Teaching ESL in China

Teaching English in China gives you the opportunity to learn about a fascinating culture while gaining an extremely rewarding teaching experience. Cities such as Shanghai are booming centres for economy and trade, and the competition for ESL teachers is high but there are many positions available there as well as in other areas of China.

Living and Teaching in China
China: At a Glance
China: Living in China
China: Teaching ESL in China
China: Financial Snapshot

Peak Hiring Season in China
How to Find Jobs Teaching English in China
Largest Chain Schools in China
Additional ESL Resources to Help Teach English in China
Tips for ESL Teachers in China
Teaching Requirements for ESL Teachers in China
Embassy and Consulate Information in China


Peak ESL Hiring Season in China

Many aspiring ESL teachers have learned that it is always peak hiring season for teachers in China. That being said, it is notably easier to find a teaching job at schools between July and September.

Public and Private School System

Every Chinese child must have at least nine years of education in China. The materials delivered in a Chinese classroom are set by the Chinese National Education Council’s national curriculum. Typically Chinese classrooms are much more crowded than those in North America, with an average of 45 students in a classroom. Schools within the Chinese public education system typically deliver their teaching in Chinese only. Students are more likely to learn English in a private school as opposed to a public one.

Private Lessons

In addition to the high number of job openings in schools, there are a lot of prospective Chinese students interested in hiring an English teacher for private lessons. It is recommended that a teacher interested in providing private English lessons live in China for some time before they start. If a teacher has knowledge of the Chinese language, they can expect to make more money than someone without this competency.

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How to Find Jobs Teaching English in China 

Graduates of Oxford Seminars receive our Graduate Placement Service with exclusive access to established schools and recruiters around the world.

Finding a job in China is much different from other ESL markets due to the many options available to English teachers. There are public, private, and post-secondary institutions all actively seeking TESOL certified instructors. Prospective English instructors must decide on what they are looking for and ask themselves the following questions:

  • What appeals more: living in a rural or urban environment?
  • Which age group would be the best fit?
  • How many working hours are acceptable?
  • Is travelling and time off an important element of the ESL experience?
  • How much of a factor is salary and included living expenses such as apartment space, paid flights, etc.?

Once a teacher decides which elements of a TESOL job in China appeals to them, it is time to begin the job search. Like in Canada, a job-seeker's best tool is usually the Internet and there are plenty of job listing sites that may offer some help.

Please take some time and review the following online resources:

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Largest Chain Schools in China

Many ESL teachers living in China find that an international English school may be their best way to begin their teaching careers. There are international private English schools scattered throughout China, though salaries often aren't as competitive for this type of position. In general, smaller private schools are looking for fewer qualifications when hiring a teacher and are usually happy to hire a native English speaker with a TESOL certification. 

Buckland International Education Group

With 56 locations throughout China, the Buckland International Education Group is always looking for new ESL teachers. Usually a TESOL certification is all it takes to qualify for a teaching job. Teachers are given money towards their flight, and accommodations are included. Usually, ESL teachers are paid ¥4,500 to ¥6,000 per month.
http://www.bucklandgroup.org

ABC Foreign Language Training School

With the ABC Foreign Language Training School, English teachers can choose to teach in China for a six-month or one-year contract. Teachers are paid ¥4,000 to ¥5,000 for teaching 25 hours a week. Like many teaching positions in China, ESL instructors will be provided a modern apartment and money towards their flight. The ABC Foreign Language Training School does require a TESOL certification and may ask for relevant post-secondary education.
http://www.abc.com.cn

American International School of Guangzhou (AISG)

One of the largest and oldest international English schools in China, the American International School of Guangzhou (AISG), attracts the attention of many English teachers. There are almost 1,000 students from 40 different nations enrolled in the school. Lessons are based around an English curriculum. Students range from kindergarten to grade 12. The school promotes an active lifestyle with their many sports teams and clubs. English teachers thinking about applying to this school must be well qualified, as the school asks for a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree, Teaching certification, TESOL certification, and teaching experience.
http://www.aisgz.edu.cn/

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Additional ESL Resources to Help Teach English in China

Many ESL teachers find that preparing to travel to the other side of the world to live and work is a lot to handle, but there are plenty of online resources out there to make this transition a little easier. It's important to research things like language, food, and other elements of Chinese life, but be sure to research possible travel destinations and other recreational activities too.

