I’ve watched video after video, read blog after blog, trying to figure out how people worked remotely while living in a different country.
How were they able to afford this lifestyle?
Don’t you need a lot of money to travel, right?
After watching my favorite vloggers reveal what they did and how they did it, I knew for sure, without a doubt, I couldn’t and didn’t want to do what they were doing.
I want to live a nice and soft slow life. A life filled with low capitalism just enjoying my existent and the people around me. I didn’t want to learn a brand new skill, especially a skill I didn’t care about.
I was at a point in my life where I only want to do things that aligned with my soul purpose..or close to it.
Most digital nomads I have come across works in the tech industries. They are either website designers, coders, or software engineers.
I am honestly was just burnt out and did not feel or want to learn a new skill. I was just so ready to go and LIVE and I know you are feeling the same too.
So, How to become a digital nomad with no experience or skills? Well, this is what I did.
I wrote down what was already working for me and what skills do I already have and decided to expand on those skills. In the spirit of adulthood….I made a list.
So for me, I thought of which path would be the easiest and one of least resistant. I don’t want to work hard, I want to work smart and stay in alignment.
I picked teaching English online to start my digital nomad journey. If you want to become a digital nomad but have no experience, Then teaching English online is the easiest option.
How To Teach Online and Travel the world?
You do not necessarily have to teach English you can teach anything you feel you have more knowledge than the average person!
You can teach English, Art, Math, and/or Yoga.
What Are The Requirements to Become an ESL Teacher?
ESL stands for English as a Second language. As an ESL teacher, your job is to teach or tutor kids, teens, or adults in the English language.
As an ESL teacher, you can specialize in different areas. Depending on which company you pick, you can teach grammar or conversational English, or both.
I prefer teaching conversational English, to be honest, grammar wasn’t my favorite subject in school but I don’t mind writing ..weird I know.
Anywho, I try to stick with companies that focus mainly on conversational English.
In general, the requirement are:
- Native English speaker ( no worries, nonnative English speakers there are tons of companies that hire nonnative speakers, click here )
- Bachelors degree ( no worries here, I have a list of companies who do not require a BA degree, click here )
- Tefl Certificate ( Most companies require this but there are a few that can provide one for you )
- Teaching Experience
As an online ESL teacher, you are an independent contractor, Which is a huge perk for me!
You aren’t required to work 40 hours a week to keep your job and you can create your own schedule!
Benefits of Becoming an Online English Teacher
My favorite benefit of teaching online English is time freedom. The flexibility in the ESL industry is GREAT.
You can pick your hours and work when you want. I like to split my day up, work 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours at night or do 8 hours a day at once or 5 hours Tuesday and make the rest up another day. It is completely up to you.
How Does Teaching Online work?
You will be teaching children, teens, or adults English through an online platform. This could be within the company system ( my fav ) or via zoom or skype.
Next, You set your hours of availability and just show up! It is super easy, 99% of the time the company provides a lesson plan for you so no planning or prepping. Just review the lesson make sure you understand and teach it!
If you aren’t feeling too comfortable with teaching do not worry, once you are hired there will be training and there are also a lot of youtube videos showing you how to teach online.
Most classes range from 10-45 minutes and this is determined by the ESL company you decided to go with.
You will also have the option of one-on-one teaching vs group.
In short, the company you pick matters. There are so many ESL companies hiring, I would try to find one or two that is more closely related to what you want.
For me, I realize I prefer teaching adults in conversational English. There aren’t that mainly platforms for adults and the pay isn’t as great as the children platforms so it is best to work for at least two platforms.
Go to the platform that pays the highest and you like.
My favorite platform to teach adults is Engoo. You get to have an intellectual conversation if you’re into that and learn about your student culture.
My favorite teaching online platform for children is Education First, EF, because literally 95% of the work is done for you!
You are basically just reviewing what the child has already learned in class. The students were already taught the material prior to you, so all you have to do is just do a quick 25-minute revision.
