Updated: 30 April 2017

There are two levels of requirements for getting a job in China, those of the school and those of the government.

School Requirements

Requirements of individual schools and training centers vary considerably, even when they are part of a franchise. However, compared to visa requirements they are much more flexible—many schools prioritize certain dimensions and are willing to overlook others. Also, you may observe prejudices at this level, in part because there are few enshrined hiring protections for candidates. We understand all of these intricacies for scores of schools and can guide you to where you will be valued most.

Government Requirements

The government requirements have some fixed elements and some local aspects. You will always need to obtain a Z-work visa to work full time in China, and should arrive in China with this proudly in hand. The national standard for a foreigner to get a visa to be an English teacher is, generally, over 18, in good health, and the relevant qualifications. On top of this, province and city level labor bureaus add their own requirements. For example, Jiangsu province requires university transcripts and no longer considers South Africa as a native English speaking country for visa purposes.

Therefore, while this page provides useful and accurate information, it will never be able to cover all possible situations. If you still have questions after reading this overview we are available to discuss your particular situation. We are connected to labor and general lawyers in China which we can seek clarification from, on your behalf, and without charge.

Ministry of Labor National “Guidelines” (often followed by public schools and universities) Beijing, Shanghai,  Suzhou, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen Other large cities Smaller tier 2 and 3 cities OASIS
(for us to find you a job)
Bachelor’s degree Required Required Usually Usually Required
Two years of relevant work post-graduate experience


language teacher qualification certificate

Required Required Usually Sometimes No
English as a first language Required Required Usually Sometimes Required
TESOL Certificate NOT Required NOT Required NOT Required NOT Required NOT Required
Age restrictions >18 Varies: approx. 18-60 Varies: approx. 18-60 Varies: approx. 18-60 18 to 60
Visa Type required to work legally Z-visa only Z-visa only Z-visa only Z-visa only Z-visa only