Frequently Asked Questions

Below you’ll find answers to the questions we get asked the most about teaching in China or teaching online.

FAQ breakdown:

  • General & Application process
  • Online teaching
  • Moving to China
  • Living in China
  • Working in China

General & Application Process

I have just registered. What happens next?

One of our team will contact you to arrange an online or face-to-face interview. We’ll have an informal chat and you can ask us any questions you may have. We then create your unique profile – which we keep on our system – and use it to match you to the best position available.

How can I get a FREE TEFL through The Overseas Teacher?

If you are a graduate, and successful in your initial application, we can pay for your British Council recognised 120-hour TEFL certificate – contact us directly to find out more! PLEASE NOTE – this offer is only for applicants who are looking to teach in China and not for online candidates.

Online Teaching

What do I need to teach online?

We use Skype to teach one-to-one online, so you’ll need the Skype app, a laptop or PC with webcam and a fast, reliable broadband connection. A headset is useful and recommended but not essential.

How many hours can I teach per week?

We usually ask that you teach a minimum of 10 hours per week, and you can teach up to 30 hours per week, depending on your availability.

What age groups will I be teaching?

You will be teaching students from 3 – 12 & 16 + on a one-to-one basis. We select our partner schools very carefully, and the students are highly motivated to learn.

Do I need to create my own lessons or is there a syllabus to follow?

It depends on the opportunity you are matched with. Some schools ask you to follow a syllabus – in this case you are given full details in advance. Other schools ask that you create engaging lessons yourself to encourage the students to communicate.

Do you have to be a Native English Speaker?

Yes. Due to the constraints and requirements of our partner schools, we can only offer work to teachers from native English speaking countries.

How will I get paid ?

We use TransferWise to send you an email containing your salary. All you have to do is open the email and fill in the details necessary and your salary will be sent straight to your account. 

How long is my teaching contracts?

The contracts usually run for 3 months, 6 months or 1 year.

Moving to China

What documents do I need to get a visa in China?

1) Health Check – We will send this to you as part of the application process

2) Your highest degree. Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate

3) A TEFL certificate (if you do not have any teaching experience). We will provide one to you if necessary.

4) A criminal background checks. This is a DBS in the UK. In the USA it sometimes needs to be done at the state level at your local police station and in some states, it must be done at a federal level. Please contact us and we will provide guidance.

5) Your passport. Currently for English teaching positions the government of China will only accept the following passport for visa applications: USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, The United Kingdom and Ireland.

When I have all the required documents for the visa what do I do next?

You will need to take them to a public notary to be authenticated and then to the Chinese embassy in your country of residence.

How long does it take to get a work visa?

The average time is 1.5 months but it can be shorter than this if you gather all your documents quickly.

Can I bring pets with me?

Please check the following link to find out more:

What qualifications do I need to be able to obtain a work visa as an international teacher?

1) You must have a passport from any of the following countries: USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, The United Kingdom and Ireland.

2) You must have Bachelors degree or higher

3) You must have 2 years of teaching experience or a TEFL, this will take the place of 2 years of teaching experience. We provide a TEFL to all of our applicants who need one for free, please get in touch to find out more.

4) You must have a clean criminal record.

Living In China

How does Internet censorship in China relate to me?

Internet censorship is not as large a problem as many people assume. Downloading a VPN ( before your arrival to China will allow you to access any website from within China that you want. It is not illegal to use a VPN in China.

Politics and how it relates to me

It is not inappropriate or uncommon to discuss politics with friends outside of work hours.

Veganism and Vegetarianism in China

It is not impossible, however it may be challenging, to completely avoid meat in China. You need to ask in advance every time before ordering and confirm that your waiter has understood. Because Buddhism is extremely popular in China many people don’t eat any animal products it is not an uncommon request to ask for a completely meat free meal. Cooking without meat at home is easy.

Religion and faith in China

Contrary to popular belief, religions are not banned or illegal in China however the dissemination of religious materials in public without a license is not allowed. Many cities have Churches, Mosques and Temples that are easily accessible and many of them hold service in English. Get in contact with us to find out more.

Hospitals and health

All major cities in China have a large number of public and private hospitals. Health insurance and visits to the doctor are relatively inexpensive when compared to most other health care systems.

Bank accounts

Upon arrival in China, members of staff will help you to register a bank account. This will come with online and app banking which will allow you to transfer money home when necessary.

Cellphone plans

Upon arrival in China, members of staff will help you to register a cell phone plan. Most cell plans cost about 6 – 15 USD/ month.

How to get my housing sorted

Upon arrival in China, members of staff will help you to rent an apartment. If housing is not provided in your contract and you receive a subsidy instead members of staff will take you through the entire process from beginning to end. Every area of the city will have letting agents that are responsible for all the available apartments in any given area. With the help of bi-lingual staff members you will be able to explain to the letting agents exactly what you want in an apartment and within the space of half an hour you will be taken for back-to-back apartment viewings.

All apartments would be fully furnished.

Utilities and bills

In most major cities utilities like gas, water and electricity can be paid via App. China is quickly becoming a cashless society and you will find that most things can be paid for via Wechat or Alipay.

Working in China

Dress code at work
Dress codes are usually work casual. This typically means as most teachers do in your home countries. Some school will have uniforms or a branded school jacket to wear.
How long are work contracts

Work contracts in China must be a minimum of 1-year to allow you to apply for a legal work visa. Contracts can be longer than 1 year but shorter engagements are typically not possible.

What age groups can I teach in China ?

Teaching position are typically broken into 3 main areas. A) Kindergarten ( Ages 1 – 6) B) International schools ( ages 6 – 18). Here there will specific positions for each age group. C) English Language Learning centers Ages 5 – 18 or from 18 to 60+ for business English.

What are the typical working times?

For International Schools and Kindergartens, the typical working time is from 8am to 4pm +/- 1 hour Monday – Friday with an average of 38 hours of work expected each week. English Language Centers run after school times from 4pm to 8 pm on weekdays and from 9am to 5 pm on weekends. Monday and Tuesday are usually non-working days and there is an average of 33 hours of work expected each week.

What are the typical salaries that I can expect?

As a recent graduate with a TEFL (provided by us) you would expect a minimum of $2000/ month along with significant housing bonuses and paid flights or flight reimbursements. Salaries increase significantly with experience, higher degrees and the strength of your interview. Salaries of up to $8000/month + free flights and housing are available.  Average salaries for relatively experienced teachers are about $3500/month + a free apartment and paid flights.

Who will my coworkers be?

All of our schools have international staff. There will be a mixture of Chinese teachers and teachers from around the world. Some will be in China for the first time, others have been there for many years.

How do I commute to work?

Most large cities in China have very extensive public transportation systems that include trains, busses and subways. Most schools will have excellent apartments nearby so that you can walk to work. There is no need for a car in China but you can obtain one.

What are the public holidays in China?
  1. New years day ( January 1st)
  2. Chinese New Years ( Late January/Early February)
  3. The Qingming Festival ( Early April)
  4. Labour Day ( 1st of May)
  5. Dragon Boat Festival ( Early June)
  6. Mid-Autumn Festival ( September)
  7. National Day ( Early October)

Other holidays that constitute half days of work in China include Children’s day and Teachers day.

Most international schools will give about 1.5 months of paid holiday for Winter and Summer break.

Is there room for career growth?
We always create career growth plans for our applicants that will allow them to transition in to management roles, other international teaching roles in China + other countries,  and opportunities that can bring them back home as an international school teacher or language teacher.

Want to find out more about teaching online?

Want to find out more about teaching in China?