This is a full, no nonsense guide to our application process for Teaching English in China. From sitting at home being tempted by the idea, to standing in the classroom giving your first lesson.
1) Looking at the idea. Deciding to go.
Teaching English in China is a rapidly growing trend. There are now an increasing number of websites online, just like this one, that give you an absolute wealth of information, pics, videos and stories of the adventures of Teaching English in China such as this site. On top of this, there are numerous Youtube Vlogs, Instagram accounts and articles all over social media. Look around the web and enjoy browsing the experiences that TEFLing in China has to offer. Like our ChinaTEFLer page on Facebook for daily updates and checkout our ChinaTEFLer youtube channel for interviews with current TEFL teachers.
Once you have done this, you can decide if its what you want. If you have checked out the experiences and found that they appeal to you, then you can make that cool decision that this is for you. Once you have decided that you want this, its time to say hello to us and apply…
2) Looking for a job
Once you have decided to go you then need to apply with us. There are many out there offered by a whole variety of companies and firms. Almost all of which are provided by recruiters; these are middle men that find, screen and select suitable candidates for the schools.
Recruiters are used to save time as many schools are extremely busy with day to day activities and so having a recruiter assist the applicants and recommend suitable candidates for the school streamline the recruitment process and enable schools to hire candidates more easily.The problem is that almost all recruiters are based in China and work on volume.
We are proud to be part of Noon Elite Recruitment, the number one UK recruitment firm dedicated to hiring westerners to teach English in China. Unlike traditional agencies, we are a UK based industry ran by ex TEFL teachers ourselves, our service is completely free for applicants and our first hand knowledge in China enables you to apply with confidence.
We only recruit genuinely suitable teachers and only provide official, high quality schools. Being ex teachers ourselves have helped make us a lot more caring, personal and attentive than a lot of the cowboy recruitment firms out there. You can find out more about our program and apply at Noon Elite Recruitments Teach English in China page.
3) Applying for a job
Docs needed: CV, Covering letter
Ready to apply? When you are ready you can apply by completing the form and sending your CV and covering letter to us.
As recruiters we get annoyed by people sending generic covering letters, particularly if they come attached to a CV tailored for a completely unrelated occupation! Remember, the best teaching positions are highly sought after and as such will carry considerable competition. As ex TEFL teachers ourselves, we will only recommend these positions for candidates we feel truly suited to them. By taking the time to show your passion and explain why China is for you, you are dramatically increasing your chances of becoming accepted.
4) Preliminary Skype interview
Your application will be carefully read through by a dedicated recruitment agent and ex TEFL teacher. If the recruiter judges you suitable, the next step is that they will email you back and invite you to an initial Skype interview to have a one on one chat with you and asses your suitability for the position. The chat is time to ask any budding questions you have as a good recruiter will have first hand experience of TEFLing in china and will be able to tell you all about the lifestyle, things to do etc over there. In return, the agent will be learning of your character and personality and check that you are suitable to an adventurous career such as this.
During the interview the recruiter will probably ask you a couple of light context based questions about how to handle typical classroom issues in China e.g. If a ten year old boy is distracting the class, how would you handle it. These are essential to demonstrate that you understand the environment that you will be working in and the challenges up ahead.
5) Stage 2 Skype interview
Docs needed: Passport photo-page pic, Bachelor Degree pic, TEFL certificate pic (120 hour or more) .
Should you appear suitable the recruiter will then invite you to a stage 2 interview with the headmaster of the school in China. Prior to this, you will need to send us a picture of your passport photo page and University degree (if you have not yet got this you can send it to us at a later date). These are required to ensure that you meet the qualifying criteria for a Chinese Z visa and legal work and residence permit.
Once you have your docs sent and receive an invitation for a stage 2 interview you can start to feel really good about the opportunity. Only 30% of applicants get this far and you have already demonstrated the tenacity to get your qualifications and take this position seriously, you are well on the way to becoming a TEFL teacher.
The stage 2 interview will be with a school manager. During the interview you will discuss yourself, your ambitions, hobbies, explore your passion for teaching and so on. If your potential future boss likes what they see with you then they will give you a job offer. When sending you a job offer they will email you a contract via email stating your work duties and what will be provided for you. At this point, we then recommend you take a moment to asses the offer.
6) Research the offer, Do your homework
If you have been given an offer it means that the schools like you, the recruiter likes you and you have been deemed to show great potential as a China TEFL teacher. At this moment you need to make sure that the position is suitable for you prior to accepting the offer. firstly, we advise you Skype/ Facebook/email other teachers who previously taught at the school. These will give you a much more honest opinion of the school. Once you have done this, Google the school, place and see what comes up.
