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Re: Truth About China TEFL & TESOL Teacher Requirements...

Posted: 30 Aug 2014, 00:26
by Blink
The below is a direct quote from

"Would you tell a lie to a total stranger for $300? How about $1,000? Okay, so remember this the next time some smooth talking yahoo is sending you emails or calling you on Skype telling you that he/she has “a great job for you teaching in China”. In fact they may offer you two jobs… Job A pays 6,000 yuan per month ($1,000) and Job B pays you 20,000 yuan a month “BUT only if you have a TEFL or TESOL certificate.” Both of these people are lying to you just to collect their fee for a job placement or a referral fee from a TEFL/TESOL training company, The following is 100% fact as you yourself can confirm with your own embassy, the Chinese consulate, SAFEA, or the China Foreign Teachers Union:






Scammers are not stupid – especially in China. To convince you that you need to buy a TEFL or TESOL training course (price ranges from $99 to $4,999 depending upon your own gullibility) they will spam hundred of bogus but appealing “teach in China” ads online every week with high salaries and great benefits, but will insert a sentence that says “TEFL Certificate Required” or “TESOL Certificate” required. After seeing dozens of these ads, people just start to believe the BS and assume that they have to get a TEFL or TESOL certificate to teach in China! One of these spammers was just caught at Yahoo Answers. See: ... 935AAKBSKG

You further need to know that 95% of all China employment recruiters and job agents are not licensed nor registered to do business in China – even the foreigner who contacted you. They operate from their home of coffee shop, use free email accounts, and disposable cell phone number. They have no office and 70% have no web site. Most of them will not even give you their real or full legal names. In fact 20% of them are identity thieves that are only fishing for your resume and passport scans. Read this article for details: ... _monthly_1

If you do not know how to find your own job in China contact the CFTU for a firect employers list. If you are a bit lazy and like the convenience of using a recruiter, at least send them this form letter before and insist that they complete every question BEFORE you even send them your resume. If they refuse to cooperate or leave any space blank, they clearly have something to hide and are probably blacklisted at So if you do not use the below form and you later get screwed out of 30%-50% of your salary, or the police arrest you for $10,000 of unpaid credit card debts, don’t say you were not warned. When you work in China as an expat, you are surely swimming with sharks that have an insatiable appetite. We try to starve these predators, but too many newbie ESL teachers keep feeding them."

Re: Truth About China TEFL & TESOL Teacher Requirements...

Posted: 08 Feb 2015, 10:45
by CSang1
While it may not be a law or strict requirement to hold a tefl certificate, I can see why they would want you to have one.

Knowing English and having a degree doesn't qualify you to be a teacher and doesn't give you vital experience.
Having tefl / tesol qualifications should get you a higher pay because you have a higher skill level.

If you can find a job where you don't need to have qualifications then great but you should really get an actual teaching qualification because teaching is hard...

Re: Truth About China TEFL & TESOL Teacher Requirements...

Posted: 09 Feb 2015, 02:25
by Awalls86
Seems to me if China deported all the teachers working here on illegal visas without CELTA or the Trinity Cert (or anything equivalent), I would be a lonely ex pat able to call whatever salary I liked (within limits). :D

But ok, so you don't need a certificate, and you'll get paid the same as someone who does - so why should you take any responsibility whatsoever for the work you do? You wouldn't perform open heart surgery without years of medical study and observation, would you? Or fly a commercial airliner without the required number of hours of practice? Would you drive without obtaining a driving licence? Ok, so perhaps by teaching English, you are not putting people at risk of death, and that is why the qualification asked for is cheaper and easier to obtain than a medical degree, or a pilot's licence. You are as much the scam artist if you expect to perform such a job with no training, knowing that you will be held out to be an experienced English teacher.

It is depressingly all lies in China. 95% of teachers (those without any kind of TEFL qualification) are therefore scam artists. 95% (or thereabouts) of Chinese people I have spoken to (had extended interaction with) have simply been out to scam me - one chinese person in 4 months has actually been willing to help me, and I now feel that I should just avoid talking to Chinese people as much as possible, which I do not want to do. It's a vicious circle and one that can only improve with effort on both sides.

