Your Complete Guide
One of the easiest way to finance travelling is to teach a language while abroad. While their are plenty of people in China that speak English fluently, they will pay premium for someone who’s first language is English. This can, in all honesty, be a bit awkward when you are earning more than a highly qualified maths teacher in the same school. However I cannot recommend teaching English in China enough, it is a mindblowing experience and will grow you as a person. I have therefore written up my guide on what to expect and all the questions surrounding the topic.
Demand For Jobs
The demand for teachers is ever increasing, as the wealth continues to grow exponentially for people in China, so you won’t need to worry about finding a job, providing you have done your research beforehand and taken the qualification.
You will have a choice to make in regards to what age you want to be teaching and what level of experience. Most of the jobs will be for private language schools and public schools, however you will also be offered a large amount of one-on-one adult tutoring, which pays handsomely.
The salary will be significantly lower than what you would expect in the UK or USA, however your cost of living will be incredibly low, while you will be earning much more than most people you will meet. You may also gain some benefits, but you will have to personally enquire about this. Some schools and teaching programmes actually offer somewhere for you to stay included, taking away the cost of rent, or a hostel. You should expect to earn anywhere between 3,000-12,000 RMB every month, but as you can imagine, it will vary based on the city and the school.
The pinnacle in payment will come from international schools, which pay much higher than most normal schools, however your qualification requirements will be much higher, with most expecting you to hold qualifications in teaching in your home country, as well as knowledge of multiple languages.
Where In China Should I Teach?
This will be effected by what you would prefer, whether that be a big city or a less populated area, however you should remember further from the city life you are, less people will be able to speak a word of English. My friend toured the country and went an entire week without meeting a single person who understood anything he said.
Your main options are Shanghai, Beijing, Guangdon, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Yunnan, Sichuan, Jiangxi, Suzhou, Jiangsu and Tianjin.
How Many Hours Will I Work?
This will vary from school to school, but most people I met worked 20 hours a week, which is why some take on extra work to top up their finances. On the other hand, only working 20 hours a week allows you to spend a few days a week touring the country and soaking up the experience.
What Qualifications Will I Require?
The first thing that takes a lot of people by surprise is that you must have a bachelor’s degree. Without one, you may struggle to find a school which till take you and you may have issues with the Working Visa application. Your field of study isn’t as important, as long as you have one. If you are graduating this year, then you can get a letter from your university stating that you are in your final year and they will accept this. You will have to take you degree certificate with you, so make sure to keep it safe and make multiple copies.
You will also need prints of your passport, as well as an up to date CV.
Beyond this, most schools would 100% like you to have a TEFL qualification of 120 hours. This normally costs around £300, however the skills you will learn are absolutely essential to learning exactly how to teach. For example, when I took mine, I had never learned about different tenses at school, so it was almost like learning for the first time!
Once you have been offered a place, your school will send out by post a foreign expert ID to your home address. You will also need the formal invitation from the school, so make sure to make prints of this.
Before you join the school, you will actually need to get a full health check for some of them, however this will be done once you are in China, as well as registering with the local police station.
Will I Be Interviewed?
This is all based on how you apply for the role, but there will most likely be an interview. If you go through the British Council, you will have to attend an assessment day in the UK, where they will ensure you would be a good fit for the role.
What Will MY Costs Be?
As previously mentioned, your costs will easily be covered by the wages you will earn, however sometimes it can help to get a breakdown of costs, so you know how much you should be spending and to ensure you aren’t being ripped off.
Your rent will vary based on what you are after, but you could be looking at anywhere between 1,000-3,500 RMB per month, however this will often be included in the salary.
For all utility bills, including water, gas, electricity and any related costs will come to an average total of 250 RMB each month, while if you get the phone and internet at your place then this will be a further 300 RMB.
I like to eat well, so mine might be higher than the average, as I spent 2,000 RMB per month, however most people seemed to spend 1,500.