What Are The Requirements For Teaching English in China? | Becoming An English Teacher

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What Are The Requirements For Teaching English in China? | Becoming An English Teacher:  China is a fantastic country, and more and more people are wanting to see it for themselves. However the days in which just about anybody could get a job teaching English in China seem to be numbered.

The requirements to teach English in China seem to be constantly changing and evolving, with the latest update being in January 2020. Read on and we’ll discuss what the requirements are to teach English in China.


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What Are The Requirements To Teach English in China?  

Terracotta Warriors

The Chinese seem to love bureaucracy, and because of that you’ll need to organize quite a bit of personal information. In years past all you needed to teach English in China was a 120 hour TEFL degree.

However since they’re tightening up the restrictions you’ll need a college/university degree, a police check, a medical check, a 120 hour TEFL degree, a passport from a native English speaking country, and for all documents to be verified by a public notary.

Interestingly previous teaching experience is something which is not often cited from many schools as being a requisite. It’s only for the higher paying jobs in the tier 1 cities like Beijing and Shanghai that require at lest a minimum of 2 years teaching experience.

A Complete List of What Is Required

  • A College/University Degree
  • Completed a 120 Hour TEFL Course
  • A Medical Check
  • Police Background Check
  • A Passport from a native English speaking country
  • All documents need to be verified by a Public Notary (U.S)/Justice of The Peace (AUS)
  • No previous teaching experience required, though it does help (some schools may request 2 years experience)
  • English is your first language

The field in which you graduated from university to achieve your degree matter so much. It’s more the fact that you have one. 

Another new addition to the process is that all documents need to be verified by a public notary. In time past applicants would forge documents, this extra step was introduced to help curve and eliminate that problem.

Other things to look out for are the police background check which is obvious since you’ll more than likely be around children and minors. While the medical examination is merely to verify that you won’t be bringing any infectious diseases into China.

It should be noted that as part of upgrading your Z-Visa into a Residence Permit you’ll have to have another medical examination within China. In this examination they will check your blood, lungs, eye sight, conduct a urine sample, and test to see whether everything is all generally working in a good order.


Foreign Experts Certificate, Z-Visa and Residence Permit

Even you collect all information required to enter China, that doesn’t mean you’ll be allowed to enter. In short you need several pieces of documents to be notarized and sent back to you from the Chinese Government.

The main document being a Foreign Experts Certificate (FEC). With a FEC and an employment summary from your employer will you able to apply for a Z-Visa. Once you have been granted a Z-Visa will you be able to enter China.

From this point you’ll only be allowed to stay in China for 30 days, so you’ll need to upgrade your Z-Visa to a Residence Permit at a later time when you arrive in China.

It all sounds long and arduous, and that’s because it is. It took me around 1 and 1.5 months to organize everything and to be approved for a Z-Visa. So don’t be dismayed it if seems as though it will take a while, or it is taking awhile.

In the process I needed to organize a new passport since my old one was too damaged. So make sure your documents are in good condition.

The process for being granted a Residence Permit which will allow you to work and live in China can be summarized  in three steps – 1) Compile the information, 2) Submit your application, and 3) Collection and upgrading. Below each step has been broken down to show you a more detailed working of how things proceed.)

1: Compile Information

1) Compile information >> 2) Send/email to employer in China >> 3) Employer uses information to send you a Foreign Experts Certificate (FEC) and employment summary letter >> 4) You receive a paper copy of your FEC and employment summary in the mail.

2: Submit Your Application

5) Go to the nearest Chinese Visa Application Service Center Use FEC and employment summary to apply for a Z-Visa >> 6) Fill out the form and pay the fee.

3: Collection and Upgrading

7) Receive passport back >> 8) Once in China you have 30 days to upgrade to a Residence Permit (employer will do this).

A lot of great and useful information can be found here, at the Chinese Visa Application Service Center. That is the official website which contains the guideline of what is officially needed, along with the forms which you’ll need to fill out for the Z-Visa.


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Written by Lexi
Lexi Forrest is an experienced luxury traveler who has a passion for scenic destinations. She's traveled to 25+ countries over the past 10 years.