Oh, and out of all the online teaching platforms, this is perfect for introverts ( if you aren’t into buying props and being weirdly outgoing ). I speak about the whole process here.
How Much Do Online ESL Teachers Make?
The pay ranges for teachers, from$10-25 an hour depending on your qualifications.
Teaching children is where the big bucks are. Some companies offer a flat rate for teaching while others have metrics or bonuses you can achieve to increase your pay.
For example: Look at EF pay structure :
It is possible to make a living by teaching English online. I love the flexibility it provides and I believe this is the perfect job for anyone who wants to become a digital nomad or simply want another side hustle.
My first experience teaching English online in a foreign country is what motivated me to make this my lifestyle, I was stuck in Thailand and without a job.
I decided to try teaching for Cambly to see if I could do it.
My day was so perfect. I would wake up, get food (pad thai of course with a smoothie), stop by 7 eleven go to Maya mall to do my work, then come back to teach for a few hours on Cambly to make $50 that day then I would go back to the local night market eat the best wings with the best pineapple passion fruit smoothie all for $60 baht.
What are the equipment requirements for Teaching English Online
The equipment requirements vary as well, it is best to review as many ESL companies to see what you match with the best.
In general, the requirements are:
-Laptop, Tablet, or Smart Phone
Most require a laptop but Palfish is one company that allows smartphones. Also, Vipkid you can teach on a tablet or laptop as well.
I Do Not Want To Be An ESL Teacher, What Can I Do?
Good news! There are other platforms for you if you arent interested in becoming an ESL teacher.
The only con is, you have to create the teaching material yourself.
You can become a freelance teacher in any industry.
Pro: You are in complete control of your business
Con: This may not be a con for all, but you have to find your own clients and create a curriculum for them
There are a few online platforms that can help with attracting customers to your business. These platforms are like a marketplace, they bring the potential customers but you still have to market a bit.
Top 3 Freelance Teaching Platforms
Outschool is for kids 3-18 that provides a fun interesting curriculum on many different topics.
You can find people teaching yoga, guitar lesson, unboxing, gardening lesson, dancing, gaming, movie review discussion, anything! To children 3-18. Outschool prefers their teachers to teach a live class but they do have an option called Flex, which allows you to record the class.
Udemy is more of a passive income, similar to Outschool but is cater to Everyone! You just create a course on whatever topic you want and then offer the course on their platform.
Skillshare “classes are authentic, actionable, and designed to help students bring what they learn into the real world. On Skillshare, students watch classes at their own pace, create projects to practice what they‘ve learned, and interact with each other from all around the world”
So there you have it!
There are tons of ways to teach online and it doesn’t have to necessarily be teaching English, it can be anything you are interested in such as a hobby.
This is a great way to become a digital nomad with no experience and create passive income.
The expected salary for Teaching English in China depends on your experience, location, negotiation power, and teaching positions.
Teachers can expect to be paid between 6,000 – 30,000 RMB ($907- $4,537 USD). The salary ranges between experience and inexperience teachers.
However, there are different factors that affect a teachers’ earning potential such as:
Your Teaching Position Determines Your Teaching Salary In China
There are several different positions you can do when teaching abroad in China.
- Kindergarten ( ages 2-5-year-olds)
- Training/Learning centers ( Kids and Adults)
- College/ University Professor
- Certified Teacher At International School
- Public or Primary School Teacher
International schools, in general, pay more but requires you to be a certified teacher. While Universities pay the least but you have the most freedom.
Each position has its pros and cons, so it’s best to figure out which position you will feel comfortable with and the salary that goes along with it.
China is an inexpensive country so all of the salaries mentioned are livable for new and experienced teachers.
You will be able to save the most money on an International, Training center, and/or kindergarten Teacher salary in china.
Teaching English In China Salary For Kindergarten
Kindergarten positions pay the highest if you are a certified teacher.
