Chinese English

Advice for Teachers with a Teaching License

Schools across the world have rules and regulations to follow and this is no different in China. There are several types of schools in China (expat international, bilingual, public) who operate under different government licenses. These licenses also dictate what requirements teachers must meet to be eligible to obtain a working visa. It is therefore possible that teachers of the same subject at two different schools will have been subject to different requirements. It is helpful to be aware of this when applying for jobs to avoid confusion.

As a qualified teacher, you will have many options to work for an excellent school and further your career if you meet the two-year post-qualifying teaching experience requirement. English Second Language teachers are an exception to this rule due to the extremely high demand for English tuition in China.

What are the requirements?

Here are four of the most common scenarios when a qualified teacher seeks to apply for work in China:

1. I am a fully qualified teacher. I have taught at a school in my own country / other countries and am now looking to work in China. I am not a KG, Primary or English teacher.

Visa Requirements

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Teaching License
  • 2 years post qualifying, related teaching experience
  • No nationality requirement

Additional Curriculum Experience Requirement by the School

If you come from a country where the target curriculum is not taught (most bilingual schools in China use UK, US, IB curricula), many schools will expect you to have some experience within the curriculum they use.

2. I am a fully qualified teacher. I have taught at a school in my own country / other countries and am now looking to work in China. I am a KG, Primary or English teacher.

Visa requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Teaching License
  • 2 years post-qualifying, related teaching experience
  • Must hold a passport from one of the following native English-speaking countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK, USA or South Africa

3. I am a newly qualified teacher without much post-qualifying teaching experience. I am keen to teach in China but I would prefer to teach the subject I qualified in rather than become an English Second Language teacher.

Visa Requirements

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • 120-hour TEFL Certificate
  • Must hold a passport from one of the following native English-speaking countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK, USA or South Africa

Explanation: You do not qualify to work for most international schools as you have not met the work experience requirement, however, you can apply to work for a number of bilingual schools that can employ TEFL teachers. Due to this you will need to obtain the TEFL certificate and may be expected to teach some English depending on the school’s requirements. This is a career decision that needs to considered carefully as you would be ensured a better career path if you got the relevant experience first. This move would be most suited for those who are looking to get some experience abroad and travel before returning home.  

4. I do not have a teaching license but my university degree was in a classroom subject such as English, Math, Science, Economics, etc. and I would like to be teaching that subject at a school in China.

Visa Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • 120-hour TEFL Certificate or two years of relevant teaching experience
  • Must hold a passport from one of the following native English-speaking countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK, USA or South Africa

Explanation: Similar to the case with newly qualified teachers, you will not be able to apply to work for a number of international schools as you do not meet their criteria. You can apply with bilingual schools that can employ TEFL teachers to teach the subject that you have experience with.

Disclaimer: The above information should only to be used for reference purposes to inform your search. You may encounter a number of different scenarios as you make job applications.