The Internet gives future ESL teachers a chance to read about the experiences that other English teachers have had while working in the People's Republic of China. Not only is there text about teaching in China, there are also videos and forums which allow the ability to communicate with others.

Please note that these are merely examples of the resources available and they may not suit individual teaching needs.

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Tips for ESL Teachers in China   

  • Taking some time to learn words and phrases to help make daily life run smoother will be worth the time and energy.
  • The Internet can be a great tool to save money when an ESL teacher is booking a flight to China.
  • Always remove any outdoor footwear upon entering someone's home.
  • Being open-minded and spending some time exploring China is an excellent way for an ESL teacher to learn about their new 'home-away-from-home'.
  • Be accepting and adaptive of Chinese culture.
  • Learn about Chinese currency before leaving. Study the coins and paper yuan that make up the Chinese money system.
  • Have someone with a good understanding of the Chinese language write out common phrases.

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Teaching Requirements for ESL Teachers in China

The requirements and guidelines below are listed for ESL teacher applicants to China who are citizens of: Canada, United States, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa.

Minimum Requirements to Apply for Teaching Positions in China:

  • Oxford Seminars TESOL/TESL/TEFL Certificate
  • High School Diploma or Bachelor's Degree*

*Certain regions/schools of China require a BA degree, previous teaching experience and professional references.

Types of Applicable Visas:

  • Z Visa (Employment/Work Visa) - Ideal work visa for an ESL teacher in China
  • F Visa (Business) – Sometimes used by private businesses hiring ESL teachers
  • L Visa (Tourist) – Sometimes used for entry into China while Z Visa processed
  • D Visa (Permanent Residency) – Designed for those who intend to live permanently in China

Important Visa Information:

  • It is preferable to get the Z Work Visa processed while in one’s home country prior to relocating to China.
  • Some applicants enter China on a tourist visa with the assumption that they will be granted the proper Z Work Visa; however, some find that it is not granted because they do not have the necessary qualifications or documentation.
  • If asked to apply for any visa other than the Z Visa, it is prudent to be vigilant in ensuring the legalities of it based on the contract received.
  • Visas will only be granted if there is sufficient time remaining on the applicant’s passport (typically six months, however this should be confirmed by local Chinese embassy/consulate).
  • In addition to obtaining a visa, an entry permit is required. The option is given to purchase a single entry permit or a multiple entry permit. It is best to consult with one’s school/recruiter to determine the most appropriate for the particular situation.
  • Applicants with AIDS, contagious tuberculosis, venereal diseases, or other such infectious diseases, along with those who suffer from a mental disorder, will not be granted a Chinese visa.
  • One must apply for a visa at a Chinese embassy or consulate in their own country unless they have permanent residence in the country from which they are applying.
  • One must apply for a visa in person or send a trusted person to apply in person on their behalf.
  • For Australian citizens : Some consulates in Australia accept mail-in applications.
  • For New Zealand citizens : Mail in applications are accepted in New Zealand.  

Standard Process for Obtaining Legal Documentation to Work Legally in China:

  • The applicant secures a contract with a legitimate school.
  • The school applies for a work permit on behalf of the applicant.
  • The applicant applies for an Employment/Work Visa at their local Chinese embassy/consulate once they have received confirmation of a work permit.

