What are the requirements for teaching English in China?

The general guidelines for eligibility to teach in China are quite straightforward.

What are the requirements for teaching English in China?

To teach in China legally, you must:

Be a native English speaker from one of seven recognised countries

China wants its English teachers to be preferably from one of seven, English-speaking countries: the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and the USA. The recent surge in demand for ESL teachers have meant some schools are now accepting application from non-native English-speaking teachers if their language knowledge is near-enough native.

And there’s another catch: if you have at least 2 years’ teaching experience in your home country, you can still apply for teaching jobs in China! You won’t be able to teach English BUT can pick from several other subjects, including maths, music, science, art, etc.

Be between the ages of 22 and 60.

The upper age-limit is the retirement age in China, and there are typically no exemptions. However, if you are nearing the maximum age (within a year) and intent on teaching in China, it may be worth applying for jobs you are well-qualified for, with an employer willing to sponsor your contract. Even though successful exemptions are rare, it is still possible.

Hold a Bachelor’s Degree, in any subject

Luckily, your bachelor’s degree does NOT need to be teaching or English-specific. As long as you have this tertiary education, you’re eligible to teach ESL (or anything else) in China.

You will need to have your degree authenticated, along with other documents. We’ll guide you through this process in the visa application section below.

Have recognised and accredited TEFL qualifications

A 120hr-TEFL certificate is enough to make you eligible to teach in China or, alternatively, two years of teaching experience under your belt. The University of Cambridge’s CELTA course is among the most respected but is also one of the most expensive. There are plenty of affordable online options if you don’t yet have TEFL qualification. If you wish to teach English, having this will increase your chances of getting a well-paid job. Whatever course you choose, make sure your chosen course is accredited and accepted in China.

Have at least 2 years’ teaching experience, if you don’t have TEFL qualifications

As mentioned above, you’ll need to have two years’ teaching experience if you don’t have TEFL qualification but remember that you’ll only be able to teach subjects other than English. Naturally, having both the qualifications and the experience will up your chances of nabbing that great teaching job.

You can learn more about the intricacies of teaching requirements for China, on our Eligibility page.

You can learn more about the intricacies of teaching requirements for China, on our Eligibility page.