Types of English Schools in China

Liz Smith
Career China Digital Marketing Manager
Mar 23, 2017

The ESL industry in China is growing in leaps and bounds. As the world’s most population, with a sizeable part of a youthful population that understands the importance of English language, China has numerous opportunities in store for ESL teachers. If you are a certified ESL tutor, with a good command of English or if English is your first language, there are so many places in China where you can earn a decent income by working as an ESL teacher. Plus, due to the low cost of living in China many teachers actually have a great lifestyle.  Here are some of the English learning centers where you can teach English and get a competitive remuneration package as a reward. 

1. International Schools in China

Chinese ESL international schools are meant to teach English to the kids of expats living in the country, or affluent Chinese parents in China who would like their children to go to school / live / work abroad in the future. At these schools, the education system resembles the one used in the west. 

International schools are taught mostly by foreign teachers, where students move from one class to the other studying different subjects that are all taught in English. While teaching English in an international school in China, you typically work a minimum of 40 hours per week. International schools are some of the highest paying ESL centers in China. The average salary of a teacher here is approximately 12,000-30,000 RMB ( $USD 1,900-$USD4,700).

Pros of teaching English in an international School in China

Cons of teaching English in a Chinese international school

2. Chinese Public schools

As an ESL teacher in a Chinese public school, your employer will be the Chinese government.  Most public schools throughout China require a minimum of 16-25 teaching hours per week. But you may still teach English at multiple skill levels, and also alternate between different public schools. On average, the minimum monthly salary of a public Chinese school ESL teacher is between, 6,000 RMB-10,000 (which is approximately $USD 942-$USD 1,570). 

Pros of being an ESL teacher in a Chinese public school

Cons of being an ESL teacher in a Chinese public school

3. After-school institutes

These are the most popular ESL learning centers in China. They have a high student turnover rate compared to other learning institutions, thanks to the fact that they are open to anyone willing to learn English. Students here include preschoolers on up to business professionals. 

ESL teachers in these Chinese institutes normally teach conversation-oriented classes and also offer writing lessons occasionally, depending on the teacher’s experience. Here, classes are usually shorter, so as to cater for students with other responsibilities, such as homework, a day job or other important obligations. Most lessons take an average of 40-90 minutes a day, with much of the learning taking place on weekends and during the late hours of the day. 

In China, nearly every reputable after-school institute provides ESL teachers with accommodation allowance, insurance and visas (among other perks). The minimum average salary for an ESL teacher in a Chinese after-school institute can range from 6,000 - 16,000RMB (USD$942 - USD$2,500). 

Pros of working as an ESL teacher in a Chinese after-school institute 

Cons of working as an ESL teacher in a Chinese after-school institute

4. Tutoring and private teaching

Tutoring and private ESL teaching are quite common in China. There are some families, especially in the cities, who hire private ESL tutors for their kids. In fact, there is a huge demand for private ESL tutors in China, especially among native English-speaking tutors. 

In most cases, tutoring is done by teachers from public and private ESL learning centers as a part time job. However, there isn’t a definite minimum salary for private tutors, because payments are negotiable between the tutor and the student. Some tutors are paid hourly while others are paid on a monthly basis. 

Pros of working as an ESL tutor in China

Cons of working as an ESL tutor in China

5. Online ESL teaching (both large classes and one-on-one tutoring)

The advent of internet coupled with advances in information technology (IT) has made it possible for ESL tutors in China to remotely teach students from all over the country. As an online ESL tutor, your work will entail using online presentations, microphones, cameras and other tools designed to help students learn English. 

You may teach large classes or on a one-on-one basis, where you focus on a single student. With online tutoring, you can teach throughout the day or you can set your own schedule (dependong on your company). 

In most places, online ESL tutors are paid a minimum wage of approximately USD$ 30 per hour.  However, the total wage is determined by experience of the tutor, the company they work for, and the number of students they are teaching per session. 

Pros of working as an online ESL teacher in China

Cons of working as an online ESL teacher in China

There are Plenty of Opportunities to Teach in China!

Opportunities for ESL teachers in China are plenty, and they will continue to increase in the future thanks to the soaring numbers of ESL learning centers throughout the country. To take advantage of these opportunities as an ESL teacher, just ensure you have met all the requirements and qualifications needed for you to work as an ESL teacher in China. Then, you can search for an ESL school in China that suits your experience, qualifications and interest.

Have more questions about moving to China? Check out The Ultimate Guide for Moving to China

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