Standard Required Documents for Visas:

(Important to check with a Chinese embassy/consulate as variations in requirements sometimes occur)

  • Completed visa application.
  • A valid passport with at least six months remaining with at least one blank page.
  • Recent passport photos (Specifications should be confirmed with local embassy/consulate).
  • Copy of contract.
  • Visa Notification Form issued by Chinese government department or government agency.
  • Proof of legitimate status in country of residence.
  • Foreign Expert Work Permit issued by Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, or Alien Employment License issued by Chinese Ministry of Human Resources.
  • The embassy/consulate retains the right to ask for additional documentation during the application process.
  • Health certificate (Q2 Physical Examination Record for Foreigners – downloadable from embassy website.) This may not be required initially.
  • For Former Chinese Citizens : Original Chinese passport and any passports with Chinese visas must be submitted when applying for visa.

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Embassy and Consulate Information in China 

Canadian Embassy and Consulate Offices in The People's Republic of China

Canadian Embassy in Beijing
19 Dongzhimenwai Dajie
Chao Yang District
Beijing 100600 PRC
City: Beijing
Phone: 86 10 5139 4000
Fax: 86 10 5139 4450
Email: beijing.consular@international.gc.ca
Website: http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/china-chine/visas/beijing-pekin/index.aspx?view=d
Normal Hours: Monday to Thursday 8:30am - 11:00pm, 1:30pm - 3:00pm and Friday 9:00am - 11:00am

The Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong
12th to 14th Floor, One Exchange Square Central
Hong Kong SAR, PRC
City: Hong Kong
Phone: 852 3719 4700
Fax: 852 2810 6736 
Email: hkong@international.gc.ca
Website: http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/hong_kong/
Normal Hours: Monday to Thursday 8:00am - 10:00am

Canadian Consulate in Chongqing
Suite 1705, Metropolitan Tower
Wu Yi Lu, Yu Zhong District
Chongqing, 400010, PRC
City: Chongqing
Phone: 86 23 6373 8007
Fax: 86 23 6373 8026
Email: chonq@international.gc.ca
Website: http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/china-chine/offices-bureaux/chongqing/index.aspx?lang=eng&view=d
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30am - 12:00pm, 1:00pm - 5:00pm

Canadian Consulate General in Shanghai
ECO City Building
8th Floor, 1788 Nanjing Xi Lu, Jing An District
Shanghai, 200040, PRC
City: Shanghai
Phone: 86 21 3279 2800
Fax: 86 21 3279 2801
Email: shngi@international.gc.ca
Website: http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/china-chine/offices-bureaux/shanghai/index.aspx?lang=eng&view=d
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30am - 12:00pm, 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The Consulate General of Canada in Guangzhou
Suite 801, China Hotel Office Tower
Liu Hua Lu
Guangzhou 510015, PRC 
City: Guangzhou
Phone: 86 20 8611 6100
Fax: 86 20 8611 6196
Email: ganzug@international.gc.ca
Normal Hours: Monday to Thursday 9:00am - 5:00pm and Friday 9:00am - 1:00pm

 

The American Embassy and Consulate Offices in The People's Republic of China

United States Embassy of Beijing, China
No. 55 An Jia Lou Lu 
Beijing 100600, PRC
City: Beijing
Phone: 86 10 8531 3000
Fax: 86 10 8531 3333
Email: AmCitBeijing@state.gov
Website: http://beijing.usembassy-china.org.cn
Normal Hours: Monday to Thursday 8:00am - 5:00pm

U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai
Main U.S. Consulate General Building
1469 Huai Hai Zhong Road
(Near Wulumuqi Nan Lu)
200031 Shanghai, PRC
City: Shanghai
Phone: 86 21 3217 4650
Fax: 86 21 6217 2071
Email: ShanghaiACS@state.gov
Website: http://shanghai.usembassy-china.org.cn
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday 8:15am -11:30am, 1:30pm - 3:30pm. Closed on Wednesday afternoons

U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu
4 Lingshiguan Road
Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, PRC
City: Chengdu
Phone: 86 28 8558 3992
Fax: 86 28 8554 6229
Email: consularchengdu@state.gov
Website: http://chengdu.usembassy-china.org.cn/
Normal Hours: Wednesday 8:30am - 11:30am, Friday 1:30pm - 3:00pm

