How to Teach English in China with No Prior Experience

There are many different types of teaching jobs available in China for native English speakers, but for those with no teaching experience, it can be a headache to determine what you are qualified for and which jobs will meet your needs. 

The first thing to pay attention to when looking at schools in China is to make sure you can receive the Z working visa.  This means you qualify as a foreign expert and it’s the only visa you may use to legally teach English in China.  If a school promises you a tourist visa or a business travel visa, OR if they promise that at some point they will get you a Z visa after entering on an alternate visa, they are operating outside the law and it’s a good idea to stay away. 

The two qualifications that you must meet in order to qualify as a foreign expert are that you are a native English speaker and have a Bachelor’s degree. This means you are most likely a passport holder of an English speaking country and hold a Bachelor’s degree in any subject.  If you have these two things, you are well on your way to finding a teaching job in China.   

The final requirement is a little less defined- most schools will require that you have two years working experience OR a TEFL/TESOL certificate.  Different schools and recruiters have different standards in handling this in order to get the proper Z visa, and it is best to use a school or recruiter that errs on the side of caution and gets you properly certified. For those with no experience teaching, it can be a good idea to get a TEFL or TESOL certificate to learn a bit about teaching methodology and how to conduct a class. There are many different TEFL and TESOL schools, both online and offline, and we generally recommend the 120 hour TEFL course to make sure you are properly certified. For those that work with us at TDE, we have partnered with providers to offer discounted classes, and many schools we work with will reimburse the cost. 

In terms of available jobs, the most in demand job for new teachers will be private English schools working with children from about 3-13 years old.  These jobs range in salary from about 10,000RMB to 13,000RMB (about $1,500-$1,900 per month), and many will have contract bonuses and monthly housing allowances on top of that.   Teaching hours range from about 12 hours to 18 hours per week.  The monthly salary is more than enough for most to live in a nice place, eat out often, travel, and save or pay off student loans. The salary typically varies from city to city, and your pay will go further in a smaller city than it will in Shanghai or Beijing. 

For any other questions or concerns regarding teaching English in China, please contact us at TDE for further assistance at We’d love to find a place for you teaching in China today and will help ensure a smooth transition.