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How to Teach English in China – English Teaching Salaries in China

By Kach Umandap May 14th, 2020 Posted in Asia Travel Blog, Teaching English - TEFL, Travel Blog No comments

Experience the rich culture and history in China, teach English in this Sleeping Giant country in Asia! If you think you’re qualified, then try to teach English in China.

Our Luxury Stay with Sofitel Beijing Central14

Improving English proficiency among its citizens is the main thrust of the Chinese government, as it recognizes English as the key to maintaining its global stronghold on becoming a financial force. So English teachers in China are high in demand. 

Learn more about teaching English abroad, read our article about the Introduction to teaching English.

We have also partnered with Let’s TEFL to offer accredited 120-hour TEFL courses with a 60% discount. Just use our exclusive promo code – TWOMONKEYS. Let’s TEFL courses include free certificate shipping!



Made of 1 billion people, its varied ethnicities show different customs and traditions. One of the world’s oldest cultures, it’s no wonder it comes second to Italy when it comes to the most number of world heritage sites. Rich with heritage and tradition, its culture is made up of festivals, natural beauty, and historic sites. China’s social values came from Confucianism and Taoism.

English Teaching Salaries in China

China’s demand for English teachers correlates with its massive population, and even so the teachers applying for posts may not be enough. This led to very competitive teacher salaries.

Language schools and academies – $942 to $2500

International schools – up to $4,700 USD

Public schools – $942 up to $1,570

The best of them offer flight reimbursements, free accommodation, paid holidays, visa and insurance.

Cost of living for English Teachers in China

Chinese currency is RMB(Renminbi). Costs maybe 10 to 20% higher in Shanghai and Beijing than in other cities. To give you an idea, here’s a breakdown of the costs of living in China. Teachers can live a comfortable lifestyle while still being able to save approximately 50% of their salary.

Accommodation:  Your employer might cover this, but if you need to rent, the average cost of an apartment would be $250(non-centrally located) to $600 a month in big cities.

Food:  Local restaurants serve a wide variety of delicious food that you don’t really have to go to those with international cuisines. It’s cheaper to eat out. You can live on less than $5 a day eating at local restaurants. Western food tends to be more expensive. The average cost for food is $150 a month.

Transportation: It is better to take the sleeper train as provinces in China take long distances of travel.  Taxis, the most expensive option,  start from $3 on short distances, subways cost $.33,  bike rental is $2 a day,$.16 to .33 for buses, and $.33 for subways.

Pros of Teaching English in China

  • Employers usually cover housing costs and  offer flight reimbursements, visa, and insurance
  • Lower cost of living than most countries
  • Very affordable, yet diverse, excellent and delicious food at local restaurants
  • Because of the savings from the low cost of living, you can travel extensively
  • Place of world heritage sites and natural beauty
  • Emulate Chinese good traits in handling money, hard work, and respect for family

Cons of Teaching English in China

  • You need health insurance, otherwise, good western healthcare is expensive
  • People can sometimes talk about you and point at you, while you’re looking
  • Highly polluted air especially in major cities
  • Slow internet and blocked websites, media is biased and controlled by the government
How to Teach English in China – The Sleeping Giant
Photo by Mike Hetherington CC BY-ND 2.0

How to Find TEFL Jobs in China

Advertisements from TEFL websites provide job options for you. If you want to work in a public school or university. To coincide with the upcoming academic year, email your applications complete with attachments before early April.

Where to teach English in China

The 4 major cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen offer higher salaries for public and private English teachers but then it just compensates for a higher cost of living than its surrounding cities and provinces. You’ll find English language schools everywhere in China.

How to Teach English in China – The Sleeping Giant
Photo by Rex Pe CC BY 2.0

Requirements for English Teachers in China

  • A Bachelor’s degree, although some native speakers  were able to get a teaching post even without a degree
  • A TEFL certification (120 hours)
  • A valid passport with at least 12 months validity from the date of expiration
  • A formal letter of invitation from the school who interviewed you and hired you
  • A Foreign Expert ID(sent by the school)
  • Visit the Chinese Consulate in your home country to apply for a Z visa, or working visa.
  • Health clearance (requested by the school)
  • Registration with the police, assisted by your school
  • Residence permit, assisted by your school

How to Process Your Visa Teaching English in China

Work visas are arranged by your employers before your departure from your home country. The visa fee is $150.

If you are processing your own visa in the Philippines, visit the embassy:

Consular Office if the embassy of the People’s Republic of China
The World Center, 330 Se Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City
Office hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30 to 11:00 am

Our Luxury Stay with Sofitel Beijing Central11

China: Lifestyles, Customs, Do’s and Don’ts

  • Address adults with a title to honor them; teacher, Mr. or Ms.
  • The oldest person is greeted first.

Do not put chopsticks upright in your bowl, for it signifies death. Do not tap chopsticks on your bowl either.

  • Chinese people tend to ask personal questions to connect with you, not snoop about your life.
  • Never write in red ink. It is a sign of protest.
  • No public displays of affection.
  • Ask for permission before taking pictures of folks
  • Remove your shoes when entering a Chinese temple or home
  • Do not point fingers, it’s considered rude.
  • Give gifts with both hands.
  • It’s rude to refuse food offered by a host.
  • Do not leave leftovers on your plate or bowl.

Start a new adventure and teach English in China! But first, get a TEFL certification online to prove your relevance in teaching. We have partnered with Let’s TEFL to offer accredited 120-hour TEFL courses with a 60% discount. Just use our exclusive promo code – TWOMONKEYS. Let’s TEFL courses include free certificate shipping!


We have also partnered with World Tesol Academy to provide an online TESOL certification course for the lowest price you will find anywhere – $34 USD! We recognised how badly affected many people around the world have been by the Covid / Coronavirus situation. So, we spent a lot of time discussing with this great company how they could come up with an affordable solution to help people afford the opportunities that an online TEFL / TESOL certification can bring.
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Written by Kach Umandap

Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group. Since 2013, Kach has visited all the 7 continents (including Antarctica) and 151 countries using her Philippines Passport. In 2016, she bought a sailboat and went on sailing adventures with her two cats - Captain Ahab & Little Zissou in the Caribbean for 2 years. She now lives in Herceg Novi, Montenegro where she's enjoying her expat life and living on a gorgeous Stonehouse. She writes about her experiences traveling as a Filipina traveler with a PHL Passport. Also tips on backpacking trips, luxury hotel experiences, product reviews, sailing & adventure travel.