U.S, Consulate General in Shenyang
52, 14th Wei Road, Heping District
Shenyang, 110003, PRC
City: Shenyang
Phone: 86 24 2322 1198
Fax: 86 24 2322 2374
Website: http://shenyang.usembassy-china.org.cn/
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday 8:00am - 1:00pm

U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou
5th Floor, 2nd Annex of Tianyu Garden, 136-142, Linhe Zhong Rd
Guangzhou 510133, PRC
City: Guangzhou
Phone: 86 020 8518 7651
Fax: 86 020 3884 4416
Email: CIS-Guangzhou.Inquiries@dhs.gov
Website: http://guangzhou.usembassy-china.org.cn/
Normal Hours: Friday 8:30am - 10:30am

U.S. Consulate General in Wuhan
New World International Trade Tower I
No. 568, Jianshe Avenue
Hankou, Wuhan 430022
City: Wuhan
Phone: 027 8555 7791
Fax: 027 8555 7761
Email: chenz@state.gov
Website: http://wuhan.usembassy-china.org.cn/

 

British Embassy and Consulate Offices in The People's Republic of China

British Embassy in Beijing
11 Guang Hua Lu
Jian Guo Men Wai
Beijing, 100600, PRC
City: Beijing
Phone: 86 10 5192 4000
Fax: 86 10 5192 4239
Email: consular.beijing@fco.gov.uk
Website: http://www.ukinchina.fco.gov.uk/en/
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00am - 12:00pm, 1:00pm - 5:00pm

British Consulate General in Guangzhou
Guangdong International Hotel, 2nd Floor
339 Huanshi Dong Lu
Guangzhou 510098
City: Guangzhou
Phone: 86 20 8314 3000
Fax: 86 20 8331 2799
Email: consular.guangzhou@fco.gov.uk
Website: http://ukinchina.fco.gov.uk/en/
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00am - 12:30pm, 1:30pm - 5:00pm

British Consulate General in Shanghai
Suite 301, Shanghai Centre
1376 Nanjing Xi Lu 
Shanghai 200040, PRC
City: Shanghai
Phone: 86 21 3279 2000
Fax: 86 21 6279 7651
Website: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/find-an-embassy/asia-and-oceania/consulate-general-shanghai
Email: britishconsulate.shanghai@fco.gov.uk
Normal Hours: Monday to Thursday 8:30am - 5:00pm

British Consulate General in Chongqing
Suite 2801, Metropolitan Tower
68 Zourong Road
Yu Zhong District
Chongqing 400010
City: Chongqing
Phone: 86 23 6369 1500
Fax: 86 23 6369 1525
Email: consular.chongqing@fco.gov.uk
Website: http://ukinchina.fco.gov.uk/en/about-us/other-locations/chongqing/contact-details
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00am - 12:00pm, 1:00pm - 5:00pm

British Consulate General in Hong Kong
1 Supreme Court Road
Hong Kong
City: Hong Kong
Phone: 852 2901 3000
Fax: 852 2901 3204
Website: http://ukinhongkong.fco.gov.uk/en/
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30am - 12:00pm, 1:00pm - 5:15pm

 

Irish Embassy and Consulate Offices in The People's Republic of China

Irish Embassy in Beijing
3 Ritan Dong Lu
Beijing, 100600, PRC
City: Beijing
Phone: 86 10 6532 2691
Fax: 86 10 6532 6857
Email: beijing@dfa.ie
Website: http://www.embassyofireland.cn/
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00am -12:30pm, 2:00pm - 5:00pm

