Teach in China

Who is Eligible to Teach in China?


To teach English in China, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Native English speaker
  • Bachelor’s degree (all subjects, majors and classifications welcome)
  • Clean criminal record
  • Good physical health
  • One of the following:
    1. A degree in Education, Linguistics, English Literature or a related field
    2. A 120-hour TEFL/TESOL/CELTA qualification*
    3. A teaching licence certifying you to teach in your home country
    4. Two years teaching experience after graduation (with reference letter)

*There is no need to have already completed a TEFL or similar certificate at the time of your application. You can begin working on your TEFL concurrently with the application process, if necessary.

Which Teaching Position is for Me?

Nova ESL mainly co-operates with four types of institutions: kindergartens, public schools, training centres, and international schools.

All four have different merits and are suited to different types of teachers. Although individual contracts vary, below is what you can generally expect from each type of school.

Teaching English in a Kindergarten

  • Students age: 3 – 6
  • Class size: 12 to 25 students
  • Salary (monthly): 13,000-22,000RMB depending on city
  • Accommodation: 1500-4000RMB housing allowance or free apartment
  • Annual flight reimbursement: 6,000-13,000RMB
  • Medical insurance
  • Legal Z work visa and residence permits provided
  • Free meals


If you love being around children, teaching in a kindergarten is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable ESL positions in China. You will usually teach one or two 20-40 minute English lessons each day, which may include playing games, singing songs, telling stories or drawing pictures. The rest of the day is spent playing with the children and assisting them with their daily activities such as crafts, dancing and exercise.

Kindergarten children are very affectionate and openly adore their English teachers – expect to be greeted each morning with enthusiastic smiles and hugs. As your lessons will focus on learning through play, the children will soon learn to eagerly anticipate their English classes. Although most kindergartens provide a curriculum and materials, you will also have the opportunity to try out your own activities and find new ways to make your students laugh. Children learn best when they are having fun and delivering entertaining classes in a kindergarten can be a great way to enjoy the creative elements of teaching.

You will take care of the children along with 2-4 Chinese teachers, giving the children an immersive English environment and helping the other teachers to organise the students during their other lessons. These teachers will also assist you with classroom management during your class. From around 11:00-14:00, the children have lunch and nap time, and you will usually have most of this time free to relax.

More so than with other age groups, you will be able to see your valuable contribution to your students’ development. Across the course of the year, you will see enormous improvements not only in your students’ English, but also in their social skills, their ability to think independently, and their understanding of the world around them.

Teaching English in a Public School

  • Students age: 6-18 (depending on elementary, middle or high school)
  • Class size: 30-40 students
  • Salary (monthly): 8,000 – 22,000 RMB depending on the city
  • Accommodation: 1500-4000RMB housing allowance or free apartment
  • Around 3 months’ summer and winter holiday + 11 days public holidays during semesters
  • Annual flight reimbursement: 6,000-13,000RMB
  • Medical insurance
  • Legal Z work visa and residence permits provided
  • Free lunch

Long school holidays make public schools one of the most popular teaching positions in China. With around one month’s holiday in winter and 1-2 months’ summer holiday, teaching in a public school leaves ample time for travelling and provides a comfortable salary on which do so.

Whether you choose an elementary, middle, or high school, your lessons will generally focus on developing oral English skills. Your whole class will be taught in English, though you will have a Chinese teaching assistant with you to help with classroom management and give translations where necessary. Classes are around 40-60 minutes long and you will usually have around four classes per day.

Different age groups provide different rewards and challenges. In an elementary school, students are aged 6-12. Your priority will be inspiring children to love English – so your classes will mainly consist of playing games, singing songs and reading stories. Elementary schoolers will likely have a basic level of English from kindergarten as well as plenty of enthusiasm and few inhibitions about speaking (or singing in) English.

Middle school students (aged 11 to 13 years) and high school students (aged 14-18) are able to express themselves more effectively in English, have longer attention spans and better study skills. Many older students will be preparing to go to university, and therefore take English very seriously. You will begin to challenge them by including debates and roleplays, and your classes will focus more on fluency, expressing opinions and analytical writing. By this age, students are interested in learning about other countries and cultures, so you can introduce cultural activities as well as English-language pop songs and movies to create stimulating and enjoyable activities.

Whichever age group you teach, you will generally find that students are respectful of teachers and most are motivated to learn English. Unlike Chinese teachers, who need to teach based on exams, your classes will use songs, games and popular culture – and for many students, your class will be the highlight of their week.

Teaching English in a Training Centre

  • Student ages: All ages
  • Class size: 3-10
  • Salary (monthly): 10,000-30,000+ RMB
  • Accommodation: Free apartment or housing allowance provided
  • Annual flight reimbursement
  • Commercial insurance
  • Thorough training and orientation
  • Legal Z work visa and residence permits provided

With high salaries and huge bonuses, training centres are the most lucrative type of institution in China. Best suited to teachers who aim to take home a large pay packet, these institutions offer bonuses for gaining new students, retaining students long-term and your students’ good grades. Compared to other schools, training centres offer the most opportunities for teachers to quickly advance – most offer raises and promotions to teachers who renew their annual contract.

Training centres are different from other schools in that they offer extra classes to students outside of the usual school day. Since these classes are not compulsory for students, most students are those who have good language ability and are highly-motivated to learn. Compared to a public school, the smaller class sizes allow you to deliver individualised teaching and enjoy a deeper satisfaction as you accelerate your students’ progress.

These institutions are some of the most professional and well-equipped environments in which to teach, and many provide materials such as interactive whiteboards and tablets for students to use. Most training centres provide comprehensive training to new recruits and you will most likely join a group of international colleagues with whom to share ideas and socialise.

Teaching English in an International School

  • Salary (monthly): 20,000-50,000RMB
  • Generous holidays, often including both Chinese and western holidays
  • High-quality free accommodation or housing allowance
  • Free annual round-trip flight
  • Meals provided
  • Working visa provided
  • Students age: 3-18

As global institutions with state-of-the-art facilities, international schools favour qualified and experienced teachers. As such, their holiday and salary packages are some of the most generous in China.

Expected qualifications such as a teaching licence, relevant degrees and/or multiple years of experience are remunerated with double or triple the salary of a public school teacher – as well as a number of other perks. Aside from a free annual roundtrip flight and 7-12 weeks of paid holiday, these schools generally provide all meals in their cafeteria, which are made from the best quality ingredients.

International school teachers can also expect high-quality on-campus housing provided free of charge. These are furnished single apartments with en-suite bathrooms and fully-equipped kitchens, free Wi-Fi, and often free utilities. Campuses may span acres of land with scenic areas suitable for walking or picnicking, and teachers are generally welcome to make use of facilities such as basketball courts, football fields and swimming pools. Schools generally provide free transport to downtown areas.

As well as language teachers, international schools hire subject teachers to instruct arts, sciences and enrichment activities such as sports, music, dance and equestrianism. A number of schools co-operate with overseas universities and thus follow a British, American, or international curriculum (e.g. DP, IPC, etc). International schools are looking for talented overseas teachers to instruct students in these curricula and instil a global outlook in the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals.

Nova ESL connects teachers to schools across China. Our mission is to promote understanding between East and West, and to help people experience all China has to offer. Founded by a former ESL teacher from the UK and a Visa Manager from Beijing, Nova ESL has cross-cultural partnership at its core.

  • Address: Office 038, 4th Floor Tianshunrenhe Building, 30 Beiwa Street, Haidian District, Beijing, China
  • Tel: +86-10-64946380
  • E-Mail: info@nova-esl.com
  • www.nova-esl.com