Making adventures happen since 2013

Want to live and teach English in China?

Learn more about what we have to offer!

About the job

Asia might be one of those special dreams which we never seem to have the courage to make come true.  

Does the thought of working and teaching in China seem too far and too unlikely? Not anymore!  If the answer is yes to these questions, then why not teach English in China?

Your mission will consist of teaching children, teenagers or adult students at an international school, receiving a decent salary and traveling on weekends. This ultimately means meeting new people and discovering new cultures.

English language teaching is extremely popular today. You can speak English and are ready to share and spread your knowledge.

English language teaching allows you to have a good quality of life, make new friends, do what you love without being bound to a particular workplace or town.

You gain cultural experience, make new friends, discover exotic places in Asia and also learn a new language.

However, it may be extremely difficult to find a reliable school with maximum benefits and perks.  Doing all the paperwork before the leave may seem overwhelming and take plenty of time.

That’s why trusting a recruiting agency is a good idea.

What exactly do we offer?

  1. Jobs for everyone: unlike many other agencies, we offer teaching jobs in China for non-native speakers as well as native ones. Therefore, if your English is good enough, we will find you a decent position.
  2. The highest rates: our purpose is to find you a position that will pay you more. You don't have to be a native speaker. We negotiate the best salary for you irrespective of your level of English fluency. ESL teacher’s salaries vary, depending on the city and area of the population, as well as the institution you work for. The demand for English teachers in China is extremely high at the moment and the salary is twice as high for native English speakers, compared to Chinese teachers in public or private schools.
  3. Our Service is 100% free for teachers: once you sign up and register, you don't need to worry about any fees or obligatory payments. Our work is paid by schools, and our task is to find the best candidates and help them through the entire process.
  4. Accommodation: We provide free accommodation for all our teachers no matter which city you choose. We do our best to find you the best possible comfort solution for accommodation. You don’t need to worry about rentals or legal issues regarding accommodation.
  5. Competent recruiters: our agents are here to answer any questions, quickly find a solution to your problem and from their vast experience, know exactly what to do.
  6. Legal and registered schools only: we collect the most appealing job opportunities for foreigners and only collaborate with reliable and legally registered institutions. In other words, there is no risk of you being sent to China without an employment visa or signing a shady contract.
  7. Satisfied clients: You will get the most suitable position according to your specified requirements.

There is no payment for the program, but there are some starting costs for you to come to China: getting a via, purchasing flight tickets and around $400 USD for the first month of living in China until you get your first salary.

  1. Complete our online application form.
  2. One of our recruitment staff will get in touch with you and ask you to send the following documents:
    • Your resume / CV
    • Your degree (if you have one)
    • Your self-introduction video
    • Your passport photo page
  3. We’ll invite you for a Skype interview at a time that is convenient for you. In the interview, we’ll get to know you as a person and we’ll expand on the questions you might have. This is also your chance to discuss where you’d like to work and ask any questions you may have to somebody who knows the ESL industry inside out.
  4. We talk to suitable schools and offer you a contract. If you’re happy with a contract, you’re ready to start your new adventure!
  5. We’ll keep in touch. If at any point you feel the school is not treating you well or not abiding by the contract, we are here to help. We can also advise you on your new journey, for example about how to best socialize with the locals, or what to do before moving to a new country. From time to time we’ll check in with you to see how you’re doing.

The entire recruitment process is completely free and usually takes about 2-3 weeks (not including the waiting time for the visa). This time mainly depends on how quickly you can send us the documents and on when we can schedule an interview with you.

Yes, we have many couples and groups of friends who have come to Work and Live in China together.

We find that having someone close to you who is also going through the same experience helps with adjusting to working and living in China that much faster.  

You will also quickly become friends with other Foreign English Teachers and local Chinese Teachers at your centers as well.

We accept applications to teach English in China year-round at Work and Live in China.

Our busiest times for hiring international English teachers in China are in January/February and July/August.

We usually start the interview process 1 to 3 months prior to teachers arriving in China.  

Please fill in the application, so that we could get your contact information and contact you back to discuss the details.

Salaries vary. Today’s ESL teacher salaries in China are considerably higher than local teachers. It will be easy for you to save your money while working, as most expenses are paid for by the school.

Many teachers return with as much as $15,000 after a 1-year contract.

Salaries range from $1,100 - $2,100, but we may even offer you positions with salaries that go up to $2,300 per month!

Plus, we’ll ensure, that you also receive a contract completion bonus (~$700!).

It really depends on your habits and your lifestyle. However, the salary for teaching English in China is likely to increase your purchasing power and earn you a decent and comfortable living.

