Teach English in China

The Teach in China program is ideal for first-time teachers, and offers one- or two-semester options. Placements are available in private schools teaching kindergarten and primary aged students in Mandarin-speaking regions all around China, with many schools in urban areas. One-semester placements are limited, as most schools want to hire a teacher for two consecutive semesters. You’ll work with enthusiastic students, giving you opportunities to share cultural awareness and language skills in a rewarding, enjoyable environment.

As a highly valued foreign teacher, you’ll promote an exchange of cultures with Chinese students, teachers, and the greater community. At the same time, you’ll gain a deeper awareness of and appreciation for the local people, culture, and language.

What’s included

  • Job placement
  • Visa guidance and processing fee for your Chinese Z visa
  • Modern, furnished accommodations
  • Pre-departure support, including a comprehensive online pre-departure course
  • iNext international insurance with 24-hour emergency assistance services for US permanent residents
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • In-country orientation
  • Survival Mandarin language lessons included in pre-departure material and during orientation
  • A Lonely Planet guidebook
  • Transportation from orientation to your teaching assignment
  • Cultural and professional development activities
  • Several weeks of vacation for two-semester participants
  • A completion bonus equivalent to one or two months’ salary to offset the cost of return airfare if you teach for two consecutive semesters at the same school

Meet your students

In our regular Teach in China program, your students will be elementary to primary aged and eager to learn English from their foreign teacher. Teaching at a private school in China means your students are enrolled in English classes outside their everyday public school classes. In the fast-growing, globalized Chinese economy, English is an important pathway to success. . You’ll be welcomed with open arms and have students who want to find out all they can – not only about English, but about Western culture as well. With so much to learn from one another, classes will be something you look forward to every day.

You can request placement at a preferred location, though placements are driven by the demand for English-speaking teachers and the requirements of each host institution, so CIEE cannot guarantee that all requests will be met.


CIEE places teachers in a variety of settings and student populations. Teach in China teachers tend to be placed in urban settings. Get more details about Teach in China locations.

Job description

As a lead classroom teacher, your goal will be to improve the conversational English skills of students. Through creative classroom exercises and educational games, your native English abilities and cultural savvy will improve the oral competence of your eager Chinese students.


Participants in our Teach in China program are placed in private schools teaching at the kindergarten or primary school level (language centers). Most schools are in urban areas. Students in China will attend private language academies outside of their daily public school to improve their English skills. That means you might be teaching evening and weekend classes. You'll still have one or two days off per week if you're placed at one of these institutions.


Teaching contracts typically require 20 to 25 classroom hours per week, though your contract will likely be close to 40 hours per week. With these extra contract hours, you’ll need to devote time to class planning, presentations, faculty meetings, and some extracurricular activities. In some cases, overtime can be negotiated, typically at a rate of 80-120 CNY/hour.


You’ll earn a net salary of 7,000-12,000 CNY a month, plus rent-free housing.

There are ways to earn additional income. Overtime may be arranged, and those with graduate degrees or significant teaching experience can earn higher rates of pay. There’s also a completion bonus to apply toward airfare if you stay for two consecutive semesters at the same school.

Pay is generous by local standards, and about twice what a local teacher makes. You can enjoy a comfortable standard of living on what you earn. Expenses are very low, and your income can go a long way, leaving you with funds to explore and experience all China has to offer!

A Glimpse at the Cost of Living in China

Breakfast (Typical Chinese breakfast: baozi [steamed bun filled with meat or vegetables], soy milk): 1.5-5 CNY (25-80 cents)

Lunch & dinner (meat, vegetables, rice):

  • Shanghai & Beijing: 20-50 CNY/person ($3.25-$8)
  • Midsize city: 15-25 CNY/person ($2.50-$4)
  • Small city: 5-10 CNY/person (80 cents-$1.60)


You’ll need a bachelor’s degree to apply, along with a few other qualifications. These, plus a sense of adventure and desire to cross cultural boundaries and engage with people eager to learn English, make you a great candidate.

CIEE looks for candidates who are independent, curious, and thrive in a changing environment. Are you self-motivated, responsible, and ready to take the plunge into a rewarding adventure? If so, start your application now!


  • Native English speaker
  • A bachelor’s degree in any field
  • Citizenship in the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom
  • 60 years of age or younger

To make your application stronger, highlight additional qualifications, such as:

  • TEFL certification
  • Experience studying, working, or volunteering abroad
  • A degree in English or education; a master's degree in education is preferred
  • Additional teaching certification/credentials
  • Teaching experience preferred, but not required

Positions for highly experienced applicants (college professors, graduate students) sometimes can be secured for qualified candidates, especially in the fields of English, math, and science. Please contact CIEE for details; advanced planning is required.

Quick Info

Teach in China
Start Dates:
  • August
  • February
  • 5-6 months (for one-semester programs)
  • 10-12 months (for two-semester programs)
Application deadlines:
  • February Start Date: Apply by August 1
  • August Start Date: Apply by March 1
Eligibility requirements:
  • Native English speaker
  • Bachelor’s degree in any field
  • Citizenship in the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom
  • 60 years of age or younger
  • 7,000-12,000 CNY/month
  • All China programs include housing; if you stay for two consecutive semesters, you're eligible for a completion bonus that is applied to return airfare upon completion of your contract.
Program Fee:


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