A Guide to Teaching in China

China is one of the most popular TEFL destinations in the world, the country is vast; both environmentally and culturally, there are destinations and things to do here for all interests. The option to teach English is one that is becoming incredibly popular, both for the foreign teacher and China itself.

Chinese students have an ever-increasing interest in the western world while head teachers pride themselves on having an English-speaking teacher at their school. As a result, foreign teachers are being welcomed into Primary and Middle schools as well as Universities.

Working as an English teacher in China is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture whilst you will also get lots of time to travel and see more of the country. You will really get to understand the history and culture of this country when working as a teacher here. A lot of people in China want to learn English to improve job prospects and there is a huge demand for native English speakers all year round.

On your average teaching wage you should be able to live pretty comfortable and enjoy your new country and all the excursions and activities available. We recommend finding shared accommodation with other international staff - this will help keep costs down as China.

View our guide to teaching English in China and apply today.


TEFL Certification Courses in China

There are classroom TEFL courses available to book in locations throughout China.


Best Time to Gain Teaching Employment in China

There is no perfect time to gain esl employment in China, there is a need for new teachers all year round. No Mandarin or Cantonese language skills are required but you might want to learn some local phrases to help enhance your experience. There are lots of summer positions which can be temporary, whilst the schools start in September so they recruit up to that period.

In private language centres you might be working with teenagers or adults who are looking to enhance their studies or career.  You could apply with international companies and local schools who hire experienced individuals to instruct children aged 2 - 10 at language centers in cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Nanjing, and Tianjin.

Foreign teaching jobs are a great way to experience living in China and working for a global company. No Celta certification course is needed for this destination.


Best Places to Teach English in China

China is a huge country! This might surprise you but there are over 50 cities with over 1 million people. Below we have provided a run down of the top places to work as an English teacher.


Bejing is the capital of China, and possibly the most famous destination. This is a huge city with a mix of old and modern, this city is also home to local and international businesses and there are lots of TEFL jobs available here. Beijing is a really historic and world famous city which is thousands of years old.

This city is a great place to live, wandering the streets can feel you are in a different universe, the old Hutong area of Beijing is hundreds of years old whilst you can also find a modern metropolis shopping centres and buildings. You can apply to work in Beijing teaching English through our website , positions can be joined most months.

If you are after a relaxing experience teaching abroad we wouldn't recommend Beijing, over 17 million people live here and the noise and traffic can get to you. Also pollution is a huge problem in Beijing, the air quality can be terrible at times and this has to be in your mind when thinking about teaching here. Its not all bad though, in your spare time you could visit one of the famous temples, see the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square or even walk the Great Wall of China. 

One of the benefits of working as an English teacher in Beijing is that there are lots of international staff and es-pats living here - making the transition easier. Generally, wages are higher in Bejing than in other locations in China but living costs can also be high. Places to avoid living if you are on a budget include the centre of the city and around the suavey shopping streets like Qian Men Street.


Shanghai is one of the most popular cities in the world to work as a TEFL teacher. In 1842 this city reached out and allowed international trade by the Treaty of Nanking, and businesses have been thriving since. There are hugh skyscrapers, a large shopping area and the sky is lit up for miles around at night - this is a great place to work as an English teacher if you like big cities.

Shanghai is also one of the most important commercial and financial locations in China and one of the best places to find employment as a foreign teacher. There are lots of jobs with businesses and educational insitutions.


Yunnan is a spectacular area to be based as an English teacher. We recommend finding English teaching jobs in Kunming - this is the capital of Yunnan – and there are various international schools based here. Kunming is where a lot of businesses, corporations and government institutions are based.

There are lots of English teaching jobs available in Yunnan but don't expect to be paid as much as in Beijing and Shanghai. Yunnan is a cheap place to teach compared with Western standards, food and transport is quite inexpensive and a lot of language schools offer accommodation as part of job packages.


Hangzhou is a historical and cultured city with a population of around 8 million people. This city is a popular location to teach if you the big city life of nearby Shanghai doesn't appeal to you. This city is famous for the incredible West Lake, a very relaxing location which you can ride boats or walk around.

There are lots of spectacular tea plantations nearby. Be sure to try the local fresh fish and braised pork belly - very tasty. There are numerous schools, universities and language schools located here and findinf TEFL jobs isn't too difficult. You can expect an average salary of around 7000 - 12000 RMB per month.