As an example, basic expenses like buying clothes, paying for utilities, transport fees and food will not exceed $450-$600.

However, if you eat out often and prefer fast foods or foods other than Chinese food, be prepared to pay more.

Most schools cover rent, bills, and transport costs.  If this is the case, you could save up even more of your monthly payments.

If the school is located in one of the cities known as the big four, sharing an apartment with another foreign teacher might be a good idea, because rent there can be quite expensive.

Eating local food will also let you save more to spend on traveling and entertainment.

If you don’t possess a degree or TEFL certification, but really want to teach in Asia, that’s not a big deal, because it is easily arranged and we will still be able to provide you with a job.

Today, hundreds of schools, kindergartens and tutoring centers in China need English teachers, and this is a great opportunity to find TEFL or TESOL certification jobs. You simply have to be fluent in English, no other requirements.

A better option, of course, is if a candidate holds a Bachelor’s degree so that he/she could apply for a more well-paid job. Fortunately, a degree in English or education is not necessary; it can be any other field. 

To earn more a teacher has to have a TEFL certificate with a minimum of 100 hours of training (120+ hours for some cities).

Actually, TESOL and CELTA certifications are also accepted, since these are practically the same thing.

We also reimburse a TEFL course cost upon your arrival to China.

You’ll have to pay for the ticket yourself initially. The money will be reimbursed 6 month after your arrival.

We compensate up to 3000 RMB for the actual flight ticket.

There will also be someone to meet you at the airport upon your arrival.

All our ESL jobs in China offer free accommodation. If it's a big city, you might get a room in a shared apartment. It depends on the district and rent prices, but in most cases, we aim at getting you a separate apartment.

In cases of a small city like Weihai or Qingdao, you will definitely be living in a studio or a 1-bedroom single apartment by yourself.

The health insurance is not part of the free package, but we surely will help you to get one once in China.

There are several types of insurance packages to choose from: cheaper ones will cover medical visits and prescribed medicine at public hospitals whereas premium packages offer extended coverage, including access to international medical centers.

The usual cost for good health insurance is 400-500 RMB per month.

Yes, you can. You will have free weekends, national public holidays and around 10 days of annual leave.

It’s not obligatory to speak any Mandarin Chinese, because you can arrange a holiday with your local English-speaking colleagues or get on a tour designed for foreigners.

Our agency provides TEFL jobs in 1st, 2nd and 3rdtier cities (more than 150) cities, as well as jobs in rural areas of China with very competitive salaries (since the cost of living is lower).

There are three kinds of schools in China that need English teachers: public institutions, private schools, and language centers, where they teach only adult students.

Public schools usually have around 50 children in each class.

If you aren’t ready to work with big groups, a private school might be a better solution, as they limit the number of students to a maximum of 12 or 15 per class.

Training centers are easier to teach as the number of students in each class does not exceed 10 or 12. The age of children varies from 3-12 years old.

To teach kindergarten children is probably the most exciting teaching job of all.

The kids are around 3-6 years old, they are all eager to learn and are interested in foreign English.

Don’t be afraid of public schools though. Every foreign teacher gets a Chinese Teaching Assistant, who helps control the class, provides the necessary support and materials and may sometimes help with translation (If there is a problem and students don’t understand you - which is rare.)

Whether you’re looking for spectacular natural beauty, global mega-cities, rich history or culture of modern innovation, there is a China to suit everyone.

And there’s a huge variety of English teaching jobs in China too. Home to the largest population in Asia, there are currently 350 million English learners in China and demand is still rising.

Enrollment in international schools, a sector in which China is already a world leader, is set to double in the next four years--and that’s before you consider growing opportunities to teach English in private language schools, universities, and China’s state school system.

Throughout the education sector, native speakers with experience in western school systems are in particularly high demand.

As a result, English teachers in China often have the luxury of picking and choosing between vacancies to find the most fulfilling and best-paid teaching roles.

So, an international adventure in a fascinating culture? Fulfilling and well-paid work? If these are on your professional check-list, now might just be the perfect time for you to teach in China.

Please visit our Testimonials page to learn more about working and teaching English in China.

Teachers often share their experiences there. We update this section regularly, adding new client stories and useful articles.

In addition, we advise you to look for Youtube channels and personal blogs of those teachers who already work here and share tips.

This will help you prepare properly for the trip and make your adaptation easier.

No problem. Teaching English as a second language in China usually implies absolute immersion in the language, so it’s not only okay for you not to speak a word of Chinese – using it in class and translating is frowned upon.

After work, a survival level of Mandarin may be useful, but not needed, since many restaurants have menus in English, road and street signs are also all multilingual.

