Do you want to teach English in China but don’t have a degree? If YES, here is a complete guide on how to make money teaching English in China with no experience.
The Chinese economy is one of the fastest growing economies of the world. The country has been attracting foreign investors ever since it started its economic growth spurt, thus leading a lot of the natives to want to learn the English language, so as to be able to communicate with the constant influx of foreign visitors who have come to transact one business or the other in the country.
Again Chinese parents want their children and wards to learn English language so as to better their employment opportunities if they happen to leave the country. Because of these reasons, China is constantly in need of English teachers and they are equally offering great benefits to entice teachers to make the move.
The demand for English teachers in China is still climbing, and research has shown that 300 million out of the 1.4 billion population of the country are currently studying, or have already mastered the language. Because of this widespread desire to learn English, and there are lots of opportunities to teach it in the country.
This article was written to enlighten you on how you can make money teaching English in China and how you can go about it so you can be successful.
Table of Content
Categories of Jobs Available to Someone Who Wants to Teach English in China
A lot of people would probably think that if one does not have a university degree or any other subsequent training, one cannot teach English in China. Well, this thinking is flawed because there are different ways your qualification and experience, no matter how bare can help you secure a teaching job in China.
You would be qualified to teach English in China if you;
- Are a graduate who just got out of the university and are looking for your first job experience
- Do not yet possess a degree from a university (this then means that you can teach English in China without a university degree)
- Are an experienced teacher looking for a change of scenery
- Are qualified in another field apart from the languages and are looking for a career change (in this case you have to get the necessary certification)
- Are a newly-qualified teacher or TEFL holder hoping to gain teaching experience
- If you are a high-school graduate looking for a meaningful Gap Year experience
- If you are a non-native English speaker with good English skills looking for more language practice.
What You Get to Be Paid When Teaching English in China
The salary of an English teacher in China all depends on the type of school in question and the location of the institution. The average teaching salary in China can vary anywhere between 6,000 to 16,000 RMB ($940 to 2,500 USD). But you can earn up to 30,000 RMB if you have an opportunity to teach English in an international school.
Outlined below are the different types of teaching jobs in China and how much each job pays its teachers;
- Private tutors are paid between 200-350RMB per hour
- Public schools pay their teachers between 10,000-13,000RMB monthly (Public schools tend to require between 16 and 25 hours/week, though you could be teaching at multiple skill levels)
- Language institutes equally pay between 10,000-13000RMB monthly (though they can be higher depending on the institute in question because the teachers are required to work weekends sometimes)
- Universities pay between 7,000-10,000RMB monthly (though you will have lots of free time and other benefits)
- International schools on their part pay between 17,000-20,000RMB monthly (these are the ones that pay the highest salary).
As a general rule of thumb, you will make the most money at universities (where your teaching hours rarely exceed 20 weekly) and at international schools. These positions also typically require the most qualifications and experience, and the jobs are quite competitive. Jobs at public schools and language institutes are more readily available and they still pay a decent wage.
On top of a yearly salary, many places also give out benefits like flight reimbursement or allowance, furnished local apartments, paid holidays and sick leaves, legal ‘Z’ work visas, health insurance (after a required medical check), and free Mandarin Chinese lessons.
Private tutoring on the other hand is where you can really maximize your earnings. You can easily make connections and relationships that will give you flexibility and opportunity to snag other amazing side hustles.
What Other Things Would Influence your Earnings?
Asides from your qualification and the type of educational environment you teach in, another thing that can affect your earnings when you live and teach in China is the particular location you reside in. If you are teaching English in a rural area in China, you can expect your salary to reflect the local cost of living which is usually lower. Likewise, if you are in a big city like Beijing or Shanghai, you would typically earn more. This should not make you feel bad in the least as your expenses in rural areas would be smaller thus making you save more.
How to Make Money Teaching English in China With No Experience
- Teach English full time
Teaching full time is one way to earn a decent income teaching English in China. These positions are suitable for experienced teachers and professionals, and are perhaps the most difficult type of teaching job to obtain in China, because you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in any subject, TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification, two years of working experience in any field and you must be a native English speaker. Popular cities like Beijing and Shanghai, notably tend to have more stringent requirements, and you get to earn between 6,000 to 15,000 RMB per month.
Most full-time teaching positions require at least a one-year commitment and offer the following benefits; airfare reimbursement, completion bonus, accommodation or a housing allowance, meals or a meal allowance on work days.
- Teaching Internships
A teaching internship program is a good way to kick off your teaching career in China. This program would help you explore the career to see if you are doing the right thing, and it is available to you despite your background. To intern at a school in China, you do not necessarily need to have a degree, teaching experience, or be a native English speaker; you will, however, need a TEFL certificate.
If you for one reason or the other do not have a TEFL certificate, you have the option to either get TEFL qualified online before you go or get qualified once in China with a month training course. Even though you would be teaching as an intern, you are qualified to be given some benefits like living allowance, accommodation, 3 meals per day on work days and completion bonus.
Although teaching internships in China often cost an upfront fee, they also allow you to live at minimal cost in China whilst earning professional qualifications and gaining real teaching experience. Teaching internships are definitely a good option if you do not directly qualify for full-time teaching jobs in China.
