How to Teach in China Legally and Avoid Scams
31 Mar 2023

Teaching English in China is an incredible experience. Not only do you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture and have the adventure of a lifetime, but you’ll also have a meaningful job that makes a positive impact on the lives of your students.


There’s a lot of important information you should know about how to get a teaching job in China and how to prep yourself before you go. Today we’re going to share how to teach in China legally and avoid being scammed. 


Be a Native English Speaker 

To teach English in China legally, the first criteria you must fulfill is that you have be a native English speaker from one of the approved English-speaking countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and South Africa. If someone i.e. an agent tells you, they can get you a job without fulfilling this requirement, do not trust them. 


Bachelor’s Degree or Above

Secondly you must have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university to apply for a legal work visa. This is the only visa you’re allowed to teach English on. Don’t let anyone else kid you otherwise. 


Teaching Certificate  

Thirdly you’ll need an accredited teaching certificate that shows you’re qualified to teach English as a second language. The most commonly accepted certificates are TEFL / TESOL / CELTA with the course modules amounting to at least 120 hours of learning. Without this, you’ll need at least 2 years documented relevant teaching experience and a reference letter to support this. 


Besides all this, you must make sure you’re able to obtain a clean criminal record and health check. Please note that these expire in six months, so the time to apply for this is quite important. 


These are the basic requirements for teaching English in China. Bear this information in mind, and you won’t be scammed. 




How to Spot a Scam? 


No Work (Z) Visa Provided

There is no getting around this, so don’t believe anyone who approaches you with the notion that you can work on other visas. The truth is you must have a working Z visa to work or teach English in China. This means that you’re a teacher legally with rights. Anything otherwise and you could get into deep trouble with immigration and get deported. Not a good idea, no matter how attractive a job offer maybe. 


Unsolicited Approaches and Generic Email addresses

There are plenty of agents advertising jobs offers on social media such as Facebook. While the majority maybe safe and secure, be aware of anyone who approaches you out of the blue with job offers, they are usually only looking out for themselves and are not be trusted. Whilst it’s also common in China for schools or recruiters to use free email providers such as, and or to name some Chinese ones – be on guard if a proper work company email address is not used. For example, all our recruiters at TeachDiscoverChina will use emails with the suffix


Dream Job – Nightmare 

There are some high salary jobs flying around. Don’t trust someone who promises excessively high wages that exceeds the norms or offers a job with unbelievably low working hours. A dream teaching job could turn into a nightmare of long working hours with unpaid overtime. 


Contract Issues 

Do not work full time without a contract! Make sure there is a contract agreement between you and the school. Before signing, check all the terms and agreements. Make sure everything is clear and acceptable to you before giving your signature. If any disputes were to happen, the contract will be king! If there is anything vague or makes you uncomfortable about the terms, give the job a pass. A good teaching job in China is one that makes you feel comfortable and secure. 


Last Words

Lastly, we’d just tell you to be diligent of the above. We know sometimes it’s difficult especially in another country and culture, so if you are serious about teaching English in China, we’d recommend you join our TeachDiscoverChina program. We’re an integral job and recruitment platform of the Sichuan Educational Association for International Exchange (SEAIE), a government-supported educational organization run under the Education Department of Sichuan Province. We’ve been helping international teachers come to China for nearly 30 years, so we know what we’re doing and can definitely help. 


If you’re interested in teaching English in China with us or if you have any questions, please get in touch at [email protected]

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