Browsing on the Net, you’ve probably learned that average pay for teachers can vary a lot. There is, in fact, no such thing as a fixed salary.
Those who work in teaching English in China in 2020 can get between 6,500 RMB and 16,000 RMB. That’s roughly $920 and $2,300 per month (depends on qualification, city, education level, and experience).
Who gets the minimum wage in China?
Typically, it’s an inexperienced teacher, often with no certification. Maybe a student or a fresh graduate. $1,000 wages are common at part-time jobs, too.
There are three major factors that influence the average salary of a teacher here:
- Previous experience and qualifications;
- Region or city you work in;
- Type of institution you teach English in China: salaries and schedules are different in kindergartens and colleges.
Your Salary Teaching in China Depends on the Type of Institution You Are Teaching in
Wondering about TESL teacher salary in China, it’s important to decide where exactly you aim to work.
Public schools pay less than private centers, well, as practically everywhere in the world.
Conditions and bonuses are always better at international and private schools, too.
However, these are all decent-paying jobs. No matter how much you get, moving to China to teach English is going to improve your financial situation and guarantee a comfortable living.
Sure, it’s easier to put something by, if you get over $1,500 on a regular basis, but don’t get discouraged.
Good educators always find a way to earn extra, for example, teaching English to Chinese students via Skype or at home.
Salaries for Teaching English in Kindergartens
Depending on the number of hours you get, the average salary kindergarten teachers can expect is around 8,000 – 12,000 RMB ($1,200 – $1,800).
Working with young learners has another advantage: earning a pretty decent salary, you get the least amount of hours possible. Plus, classes are very short – from 20 to 40 minutes.
Office hours are usually not required. Some kindergartens offer part-time jobs.
So, being an English teacher in China, you can get extra jobs at other kindergartens or language centers.
It’s a great way to double or triple your monthly income and save something for the future.
Salaries for Teaching English in Public Schools
Teaching a whole class of Chinese school kids can be a rewarding activity.
A part-time position at top schools can let you earn up to 10,000 RMB per month, but it’s usually as little as 6,000 RMB ($900).
However, accommodation allowance or free housing is often provided to foreign teachers in China. It’s a great way to save some cash even with minimum wages.
A high school English teacher pay may be 12,000 or 14,000 RMB per month, especially, if it’s an experienced full-time employee.
Top-rated schools offer extra bonuses, free trips, and free health assurance, so with $2,000 you can both afford most things and put by regularly.
Salaries for Teaching English in Private Institutions
According to our clients, teaching English in China, salaries in the private sector can be considerably higher, than in public institutions.
Average teacher income at private schools and kindergartens usually reaches 13,000 RMB ($1,840) or sometimes up to 16,000 RMB ($2,250), depending on the teacher’s qualification, experience, city of workplace and education level.
Parents are ready to pay more for qualified foreign teachers and a modern approach in the process.
Of course, a preschool teacher’s pay will be lower, than a subject teacher’s salary at an international school. It all depends on the actual position and skills required.
Combining a public school position with a part-time job at a private one is a great way to improve your situation.
Especially if you teach English in rural China, where schedules are less strict and the pay is lower.
Salaries for Teaching English in Language Centers
Language courses are among the most popular places for ESL teachers in China. Modern, fully equipped and with limited class size (up to 20 people).
Plus, staff members are usually fluent in English, which facilitates communication in the office.
The salary expectation is quite high as well with the bottom line at 10,000 RMB ($1,415).
An average teacher monthly salary is usually between 10,000 RMB and 13,000 RMB ($1,410 – $1,840).
You see, in the field of teaching English China sets no limits – it’s all up to you!
The thing is, you wouldn’t even have to work overtime or take any additional responsibilities.
Experienced and loyal mentors are always entitled to more privileges and bonuses.
Language learning centers also pay extra (minimum 5,000 RMB) for each new contract, you sign with the school. The longer you stay, the more you get.
Salaries for Teaching English in International Schools
Don’t confuse ESL centers with international institutions, which are basically schools for expat’s children.
How much money does a teacher make a month there? It depends, but English-speaking subject teachers are highly valued and extremely well-paid.
13,000 – 14,000 RMB wages are normal there.
Teaching TEFL in China at such institutions often requires being a native speaker.
Otherwise, the pay may be lower. Also, unlike in many other places, international schools don’t accept uncertified amateurs with no degree. A university diploma is a must, and it should also be in the field of education.
Salaries for Teaching English in Colleges and Universities
The best thing about higher education in this country is the number of working hours and benefits you get. 15 class hours a week is considered full-time, office hours are very limited or inexistent.
An average university professor’s salary is around 8,000 or 9,000 RMB, which is equal to $1,200 – $1,300.
Sounds ridiculous, right? In fact, it’s far more complicated than that.
Both universities and colleges in China offer free meals, campus housing or 2,000 RMB allowance, cover utility bills and guarantee other free stuff.
Considering the easy schedule and bonuses, you get an amazing quality of life.