In fact, many ESL teachers don’t speak any Chinese at all – even after a few years’ contracts.

Of course, those who are willing to learn the language and discover the culture, can easily sign up for Mandarin Chinese classes or get a tutor. Many schools help newcomers and may even provide materials for self-education.

If you feel like going to China, be ready to spend at least 12 months there because due to visa conditions, teaching programs may not be shorter than a year. After completion of your contract, you will receive a bonus.

The majority of ESL teachers usually prolong their contracts, because the money is good and the experience is out of this world and ultimately - priceless.

Normally, foreigners teach about 25 hours per week (in fact, they rarely work over 20h). If you sign a contract for 25 hours, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there’ll be as many classes: if they don’t have enough students, there’ll be fewer classes, but this won’t affect the salary.

Every week a teacher spends 10 to 15 hours at the office, preparing for classes, planning lessons, writing feedback, answering students’ questions, and creating demo lessons for those, who wish to see what it will be like after they enroll.

Side note: English teachers in China are allowed to tutor students, but the employer has to be informed about it first. Attention, tutoring school clients are forbidden. Those jobs give extra cash and may slightly affect your schedule, too.

Both positions for natives and jobs for non-native English teachers in China usually have a stable schedule: 5 days work week and 2 consecutive days off.

These are likely to be Saturday and Sunday since local employees also stay at home on weekends. But this may be different if you sign a contract with language courses because then there might be work in the evening and on weekends.

Anyway, days off are a norm, schedules are usually discussed before signing a contract.

Lessons range from 20 minutes to 50 minutes, depending on the age of the students.

Yes, according to the law, any employee – local or foreign – is entitled to paid sick leave. If your experience in this particular school is less than 2 years, you are likely to get paid 60% of your daily pay.

If your contract terminates during your sick leave, the school will be obliged to prolong it until your sick-leave period is over and continue paying your daily wages.

During the first year of your teaching English in China, you normally have 14 days vacation plus 11 or 15 days of national holidays, so at least 25 days per school year.

There are schools, that do not work during the Spring Festival, so if you are hired at one of those, there’ll be more weeks off in total, but beware, not the entire period may be paid.

Yes, in order to come to teach in China you will need a valid passport with at least one year remaining and multiple passport pages empty.

We will help you apply for a Visa before entering China.

Yes, many of our foreign English teachers had never taught before joining Work and Live in China.

As long as you have a positive attitude toward teaching, we can help you prepare through our English teacher training upon arrival.

Yes for the most part.  

We do try to have a set roster of classes in each school; however, you may be asked to pick up classes from other teachers because of leave or overcrowding.

Yes, teachers are given a work shirt to be worn in the classroom at all times.

Teachers must also wear socks at all times in the classroom, and pants/dresses/shorts should be mobile, clean, and unripped and not overly revealing.

No, our schools do not have a cafeteria, so all meals are up to the teachers to provide for themselves.

You will find that most schools are located in or around shopping centers with plenty of eating options.

You will be paid monthly, on the 25th of every month for the previous month’s work. 

Your pay will be deposited into your Chinese bank account.

If you start working after the 15th of the month, we will pay you in the following month on the 25th.

If you start, for example, on the 5th, we will try to pay you the same month on the 25th for all workdays, however, this might not always be possible.

In some circumstances, we will have to pay you the next month.

That is why, when coming to China, we ask you to take at least $400 USD in cash until you get your first pay.

Yes, teachers are required to prepare for their lessons, interact with our students, participate in periodic training programs, take part in marketing events, communicate with co-workers daily, and generally work to the betterment of your school.

Please fill in the application, so that we could get your contact information and contact you back to discuss the details.

You will be able to ask one of our recruiters about jobs for ESL teachers or anything you want to know or are unsure about. Your questions are very welcome, so feel free to ask!

What is it like living in China?

Food in China is extremely diverse.  It’s not just the local Chinese food, which is quite different between regions, but you can also find a taste of home in major cities across China with Western-style restaurants.

While there are western restaurants to choose from in some areas, the local Chinese restaurants will be an experience that you will never forget.  

We love sharing meals as a family by eating “family-style” here in China, and one of our favorite dishes by far is Chinese hotpot.

Public transportation is most popular, and readily available throughout China.

Most cities have large numbers of public buses, and big cities like Nanjing, Guangzhou, and Beijing have subway lines.

On top of this, taxis can be taken to most locations, although are comparatively much more expensive.  As well, Didi (Chinese version of Uber) is available everywhere.

Most laws that could affect your life in China are similar to those of your home country. However, China has an extremely strict drug policy.

They have zero tolerance for drug use and impose strict and harsh penalties for those caught using or doing drugs.

