Hi, I know this is a bit late but for the benefit of anyone else who's searching and finds this post just a quick head's up.
I applied to work in China through the TEIC website. Firstly I would like to say that it worked, it's not a scam, my information was passed on as appropriate and I am now happily working in a college in Hunan province.
I would however like to give some advice. There were between 10 and 20 English applicants on our teacher training week and a lot of us went through TEIC and Phil Thomas. Some of the other teachers on the program, however, didn't and having spoken at length to them about it I feel it prudent to inform you that:
1) The TEIC program simply passes your details through to the China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE) where all the work to find you a placement is done. All of the correspondence, help and advice I received was from their staff and not the TEIC. I received one help sheet from the TEIC containing out of date information and that was all.
2) It is possible to contact the CEAIE directly (or in the case of Hunan the HPEAIE) and they will go through exactly the same process as they would if your details had been forwarded by the TEIC. The only difference is that they do not require a processing fee of £185.
3) The CEAIE do not charge for admin, in fact they pay the TEIC a commission for the teachers they find, that £185 cheque is kept by the TEIC and the CEAIE or HPEAIE do not see any of it, all of the money stays with the TEIC, even though the CEAIE and provincial equivalents are doing all the work.
4) The health check does not actually have to be done in the UK, there were teachers on our course who didn't have it done and there is a scheduled day for health checks when you arrive in China. A check up and tests which could cost upwards of £100 in England is unlikely to cost more than £20 in China.
So my advice would be if you are worried about getting everything done right, get the health checks in England first but be prepared to feel pretty annoyed when you realise how cheap they are for the people that don't and also:
HAVE A LOOK AT THE HPEAIE AND CEAIE WEBSITES, E-MAIL THEM DIRECT, FIND OUT AS MUCH INFORMATION AS YOU CAN AND DON'T SEND A CHEQUE OFF TO THE TEIC AS THEY DO VERY LITTLE FOR THE MONEY AND ONCE YOU GET HERE THAT'S ROUGHLY TWO WEEKS WAGES FOR THE PRIVILEGE OF PROF PHIL T. SENDING AN E-MAIL WITH 20 NAMES ON IT.
I must again stress that the TEIC is not a sham and I am here, nothing went wrong, all is well. But I got the same information, spoke to the same people and have the same contract/benefits/training as people who went through the Chinese authorities direct and they didn't have to pay a penny.