We need to be the change that we want to see. If we want the Chinese to take us seriously, we need to show that we take ourselves seriously. We should encourage all prospective teachers to take meaningful TEFL qualifications. We should encourage teachers to ensure that they live legally and responsibly.

Every teacher who is arrested, deported or naively scammed is a black mark against ALL of us. Every teacher who is late for a class, takes unnecessary sick days, or fails to prepare for lessons is a black mark against ALL of us. Every teacher who gets shamefully drunk, every teacher who sleeps with prostitutes, every teacher who takes drugs, every teacher who drops litter and especially every teacher who holds or is held out to be an experienced teacher when in fact they have nothing more than a degree in an unrelated subject is a black mark against ALL of us.

So, we can sit around and moan about the bad hand that China seems to be throwing to TEFL teachers, or we can be the change that we want to see.

Sorry to rant... I am coming to terms with how true everything is about China and it really does sadden me. I'm almost certain that I will leave China at the end of my contract but I really do believe that we are the people to change first if we want respect.

Re: Truth About China TEFL & TESOL Teacher Requirements...

Posted: 15 Apr 2015, 09:07
by Astro
Awalls ... There is NO LEGAL REQUIREMENT for any teaching certificate in China to teach. You do not need a CELTA, TESOL, or TEFL certificate. It is optional and highly recommended, but NOT a mandatory requirement. Your comments suggest that they are mandatory and may confuse some readers here.

Re: Truth About China TEFL & TESOL Teacher Requirements...

Posted: 15 Apr 2015, 11:25
by John V55
There's a lot of truth in Awalls86 post above, 09 Feb.

You don’t legally need a TEFL certificate, but as a prospective TEFL teacher, doesn’t it go with the job? Doesn’t, Are you a TEFL teacher? Yes and I’ve got a degree in the Humanities to prove it, sound a bit odd? I think the main gripe here is the selling of them, in return for the promise of work, often at outrageous prices. I think anything over $600 if doing it in Asia at today’s prices is suspect.

Initially, I was always asked if I had a TEFL certificate to teach at mainstream schools, as opposed to private language centres, but that starts to fade as your resume provides the verifiable experience. The certificate says you have some verifiable practice, know the theory and have actually had to stand in front of a class and teach. I’d be very suspicious of someone without a TEFL certificate and I’d ask the following two questions:

a) Did you just suddenly just turn up one day and start teaching?
b) Before you started teaching, how and where did you get the knowledge and practice?

I think a TEFL certificate is an absolute necessity, the only questions are the cost and the scams involved in trying to sell them. The bottom line is this, if you have a degree and a TEFL, you don’t need to pay anyone for a job, I’ll get you a genuine one tomorrow, but you’d need a Degree and a TEFL and that’s the difference between a genuine job and a scam.

Re: Truth About China TEFL & TESOL Teacher Requirements...

Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 17:34
by Dimi897
Quite a bit has changed over the last couple of years, but it is still true that a TEFL certificate is not MANDATORY for teaching English in China. However, it might determine which type of establishment, and which region you're able to teach in. In the veritable blizzard of information available, with profit being a very common motivation to change facts and embellish on truths, it is highly recommendable to get information from one credible source, and not various "specialists" on one or more of the relevant factors involved in making the choice to become an English teacher in China. I highly recommend going to ... h-in-china for an objective, informed view on all you need to know.

Re: Truth About China TEFL & TESOL Teacher Requirements...

Posted: 05 May 2017, 06:00
by Andrewhe
Things have changed. Here's qualification needed for an English teacher to get a work visa(Z).

Plan A: Bachelor degree+ two years related work experience
Plan B: Bachelor degree+ TEFL or other English teaching certificates.

This new rule comes into effect in 2017.

Questions are welcome.

Andrew from China

Re: Truth About China TEFL & TESOL Teacher Requirements...