Kindergartens in China differ from the ones in the USA. Kindergartens in China are really a combination of preschool-age children and kindergarten. The ages range from 2- 5 years olds.
The normal operating hours are between 8- 4:30 pm for a private Kindergarten. You will have teaching hours and office hours.
Teaching hours are the hours you are physically teaching in the classroom. While office hours are the hour you use to lesson plan and get ready for the next day.
The salary range between 10,000 -15,000RMB, in some cases you can receive more. This position has additional benefits such as housing stipend and paid holidays.
Another great benefit is ..FREE lunch.
The class time is relatively short, you may teach between 30 -45 minutes.
I taught kindergarten in Hangzhou, China. I taught two hours out of the day but engaged with the children throughout the day.
I also had two groups of children that I rotated with for morning and afternoon classes.
International Schools Teaching Salary In China
International schools in China are schools for expat children.
In China, if you aren’t a Chinese citizen you have to go to an International school.
International schools focus on American or British based curriculum.
International schools only accepted qualified teachers. So, only teachers who have experience and are certified with a bachelor’s degree in education can apply.
Since these positions are highly sot after, there is a HUGE demand for these teachers. With such a large demand the pay for these teachers has increased.
As a certified teacher in an international school in China, your expected salary will be between 18,000RMB – 30,000rmb ( roughly $2,000-$4,000 USD).
This is the highest paying teaching position in China and in my opinion the best.
You will have plenty of money left over to enjoy yourself, travel, and save.
This position is a normal 40 hour a week teaching position.
Salaries For Teaching English In Colleges And Universities
An English college professor has the freest time.
You are only required to teach your class times and then you can leave for the day. The hours per week are roughly around 15-17 hours a week or less. Although this has the freest time where you can explore China, it doesn’t pay the most.
This position pays the least.
You are still able to have free accommodation on campus, So, if you want to explore China then this is the best position to have.
The salary range between 6,000-9,000RMB, depending on if it’s a public or private university.
Public universities are more lucrative than private. This position offers free accommodation usually on campus, a month off for Chinese New Year, paid summer off, and all major holidays.
This position gives you plenty of time to explore China and neighboring countries.
Salaries For Training Centers
Learning centers are basically after school tutoring centers for Chinese children to practice English.
Teaching at a training center you are basically a tutor. The children come here after their long day of school and on weekends to practice English.
These institutes are paid for by the parents. Training centers also known as learning centers are the most common teaching jobs for foreigners.
You are paid reasonably if you negotiate your salary. You do have to work evening hours and on weekends but most foreigners work these hours as well.
So, if you are a morning person this is a perfect position for you.
The salary ranges significantly depending on the company and location. At training centers, you are working with diverse age groups. Children between 6- 18 years old.
There are also adult training centers that usually cater to business professionals. These often pay well too. The pay ranges for adults are 20-22k RMB.
Training center hires the most and is the easiest and fast way to enter the country.
Salaries for Teaching English in Public Schools
Public school has the most freedom in regards to teaching.
Although, the class size is pretty large around 20 – 30 students. In some cases, you may have 60 children that you teach throughout the day.
Public schools have standard holiday days off and other major benefits too. Your teaching hours are less compared to Kindergartens. The teaching hours are around 16-20 hours a week.
You have free lunch and paid vacation time with longer time off during the Chinese holidays.
You also have more freedom with your lesson and teaching style. You may or may not have a co-teacher so class management is a must. This is a bit challenging but can be rewarding
The salary for this posotion is 6,200-15,300 ($900-$2,200) per month.
Always Negotiate Your Teaching Salary in China
Now that you are familiar with the pay scale, you have the knowledge to negotiate your salary.
If you have the experience and qualifications don’t be afraid to state your desire pay.
Negotiation is apart of Chinese culture and if a school isn’t willing to accept your pay desire.. move on. There are literally thousands of other schools. Don’t sell yourself short.
