Once you decide you want to teach in China, one of the most important things you want to bear in mind is the appropriate time of applying for a position.
Why does it matter? Well, first of all, there is a certain employment procedure that takes some time.
You’ll have to gather all the necessary documents, send them to different authorities again and again before you get a work permit (a work permit issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the People’s Republic of China and sent to you by your employer.
Secondly, the earlier you apply for a job, the more possibilities you have.
By this, we mean that you can apply for positions in several schools or negotiate working conditions.
It’s much more difficult to look for decent conditions just before the start of a school year.
Finally, knowing the periods when Chinese educational institutions hire ESL teachers the most actively guarantees you’ll find a job of your dream.
So, what’s the best time to apply for a teaching job in China?
You’ll find the answer in our article.
Taking into account where you want to teach
The first thing you want to remember when deciding on the best time to apply for a teaching job in China is the institution.
Most frequently, you’ll come across offers from kindergartens and public schools (primary, middle, and high ones). It’s also possible to face teaching positions in Chinese universities.
One more option to teach English in China is going to private English center.
To decide when to apply for a job, you should keep in mind the following. Different institutions have different hiring periods.
Speaking about any state kindergarten or school, there are two terms in a year – from September to January and from February to May.
Thus, September and February are the months when the majority of new teachers start their careers in China.
The situation is slightly different when it comes to private centers.
Here, terms don’t necessarily coincide with the ones in public schools.
Programs might differ and there can be three or four terms a year.
Consequently, if you want to work in a private center, you have more chances to start teaching in China in the middle of the school year.
The schedule is different
Kindergartens, public schools, and universities or private English courses…Which one should you choose?
It depends on your lifestyle.
The thing is that public institutions – from kindergartens to universities – work on weekdays, usually in the mornings and in the afternoons.
Classes there start early in the morning, around 8 a.m. So if you choose one of these institutions, be ready to wake up early.
One of the reasons why ESL teachers often go for public schools is that you start your day early but you do finish it early, too.
In case you enjoy sleeping till midday, you should probably consider private English courses and academies.
As a rule, these institutions offer language classes for adults. And as you might guess, adults go there after work in the evenings.
Plus, working people also often choose weekends for their lessons. If you’re ready for a schedule like this, go ahead.
Keep in mind the visa process
Obtaining a visa is a must if you want to work in China legally. That’s the reason why you want to spend some time to get it.
Visa process usually starts one month before the day you depart for China.
Although the processing of a visa itself isn’t time-consuming (as a rule, it takes about 4 days), you’ll have a lot of paperwork before you can apply for a visa.
By this, we mean that you’ll have to notarize all your documents – diploma, TEFL certificate, criminal check, etc.
Once you do this, you’ll need to send these papers to your future employer in China so he can get you a work permit.
All in all, these actions will take you about three-four weeks. And only when you have all of them, you can apply for a visa.
Make sure you have enough time for these paper issues.
We have prepared step-by-step guides for native speakers on how to get a work Z visa to teach English in China, feel free to check them and learn how it works:
So when is the best time to apply for a teaching job in China?
More often than not, educational institutions, as well as hiring organizations, say that the best time to apply for a teaching job in China is 3-4 month before a new term.
This time might seem too long for a simple job application.
But keep in mind that you’re going to work in a foreign country, and it can be more complicated than in your motherland.
Here are some tips for you to remember to choose the best time for application:
- Plan ahead. Decide on an educational institution you want to work for. Depending on its type (public or private), find out when a hiring process begins.
If you opt for a state kindergarten or school, you’ll need to start your application process in May (for fall term) or October (for spring term).
If you prefer private courses, it’s better to address certain institutions separately and ask for this information from their hiring departments. But with us, we take care of all the communication with the employer so you can get the best possible salary and position in the city. Still, the best time to apply for a teaching job in China private school is 3-4 months before a new term. Check out our guide on how to successfully teach students in different Chinese institutions to be prepared.
- Get your TEFL. Nowadays, more and more Chinese institutions require ESL teachers to provide a 120-hour TEFL certificate. Thus, if you don’t have this document, take your time to obtain it.
Usually, the average time you need to spend to do the course is six weeks. However, it can be shorter or longer depending on your schedule.
Please keep in mind that requirements in Chinese schools to ESL teachers might differ and you’ll sometimes be able to pass TEFL after your arrival. Find out this information in advance in order to get a chance to save some time.
- Have an interview. Needless to say, it’s one of the essential parts when you apply for a job, so, you want to be well-prepared.
It’s a great idea to record a self-introduction video where you’ll tell your potential employer why you want to work in a certain institution. It might take you a couple of days to make a high-quality video.
Moreover, you’ll necessarily have a job interview via Skype or something so HR managers and school headmaster can find out more about your personality and professionalism.
Of course, potential employers will need some time to decide if you fit in with their job offer.
So, maybe you’ll have to wait for about a week to learn their decision.
- Obtain a visa. We’ve already mentioned this process above. Just make sure you have all necessary documents and enough time to get your visa done before you set off to China.
- Book plane tickets. Once you have your visa, it’s time to buy tickets. Although it shouldn’t take you much time, you’ll need to spend some in order to find a flight with the most suitable conditions for you. You can find good flight deals on Trip Advisor, Kayak, Cheapflights or any other airlines search engine.
- Find a place to live in China during your working contract. When you know the date of your departure to China, you want to take care of an apartment for the nearest future. Luckily, there are thousands of rented apartment offers in every (at least, big one) city in China. But it can be challenging sometimes to find the one that meets your needs perfectly.
Be ready to spend some time looking for a flat and negotiating rental conditions with a landlord if you’re renting a flat on your own. Luckily, we have prepared the complete looking for an apartment in China guide for you.
However, you don’t even need to bother with it since our company offers all teachers a free apartment upon the arrival to the place of work.
- Keep in mind the possibility of public holidays in governmental institutions. Four weeks for documents notarization and four days for visa obtaining are approximate. If you deal with all bureaucratic procedures faster, you’re the lucky one.
But sometimes, you might not know or can simply forget about non-working hours when Chinese councils, lawyers, hospitals, and other state institutions don’t serve their clients.
It usually happens during Chinese national holidays and national holidays of the country which you apply from.
That’s why it’s important to make sure your applications will be processed during business hours, especially if you’re time-poor.
With that said, the best time to apply for a teaching job in China is 3-4 months before a new school term. Having several months for application, you’ll be able to get ready for work both physically and morally.
Are you ready to start? Apply on our website and we will find you a perfect teaching position in China.