities.

Types of schools in China

There are mainly five types of teaching opportunities in China. They vary greatly.

1.Private Language Schools

Private language schools are mostly in 1st and 2nd tier cities. Most foreign teachers in China work for these language schools. Teachers work 5 days a week with two days off during the week. Both kids and adults take classes at these institutions. They offer competitive salaries and packages. Most design their own curriculum and they have different manifestos.  Some of them are established chains who have been in the industry for a while

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2. Kindergartens

If you enjoy working with the little ones you will enjoy working as a kindergarten teacher. Personally I enjoy working with this age group. They are excitable and will follow your lead. As the name suggests, the age group is from 2-6 years old.  In most cases the school has its own curriculum and the teacher does little to minimum planning. You will also have a Chinese teacher with you in class. Kindergarten teachers also enjoy longer holidays. About a month off in winter and and about two months off in summer depending on the school. Some offer less vacation time.

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3.Public and private schools

Public and private school also offer reasonable salaries and packages.You also get a month off or more in winter and summer. The class sizes tend to be big.Some private schools are boarding schools and will offer the teacher accommodation in the school premises. You will be expected to deliver oral English lessons most of the time.

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4.  Universities

University jobs in China are pretty laid back. The working hours are low and lectures enjoy longer breaks. The salaries can be quite low. You will mostly be teaching oral English. These jobs normally come with great benefits. If you’re looking for a less demanding job but you don’t mind the pay, then university jobs might be ideal for you. High-ranking universities in big cities may pay more.

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5.  International schools

International schools are for the wealthier class.Most expat children go to these institutions.The schools follow an international curriculum like International Baccalaureate (IB) and others. Most jobs at international schools are highly sought after. They offer competitive packages and benefits. They require teachers to have a teaching license from their home country.

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Start dates

The largest teacher intake is during the spring semester and fall semester. Spring semester starts after the Lunar New Year, toward the end of February and ends end of June. The fall semester begins late August to early September and ends January or early February. Kindergartens, universities, private schools and international schools follow this schedule. You missed the fall and spring intake? No need to panic we have posts all year round mostly these will be from private language schools.

Getting started

Basic requirements

  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree

  • Clean criminal background

  • TEFL certification

  • Passport holder from U.K, U.S.A, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Canada or South Africa (This is due to visa requirements in mainland China)


If you meet all the above requirements please get in touch with us today. We will do our best to help you find your ideal job.