Teach in China Programme - Frequently Asked Questions

Questions About the Programme:

Who Can Apply?

Basic Requirements:
  • English as a first language or equivalent

  • Graduate / Final year student

  • Good communication skills

  • Enthusiasm about living and working in China

We are keen to encourage as wide a range of applicants as possible, and accept applicants from all academic disciplines. If you have any questions about eligibility (or anything else concerning the Programme), please email

When Should I Apply?
We run a new Application Round each month. Applicants should generally aim to send applications 2-6 months before they wish to start work, so that there is plenty of time to complete the TESOL Course, arrange Visas etc.

Who are ELC?

ELC is a United Kingdom registered Community Interest Company (CIC) – a Social Enterprise where ALL profits are re-invested back into helping more people.

Our priority as a Social Enterprise is to provide innovative training and employment opportunities, with a particular focus on tackling youth and graduate unemployment.

ELC was started by the senior team of one of the longest established specialist English language providers in the UK – English Language Centre Online. After more than 20 years providing English language training and consultancy across the world, we decided it was time to use our knowledge and expertise to give something significant back, and English Language Centre CIC is the result.

As regards TESOL, our senior team have successfully delivered TESOL training programmes and employment opportunities to over 6000 people worldwide.

How is the Programme Free?

As a Community Interest Company, we are legally bound to re-invest all profits into our stated social aims - in this context, increasing training and employment opportunities. Combining this with the generosity of some of our partners, allows us to provide the Teach in China Programme as a free service.

Questions About Teaching in China:

How much will I be paid?

Salaries vary considerably depending on school and location, as well as previous  experience, qualifications and whether you want to take on extra classes or responsibility within your school. In most cases, teachers can expect to receive a salary that ranges between RMB 4,500 and RMB21,000 per month depending on experience and qualifications.

Where can I teach?

We work with a large variety of schools throughout China. Many of our students prefer to experience the dynamism of the big modern Chinese cities like  Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou, but quieter, more rural opportunities are also available. 

Do I need to speak Chinese?

Being able to speak Chinese is not a requirement for teaching English in China. However, there’s no harm in getting started before you go. We can point you to a great list of free Mandarin language learning resources on request.

How long will my contract be for?

10-12 months

Do I need a medical?

You will need to get a medical done in China. Some provinces in China might also need you to do a health check in your home country.

Can I break contract?

When signing a contract you are making a promise to the school and its students that you are committed to working for them for the full duration of the contract - this is not something that should be taken lightly. If something completely unexpected and unavoidable does force you to potentially break contract, let your school know as soon as possible and try to discuss things fully with them to see if some sort of arrangement or compromise can be reached. It is standard practice for contracts to stipulate that if they are broken prematurely, elements like reimbursed flights and completion bonuses will be forfeited.

What holidays will I get?

Time off will depend on what sort of school/university you are teaching at and what region or city you are in. Generally though, as well as national holidays and a week for Chinese New Year, teachers get several weeks per year.

Do I have to pay my airfare?

In almost all cases, Chinese Schools do not pay for airfare in advance, but instead will re-imburse the cost of return flights at the end of the contract period.

How and when do I apply for my Visa?

You cannot get a Visa until you have a confimed job offer. Once you have accepted a job offer, your school will send you a formal invitation to work in China. You need to keep the formal invitation  and take it to your local Chinese Consular office as part of your application for a working Z visa. This can take several weeks. 

Z visas are usually valid for 30 days, starting from the day your passport is stamped when you arrive in China. On arrival in China, your visa will be converted to a Residency Permit which allows you to live in China. A Medical Examination is also expected. In most cases teachers are responsible for the cost of their visa.

Is applying for a Visa complicated?

No, but you do need to be organised and make sure you leave enough time and understand the various steps involved. You will be assisted throughout the process.

Will I be provided with Health Insurance?

Most schools do offer health insurance. Usually, your school will lhave medical insurance that covers 80% of the bill, but you will often need to pay a small fee or percentage of the charge. That said, we do reccommend purchasing additional health insurance before you go that provides international coverage and evacuation insurance.  Health facilities in the major cities in China are usually very good.

Can I use my credit card in China?

Yes, major credit cards are accepted in China. Do be aware though that outside of the cities, it might be much more difficult to find an ATM or businesses that accept credit cards, so make sure you have enough cash.

Can I open a bank account in China?

Yes, your School will help you open a bank account. Your passport and a small deposit (about 100RMB) is usually all that is required. 

What is the cost of living in China?

The short answer is that it depends. The differences in cost of living between big cities (or even different parts of the same city) and rural areas can be extreme, and that is definitely something to bear in mind when comparing potential job offers. What is almost always true though is that wherever you are in China (apart from some elite areas of the major cities) the cost of living will be considerably lower than the cost of living in the United States or the United Kingdom.