With around 100,000 foreign teachers working across the country each year, China is now the world leader in ESL teaching jobs. This recent boom has been brought about by a buoyant economy that has given more and more families the financial freedom to provide a good education for their children. There are an estimated 300 million people currently learning English in China, so potential jobs are widespread and relatively easy to come by.
What are the benefits of teaching English in China?
As there is often a shortage of available teachers in many areas, schools are increasingly offering high salaries and other bonuses in an effort to attract teachers to their door. The exact figure you can expect to earn will vary considerably depending on the type of employer and the location you choose, but the average is between $1,000 and $2,500 per month. Free accommodation, return airfares and an end of contract bonus are also commonly included in a teacher?s contract. Most teachers in China find they are able to save a considerable portion of their salary and still afford to live a comfortable lifestyle.
What are the requirements for teaching English in China?
The biggest employer of foreign teachers in China are private language schools that are located in great numbers all over the country. Public schools, kindergartens, boarding schools, universities, and international schools also offer plenty of opportunities. However, to work legally in any of these establishments you will need a work visa that has certain requirements. To officially qualify for a work visa for a private school you need a bachelor's degree, two years of teaching experience, and a TESOL qualification of at least 120 hours. Despite this official stance, each province tends to follow its own set of rules that can change at any time. Consequently, we advise you to research the current visa situation before you make any solid travel plans.
Where should I teach English in China?
China is a huge country that covers a diverse range of climates and time zones, so one of the things you need to think about is where in this vast area you would like to teach. The country?s two biggest cities, Beijing and Shanghai, have been popular with ESL teachers for years as they typically offer the best salaries and have a highly developed infrastructure. On the downside, these cities have seen a sharp rise in living costs in recent years and the seemingly endless expansion means that finding your way around these mega-cities can sometimes become a real chore. Alternatively, there are also many other smaller cities all over the country where the jobs are plentiful and daily life is a little less hectic.
What is the best way to apply for jobs teaching English in China?
In the majority of cases, teachers already have a job organised before they leave their home country. By searching online you will find dozens of recruitment companies that promise to make all the necessary arrangements on your behalf. Although most of these will be genuine companies that have a good record there are inevitably a few who might not have your best interests at heart. To avoid any unnecessary problems it is essential that you do a bit of research on any company that you might plan to use. Another way of avoiding these potential problems is to apply directly to individual schools. Many schools have a website that advertises vacant positions. Simply fill out an application form and/or email them your CV/resume with a cover letter and wait to see what happens. If you happen to be in China looking for work you will be in a very strong position as you can visit a range of potential employers and even speak to current teachers before you sign a contract. Whichever route you take to teaching in China, a bit of research and a little hard work will go a long way to ensuring you enjoy a fantastic adventure that will stay with you for years to come.