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How Much Is The Salary of an English Teacher in China?

Teaching English in China is a popular career choice for many native English speakers. The country’s booming economy and increasing demand for English language education have created numerous teacher opportunities. One of the most common questions prospective teachers ask is: “How much is the salary of an English teacher in China?” This article will explore the various factors that influence teaching English in China salary, providing a detailed breakdown of what you can expect.

The Basics of English Teacher Salaries in China

Average Salary Range

The average salary for an English teacher in China varies widely depending on the city, type of institution, and qualifications. Generally, salaries range from $1,200 to $3,500 USD per month. In major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, salaries tend to be higher due to the higher cost of living and increased demand for qualified teachers.

a woman counting her money using a calculator in her phone

While the salary might be lower in smaller cities or rural areas, the cost of living is also significantly cheaper. Therefore, while the nominal salary might seem less attractive, the relative purchasing power could be similar or even better.

Check out Beyond TEFL’s job board for a more detailed guide on the different types of teaching jobs in China.

Factors Influencing Salary

1. Type of Institution

The type of institution you work for significantly affects your salary. Public schools, private language schools, international schools, and universities each offer different pay scales.

  • Public Schools: Typically offer lower salaries, ranging from $1,200 to $2,000 USD per month. However, they often include additional benefits such as housing allowances, flight reimbursements, and fewer teaching hours.
  • Private Language Schools: Offer competitive salaries, often between $1,500 to $2,500 USD per month. They may also offer bonuses and commission-based incentives.
  • International Schools: Offer the highest monthly salaries, ranging from $2,500 to $4,000 USD. These positions usually require more qualifications and experience.
  • Universities: Salaries range from $1,200 to $1,500 USD per month, but the workload is lighter, and additional benefits like housing and paid vacations can make these positions attractive.

2. Qualifications and Experience

a teacher teaching in front of a class

The more qualified and experienced you are, the higher your potential salary. Teachers with a TEFL certificate, bachelor’s degree, and several years of experience can command higher wages than those just starting.

  • Entry-Level Teachers: With a TEFL certificate and a bachelor’s degree, you can expect salaries between $1,200 to $2,000 USD per month.
  • Experienced Teachers: With several years of experience and advanced qualifications, such as a master’s degree in education or a related field, they can earn between $2,500 to $4,000 USD per month.

To understand how a TEFL certificate can impact your salary, check out our certification programs.

3. Location

The location of your teaching position significantly influences your salary. Major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen offer higher wages due to the higher cost of living and greater competition for jobs. In these cities, salaries for teaching English in China can range from $2,000 to $3,500 USD per month.

buildings in Shanghai, China

In smaller cities and rural areas, salaries range from $1,200 to $2,000 USD per month. However, the lower cost of living means your salary can go much further, and these areas often offer a more immersive cultural experience. It’s important to research how much is a salary in China to teach English in various regions before deciding.

4. Additional Benefits and Perks

In addition to the base salary, many schools and institutions in China offer a range of benefits to attract and retain foreign teachers. These benefits can add significant value to your overall compensation package.

5. Housing Allowance

Many schools provide free housing or a housing allowance, which can save you substantial money each month. Housing allowances can range from $300 to $800 USD per month, depending on the city and the school’s policy.

6. Flight Reimbursement

It is common for schools to offer flight reimbursements either as a lump sum at the end of your contract or as part of your monthly salary. This benefit can cover one or more round-trip flights per year, significantly reducing your travel expenses.

7. Health Insurance

Health insurance is another standard benefit. Schools typically provide basic health coverage, and some offer comprehensive dental and vision care plans.

8. Paid Vacation

tourists in Shanghai, China

Paid vacation time varies by institution. Public schools and universities often provide extensive holiday periods, including summer and winter breaks, while private language schools may offer fewer vacation days.

Cost of Living in China

While discussing salaries, considering the cost of living in China, which can vary significantly by location, is essential. Major cities are more expensive, but they also offer higher salaries. In smaller towns, the cost of living is much lower, making your salary stretch further.

Major Cities vs. Smaller Cities

  • Beijing and Shanghai: Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can range from $800 to $1,500 USD per month. Other expenses such as food, transportation, and entertainment are also higher.
  • Smaller Cities: Rent can be as low as $200 to $500 USD per month, and other living expenses are proportionately lower. This can make teaching in a smaller city an attractive option for saving money.

Daily Expenses

  • Food: Eating out is generally affordable, with local meals costing between $2 to $5 USD. Western restaurants are more expensive, with meals ranging from $10 to $20 USD.
  • Transportation: Public transportation is efficient and cheap, with subway rides costing around $0.50 to $1 USD. Taxis are also affordable, starting at around $2 USD.
vehicles on a road in Beijing, China

Considering Your Options

Teaching English in China can be a rewarding experience both financially and culturally. The salary of an English teacher in China varies widely based on factors like the type of institution, location, and qualifications. While the average salary range is between $1,200 and $3,500 USD per month, the benefits package can significantly enhance your overall compensation. Many teachers often wonder how much the salary of an English teacher in China is, and it’s clear that a variety of factors influence this.

Understanding how much is a salary in China to teach English helps you make an informed decision about pursuing a teaching career in this vibrant and dynamic country. Whether you choose a bustling metropolis or a serene rural area, teaching in China offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a rich cultural experience while making a meaningful impact through education.