China is without doubt the world leader in providing TEFL related jobs due to a huge economic boom that has given tens of millions of families the opportunity to provide a better education for their children. With an estimated 300 million current English learners across the country, jobs are widespread and open to a wide range of people.
What benefits can I expect when teaching English in China?
Due to the vast size of the country and the huge demand for TEFL qualified teachers across much of it, schools are increasingly offering better salaries and benefits to entice teachers to fill their vacant positions. The average monthly salary is around $1,000 to $2,500, depending on the location and the individual employer. Extra benefits are often added to contracts, with free accommodation, paid airfares, and contract completion bonuses all relatively common. Thanks to a combination of good income and a low cost of living, most EFL teachers in China are able to live comfortably while still saving a sizable percentage of their salary.
What do I need to teach English in China?
Privately owned language schools are the biggest employers of foreign teachers in China, although public schools, kindergartens, boarding schools, universities, and international schools add even greater numbers to the available options. However, the official requirements for working legally in any of these have been tightened in recent times making it that bit harder for some teachers. To qualify for a work visa it is now necessary to possess a degree in any subject, plus a TEFL certificate with a minimum of 120 hours study. While this is an official policy, different provinces often set their own rules, so it is worth checking the latest advice before you make any firm plans.
Where are the best locations for teaching English in China?
China is a vast country which provides a wide range of teaching destinations with different time zones, climates, and local cultures. Beijing and Shanghai are the two largest cities and they have both been popular choices with EFL teachers for many years. On the plus side, they have modern infrastructures, great entertainment facilities, and the best salaries in the country. However, the cost of living has risen sharply in recent years and the vast size of these mega-cities can make everyday living difficult, particularly if you have to travel for work. As an alternative, there are dozens of other smaller cities in every corner of the country where jobs are easy to come by and the pace of life is a little more relaxed.
How do I apply for TEFL jobs in China?
The majority of teachers who head to China already have a job in place before they leave home. Many sign up with recruitment companies who take care of all the necessary arrangements for you which can save a great deal of hassle. Just make sure that you do a bit of basic research to ensure they are a genuine company that has a good record of placing teachers into stable jobs.
Another option is to bypass the recruitment companies and apply directly to individual schools. Many advertise vacancies online, so you can send off as many applications as you like and see what interest you get back. You can even send in your CV/resume with a cover letter to any well respected schools that you come across even if they are not advertising at the time. If you really want to be in a strong position you could head to China and then start looking for work on the ground. In this situation you will have a huge number of potential job opportunities and you can visit them all in person to see which one suits you best.