What are the Qualifications to Teach English in China?

By January 24, 2018 No Comments

If you want to legally teach English in China, you need to take the necessary steps to get a ‘Z visa. This is the visa that will allow you to legitimately work as an English teacher in China. If you are unable to obtain a Z visa and manage to find another route to teach and work in China, then I wish you all the best and I am not here to judge or hate on anyone for trying. While I was legal most of the time I lived and taught in Japan, there were a few months in between that definitely ventured upon the gray area of the law. You should keep in mind that the Chinese government has gotten stricter in the past two or years in issuing Z visas as well as cracking down on those working illegally without one. Remember that China is a giant country and each province may have slightly different laws and thus process visas slightly differently than the other. But in general, if you meet the following criteria, you should be able to get a Z visa and if you can qualify for a Z visa, it very likely that you will be able to land a teaching job somewhere.

To qualify for a Z visa you will need:

  • a passport from an English-speaking country
  • an accredited four-year degree
  • be between the ages of 22 to 55

You will also need ONE of the following three things;

  • minimum 120-hour TEFL, TESOL or CELTA certificate.
  • a four-year or greater degree in either English or Education
  • two years of relevant teaching experience.

It is also being reported that immigration offices are also rejecting certificates with the word ‘online’ written on it. With that being said, you can still use an online TEFL, TESOL or CELTA certificate, but just make sure that the word ‘online’ is not written on it. I am also not just writing and telling you that you need a certificate to make a profit myself. While it wasn’t necessary to a have a certificate even five years ago and definitely not 10 years, things have changed in 2017. Not only in China, but throughout the world. For the moment, I am promoting the International TEFL Academy.  This is a solid program and they do not write the word ‘online’ anywhere on the certificate. This is important as some provinces in China may reject your visa application if they see that your TEFL course was taken online. Keep in mind that the whole process from first applying for a job, getting the proper documents, getting a Z-visa and finally arriving in China to start working usually takes anywhere from 4 to 6 months.


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