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Teach English in China Without a Degree

Many people love to travel. Travelers experience countries other than their own and learn about different traditions and cultures. Unfortunately, traveling is not always financially feasible. Finding a teaching position overseas is ideal for those who always wanted to visit a foreign country and want to work with English learners. 

China is a prime example of a location that many people want to visit. However, going to China to work, similar to going to any other country for a job, comes with additional elements that go far beyond just traveling as a tourist. 

The Benefits of Teaching English in China

If you are a native English speaker and are looking at venturing into a new career or just beginning your first career, teaching English as a second language (TESL) may be a great option. If you enjoy challenges and making a difference in people’s lives, teaching is a great career.

One of the great benefits of teaching English to non-native speakers is the chance to go overseas and live out a dream. China is in the top 10 countries where people teach English. Not only are English teachers always in high demand, but the local attractions and traditions also make China a perfect place to start a teaching career. Since you will most likely be working a few hours a week, you will have the remaining time to explore the country and all that it has to offer. 

What are the Teaching Requirements in China?

The most important thing after deciding that you would like to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL) is knowing the credentials required of you. Many people mistakenly believe that because they are native English speakers, they will teach English. While being a native speaker will surely make it easier to teach English, it is not the sole or even the most requested requirement. 

Speaking English comes with various opportunities, and there is no shortage of students wanting to learn the language around the world.  China is no exception. English teachers in Asian countries are in high demand. Due to the influx of teachers, the government has become more stringent regarding the individuals allowed to work there.  

In 2019, China’s ministry of education changed its requirements for teaching English in China. Although new foreign teachers must still apply and attain the Z visa to work in China, the Chinese government has amended academic credentials. Now to teach in China, a foreign teacher must have both a Bachelor’s degree and be TEFL certified.

There are Ways to Teach in China Without a Degree

The good news regarding China’s latest requirement is that the country does not specify what your Bachelor’s degree needs to be. Meaning you can have a four-year degree in Art History and still be eligible to teach English. Furthermore, the TEFL certificate remains easily accessible to those who want to obtain it. With online classes available, the required 120 hours of instruction can be done online or in person.

The bad news, of course, is for those who do not have a bachelor’s degree. The new restrictions in China have left many people who desire and capacity to teach out of the loop. If you have a desire to teach but do not hold a college degree, do not despair. There are other ways to teach in China.

Teach Classes Online

One way that you can teach English to Chinese students is by teaching online. Although some online platforms require that their teachers possess a college degree, you may find a few that will not need it. However, it is important to note that most reputable online platforms do require a bachelor’s degree. Therefore if you find one that does not, it is essential to research the company. 

Work as an Intern

If you want to teach in China but do not have a degree, you will face a more significant challenge. The Chinese government is strict when it comes to foreign teachers. The Z visa, which is a requirement to teach in China, says that English teachers must be both TEFL certified and possess a college degree.

There is a slight stipulation, or an albeit exception to this requirement, however. Some TEFL sites offer internships to those students that have completed their certification program. You can be placed to intern in countries like China and will, in most circumstances, even get paid. Since this is not an official job but part of a training process, it can bypass strict Chinese laws.


Another way to “work” in China and gain experience is to volunteer your services to a local school. If you find yourself in the country by way of another visa, such as a tourist visa, you can offer to volunteer at a local school teaching English. This option is excellent for those who do not yet have any teaching experience.

What it all Means

If you would like to teach English in China, you must have all the necessary information. China has strict requirements for its teachers. If you want to teach in person, you must apply for a visa and possess essential documentation and credentials. Some of these credentials include having a 4-year college degree as well as a TEFL certificate.

If you do not have a bachelor’s degree as the Chinese government requires, there are some alternative methods, such as a TEFL internship. If you have a genuine desire to make a difference and share your knowledge, there is always a way. 

Image source: unsplash

Last Updated on 2022/05/14

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