Why You Should Teach in China

In China, the importance of learning English is ingrained in children from a young age. By law, Chinese children are required to start learning English at just 8 years of age!

With an estimated 300 million English language learners, China is by far the biggest employer of EFL teachers in the world. In 2015, education institutions across China recruited an estimated total of 100,000 western teachers, still resulting in a shortfall. As the private education sector is predicted to continue growing by a rate of 22% per year, the volume of job opportunities for EFL teachers in China has never been higher.

“Why China?”

Here are some reasons why you should consider living and teaching in China:

Benefit packages

It is important to remember that not every employer will offer the same benefit packages, but it is not uncommon for employers in China to offer flight reimbursement, accommodation costs and paid holidays – allowing you to live pretty comfortably. Some employers will even include free Mandarin lessons!


Generally speaking, salaries for EFL teachers in China are relatively high in comparison to other TEFL destinations – EFL teachers in China can realistically save between 20-50% of their salary (depending on their lifestyle). Your salary in China will be reliant on a number of factors, location for one. The average cost of living in China’s major cities is around 5,000 RMB which equates to roughly $720 USD. In more rural areas of China, you can expect to earn around 2,000 RMB, roughly $290 USD. Remember, whilst you are unlikely to earn the same amount as you would at home, living costs in China tend to be much lower, therefore, the wages are relative.

Secondly, the type of school you teach in also effects your salary, for example, you would expect to earn a higher salary in an international school over a language school. Experience and qualifications also come into play here too, schools offering higher salaries are likely to be looking for a candidate who is degree qualified in a relevant field, with some previous teaching experience. Therefore, an experienced EFL teacher is more likely to secure a job in an international school over an inexperienced teacher. To find out more about teaching salaries in China, check out Teachaway’s blog here.


You are unlikely to experience anything quite like the Chinese culture. As China is officially an Atheist country, the majority of Chinese people do not have an affiliated religion, instead, the culture is deeply influenced by Confucianism – an ethical and social philosophy. You can find out more about Confucianism here. Initially, you will likely be faced with a culture shock – China is worlds apart from western culture. Just remember that Chinese culture is collectivistic meaning that individual needs are considered less important than those of a group (something us westerns may not be used to!).


Chinese New Year (otherwise known as The Spring Festival) is one of the biggest celebrations in the world, resulting in the largest mass of human migration annually. The New Year begins on the first new moon that falls between the 21st of January and the 20th of February. This year, Chinese New Year begins on the 5th of February and ends on the 19th. Every year is represented by a zodiac animal sign, with 2019 being the year of the pig. If you are fortunate enough to be in China over Chinese New Year, you will experience the true, authentic celebration in person – think fireworks, food, traditional decorations, ceremonies etc.

“Where can I teach?”

With a total of 23 provinces and a population of 1.3 billion, the decision of where to live and work in China can be pretty overwhelming. The great thing is that there is a diverse range of TEFL job opportunities across China. If you are more drawn towards city life, Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu are very popular. There are also TEFL positions available in rural towns across China, for inspiration check out The 10 Most Beautiful Towns In China.

 “What are the visa regulations?”

To live and teach in China, you will be looking to obtain a Z Visa. Whilst you are not required to have a degree to enrol on a TEFL course, most Asian countries, including China will look for teachers to have a BA degree or above in order to gain a working visa.

To apply for a Z-Visa, as a Native English speaker,  you will need the following:

  • To have a passport from the UK, USA, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa
  • A BA degree in any subject
  • A TEFL certificate or 2 years teaching experience
  • A clean criminal record
  • To be under 55 years old

Non-native speakers need:

  • To hold a BA degree in any subject from a university in the UK, USA, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa
  • A TEFL certificate or 2 years teaching experience
  • A clean criminal record
  • To be under 55 years old

Take a look at our blog post to hear about Joel, Cat, Jess, Tristan, Holly and Sarah’s experiences of teaching in China here.

You can search our available positions in China in our TEFL Jobs Centre

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