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Moving to Teach English in China: What You Need to Know

You’ve known friends and colleagues who’ve left their jobs to chase their passion and are now living their dreams.

You’ve also heard how popular and rewarding teaching English as a foreign language has become.

Among the diverse array of options available, China stands out as a particularly attractive destination. With its rich history, rapid development, and increasing global influence, it offers a unique experience for those looking to teach English abroad.

If you’re not sure about the first step to realising your dreams, keep reading.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to start this exciting journey.

Is There a Demand for English Teachers in China?

China’s rapid economic growth and position as a world superpower fuels its demand for English language skills.

In order to sustain this development, there is consistent demand for qualified teachers across the country to nurture and educate their youth.

Whether in private or international schools, language centres, or government schools, the need for English language proficiency has created opportunities for experienced educators.

This demand is not only driven by educational institutions but also by businesses that recognise the value of English communication skills in a global market.

As a result, you can be certain a demand for English teachers in China isn’t dropping anytime soon.

Is it Difficult to Teach English in China?

It would be inaccurate to say moving to China to teach English is easy; there are always challenges that come from uprooting yourself and moving to a foreign country for a new opportunity.

One is adapting to a new cultural environment. There are plenty of differences between the East and West, including customs or practices that may be unfamiliar to you.

However, it’s also important to remember that teaching English in China, while testing, is equally, if not more, rewarding. You’re able to grow both in a personal and professional capacity. You learn as an educator to navigate diverse classrooms and develop innovative teaching strategies to help a range of students.

The experience of living and working in China can be incredibly enriching, allowing you to forge meaningful connections with students and colleagues while gaining a deeper understanding of Chinese culture.

What Are the Requirements for Teaching English in China?

For anyone looking to move to China to teach English, there are certain requirements you need to fulfil.

While specific criteria may vary based on the institution and location, and you should always verify them before making any major life decisions, here are some general prerequisites:

  1. Bachelor’s Degree: A bachelor’s degree in any field is typically a minimum requirement for obtaining a work visa to teach in China. If you don’t have a degree in English, you can obtain a certification such as Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) to improve your chances of landing your dream position.
  2. Native or Fluent English Speaker: Proficiency in English is crucial. Most, if not all, institutions prefer teachers who are native speakers or demonstrate a high level of fluency.
  3. Criminal Background Check: A clean criminal background check is required as part of the visa application process.
  4. Work Visa: To legally teach in China, you’ll need to secure a work visa (Z visa) before arriving. This typically involves a sponsorship from your employer and a series of documents, including your degree, any relevant certifications, and a signed contract with your school. You can read more about the visa application process here.

Five Steps to Becoming a Teacher in China

You’ve checked all the boxes. You’ve decided you’re moving to China to teach English.

So what’s the next step you should take?

  1. Job Search: Look for job openings through reputable sources. There are plenty of international job boards, recruitment agencies like INTA Education, and educational institutions’ websites that post and offer a variety of available teaching positions. Do a quick search and see which institutions are hiring and reach out. Most are very responsive but be certain you’re reaching out through certified institutions to avoid being scammed.
  2. Obtain Necessary Documents: Gather your required documents, including your degree, PGCE certificate, and criminal background check. Make sure all your paperwork is up to date and properly authenticated. Documentation is highly important and you wouldn’t want to delay your visa and employment because of missing documents.
  3. Research and Preparation: Get familiar with the language, culture, customs, and education system in China. There may be slight cultural differences depending on the exact location of your school, so find out and see which institutions are the best fit for your preferences and qualifications. We’ve written an article on all the different teaching locations around China to help you decide which is best for you.
  4. Apply and Interview: Interviews are typically done online via Zoom or Skype. You’ll submit your applications and go through the interview with potential employers from the comfort of your own home before you even think about buying a plane ticket. During the interview be prepared to discuss your teaching philosophy, relevant experience, and your motivation for teaching in China. Having experienced this ourselves, INTA Education helps our clients prepare for the entire interview process to improve their chances of securing their dream positions.
  5. Visa Application: Once you’ve secured an offer, work with your employer to initiate the visa application process. Application for the Z-visa to enter the country before converting into a work visa may involve a medical examination, additional documentation, and coordination with the local Chinese embassy or consulate.

Moving to China to Teach English with INTA Education

Moving to China to teach English can be a life-changing adventure filled with cultural exploration and professional growth.

The demand for English teachers, coupled with the enriching experience of immersing yourself in a new environment, makes China an appealing destination for educators from around the world.

By understanding the requirements, conducting thorough research, and seeking support from organisations like INTA Education, you can embark on this exciting journey with confidence and enthusiasm.

If you’re looking for comprehensive support for moving to China to teach English, INTA Education is your perfect partner.

We offer valuable resources and guidance and specialise in helping aspiring educators navigate the process of teaching in China, from securing a job placement to obtaining the necessary documentation.

With a team of experienced professionals, INTA Education provides assistance at every step, ensuring a smooth transition and a fulfilling teaching experience.

Don’t know where to start? Contact our team here and let us help you plan your new life.

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