China’s major cities are just as safe as major cities in the west.

Most apartment complexes are gated and police are a constant presence.


There are many different ways to learn Chinese while living in China, depending on your preference.  

The most common way is for teachers to find a personal tutor but may also do a language exchange with new friends and the Local Chinese Teachers at our training centers.  

A Chinese Tutor can run about 30-150 RMB (10 RMB = 1 pound, 6.5 RMB=1 dollar) for 1 hour.

For the most part, travel is not restricted in China for foreigners.

Keep in mind, whenever you travel, you do need to carry your passport and register with the local police upon your arrival into a new city (Hotels and hostels will do this for you).

However, Tibet is the one area that can pose some difficulties for foreigners to travel to. It is possible to access, but you must go through the right channels and get the correct special permits.

There are plenty of great books on China. Whenever traveling to a new country, it is always handy to purchase the Lonely Planet China Travel Guide.

If you are looking for something more novel-based, you might try China Road, by Rob Gifford.  

Or if you are looking for first-hand tips, just read our blog, it will be definitely useful.

English is not spoken as much in China as it is in South America or Europe. However, that doesn’t mean you need to speak Chinese to survive in China.

Most people will understand simple phrases and you can usually get your meaning across with some hand gestures and patience.

There are also many restaurants with English or picture menus, and most major businesses will have an employee who can speak English.

You can also use technology, such as phone apps for translation.

Anytime you are coming to a new country, you must expect that things will be different.

Before discussing any specific issues, it is best to say that teachers who do best in China are those who can take a step back from each new situation (no matter how good, bad, or different it might seem) and relax while working through it.

Here are a few things that teachers find to be different in China; however, this list is not exhaustive:

  • Often schedule changes or additions are made last minute (this is because it is seen as a loss of face to say something will happen and then cancel, so people often wait until the last minute
  • When eating at a restaurant with friends, it is seen as a great gesture to pay the bill, so often Chinese people will fight to pay. If you want to pay, you need to really insist on paying the bill.
  • Also in most restaurants, tipping is not allowed. This is because it is seen as you telling them that they need more money than they are already paid.  It can be seen as an insult
  • Foreigners are still somewhat a novelty in China. As a result, many people have a hard time hiding their curiosity.  This might manifest itself with people staring at you, asking you to take a photo with them, or something as nice as everyone saying hello to you.
  • Toddlers under the age of two often wear clothing that has a split opening in the crotch. Commonly called “split pants”, these allow children to quickly potty train; however, often in public places.
  • Toilet paper is not common in most public restrooms and is not flushed down the toilet.  However, travel tissues are cheap and sold everywhere, so always carry some with you.

Like most places around the world, China is a really friendly place. However, there are certain people around the world who prey on this friendliness.  

We advise teachers living in China to keep their guard up, as they would in any other major city around the world.

In particular, there are two areas you should display extreme caution. Any time you go to a very tourist heavy or Western heavy area, you will meet lots of people who can speak English.  They may offer to help you and accompany you, saying that they are happy just to be able to practice their English. But beware if they suggest going to a certain tea house or an art gallery to show you more Chinese culture.

Once at the tea house or art gallery, you could be charged an exorbitant amount of money from 1,000 to 10,000 RMB for your tea or entry fee.  

Another general rule of thumb is to not add anyone to your party once you are out (or you may end up paying everyone’s bill). This way you can avoid any unpleasant situations, as the police are not very helpful in these situations.

The second area to avoid is the so-called “Black Taxis” or taxis without meters. Make sure to look for real taxis and don’t go with people who just offer a ride for a set price.  

This is common around Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in Beijing.

About Visas

During a Skype interview, our recruiters will tell you in detail what documents you need to submit before coming to China.

The basic list includes passport photo, visa, criminal record check, and health check.

Please let our visa recruiters know two months before your China visa expires so they can help you apply for a new visa.

If you wait too late to inform us of your visa being close to expiration, you might incur certain costs yourself for the extension.

The whole process time from start to finish can take up to 1,5 months (could be faster depending on the type of visa).

This is because certain documents are needed and must be submitted in sequential order, with the next document only available once the previous submission is accepted.

Yes, we do cover the visa cost once you arrive in China.

We will also ask for you bring an original copy of proof of no criminal record, degree and TEFL (if necessary) and health check.

This can be obtained from your local police station. They will know the procedure.

Also, don’t forget to make a few copies of your passport and visa and carry them with you, as well as leaving a set at your home with someone you trust.

In addition, bringing extra passport pictures is suggested to help with medical or visa checks you might encounter during the year.

Apply now and we will find you a great ESL job in China

Application form

Application form