The Largest Market

China is the world’s most populated nation and has a huge impact on the global economy. China is home for approximately 300 million English students and thus provides a profitable job market for teaching English abroad. Today China is the largest English teaching market in the world.

The Importance of English

Youth are the face of every country. The younger generation in China is raised with the understanding that English is extremely important, and that speaking English fluently can be a great boost to their job prospects, providing them with opportunities to travel abroad and get a higher paid job.

New Opportunities

Most of the Chinese who teach English speak more Chinese in the class than they do English, and their students likewise fall into this bad habit. They also generally speak with a Chinese accent. To overcome these problems schools and institutes of education have increasingly employed English teachers from English-speaking countries. Due to the increase in the demand for ESL teachers in China, more perks and benefits have been offered. Schools offer foreign teachers healthy salaries and additional benefits such as housing, health insurance, free airfare, paid holidays, etc.

Because of the increasing demand, schools tend to hire ESL teachers in interviews conducted over the phone and by e-mail. China shows no signs of giving up its title of the most lucrative job market for English teachers.


The teaching responsibilities of an English language teacher consist of keeping course material interesting for their students, sometimes incorporating technology such as DVDs and audio learning materials. The content of the language course differs from institution to institution.


English teaching salaries in China fall approximately between 6,000 – 20,000 RMB a month. At international schools, however, where salary scales are higher, teachers can earn up to 30,000 RMB a month. The salary is devised by location and the cost of living in different provinces. The lower salary bracket is found in more provincial locations such as Henan and Sichuan provinces, while the higher salary bracket is found in regions such as Beijing and Guangdong, which are more populated and have a higher cost of living.

In China, the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs (SAFEA) sets guidelines for the salary of native English teachers. In July 2009, SAFEA updated the salary structure for foreign teachers as per their qualification, teaching experience and school location.

The foreign teacher salary in relation to the number of hours they work is dependent on whether they teach at public schools, private language institutions, universities or international schools.

Public Schools

At public schools, the salary ranges between 6,000 – 10,000 RMB per month for between 16 and 25 hours of teaching a week. The additional benefit of government schools is a regular schedule and leave for all the national holidays. Moreover, teachers are provided with free lunch, paid holidays and apartments.

Private Language Institutions

At private language institutions, the salary ranges between 6,000 to 16,000 RMB a month. The higher range of salary at a private school is due to the education and qualification level of the teacher and the prestige of the school. They generally have to work weekends and more hours than at a public school. Private Institutes also provide benefits such as apartments, free airfare, visas, health insurance, paid holidays, etc.


At universities, the salary ranges between 7,500-10,000 RMB a month. They teach about 20 hours a week and are required to prepare lessons for three to five hours. Regarding prestige, a university teaching job holds far higher rank than any other teaching work in China. University teachers have ample free time, a smaller workload and other benefits such as airfare, insurance and housing.

International Schools

At international schools, the salary ranges between 12,000 RMB to 30,000 RMB a month. Students at international schools are children of expats staying in China or Chinese children whose parents want their children to get a job abroad. At such schools, the English language is given utmost importance, and foreign teachers are hired to teach all the subjects in English. They teach about 40 hours a week.

Higher Standards

A few years ago in China, any English speaker could easily get a teaching job without qualification or teaching experience. However, in recent years the Chinese government and institutes of education have raised their standards and have strict hiring requirements. Nowadays schools in China are demanding that foreign teachers not only hold a university degree but also hold a teaching qualification. Many teachers do continue to work illegally which comes with risks.

A Good Job

Native English teachers have a good, comfortable life in China. They are taken care of by their schools and treated with respect by their students. They can learn Chinese and take advantage of living in a booming economy. The RMB is a strong currency. Don’t delay. The opportunity to teach in China may not be so available or so advantageous in a few years.

Sharing this article on social media may help someone you know to pursue a new, worthwhile career.