Do You Need a TEFL Certificate to Teach in China


Browsing teaching English as a foreign language jobs in China you will see that most of them require a TEFL certificate in order to apply. TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificates come in many shapes and sizes, some month long intensive courses that can cost up to 2000 US dollars and will have practical teaching components which will get you up in front of a real class as well as plenty of teaching methodology, classroom management, grammar studies and the like. Cambridge CELTA courses are geared towards teaching adults and are probably held in the highest regard. There are also more and more courses which focus on teaching young learners.

Other TEFL courses  can be shorter online ones where you typically complete course work and projects which is graded by an online tutor. These can be as short as 40 hours but are usually around 100 hours and considerably cheaper.

But what is required to gain legal employment to teach English in China and is it possible to get a job and China ‘Z’ work visa without one?

There do seem to be areas of China where a TEFL certificate is not needed. Regulations are enforced differently in different areas of China. Certain areas being able to take a certain amount of relevant teaching experience instead of the certificate. But it is advisable to complete a TEFL course of at least 120 hours, preferably which includes a practical teaching component which will give you practice teaching to real students. It will not only give you many more options in terms of jobs and good schools but will also give you a solid foundation with which to begin teaching. Arriving at a school with no idea about how to teach and no experience at all in front of a class can be quite daunting and the teaching adventure abroad you pictured in your head may well turn out to be drastically different in reality. 

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