Plus, you can apply for part-time language school jobs in China or do some tutoring to increase your income. Only if you want to.
Most foreign mentors do combine work in different institutions, but it’s not obligatory.
With $1,200 and no rent or bills to pay for, you can get a pretty nice living even in the most expensive cities.
Salaries for Private Tutoring in China
For those teaching English in China, salary is usually the main criterion for choosing the school. It’s useful to remember, that your earning is not limited to the figure in your contract.
Most of our clients turn to tutoring. It’s a quick and effective way to multiply the benefits of teaching and save an extra hundred every month.
Some private and public institutions offer extra classes paid 100 – 150 RMB per hour, but you can get even more via Skype students, special web sites and tutoring your students at home.
Parents and students will ask you themselves, or you can look through some sites and noticeboards at school and in your area. People are very enthusiastic about private lessons with native speakers in China.
Don’t hesitate, if you have enough free time and energy for additional classes.
A professional private teacher salary alone may reach 14,000 RMB if there are enough students for a 20-hour week.
College mentors often combine their work with tutoring, some of them switch to a part-time mode so as to have more one-on-one classes.
Your Salary Teaching in China Depends on Where You Are Teaching
Another important factor is geography. Due to a smaller population and less developed economy, the pay may be different in less touristic cities.
It’s crucial to estimate the average salary by the city before you make the final decision.
Here are three questions to ask yourself: Where would I like to live? How much is the average salary of a teacher? How expensive is living?
The highest paying jobs don’t always guarantee extraordinary purchasing power, while an average ESL salary in a small city can offer you the life you wanted.
Average Teaching Salaries in Tier 1 Cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen):
- Average full-time salary: 14,000 RMB
- Minimum wages: 7,000 RMB
- Best pay: 18,000 RMB (only experienced teachers with degrees can expect such a salary after 1 year of teaching in China)
- Housing: provided / 80-100% allowance
In most cases, the best teach English in China salaries are to be found in international schools.
Training centers are another great option, where they not only have the highest rates but also provide free accommodation and coaching.
Being the best cities to teach in, the first tier places are very well-known and popular among foreigners.
Schools are numerous and generous, offering outstanding teacher benefits like free Mandarin classes, trips, extended paid vacation, and welcome pack.
Although beware, that teaching English in Beijing with a thousand dollars may not give you the freedom you want.
Because of the high prices, the capital is 200% more expensive than some of the 3rd tier cities.
Sometimes, it’s wise to choose a less renowned place if you lack experience and qualifications.
- Average ESL teacher salary: 10,000 RMB
- Minimum wages: 4,000 RMB
- Best offer: 12,000 RMB
- Housing: free/full allowance
Typically, these cities are less popular with tourists. However, in some of them, the competition is quite tough.
They are also great for people, who seek a peaceful and traditional Chinese atmosphere with a slower pace of life.
With full housing allowance and a local average teaching salary, it’s perfectly possible to travel on vacation, eat out and send some money back home.
Minimum wages will only allow for normal living, but not much going out. In this case, don’t forget about tutoring salaries and part-time positions at ESL centers.
Average Teaching Salaries in Tier 3 Cities (Yangzhou, Zhongshan, Guilin, and Foshan):
- Average monthly salary: 8,000 RMB
- Minimum: 4,000 RMB
- Best wages: 10,000 RMB
- Housing: provided for free
A list of cities, you never heard of. Salaries might seem unrealistic, but the cost of living in China’s smallest towns is incomparable to those of the 1st tier!
You can actually afford a lot with $350 – $450 per month here.
Plus, in order to compete with the more popular places, they offer free accommodation and lunches here (not only in universities but also in all types of schools).
That’s a great way to save some extra money and explore local cooking.
Without a side job, it’s difficult to put by. However, opting for international / language schools and private lessons, you won’t have to worry about your earnings.
If you move to China to teach English and it’s to be your very first experience, 3rd tier cities are a great option.
It’s easier to get a job, managers, and colleagues will be more attentive and helpful, and you’ll get to see what “rural” China is like.
Your Salary Teaching in China Depends on Your Education, Experience, and Qualifications
Here is the truth about teaching English in China: salary depends greatly on your skills.
Even though, prior experience and certification are not a must (at least, in most schools), it’s an important factor.
- Have you worked with such students before? For how long?
- Are you TEFL certified?
- Do you have a degree in education?
- Are you a native speaker?
Those are the main questions. If you can’t respond positively to any of them, it’s not a problem.
The important part is for you to have a Bachelor’s degree in some field because that’s one of the basic requirements.
Other than that, keep calm: there are loads of teaching jobs in China for non-native speakers, fresh and uncertified instructors.
There is one great piece of advice: get a TEFL before you even apply for a job. It’s fast and not too expensive.
The certificate will affect your eventual ESL teaching salary in China and make you a far more interesting candidate on the market.
It’ll give you access to more offers and be your advantage when it comes to salary negotiations.
Are you ready to start your teaching career in China?
Apply now and we will find you the best teaching position available according to your skills and preferences.