I hope this helps you! If you want a free guide to WeChat of recruiters located in china or a list of job boards click here.
China can be a great place to work, but there are soooo many factors that influence your experience while there.
Teaching ESL in China was such a rewarding experience, but you can become burnt out if you do not have a good job. Chinese work culture is a bit different than American work culture, so keep that in mind.
Below, Are the requirements for teaching English in China, plus things to consider when choosing a job.
Can You Teach English In China Without A Bachelor’s Degree?
Technically no, but it does happen..illegally. In order to legally teach in china, you must have an authenticated bachelor’s degree for the Z visa.
Some foreigners will come to China on a tourist visa and teach illegally. This is very dangerous and you can end up in jail or deported if caught.
There is however another way to teach but it is unpaid. You can teach English in China without a degree as an intern or volunteer, but will not be able to receive payment.
What Are The Requirements For Teaching English In China?
The minimal requirements to teach English in China are to have a:
1. Bachelor’s Degree In Any Subject
In order to legally work in China and receive a work permit/ Z visa, you must have a Bachelor’s degree. The bachelor’s degree can be in any subject as long as it’s from a 4-year accredited school. If you have a degree in education that is a huge plus for you. You will be able to work in an international school or receive higher pay.
2. A TEFL Certificate
A TEFL( Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Certificate is the main certification required for future ESL teachers. Chinese education system requires applicants to have a 120-hour TEFL certificate.
There are a lot of different TEFL programs and some are expensive while others are not. You can obtain your TEFL either in-class or online. I chose the latter because I wanted to work at my own pace.
The cool thing about the different TEFL programs is if you chose an in-person you can choose to learn in different countries such as Thailand. Also, when considering a program, if I could do it all over again, I would choose a program with a lot of alumni support and job placement.
3. Native English Speaker
Currently, the government requires an ESL teacher to be a native English speaker. The preferred countries that ESL teachers are from are U.S.A, U.K, Canada, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, or New Zealand citizens.
4. Work Experience
Two years of work experience postgraduate is required to teach English in China.
Although, this is kind of glossed over in most cases. I had only one year of experience but was able to obtain a Z visa and work permit.
Although this was reflected in my pay, my salary was entry-level since I was inexperienced. So, it is best to have as much experience as possible for negotiating power.
The work experience can come from anything involving children, such as babysitting, nanny, camp counselor, volunteering, etc.
5. Background Check
An FBI background check is needed for teaching children in China.
If you have experience teaching in the USA you already are aware that background checks and fingerprints are required to work in the school systems. This is the same for teaching English abroad.
The FBI background check last for 6 months.
Below, Are Unofficial Requirements For Teaching English In China
When moving abroad to teach, the start-up process can cost a bit. So, it’s best to have a saving reserve for authentication of documents, visa fee, flight, hotel, and rent.
Authentication of documents and visa fees is an expense that isn’t really talked about since some schools promise to reimburse you for it but in order to do so you have to pay for it upfront first.
You have to get your bachelor’s degree, TEFL, background check, and passport authenticated from the Chinese consulate. You can find the cost of it from your local China Visa Consulate office.
In China, rent is paid every three months.
If your employer is providing housing then you will not have to worry about this but if they aren’t and just providing a stipend then this is a cost you will have to pay initially. Most stipends are 2-4k RMB, so try to find an apartment within that range. Then, multiply that cost by three months plus a deposit. I wrote more about this process here.
Lastly, Don’t forget to save for your one-way ticket to China and the hotel when you arrive. You will need a hotel until you find your apartment so I suggest a week at minimum stay but if your employer has housing for you then don’t have to worry about this step.
What To Look For When Searching For An ESL Position.
When looking for an ESL position in China, please consider these aspects. Location, cost of living, salary, and in-country assistants.
For me, Location was/is extremely important. Location as in the city, province, neighborhood, and how far of a commute I would have to take to work.
China is massive and some areas are more developed than others.
