Working at a private language centre, or ‘language academy’, is a popular option for both TEFL teachers and licensed teachers. The need for native-level English speakers is growing rapidly at centres, with the number of learners enrolling increasing by over a million every year. Depending on your qualifications, you may find slightly different teaching posts and benefits. But in general, language centres offer steady work with fair pay and great benefits.

FINDING A JOB

Most English teaching jobs in China tend to be found in larger, metropolitan cities, especially when it comes to language centres. Jobs at these centres are usually posted online and can be applied to from overseas. Applying online is especially common if you’d like to work for a large, well-known company, such as Disney English, English First or Maple Bear Global Schools. But you can also find work just as easily on the ground if you’d prefer to visit schools in person to get a feel for them.

One thing to note is that to legally teach in China – no matter what kind of school you work at – you’ll need a working visa. Also known as the ‘Z’ visa, the working visa needs to be sponsored by your employer, and without one you can be arrested and deported!

WHEN TO APPLY

With such a high demand for TEFL teachers, especially native-level English speakers, you can find jobs at pretty much any time of year at language centres. Though peak time for job hunting is about 12 weeks before September – when the new school year starts.

TEACHING HOURS & CLASS SIZES

Most language centre jobs in China require you to work on weekends and evenings, and usually offer up to 40 hours per week. And there tend to be around 15 students in a class – though there can sometimes be more.

SALARY & BONUSES

You can earn between $850-2,300 per month, depending on the centre, your hours, qualifications and responsibilities.

You may also receive a completion bonus for finishing the full term in your contract. And with many TEFL jobs in China, you’ll be offered free accommodation, health insurance, and even flights to and from your home country.

VACATION

You’ll be given all Chinese national holidays off work as well as around 10 extra days of holiday.

PROS

  •  Free accommodation, completion bonus and health insurance
  •  Comfortable wage and a fair number of vacation days
  •  Smaller class sizes than at public schools
  •  Lots of other foreign TEFL teachers working at the same centre

CONS

  •  Potentially more lesson planning than at a public school
  •  Often no teaching assistant to help manage classes
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