China, the most populous country in the world, offers amazing opportunities for English teachers. With China in the driver’s seat of the global economy, the Chinese have come to understand the importance of the ability to speak English. Everyone here knows the ticket to a better paying job, or the chance to travel without too much hassle often depends on the ability to speak English.

You might be surprised to know that most English teachers in China are local Chinese. This approach is both positive and negative. The government has decided that students should attain a more “natural” sounding English, which is only possible from communicating with native speakers. This is where you come into the picture, and the salary is an important aspect to consider.

Schools in China are known for offering a high salary, along with a host of other benefits including furnished housing, airfare, paid holiday, and health insurance. But there are still many factors that influence your salary in China.

English teaching salary

The salary of English teachers all depends on the type of school and location. The average teaching salary in China can vary anywhere between 6,000 to 16,000 RMB ($940 to 2,500 USD). You can earn up to 30,000 RMB if you get an opportunity to teach English in an international school. If you’re teaching English in a small town or remote part of the country such as Sichuan and Henan Province, then you can expect a lower salary, but living costs will be extremely low.

Teaching in big cities like Beijing, Guangzhou, or Shanghai is where you will receive a higher salary along with a comparatively higher living cost. For example, you’ll be paid less in a smaller city, but you might have more money in your savings account at the end of the month versus working in a big city.

Public Schools

Public schools in China offer a starting salary between 6,000 and 10,000 RMB per month as an employee of the Chinese government. You’ll be expected to teach students with multiple skill levels or bounce between schools to earn this amount by working 16 to 25 hours per week.
Sometimes, you’ll be required to work more.

Being a government employee has its advantages. For example, your teaching schedule and holidays will be guaranteed, and lunch will be served in the school cafeteria for free. The government also provides a free modest apartment and paid vacations. Additionally, you’ll probably be assigned a local Chinese teacher to assist you in your class.

Private Language Institutes

Private language institutes in China pay anywhere between 6,000 and 16,000 RMB per month to their teachers. This varies on where you’re teaching, the type and level of education, and your years of experience. In such conditions, your salary level can increase to between 10,000 and 20,000 RMB along with dental care, signing bonus, and other benefits.


Teachers in various universities, including private and public, can earn between 7,500 to 10,000 RMB per month. Along with all the usual benefits offered to foreigners in China such as housing, paid vacation time, airfare reimbursement, and lots of free time due to the lighter workload. You’re required to Lecture 20 hours per week, just like a normal professor. You will also spend 3-5 hours on preparation, but you aren’t required to be in your office outside of office hours. Most teachers want to work at public universities as they are more prestigious than private universities.

International Schools

English teachers in international schools can earn between 12,000 and 30,000 RMB per month. In these schools, you’ll be teaching children from the expatriate community or local wealthy Chinese families. The entire school is normally taught in English, so you are likely to teach other subjects than the English language if you have the qualifications. Sometimes you’ll be engaged to work for 40 hours per week and to teach subjects to the students of all grade levels. It all depend on your credentials.

As you can see, the salary level depends on many factors. Small village or big city? Public high school or language institute? Private university or international school? Do you possess a bachelor’s degree? Masters? Teaching License? No matter where you choose to work or your personal background, be sure to research your options.