Posted: 05 Jul 2017, 00:56
by Murphy


U.S. Embassy
China Consulate
China Teachers Alliance

Dear Colleagues,

Once again the annual bamboozling has begun with a bunch of recruiter lies about "new laws" etc. to confuse China TEFL teacher applicants. So according to the above sources, here is the REAL and MANDATORY China Teacher Requirements to teach in China for 2017:



* VALID AND LEGAL Z VISA (From your actual employer - not a third party)




Now that you know the truth, have a good laugh with this and good luck on your job search and have fun in China - the safest place on Earth to live! ... king-china

Re: Truth About China TEFL & TESOL Teacher Requirements...

Posted: 31 Aug 2017, 00:58
by Saturn
now in 2017 I understand you must not only have the Bachelor degree and z visa but also now be a native-English speaker! This would make about half of the current TEFL teachers working in China unqualified to teach English. How can they make such sudden changes without giving advance notice. This really sucks. After working in China for years I thought I was in the loop and I suddenly overhear a Ukranian girl complaining on the subway (she spent 5 years in Canada and speaks perfect English) telling here friend that EF can't hire her because her passport is not from a native-English speaking country. This is totally wrong and unfair IMO.

Re: Truth About China TEFL & TESOL Teacher Requirements...

Posted: 31 Aug 2017, 05:21
by Grizzly
This CCTV News video is pretty interesting... ... firms_the/

I agree with you about the "Native-English Speaker" requirement being discrimination, but China does what they want and they have never been politically-correct. Two of best friends who were really good and energetic teachers are now leaving because one is from Poland and the other from Belgium. Both are fluent without any accent. It's really a shame imo.

Re: Truth About China TEFL & TESOL Teacher Requirements...

Posted: 01 Sep 2017, 09:24
by John V55
I think it depends on where you are. The first tier cities take their pick and make the rules, but for the largely unpopular out of the way places they bend the rules. I don't care what it says on Reddit or anywhere else, the last guy they hired at my school was a 63 year old American. I'm currently 62, came here at 56 and not far from me are two none NES that actually get a bonus for working here. Yes, I was asked for a TEFL certificate and the first PSB visit was like an interrogation session.

Like I said, it depends on where you are and there are no set rules - it's China, they're always negotiable.
The reason for not wanting NES and I've often come across this myself, is that no matter how good your speaking ability, if English is not your first language, you never quite get the grammar right. Would you pay to be taught Chinese by a Russian, or a NES Chinese? Personally, I came here to get away from political correctness, not have more of it :)

Re: Truth About China TEFL & TESOL Teacher Requirements...

Posted: 02 Sep 2017, 01:15
by John V55
For many on here and saying anonymously that they’ve lived and worked in China, a lot seem absolutely clueless about how things work.

China operates on a hierarchy system of leadership, above everyone is a leader and it’s his or her job to tell you what happens because it’s their job to know, but not necessarily tell you. If you knew as much as they did, there would be no point in having leaders. So the truth, for want of a better term, is what you’re told it is. Using logic and knowledge is what separates westerners, as we discover all is not as it seems and why many endlessly go round in circles wondering why that is and complaining about it. In between saving face, the leadership system and our own moral relativism lie the facts.

It’s a different world and if you can understand it and adapt, it’s very easy to use the system to your own advantage, just as the Chinese themselves do and make a good living from it. Not understanding is why many get kicked out, the reason behind the midnight runners and the general bafflement.

Forget what Reddit and the scam sites say; my latest thread on China Daily helps briefly explain where many of you are going wrong and the mind set needed to succeed. If you come to China with the intention of making loads of money, as you would in the west and view China as a personal goldmine to plunder, you’ll invariably fail. That’s not their fault, it’s yours.

Re: Truth About China TEFL & TESOL Teacher Requirements...

Posted: 02 Sep 2017, 06:57
by Norman
John is right that you will NOT make a lot of money working in China. No veteran TEFL China teacher will dispute that. 16,000 a month may see, like a lot of money while you are in China because the cost of living is low. But if you live in Beijing or Shanghai at least one-third of that money will go for your rent. And if you have a student loan or mortgage to pay back home - you are behind the 8 ball for sure.