Irish Consulate in Hong Kong
c/o Heidrick & Struggles
Suite 1408, Two Pacific Place
88 Queensway, Hong Kong
City: Hong Kong
Phone: 852 2527 4897
Fax: 852 2824 9127
Email: info@consulateofireland.hk Phone: 852 2527 4897
Website: http://www.consulateofireland.hk
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday 10:00am - 12:00pm, 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Irish Consulate in Shanghai
Suite 700A , Shanghai Centre,
1376 Nanjing Road West
Shanghai 200040, PRC
City: Shanghai
Phone: 86 21 6279 8729
Fax: 86 21 6279 8739
Email: shanghai@dfa.ie
Hours: Monday to Friday 9:30am - 12:30pm, 2:00pm - 5:30pm

 

Australian Embassy and Consulate Offices in The People's Republic of China

Australian Embassy in Beijing
21 Dongzhimenwai Dajie
Beijing 100600, PRC 
City: Beijing
Phone: 010 5140 4111
Fax: 010 5140 4204
Website: http://www.china.embassy.gov.au
Email: pubaff.beijing@dfat.gov.au
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30am - 5:00pm

Australian Consulate in Shanghai
Level 22, Citic Square
1168 Nanjing West Road
Shanghai, 200041, PRC
City: Shanghai
Phone: 86 21 2215 5200
Fax: 86 21 2215 5252
Website: http://www.shanghai.china.embassy.gov.au
Email: consular.shanghai@dfat.gov.au
Hours: Monday to Thursday 8:30am - 5:00pm

New Zealand's Embassy and Consulate Offices in China

New Zealand Embassy in Beijing
1 Ritan Dongerjie
Chaoyang District
Beijing 100600, PRC
City: Beijing
Phone: 86 10 8532 7000
Fax: 86 10 6532 4317
Email: beijing.enquiries@mft.net.nz
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30am - 5:00pm

New Zealand Consulate General in Guangzhou
Room 1055, China Hotel Office Tower
Liuhua Road
Guangzhou 510015, PRC 
City: Guangdong
Phone: 86 20 8667 0253
Fax: 86 20 8666 6420
Email: guangzhou@nzte.govt.nz
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30am - 5:00pm

New Zealand Consulate General in Shanghai
Room 1605-1607A, The Centre
989 Chang Le Road (c)
Shanghai 200031, PRC 
City: Shanghai
Phone: 86 21 5407 5858
Fax: 86 21 5407 5068
Email: shanghai.enquiries@mft.net.nz
Website: http://www.nzembassy.com/china/about-embassy/who-embassy/michael-swain-new-zealand-consul-general-shanghai
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30am - 5:00pm

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Embassy and Consulate Information Outside China

Chinese Embassy in Canada
515 St. Patrick Street,
Ottawa, Ontario, KIN 5H3, Canada
City: Ottawa
Phone: 613-789-3434
Fax: 613-789-1414
Email: chinaemb_ca@mfa.gov.cn
Website: http://ca.china-embassy.org/eng/
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00am - 12:00pm, 2:00pm - 5:30pm

Consular Service District: Ottawa Region, Quebec, Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Consulate general offices are located in major cities and offer full services including consular services. Honourary consulates offer a limited range of services including consular services. A full list of Chinese consulates in Canada can be found at:
http://www.teachaway.com/teach-english-china/chinese-consulates-canada-and-usa/

Chinese Embassy in the United States 
3505 International Place NW
Washington, DC 20008, USA
City:Washington, DC
Phone: 202-495-2266
Fax: 202-495-2138
Email: chinaembpress@mfa.gov.cn 
Website: http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/  
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday 9:30am - 12:30pm, 1:30pm - 3:00pm

Consulate general offices are located in major cities and offer full services including consular services. Honourary consulates offer a limited range of services including consular services. A full list of Chinese consulates in the US can be found at:
http://www.chinese-embassy.info/north-america-oceania/usa.htm

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Other East Asia / Southeast Asia Countries:

Cambodia ~ China ~ Hong Kong ~ India ~ Indonesia ~ Japan ~ Korea ~ Kyrgyzstan ~ Laos ~ Malaysia ~ Nepal ~ Taiwan ~ Thailand ~ Vietnam