3. Teach in a language school
Language schools are schools that teach only language courses, and these are also places you can make money teaching English language in China. There is no limit to age group here, so you can be teaching adults, business professionals, and preschoolers all in the same day.
The hours you are offered here can vary as they would be made to suit the needs of the students, and you may also have to teach on weekends. Almost all of the well-known language institutes in China provide free accommodation, flight reimbursement/allowance, visas, insurance, and paid vacation.
4. Tutor students in your free time
It is a proven fact that a lot of parents are looking to get their child some extra English lessons after normal classes. By offering to tutor in your free time, you can make extra money teaching English in China. Most teaching contracts in China only require you to work between 15 – 20 hours/week.
This will give you plenty of time for some side jobs, and there’s no better way to make extra money in China than by tutoring. You’d be amazed at how many independent teaching jobs are available in China and how much you can earn.
Tutoring jobs can pay very well and can net you about $30/hour per student. If you want to find tutoring jobs, just look around at bulletin boards at different schools in your area to see if there are any postings, and you can ask other teachers and parents at your school.
5. Teach English online
Teaching English online, instead of actually traveling overseas, is a great way for any native (or even non-native) speaker to earn extra money. The best thing about this is that you can do it while staying in your own country. Since hiring English teachers can be expensive, a lot of institutions or private individuals prefer to hire people online.
Through what is known as “Virtual Classrooms,” companies can have teachers from anywhere in the world teach their employees English without having to spend thousands of dollars sending the employees to traditional schools or classrooms. You can also take advantage of this to further your income of you already reside in China.
6. Work overtime
There is such a thing as overtime work for an English teacher, and most English teaching contracts in China will offer some sort of overtime premium for extra work. If you can’t find a job tutoring, consider asking your school if you can work some extra hours. You’ll probably only be working about 20 hours/week, so you shouldn’t be too busy to take an extra couple of shifts.
7. Limit the way you spend
This point may not earn you money, but it would help whatever you earn as an English teacher in China to go far. You can save your income by typically staying in places where the cost of living is low and cutting back on unnecessary expenses like eating meals out with friends almost every day, going to parties, and enjoying lots of beer and fun times.
This is never saying that you should not enjoy yourself or eat out when you want, but try to keep it moderate. You can also limit your expenses by buying yourself a bicycle. If you can ride your bike to class every day instead of taking a taxi or a bus, you’ll save a lot of money in the long run, plus you’ll get some exercise.
How to Get an English Teaching Job in China
Teaching in China would afford you a great experience if you consider the cultural diversity, unlimited opportunities, and even the financial aspect. So if you are seeking to get into a new career or to save money or whatever else, here are ways you can land a rewarding English teaching job in China.
- Get the right qualification
If you want to land a decent teaching job in China, you must have to get the right qualification. Having a university degree or certificate and a teaching experience would speak well of you. The most widely recognized certificates are the Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate. Though you may be able to find jobs without any qualifications, it will be harder and the salary is likely to be far lower.
A TEFL certificate is most widely demanded and you can take the exams online after taking a course online or in a classroom setting. The price range for the exam is between $190 and $2,500. A TEFL course will provide you with basic understanding of the techniques and knowledge you’ll need to teach abroad.
- Apply to reputable schools
Once you get your certification, you need to search searching for reputable schools to apply to. By searching online, you’ll be able to gauge whether a school is reputable or not. You can know this by reading detailed reviews by teachers.
After reading the reviews, you’ll start to get a picture of whether the school is somewhere suitable or not. Though reviews are not foolproof, they’re a starting point, and unless you get a word of mouth referral from someone you know, they’re the best option available to you at this point.
Whatever school you go with, it should offer return flights to your home country, health insurance, monthly salary, a proper working visa, and continued on-the-job training if possible. You’ll likely do a Skype interview with the school before accepting any teaching position, so you should gauge their professionalism over the phone. As an added security measure, ask your contact at the school if they can request a chat with other foreign teachers working at the school. This would help you get further insight into the school.
- Apply for your “Z” Visa
Though you may have heard that you can start you teaching career in China with other visas, but it is extremely important that you get your working visa before you think of starting your job. Working without one can land you in serious trouble as you’ll essentially be working illegally and may even be classed as an illegal immigrant. If you’re caught, you’ll face a fine and could potentially be deported. Called the “Z” Visa, this visa would entitle you to teach legally in the country.
Once you have your job offer, your chosen school should help you work your way through the process, but there are a number of basic steps you’ll have to follow. You need to send your school copies of your passport, university degree, TEFL certificate, and sometimes a criminal record and medical check as well. Upon approval, the school will then supply you with an invitation letter and work permit, which you take to a Chinese embassy or consulate to obtain the Z Visa.
Searching for English teaching jobs in China can expose you to some risks especially if you are in another country while doing your search. You can get ripped off by unscrupulous recruiters that are looking to fill their positions by all means, and those that may even take money from you and provide you with no jobs, so you need to be careful.
You should try to find contacts through sources that you can trust, and do your own research on the school and surrounding area.
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