China is a great addittion for you resume and for seeing some incredible tourist sites. Other than that get the hell out after a year IF your goal is to make money. If however you have a specialty like teaching Banking or Legal English, you can become a VIP tutor and make about $50,000 a year in China if you have an MBA or some gray hair like John to give you some credibility.

But the topic of the OP is TEACHER REQUIREMENTS so here they are for 2017...

* 22 to 55 years of age
* Native-English Speaker
* Police Certificate Proving No Criminal Record
* Bachelor Degree From An Accredited University
* Work Visa (Z Visa) Prior To Landing In China To Work
* 2 Years Prior Teaching Experience or a Post-Graduate Degree

If you need confirmation of the above to argue with some recruiter who wants you to work illegally you can contact upir own embassy, the Chinese consulate or visit these websites:

Re: Truth About China TEFL & TESOL Teacher Requirements...

Posted: 02 Sep 2017, 09:54
by John V55
The hair is not grey, it’s errr, distinguished silver :)

People come and try to stay here because they’re unable to make money in their own countries. In many cases, the only thing waiting for them back home is welfare because they don’t have any other skills.

You can be over 55 to come here, I was and it depends where you go. Beijing and Shanghai are not the only cities in China. There is talk of putting up the age to stay with ‘grandfather rights’ to 65.

You can come here on an F visa (again I did) and the recruiter will send you to Hong Kong for the Z, yet it’s true most do insist you get it back in your home country because of the expense involved.

I have a background in criminology, but why would anyone in China want to pay me huge sums to interpret British law?

It’s nothing to do with the ‘law’; the law in China depends on the area and how much clout with the PSB (or backhanders) your recruiter has, or is prepared to pay. If you’d spent more time in China, instead of these scammy websites, you’d already know all this.

I'm not a recruiter, in the years I've been on this site, or any other site, you will never hear me mention or recommend an employer and I challenge you to disprove that, unlike you with your 'union'. The difference between us 'Norman', is that I trained many years ago as an ideological theorist and that gives me the edge on how societies work and it's what stops me being led by the nose by so called 'unions' and scammy third hand opinions.

Here’s something I’ve forgotten to mention and it’s this site.

Last year the Chinese started to slowly introduce a vetting scheme for schools and employers. The teachers here were all told to complete it, there was no choice in participation. You do the questionnaire, it goes into a SAFEA database and schools have access to it and write their own reports, which you don’t get to see.
The initial page is only the first one of four and if you’re astute enough, you’ll also notice that ever so subtly it gets political and delves into what you think, not just your experiences here.
It’s a sort of reference library to track foreigners; the moonlighters, useless and disruptive. They’re tightening up all across Asia and very soon you won’t need websites to complain on, you just won’t get a job.

An add on

I’ll give you some serious free advice ‘Norman’ and that’s because I haven’t quite worked out whether you’re political, or just a SJW – given your lack of advanced propaganda techniques, I suspect the latter and partly because I've no axe to grind.
Don’t you think sites like this aren’t being monitored? Do you think your ‘union’ isn’t passing on information to be allowed to operate in China? Do you think that hiding behind a blank profile page means ‘they’ don’t know who you are?
Every time you redirect to another scammy website and complain about and criticise China, you and your friends are digging a deeper hole for yourselves. Now that’s some information you won’t find on your websites :)

Re: Truth About China TEFL & TESOL Teacher Requirements...

Posted: 02 Sep 2017, 15:26
by Saturn
Hey John, I think all of us here agree that the authorities are getting more strict than ever before. I actually know Norm and we are friends of sorts for almost two years. If you think he is either political or dumb, I can tell you he is neither. And neither of us would be dumb enough to join any "union" or even go to a Church in China. Most veteran teachers here in China (like yourself) know the score. As for the age limit thing, you can now work until you are 60 but it is really DIFFICULT getting your first Z visa if you are over 55. If you are already here and teaching before you turn 55 you can get renewed easily, but only with connections are you going to get legally employed at 60 unless someone fudges the age. I have a feeling they are worried about older teachers having strokes and heart attacks on the job. Even local Chinese have to retire at 60 years of age unless they are self-employed.