6 Reasons Why Teaching English is a Good First Job in China

6 Reasons Why Teaching English is a Good First Job in China
Mar 07, 2019 By Degen Hill , eChinacities.com

For many, teaching English in China has a certain stigma. Some people think it’s the greatest gig on Earth, while others look down on it. No matter what your opinion, here are six irrefutable reasons why teaching English is a good first job in China.

1 - It gets you into the country

For someone applying for a job in China from abroad, an English teaching position is a great way to get at least a one-year working visa with the help of a company who has (hopefully) gone through the process many times before. Interviews by schools and training centres for first-time applicants are typically done over Skype or WeChat, while documents are exchanged through e-mail.

If you have plans to change jobs or study at a Chinese university later on, obtaining a work visa as an English teacher gets you one step closer to your future goals. Once you’re in the door, transferring your work visa to another company is relatively simple.

2 - Stable salary

The majority of English teaching positions in China come with a monthly salary that,  at the minimum, will cover your rent, daily living expenses, food, and, depending on your lifestyle, also provide an opportunity to save money or travel

Is this the type of job you'd want if you're planning to save for your retirement? Probably not. However, English teaching can be a lucrative business, and with an average monthly salary of 12,000 RMB, it’s not a bad place to start.

The salaries offered by English schools in China will differ, as will your workload, but even on the low-end of the spectrum, you can expect to make decent money, especially if you’re living in a cheaper second or third tier city. Some English schools in China’s top tier cities will pay new teachers upwards of 18,000 RMB per month with an annual pay raise of anything from 2,000 to 7,000 RMB. High turnover rates mean many English schools are willing to pay a lot to keep good teachers around.

3- Networking opportunities

Most English schools will have a mix of both Chinese and foreigners working as teachers, in the sales department, and as management. Although not the most glamorous job, teaching English in China often has a lot of downtime where you can easily make friends with your colleagues and expand your professional network

Often, those who work at English schools don't stay there forever, so getting to know the ones who move on to other jobs can be extremely useful when you’re looking to change your career down the road. For example, my friend used to teach English with a girl who got accepted to a Chinese university. When he was interested in applying a year later, she helped him out with the absurdly convoluted application process.

4 - Good for your CV

No matter what industry or country you hope to end up in, having taught English in China, even if it’s just for a year, will stand out on your resume for several reasons. First, it shows that you can work in a multicultural environment. Second, it says a lot about the type of person you are - one that seeks new experiences and isn’t afraid to get out of their comfort zone. Third, teaching is a respectable job. You're constantly dealing with variables (kids, parents, faculty, visa officers etc.) in an often fast-paced environment, and you're able to maintain deadlines (teaching the set curriculum).

If you’ve been teaching English for 5+ years and suddenly want a career change, HR might give you the cold shoulder. But having taught for a year or two will certainly be an advantage when applying for jobs, both in China and abroad.

5 - Freedom to change

If you’ve only worked in restaurants for the past few years, it can be challenging to break into a new line of work. However, many foreigners who now have ‘cool’ or ‘interesting’ jobs in China are likely to have taught English early on in their career.

Teaching English in China is a great stepping stone that leads many people into other related positions or even new industries. A few examples are a quality assurance manager at an education company, a curriculum designer, an editor at a news agency, a writer, or a marketing exec.

6 - It’s fun

Working in an office can be tedious, and while handling a group of kids may not be the dictionary definition of fun, it certainly beats staring at a computer screen all day. Teaching English as your first job in China is exactly what you make it. The opportunity for it to be fun is there, it’s just up to you to be creative.

Often, those who teach English focus on the irritations of the job – the day-to-day frustrations, management problems, etc. However, the job in and of itself can be a fun experience, and besides dealing with the inevitable challenges that children and even adult learners bring, English is an easier subject to teach than some.

If you’re on the fence about teaching English in China, stop focusing on the ‘why not’ and write down the reasons ‘why’ you should. Affirmations and positive thinking are often stronger and more persuasive than the reasons to not do something. Teaching English is a great first job in China, and ultimately, it's up to you what you want to make it.

Hot New Jobs recommended for you
International School PE teacher
Prime international Academy
  • 17,500 - 22,000 CNY /Month
  • Guiyang
  • Full Time
Shenzhen Pactera Technology International Ltd
  • ≤50,000 CNY /Month
  • Dongguan
  • Full Time
A-Level Physics Teacher
Guangdong experimental high school international curriculum
  • 16,000 - 25,000 CNY /Month
  • Guangzhou
  • Full Time
Technical Expert
Shenzhen Zhiqu Technology Limited
  • 10,000 - 18,000 CNY /Month
  • Shenzhen
  • Full Time
English Homeroom Teacher
Emilia Education
  • 10,000 - 20,000 CNY /Month
  • Kunming
  • Full Time
English Reading and Writing Teacher
Shenzhen Foreign Language Primary School
  • 18,000 - 24,000 CNY /Month
  • Shenzhen
  • Full Time
International Financial Assistant
  • 5,000 - 15,000 CNY /Month
  • Changsha
  • Internship
IGCSE Math teacher starting from Sept
Suzhou Foreign Language School
  • 23,000 - 30,000 CNY /Month
  • Suzhou
  • Full Time
Basketball coach
Chengdu Wutong sports culture communication co., LTD
  • 13,000 - 17,000 CNY /Month
  • Chengdu
  • Full Time|Part Time
Social Study History teacher
Shanghai Tianjiabing Secondary School
  • 20,000 - 30,000 CNY /Month
  • Shanghai
  • Full Time
View More Jobs

Warning:The use of any news and articles published on eChinacities.com without written permission from eChinacities.com constitutes copyright infringement, and legal action can be taken.

Keywords: teaching English first job in China


All comments are subject to moderation by eChinacities.com staff. Because we wish to encourage healthy and productive dialogue we ask that all comments remain polite, free of profanity or name calling, and relevant to the original post and subsequent discussion. Comments will not be deleted because of the viewpoints they express, only if the mode of expression itself is inappropriate.



Well written, a job in teaching are steady in nature. Besides that most schools offer free accommodation, you can save a a big portion of income for future.

Oct 02, 2020 11:11 Report Abuse



Competition in other fields are tough. The government ensure that only qualify individual are selected and given resident permit and work visa. A job in ESL is definitely a good start to get into China.

Sep 17, 2020 10:22 Report Abuse



I really agree with all your mentioned points. Teaching English in China is an amazing experience which I felt after getting the job from Seven Education Technology Co., Ltd. It gives me a golden opportunity to prove myself.

Apr 06, 2019 13:42 Report Abuse



This one's helpful. Nice...

Mar 15, 2019 02:59 Report Abuse