You're thinking about moving to and teaching English in China, but you're not quite sure where to start. You've opened Google and submitted a job search, but you don't know if the results are reliable, or if they're even legitimate.
One of the biggest worries we find in applicants looking to move to China is as to whether they have found a reliable platform for finding a job in China. Many applicants we have spoken to are worried about middlemen and scam artists (amongst other things). Work in China for foreigners is relatively easy to find but ensuring that you find a reliable employment network first can be a hassle.
The good news is that there are a few sites which do guarantee reliable work in China for foreigners and high-quality employers. One of those such sites is Mandarin Cafe.
What is Mandarin Cafe?
Mandarin Café is a Beijing based recruitment firm which aims to connect suitable candidates looking for jobs in China with high quality and reliable employers for free. The process is completely transparent, with no hidden fees. It only aims to help sustain and develop a thriving education and jobs market in China.
Primarily, Mandarin Café focuses on teaching jobs in China. The Chinese education market is worth A LOT of money and Chinese employers and institutions are constantly trying to bring in teachers from overseas. However, positions in other industries do exist and Mandarin Café is able to help professionals in other fields. Check to find out more.
What Types of Teaching Jobs Are There in China?
This article is going to focus on teaching jobs in China. Whilst Mandarin Café does have other opportunities, teaching is by far the most common and most sought after.
When it comes to finding reliable teaching jobs in China, there are three main categories you'll likely encounter. These three are listed below in the order of frequency and number of jobs. All have their own benefits and cater to different individuals based on what they primarily want from a job in China.
Option 1: International Training Centers
The first option you have at your disposal is International Training Centers. These institutions are best for those looking for high salaries and good benefits. They also tend to have the most available positions. These jobs tend to run up the most hours, but those hours are compensated very fairly. With a TEFL certificate, you'll be able to earn up to 30,000 RMB per month ($4,500 US) in some of the bigger cities.
However, you won't get the long summer or winter holidays most Chinese students do. In fact, because students will be out of their state-run schools at this point in the year, you'll probably end up having even more work; trying to fill the gap left in students' schedules by the schools. Teachers should also note that they are unlikely to receive their weekends as rest time. Many of the classes will likely take place in the evenings and on weekends, meaning you'll probably have to change the schedule you're used to. Don't worry though, all of the other teachers are in the same boat, so you won't be on your own.
International Training Centers are sometimes known for avoiding proper Chinese Visa regulations and allowing teachers into the country somewhat illegally. Mandarin Café's partners are all reliable and will not do this.
Mandarin Café's partners include schools such as English First Xuzhou, Meten English, and the Beijing Foreign Studies University.
Mandarin Café's Partner: English First Xuzhou
A typical position from English First in Xuzhou pays $2000 - $2500 US per month to teachers, with added bonuses depending on performance and contract length. This contract comes with 15 days holiday per year, plus the 12 Chinese National Holidays. More than some other training centers.
Teachers are also provided with fully furnished housing and can even get free Chinese lessons from the school. Perfect for those new to China.
Option 2: Schools and Universities
Schools and universities differ from International Training Centers in that they are run by the state. Long hours and profit-driven courses are not their forte. Instead, you can expect fewer hours with more flexibility. However, with those lower working hours comes less salary and fewer benefits. Most teachers can expect 8,000 – 15,000 RMB per month ($1200 - $2000 US). That's not as high as you'll see for International Training Centres when you perform a job search, but realistically it's still more than enough to live on. Especially in places like Hangzhou, where you'll find the Hangzhou Foreign Language School. If you're working for institutions like the Beijing Capital Normal University, you may be able to expect more.
With the free time and flexibility afforded by schools and universities in China, a lot of teachers go on to work in other fields and perform extra work in their spare time. Some teachers have even been known to make it big whilst doing this. For you, the flexibility afforded by school and university jobs means that the sky is the limit. Moreover, the salary is still high enough that you'll be able to live a very comfortable life. Many state educators still make use of their work visa to find extra work in their spare time. This is very possible and positions are relatively easy to find once you're in China.
Some of Mandarin Café's other partners include The Zhejiang Gongshang University Hangzhou College of Commerce, the Hangzhou England Kindergarten, the Hangzhou New Century Foreign Language School, and Ciji Primary School.
Mandarin Café's Partner: Zhejiang College of Zhejiang University of Technology
The Zhejiang College of Zhejiang University of Technology offers a salary of 8,000 RMB per month for 20 hours of teaching time. Teachers are also provided with a fully furnished apartment and airfare reimbursement.
For those who chose to work at the Zhejiang College of Zhejiang University of Technology, weekends are guaranteed. In some cases, teachers won't even have to work 5 days a week.
Option 3: Teach English Online from Home
Your third option is to teach English online. This is a work at home type of situation and preferable for many who want to make a bit of extra cash, whilst still staying in their home countries. Teachers are not given visa support.
Classes will usually take place during evenings and weekends 6 – 9 pm Beijing time. This can mean waking up very early (or very late, depending on where you are). Students are usually younger, but there are some online teaching centers which offer courses to older learners. Despite not being given visa support, schools will still want to see your passport and are likely to pay Native speakers higher salaries.
One of the best things about teaching online is the flexibility and free time afforded by the relatively light schedule. Despite the odd teaching hours (depending on where you're based), you can be left having finished work by 9 am (US Central time zone) and with the rest of your day free to do what you want.
Currently, Mandarin Cafe only offers Online Teaching for American and Canadian Citizens, although this may change in the future. Keep your eyes peeled for future opportunities.
Mandarin Café's Partner: UU ABC
If you want to find a job teaching English online, Mandarin Café connects interested applicants with UU ABC, with whom it's possible to earn $18 - $30 USD per hour. Teachers are expected to work at least 6 hours per week between Monday and Friday, and at least 2 hours per night, for 2 nights per week.
Teachers are given online teacher training for adjusting to the online environment and learning materials are supplied (with some additional preparation from teachers).
Where to Teach English in China?
For those looking for some free time and the ability to live in China, School and Universities are undoubtedly the best options. The amount of free time afforded to teachers is unmatched. Plus, these institutions provide full visa support and make sure that teachers make it into the country legally.
International Training Centers also provide full Visa support for those looking for work in China for foreigners, along with higher salaries. However, the long and somewhat odd working hours might just put many potential teachers off – especially if they came to China to explore a new country.
The final option – teaching English online – is probably only for those who want to teach English in China, but don't want to live there. It's a great way to supplement other income from another job back home, but it's not going to help an application with receiving a working Visa and moving to China.
Regardless, next time you start a job search for teaching jobs in China, make sure to check out Mandarin Café. Finding a reliable employer is the first step to making the transition as smooth as possible, and that's exactly what Mandarin Café is all about.