Expat Beginner’s Guide – Finding job in China

This is the third chapter of our guide. In it we are going to describe the ways to find job in China, and what kind of jobs
you can expect to find, while living in a Chinese city.

In previous chapters we’ve described the challenges of Adaptation and our excitement from Meeting the Other Expats in China.

First of all…

First of all we would like to let you know, that if you are a native English speaker, then you should not have any problem in finding a good English teacher position in China. At this moment when we are writing these lines, China is a land of opportunity for those, who are willing to try themselves in TESOL field.  We are not a native English speakers, and still, we had plenty opportunities to choose from, while living in Xi’an (8 million people mega polis in western China) .


Where to look for a job in China?

Even before we went to China, we’ve found an agency to work for. This agency was a Buckland.  This is not an advertisement and not a sponsored post, as many of you might think. We would recommend Buckland only if you are a first-timer. They have a special guiding program in Yangshuo and take care of your working visa, but there’s a price of course – they will pay you only 4500-5000 a month and take the rest to themselves.

When you are in China and already have some teaching experience you can go and try to score a better deal by yourself.
Most of the employers take care of your working visa anyway, but the salary can be much bigger.

Finding job in China -Speaking with one of the school's principals

Finding job in China -Speaking with one of the school’s principals

So, where to look for jobs.  When we started to search for the job by ourselves, several internet sites proved themselves very effective (again, this is not an advertisement, just an advice).

1. Chinacities.com

2. ESL China Job Board

Using these sites you can keep your eyes on fresh ESL jobs all over the China. We’ve sent our details to several agencies in Xi’an and later they just continued to contact us with job proposals. Yes, this is as easy as it sounds.

What kind of jobs are out there?

Here we can recommend to you only English teaching jobs, because this is what we’ve done, and we know a lot about it.
But, once you are in China the verity of jobs you can do, will grow over time.  It all depends on many factors, like your level of Chinese language and of course your skills. We’ve met one MMA fighter from Canada, who had a fluent Chinese and was working as a coach in Xi’an University of Physical Education. Another american expat, had a degree in film-making, plus a good level of Chinese, and this allowed her to be a teacher of photography course in one of the universities.

Finding job in China - Gadi is teaching the new words to kids in kindergarten

Finding job in China – Gadi is teaching the new words to kids in kindergarten

Yes, university again, because there are 200 universities only in Xi’an, not speaking about rest of China, and in all of them the demand for “foreign experts” is only growing over time.

And if to speak about ourselves, in one year we’ve managed to be teachers in private training schools, kindergartens and primary and middle schools.

We are going to dedicate separate posts for each one of them, because all of them where fun and interesting experience.

Finding job in China - Gadi is writing his name on a whiteboard in English training school in China

Finding job in China – Gadi is writing his name on a whiteboard in English training school in China

What to expect?

Again it all depends on several things:  years of experience, native/not native speaker, the city you want to work in, private/public school, part-time or full-time job.

Here are some typical job listings that you will find on the job boards:

For part-time job in China:

We need part time teachers. One on one class with flexible schedule (mainly on weekends). Native speakers preferred. 220-330RMB/100 mins depending on qualifications.

For full-time job in China:

18 classes/week, 80 minute & 40 minute classes
Primary School – High school, small classes
Curriculum provided
Starting time: Mid-Aug 2013

One way airfare reimbursement (upon completion of contract)
Help finding housing
Housing allowance: 1000RMB/month
Paid national holidays
Accident insurance provided

Native English speaker
20-45 years old
TESOL/TEFL preferred
Bachelor’s degree or above
2+ years’ work experience

In general, if you are going to work full time job in China in a big city, you can expect to get:

  • salary from 6000 RMB and up
  • full-furnished 2-room apartment paid by the school  or housing allowance
  • internet/water/gas/electricity paid by the school.
  • working visa sponsored by the school

These are considered to be standard and basic conditions for full-time employed English teacher in China.

Each school can require a different amount of working time per week  and the teaching conditions may vary.

We’ve thought from 50 students in one class in public school to one-on-one lessons in private training schools.

You have to be flexible and picky with time, so you don’t sell yourself cheap and don’t work too hard, but still can allow yourself a good living in China.

Request from the experienced expats

Do you have any advice to share with a beginning expat? Do you know some tricks and facts that can make a life of the expats in China easier? Please don’t hesitate to share it here. Thanks in advance from all beginning expats.

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10 Responses to Expat Beginner’s Guide – Finding job in China

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