Types of Schools in China

There are many different types of schools to choose to work at in China, so you’ll want to do a little research on each one to figure out which type will best suit your lifestyle, salary, and time-off needs. There are often trade-offs that you will need to consider with each type of school. For example, if you want a higher salary, you’ll need to work more hours, so maybe you should consider an international school. However, if you want more time off, you may want to work at a university where you’ll have less working hours and a lower salary.

  1. Private English Language Training Centers for kids or adults
  2. Preschools & Kindergartens
  3. Public, Foreign Language Primary, Middle, & High Schools
  4. International Schools
  5. Universities

Private English language training center for kids or adults

Most foreign English teachers in China teach at these institutions. These schools are attended by kids or adults in the evenings and weekends specifically for English language instruction. Positions at training centers are often easiest to secure as there is a high demand for these classes and they hire year-round. Schools in this category include many large chains like English First, Wall Street English, WEB English. Each center has its own specialized curriculum, teaching and training materials which means planning and preparation are at a minimum.

  • Required teaching experience: 0 – 2 years +
  • Salary: 7,000 – 18,000 RMB/month
  • Schedule & hours: evening & weekends


The name says it all, the children in these institutions are 18 months to 6 years old. Teaching English in a kindergarten or preschool is a very common job in China especially in 1st tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Teachers can expect a friendly working environment and between one to three Chinese teaching assistants in the classroom with them. There will be plenty of fun teaching materials available and little time is needed for preparation. Classes typically have 8-20 young learners and are between 20-40 minutes long. 

  • Required teaching experience: 0 – 2 years +
  • Salary: 10,000 – 20,000 RMB/month
  • Schedule & hours: weekday daytime

Public, foreign language primary, middle, & high schools

Public schools (particularly in bigger cities) score well on all fronts. Decent salary & benefits, reasonable teaching load and more paid vacation days. Since Chinese public school education is notoriously competitive, your students will be diligent, well-behaved, and smart but you will sometimes have up to 60 of them in your classroom! Jobs in this category will sometimes require a graduate degree and/or a teaching license.  

  • Required teaching experience: 0 – 2 years +
  • Salary: 8,000 – 22,000 RMB/month
  • Schedule & hours: weekday daytime

International schools

These schools are where professional expats and wealthy locals send their children. Tuition for the students is high and enrollment is very competitive. This means that teacher remuneration is fantastic (especially if you have children) but these jobs will often require a teaching license and graduate degree. Classes are held on the traditional two-semester schedule and almost all classes are taught in English. These schools often require a 2-year commitment from the teachers. Most International Schools will follow either the International Baccalaureate (IB) or the foreign (A-level/AP etc.) curriculum, teachers with experience and familiarity with these curricula are preferred. 

  • Required teaching experience: 2 years +
  • Salary: 13,000 – 30,000RMB/month
  • Schedule & hours: weekday daytime


There is a lot of variety within these jobs. Positions at smaller universities usually hire foreign teachers to teach required English classes, some universities are less selective when it comes to hiring foreign teachers. Even if the university originally hired you to teach a specific subject, entry-level teachers will rarely be teaching anything other than oral English. Salaries are usually between 4000-8000 RMB/ Month (dependent on location and experience), but teachers are paid during the summer and winter breaks and never have to teach more than 20 periods a week. Jobs at universities are therefore more competitive than English training centers. The university curriculum is flexible and the foreign teacher is responsible for creating teaching materials. 

High-ranking public universities, especially in big cities, are a different story. Salary and benefits will be much higher but you may be expected to possess an advanced degree and considerable relevant teaching experience. 

  • Required teaching experience: 0 – 2 years +
  • Salary: 4,000 – 25,000RMB/month
  • Schedule & hours: weekday daytime

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