China demands a certain set of requirements from foreign teachers. All schools and teaching institutions in the country adhere to these demands, for the most part. There are a few exceptions and we’ll explain what these are below.
The primary requirement to teach English in China is a Z Working Visa. This is the only visa type that allows you to legally teach in China.
The main requirements of a Z Visa application to teach English in China are the following:
- A Bachelor’s Degree, in any subject
- Recognised ESL Qualifications
- 2 year’s teaching experience
- You’ll also need to be from one of 7 approved countries. They are the USA, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa
- You should be between 18 and 55 years old (women) and 60 years old (men)
- A Clear Criminal Background Check
- You’ll also need to pass a medical exam but that’s no biggie if you’re fit and healthy.
Exceptions to the Z visa requirements are occasionally made. For example you may not be born in one of the 7 approved countries, but maybe you moved there and are a native English speaker nonetheless. You might just get lucky and find a prospective employer who thinks that’s good enough.
Also, high demand means that a particular school, in dire needs of a teacher, may not insist on extensive prior teaching experience. This is especially true is the school runs a set curriculum which you’d have to learn anyway. See our Am I eligible? page for more on exemptions and detailed info about the requirements to teach English in China.
Exemptions notwithstanding, having the right qualifications will increase your chances of getting a great teaching job in China. The more boxes you can tick, the better the teaching job you’ll find.