Guilin is one of the most beautiful places to live and work in China. Its mountain scenery are what captivated the first Europeans for its beauty who only saw China in export scroll paintings. The oddly-shaped mountains and hills surrounded by clouds that makes the mountains seem to float on air with temples high atop these promontories are all in Guilin. It is the quintessential China as first seen by outsiders.

The city itself nestles on verdant and lush greenery on the banks of the Li River making it a most desireable subject for a scroll painting. Artists from ancient times to the present have always flocked to Guilin for inspiration and panacea. International teachers will find the city a modern metropolis that provides modern conveniences and shopping opportunities. 


Hangzhou is Heaven on Earth. Marco Polo who came to visit in the 13th century was amazed with the many placid and enchanting lakes, beautiful gardens, heavenly temples, lakeside tea houses, and moon-reflecting pools. The city is forever known for its tea and silk that led to the building of two beautiful and unique museums.

The National Tea Museum and the National Silk Museum of China, both located within the city. Teachers should try to visit the tea plantation close to one of Hangzhou's wondrous lakes, West Lake.

In your free time you can grab a cup of Chinese Dragon Well tea, considered to be the Imperial Tea in ancient times. Watching a tea ceremony after a tour of the tea plantation is recommended. The Song Dynasty village adjacent to West Lake will allow you to step back in time when Marco Polo was in China.

The recreated village is complete with restaurants and shops populated by costumed villagers. Stroll its streets and alleys and get the feel of how it was in ancient China as you walk past its many side attractions and gawk at its architecture. The best of Hangzhou is not to be missed. 

Other Locations

There are other places you could apply too like Nanjing and Guangzhou. 


Salary for Teaching in China

What you get paid really depends on the job position in places like Beijing you can expect to make around 6-12,000RMB per month and this will be for around 25 hours per week at a language school. You can make more money teaching at a private institution or leading one on one lessons.

Be careful when signing a long term contract as new jobs with higher salaries often come up regularly. Some contracts can also include free flights and reduced pricing accommodation, wages can vary depending on the position.

In larger cities like Beijing and Shanghai you will be able to earn around $750 per month. If you have a placement arranged before departing be sure to have an original contract stamped and has key items listed like salary and specified teaching hours. Also try to check about free time and weekends so you don't get any shocks before arriving. Always do a lot of research on the language school or organisation which is offering you a TEFL position.


Cost of Living

The cost of living for those teaching in China is low and a lot of salarys are high meaning you can save money and experience a comfortable level of living.


Working Week

Usually you will be required to teach around 20 - 25 hours per week at English language schools meaning you will get lots of free time to see more of China.



  • You do NOT need a bachelor’s degree to teach English in China although this might improve your chances of getting a job
  • Some language schools require you to have a TEFL certification but not all
  • You do not need to know any Mandarin but it is recommend you learn at least the basics
  • Previous teaching experience is desired but not a formal requirement for most positions
  • If you don't have any experience you might want to view our volunteer projects in China where you can work hands on and then get onto the teaching ladder


China TEFL Reviews & Testimonials

Have you ever been too teach in China? Would you like to share you experience or review a company, agency or school? Contact us! Below you can read feedback from previous international teachers working in China.

"China is about as far away as you can get from the Welsh Valleys in both geographical and cultural terms, but I loved every aspect of living there. It is a colossal, fascinating, and stunning country with so much to offer. Teaching in China is a decision I wouldn’t change for the world."  - Adam Day

"I went to teach in China with the Teach-in-China project in mid-February 2015. I couldn't have made a better choice going with Teach-In-China as they were incredibly supportive before, during and after my trip there. They helped me with everything from flights, advice, transport, translation, accommodation, getting me to a good school; the list goes on! Teach-In-China were amazingly helpful every step of them way and I couldn't ask for a better company to have gone with! Props to Kevin & Issabella for their amazing work and I wish them all the best in future!" - Samuel Cooke

"Very friendly staff and very good communication. Very detailed travel plan from arriving at airport to arriving at the chosen school. Amazing opportunity! I loved every moment of it! Would be silly not to!!!!" Caleb Matkin

"Spectacular in motion, Teach in China has offered me a chance of a lifetime and developed me in soul and spirit. More than just a reliable service, I got 100% Support with every single issue that arose on my journey as a teacher. I would recommend this agency for anyone looking for an everything included package deal of a lifetime." - Liam J. Taylor