Requirements for Teaching English in China: Do you meet them?
Teaching English in China is always an adventure.
With the country being as big and diverse as it is, there are limitless opportunities for teachers and jobs available in almost any city you can think of. To be eligible to teach English in China, you will need to be a native English speaking countries passport holder, hold a bachelor’s degree in any subject, and a 120-hour TEFL certification/CELTA.
Q1: Can I get a working visa if I am a non-native speaker?
With the most recent Chinese working visa regulation, only native speaker countries passport holder can get a legal working visa to teach. The following countries are recognized by the government as English native speaking countries: UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa.
Q2: Is teaching experience required?
Q3: Can I teach without a degree?
If you do not satisfy the above requirements it is not possible to legitimately get a working visa in China. If you know of friends working in China without a BA or the requirements listed above, either they had a working visa years ago when the rules were less strict and have renewed it since then, Or they are working on a Business or Tourist visa.
Many teachers still do work on a tourist or business visa although it comes with small risks. Usually, employers have good relationships with local police stations if this is happening and are rarely checked. Although, if you qualify for a working visa you should always try to get one as it saves having to exit the country every 2-3 months if you’re on a Business or Tourist visa.
Q4: Do I need a TEFL certification?
120 hours TEFL certification is required to get a working visa in China. In some provinces, depending on their own visa law, a 120 hours TEFL certification can be replaced with a State teaching license/PGCE/SACE/two years teaching experience. Please contact with your school about the local visa requirements.
Teaching in China has been great – not only is the job rewarding but my schedule has allowed me to work on other projects and see a good bit of the country.