Here is where you must be critical. The internet is a free for all publishing environment and not everything that you read online can be deemed entirely accurate and trustworthy. Remember the stuff you learned about sources and referencing at uni. Apply it here. When reading a review look for evidence, facts, figures, tangible information, asses the source, check the reputation of the site hosting the review. Remember, it is always more reliable to talk to a teacher with first hand experience at the school.
As the UK’s largest recruiter all our positions are quality assured and personally inspected by our agents. We have contacts you can get in touch with at all our schools along with a number of current teachers that will be happy to give you a second opinion. We also have a Facebook group where our teachers share their views, opinions and advice about their schools and about China life in general. If that isn’t enough, we regularly go out to China to visit new teachers first hand, rest assured, we keep in contact with you throughout the entire process.
7) Accepting the offer and going over
Should you accept the offer the school will then get started right away with filling the appropriate paperwork and completing your application for a working and residence permit in China. This will start by the school ‘fedexing’ you a letter of invitation. You will then use this to apply in your home nation at the nearest Chinese consulate for a Z visa.
Applying for a Z visa takes around 4 to 7 days depending on whether you apply by post or in person. The cost for the visa varies but at the time of writing was £30 ($50) for a UK resident and £90 ($135) for a U.S resident. Full prices can be seen here www.chinese-embassy.org.uk.
Once you have your Z visa and are ready to land in China and start your adventure you need to book at ticket. Skyscanner.com is a good place to start and if you time it right you can get a ticket for as little as £300 ($450).
8 Pickup at the airport and Orientation
Once you land in China you’ll have had a long flight and quite possibly a couple of changeovers. You’ll be ready for going to your apartment and having a rest. The school headmaster you met online will be waiting for you at the airport and you’ll arrive at your new home on the other side of the world. The first few days of your new job will be pretty hectic. You will get a local sim card, meet your colleagues, tour the school, set up a bank account, take a medical exam and sit through a couple of demo lessons. In-between this you will be eating food you never knew existed and be completely overwhelmed by this foreign way of life on the other side of earth. Culture shock is inevitable but a short time later, its gone. Congratulations, you made it! you are now a successful TEFL teacher in China! 🙂
Ready to apply? We look forward to hearing from you.
The incredible mental and physical challenges can be an incredible life changing adventure for suitable applicants, as the number one UK agency we are proud of what we do and truly believe if you want a position in China then you want us. We have the highest paid positions in the best schools in the country, with second to none support and absolute dedication to our fellow teacher’s happiness. If you are ready for the challenge and think this is for you, then apply here now!
4 thoughts on “Application process for teaching English in China”
What is your upper age limit for teachers? I have heard that teachers over 50 cannot get jobs in China now – is this correct?
Thanks for the comment Sue, I’m not sure the current age limit for granting working visa but in general i’d say schools look for candidates 45 or younger.
I have just seen a video from one of your teachers about working in China and I was very impressed. I have been considering trying to find work in China for a while and have heard mixed feedback from people who have lived there.
I have been teaching TEFL for just over 2 1\2 years. I am currently working in Bangkok, Thailand and while I enjoy it here I’m ready to step up and try somewhere else. My specialisation is Kindergarten, I love teaching this level and I have taught it exclusively since I arrived in Thailand. I work with 2-3 year olds everyday and so it’s impossible not to leave work every day without a big smile. There are pros and cons to working in any country, Thailand is beautiful, it’s people are it’s wealth along with beautiful landscapes but long term the prospects look stagnant. The salaries haven’t really improved over the last 10 years although I’m lucky with my current school as they provide all the benefits of a modern school.
I have a few queries that I hope you can help with.
1. I am 35, soon to be 36, is it possible to find a job working exclusively in Kindergarten in China? Asking because I see a trend of schools asking only for female teachers.
2. I am from Northern Ireland and so have dual nationality, I carry an Irish Passport. Is this an issue at all?
Thank you in advance
Good afternoon Aidan,
Thanks for your comment and please forgive my delayed reply during this crazy Coronavirus time we are living in. Irish Nationality is completely fine to apply. Positions are still close around China and with the UK in lockdown and Ireland looking soon to follow I personally estimate schools to remain close in China till around mid April and the earliest new teachers able to teach at approx September 2020 but it could be 2021. I hope this helps and best of luck.