It is very possible to find an excellent job but your placement is in rural China ( unless that’s what you want ) or you can choose the city but receive horrible work benefits. You have to be clear and assertive about your wants. This is the key to having a good experience in China.
For example, After I decided on teaching in China, I narrowed my search down to the city. I was deciding between Shanghai or Suzhou. After explaining to the recruiter, I am only interested in these locations she sent my application to those areas. Well, I was contacted by a training center in Suzhou who only had availability in Hangzhou. I research Hangzhou and actually preferred it more than both Suzhou and Shanghai. I talk a little bit more about Hangzhou here.
It is best to learn about your area, such as the climate, foreign community, things to do, and how international it is or isn’t. That’s why you should have a good idea about what your future location will be like, before going to live there.
Cost Of Living In China
This is a big one that most people don’t take into consideration.
China is inexpensive compared to the U.S.A but you have to remember you are being paid in yuan/RMB. So there are different cities in China you can get more bang for your buck.
Shanghai and Beijing are expensive cities, with the apartments being in the high range with less space. Compared to Hangzhou you can get a 2000-4000rmb apartment that’s spacious but in Shanghai, you may only receive a room and would need roommates.
Below, is a review of my partner and I apartment in Hangzhou for only 4,000 RMB. Prior to moving to China, I wrote down what I was looking for in a space and this exceeded my standards. The only con was, I was a 45-minute train ride away from my School.
Teaching In China Salary
Now, your salary is extremely important.
You have to decide what is most important to you. Why are you coming to China? Are you coming to help pay off student loans and save? Are you here just for the experience?
If you are here to save and pay off debt then do not settle for anything under 12k RMB plus a 2,000 RMB housing stipend. Ideally, you want to strive for 15k+ housing as a new teacher. If you are experienced then of course way more.
My first job in Hangzhou, I was low balled and only made 12,000 RMB with housing included. So my profit was only 10,000 RMB. This was still fine and way more than what my Chinese co-teachers were receiving but after speaking with other foreigners who were making 19k plus housing, I realized I was getting the short end of the stick.
Get as much as you can and don’t be afraid to negotiate.
I know it uncommon in American culture but this is a different place and it is acceptable. These training centers and schools to the core, are just businesses. They are truly looking out for the best interest in their business, and if they can save they will.
If a recruiter is saying your salary expectation is too much money then move along, there are other schools in China. If you are truly interested in that one specific position then make it work for YOU, by negotiating.
Only do things in your best interest when working in China.
Honestly, You’re the product. They can not run their business without your English skills, so please keep that in mind.
Teaching In China In-Country Assistants
You are traveling to a new land that is different from your home country.
You will need assistance, especially if you do not know Chinese/Mandarin. Make sure you are receiving visa help, that your future school/training center agrees to pick you up from the airport, you will have assistance finding an apartment, setting up a bank account, basically acclamation to the country.
Different ESL Teaching Positions In China
There are different teaching ESL positions you can do in China.
I won’t make this post longer than it already is, I created a different post detailing each one. You can find it here but I briefly listed them below.
- Kindergarten Teacher
- Training center
- College professor
- Certified teacher at international school
- Public or primary teacher
Each position has its pros and cons. They are all teaching conversational English but the difference is in grade level, class size, benefits, time off, salary, hours of operation, and other key things makes each position.
I chose to teach at a Kindergarten for the small class size and the ability to have quality time to get to know each student personally.
There’s more personal involvement in a kindergarten. I didn’t like the morning hours but everything else was fine and I was happy with it. So, that just something to consider when applying for job positions.
Related TopicsTeach English In China Salary
The Requirements To Teach English in China in 2021
So, now that you know the Official and Unofficial requirements, and know what to look for when considering a job post, you can begin your search!
There’s a ton of websites where you can find amazing teaching jobs in china.
I have created a shortlist of my top favorite websites to use when looking for a teaching position. Feel free to grab it here.
Pin For Later: