Teach English in China for the Summer

Teach English in China summer

For those who don’t fancy teaching in China for a full 12 months the summer time offers a great little bite sized version and allows you to dip your toe into ‘teaching English in China’ without getting too wet. While language schools mostly offer 12 month contracts, over the summer they run shorter courses while the students are on summer holiday from their regular school. Typically the courses run from late June to late August and schools often need to hire a few extra teachers to teach over this period.

Benefits of summer job over 12 month contract

Teaching English in China for the summer allows you to see what it is like living and teaching in China whilst not having to spend a whole year there. If after the 2 months you decide you like the job and want to extend, 9 out of 10 times the language school will be happy to keep you on. If not there will be plenty of language school jobs available for an early September start.

The package offered by most of the language school jobs is quite tempting too. They will provide a flight allowance which covers the plane ticket over, put you up in a house shared with one other teacher, provide insurance, training and all the other benefits that go with working for a language school in China as well as a decent salary to live on. So teaching English in China for the summer offers all the benefits of the year long job.

Cost of living in China is low and your salary goes a long way so there’s a good chance you’ll be able to finish the summer course with some savings.

How to teach English in China

First thing you’ll have to do is check if you have the required qualifications to teach English in China. For most ESL teaching jobs in China these days require native English speakers, with a degree and TEFL certificate who are between the ages of 23 and 55 years old. Once you’ve ticked all those boxes have a think about any preferences you have for teaching adults or young learners and any locations you would prefer.

Disney English Summer Jobs

Disney English is an example of one of the summer jobs we have for those looking to teach young learners. Disney have over 70 schools in 14 cities throughout China. The summer jobs run from 20th June – 25th August 2013. Full training and support is given along with a very competitive salary, free housing, paid flights to China and other benefits. Read more and apply for summer teaching jobs with Disney English here.

Apply Today

Put in an application and we will contact you with job descriptions, brochures and other useful information. We’ll set up some interviews with suitable schools and once you have found a good fit and accepted an offer the school will begin the visa application process. When that is done, you pack your things up, not forgetting the swimmers and sunglasses and get on your flight to China. The school will be there to meet you at the airport and take you to your apartment. After a training and induction period you’re in the classroom to begin teaching.
ESL Teaching Jobs China

Jim Althans packed up and flew to China to teach English in 2004. He has taught at kindergartens in remote villages, vice presidents in shiny offices and everything in between. He now works as a teacher recruiter helping teachers find their next job in China.

Any comments or thoughts on this article? Please add them below.


  1. THOMAS APPIAH says:


  2. Njeri Kabanga says:

    I’m Njeri, currently studying medicine at Dalian Medical University. I don’t meet the age or degree requirements but i am a native English speaker and would like to inquire on the availability of teaching assistants or other such opportunities. I’m great with children and I am musical and creative.
    Please advise or direct me to other sites that would suit me.
    Thank you!

  3. Roger says:

    I am a 44 year old teachers aide. I am looking at teaching in China. Do you recommend me getting the TEFL certification prior to applying? I am looking at doing this next summer to see if it something I would enjoy doing on a more permanent basis. How long before next summer should I apply for a position?

    • Jim says:

      Hi Roger, yes I would definitely recommend doing the TEFL, it will not only give you a lot more options for teaching jobs but will also give you a good foundation in ESL teaching theory and some practical ideas. For summer jobs for 2013 you can apply in April / May.

  4. Louise says:


    I’m a 25 year old woman from Ireland with a MA in Philosophy, 100-hour TEFL cert and 1 years experience teaching politics to University students. My partner is also Irish and has a 120 hour TEFL cert (included teaching practice), he has also experience coaching sports to children. Would it be possible to find jobs for both of us in the same location in China with shared housing? If we were willing to work in any location would it help with the no-degree problem?

    Any advice welcome!

    • Jim says:

      Hi Louise – yes I think we could help you find suitable jobs. It is often common for couples to be given their own housing to live in. If you are flexible regarding locations there should be a number of options available. Please feel free to submit an application and we can discuss things further.

  5. Tuhye Gillan says:

    Hi, I’m a 2nd year student of Irish and French in UCD, Ireland. I would really like to teach in English in China for about 2 months next summer, but I am not qualified. I’m currently pursuing a 140hr TEFL course in my own time, but I am as yet unqualified. Is there any positions you offer for undergraduates? Any advice you can offer me would be wonderful.

    • Jim says:

      Thanks for the message. Summer is definitely the best time to get short term jobs teaching in China. Contracts often run from late June to late August. Most schools do require a Bachelor’s degree certificate to apply for a work visa, although there are some schools which do not. Having a TEFL course is also definitely a big plus and if you can get some more teaching experience before next summer that would also be a good idea as schools are looking for teachers who can hit the ground running during the summer.

  6. annmarie says:

    I’m Annmarie ,i have a diploma in early childhood and i would like to know whether it is possible for you to help me secure a teaching job in china.i sing and am very good with kids,i have a lot of experience with them.i would also like to know can one study for the TEFL in china.

  7. Melissa says:

    I have a Master’s in Education as well as elementary and English California teaching credentials. All California credentials require a CLAD authorization to prepare us for teaching ESL students. I have five years of classroom experience at various levels. Would this be enough for summer employment or would I need a TEFL certificate too?

    • Jim says:

      Hi Melissa, thanks for the message. Your qualifications are more than enough as far as the schools will be concerned. As for the Chinese labour bureau, the ones who issue the work visa, your qualifications will meet their requirements in most areas of China but there still may be some areas where they require a TEFL certificate. Requirements vary from province to province and even from school to school so we can never give one answer for the whole of China I’m afraid.

  8. Jena says:

    Hi Jim! Thanks for being so prompt in your responses! I recently spent a year teaching English in South Korea. I am looking for a short term contract this summer when I am between my first and second year of graduate school. I don’t have a TEFL certificate, but I do have a TESOL. Would these qualify me to teach for a summer?

    Thank you so much for your help!

  9. Jena says:

    Hi Jim! Thanks for being so prompt in your responses! I recently spent a year teaching English in South Korea. I am looking for a short term contract this summer when I am between my first and second year of graduate school. I don’t have a TEFL certificate, but I do have a TESOL. Would these qualify me to teach for a summer?

    Thank you so much!

    • Jim says:

      Hi Jena – yes, a TEFL and TESOL are essentially the same so you would qualify for a summer teaching job. Most schools start interviewing around March-April for positions starting late June.

  10. tenena soro says:

    teaching english in China for a full 12 months in the summer 2013

  11. Christie says:

    Hi, I’m looking for some advice. I’m currently studying Chinese at uni and will be going to study in China next year as part of my degree. I was wondering if it would be possible to teach for the summer before starting uni out there. I am currently working on a 120 hour TEFL course and have previously worked in a bilingual spanish nursey for 14 months teaching English to kids from 18 months to 11 years old.

    • Jim says:

      Hi Christie, yes we have plenty of summer teaching jobs at various cities in China. Positions usually run from late June to late August and I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t teach for the summer and then begin your uni course. We will be holding interviews from March 2013 so please do get in contact then.

  12. Nataliya says:

    Hi, I’ve been thinking about summer teaching in China, but I’m not a native speaker. I’ve much experience in classroom teaching as I run classes for kids and adults in my city. I’ve got TESOL certificate as well as university diploma. Would this qualify me for a summer teaching position in China? I’d like to try it for several month but not for the whole year.

    • Jim says:

      Hi Nataliya, while a lot of schools in China only hire native English speakers there are still plenty of teaching jobs for those from non-native speaking countries. Of course, candidates need fluent English, clear pronunciation and previous teaching experience is always a good plus. Please feel free to put in an application around March 2013 and we will be happy to do what we can to help.

  13. Barbara Utter says:

    Is the upper age limit firm? I am 60 years old and will be retiring from teaching high school after 35 years. I am interested in doing something exciting in my retirement and would like to teach English to adults or help train new teachers.

    • Jim says:

      Hi Barbara, thanks for the message. A lot of schools do have an upper age limit for candidate set at 60 (and in some cities it is 55) as in the past they have found it very difficult to secure the proper work visas. Policies seem to vary from province to province and even city to city and also over time. There certainly are teachers in China on legal work visas over the age of 60 so it by no means impossible to secure a job, it will require more persistence and patience.

  14. Mario says:

    Hi Jim,
    I’m a 32 year-old native Spaniard but I grew up in London and am therefore totally bilingual in Spanish and English. I have a BA in English Language and a CELTA. I have a two year teaching experience in Spain and I just got back from Thailand, where I have been teaching English at a university for 5 months.
    Would this qualify me for a short teaching gig in Beijing next summer? When should I send an application form?
    Thank you!

    • Jim says:

      Hi Mario – thanks for the comment. You certainly have impressive qualifications and if you grew up in England I’m sure your English must be completely fluent and have a clear accent so as far as the schools in Beijing are concerned they would be more than pleased to hire you. The issue may arise with the Chinese government who see thinks in more black and white terms unfortunately, and by that I mean they often require passports from native English speaking countries. It really depends on the area in China, Beijing tends to be stricter than most cities but there are still exceptions. I would suggest putting in an application for a summer job around March 2013 and we will of course do everything we can to assist you in finding suitable schools.

  15. Kasi says:

    I am an Anglophone, and am near fluent in French. I have a B.A., and am a secondary education student, currently completing my second B.A. I will graduate in 2014 with my B.Ed from an English-speaking Québec university. I am a certified ESL teacher (I was certified by International House Toronto) and have 5 years of experience in education, particularly teaching and tutoring English as a second language. I am very interested in a job next summer (2013) working overseas and teaching English. I’d love to know where and when I could send my resume? Thank you!

    • Jim says:

      Thanks for the message! We have plenty of summer teaching jobs all over China. The positions usually run from late June to late August at private language schools as this is when children are on holiday from their regular school so are free to attend summer school. We will have the specific job details available in around late March 2013, so please submit an application then and we can discuss things further. You can apple to

  16. Kristi says:

    Hello Jim,

    Thank you for sharing this great resource. I already have a decade of working in the US school sysytem and have a Master’s in School Psychology and Counseling but will be returning to school to get my Elementary (multiple subject) Teaching Credential in the Fall of 2013. I currently am a substitute teacher getting “bootcamp” training in classwide teaching skills. Is it the TEFL essential to apply?

    Thank you!

    • Jim says:

      Hi Kristi – thanks for your comment. It is clear that you have very good teaching qualifications and experience. Schools in China would have no problem with hiring you but having said that, the labour bureau that issue work permits can be a bit more black and white when it comes to the TEFL certificate. It really depends on the province you want to teach in as policies seem to vary from place to place. Doing a short TEFL course would definitely help to open more doors, although if you decide not to there should be plenty of schools that can still hire you. We recommend INTESOL – but there are shorter courses out there if that’s what you are after.

  17. Cary says:

    Hello, Jim! (Proofread version!!!)
    Having done more than six seasons of EAP at universities in the UK, I’m looking for wellpaid teaching in a warm part of China, for the summer of 2013 (I am currently resident in Japan, with a Residence Permit). I have a Master’s in Education (App.Ling.), LTCL in TESOL, and DELTA (updated from the original RSA qualification in TEFLA) and many years’ experience teaching adults and young adults (mainly EFL, ESP, EAP, and basic German and Portuguese). But I’m not young. I’m 66. Is this a hindrance?

    Best wishes,


    • Jim says:

      Hi Cary – thanks for the message. Certainly seems like you have excellent qualifications and experience! Schools generally hold interviews for summer jobs around March / April time as it is then that they will have a better idea of which current teachers are staying / going. Jobs generally begin late June and run until late August and usually come with the option to extend for a full 12 month contract if all goes well. Please get back in touch with us in March / April and we will let you know what we have.

  18. Kasia says:

    Hi, I’m 26 years old . I originally come from Poland, but I have lived for many years abroad in UK and the US. I’ve got CELTA certificate and also studied TESOL in the UK. I would love to try teaching in China and I think that summer would be the best opportunity to see if it’s for me. I’ve got 3 years of experience in teaching kids,teenagers and adults. Please let me know ,whether I could apply :)

    Kasia Wilkes

  19. Lindsay says:

    I’m looking for a summer position from June to August. If I post my resume on your site, will it remain private or be visible to the world in a web search of my name? Is there any way to send you my information through email rather then post it all publicly?


  20. Aaron T. Platt says:

    I have one more semester left before I get my BA in psychology, I have worked at a prestigious child care center on campus (Stonybrook University), not sure if that helps, and I do not have a TEFL certification. I Really want to try a summer program before I invest in the TEFL certification classes. Am I eligible to teach in China for a summer program, or anywhere else for that matter? THANK YOU!!

    • Jim says:

      Hi Aaron – it’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation with the TEFL :) Any good school would expect you to have a TEFL certificate before interviewing you for a job (unless you have plenty of previous ESL teaching experience). Having a TEFL will not only open a lot more doors, it is also essential in most areas of China when applying for a work visa and will give you the confidence and teaching skills to get up in front of a class and do a good job teaching. Just because summer jobs are only for 2 months or so does not mean the teaching is any less challenging. We recommend INTESOL, they were foudned in 1993, are fully accredited and offer a range of courses both online and face to face. We work closely with them and therefore can offer some nice discounts through our affilitation –

  21. Mazen says:

    I am very interested in finding a job teaching English in China over the summer. I have a TEFL certificate and ESL experience, teaching English at a Turkish private school last summer. However, I have not graduated and I am currently in my 3rd year at the University of Western Ontario in Canada. Do I still qualify for any of the programs referred to on this website?

    • Jim says:

      Hello – thanks for the message. Most schools do require a BA degree in order to process the work visa in China. However, there may be areas of China that do not. We will be taking applications for summer jobs starting in April, please submit an application then and we’ll do what we can to help.

  22. Laurie says:

    Hi! I am interested in short – term teaching in China (August 2013). Are teachers working during summer entitled to:
    business visa (F) provided by the school?
    free accommodation?
    Are teachers supposed to bear any expenses to be recruited?
    Thank you

  23. Thomas says:

    Hi there
    I have recently qualified from a CELTA course and I’m looking to find work in China. Am I right in thinking that February is the time when schools and Universities do their recruiting?

    How about the fact that I have no prior English teaching experience? how employable am I? I have a degree, a Masters, and over 2 years experience teaching Art in primary and secondary schools throughout north east England.

    thanks in advance, it looks like a lot of your time must be taken up by answering questions from people like me.

    Thomas Beach

    • Jim says:

      Hi Thomas

      Thanks for the message and apologies for the late reply. There are certainly plenty of good schools that can hire teachers without previous ESL teaching experience. Many run good training programs and have good materials that make it easier to pick up. February is indeed a peak time for recruitment however there are jobs beginning every month of the year. Right now schools are hiring for May, June and July start dates for full time 12 month contracts as well as for summer jobs which typically run from late June to late August.

      A Master’s degree, CELTA and 2 years teaching art will definitely be viewed highly by many schools. Please do submit an application here and we will do our best to put you in touch with suitable schools based on your requirements –

  24. Anne says:


    I’m a fully qualified primary school teacher from Ireland and I have been teaching for the past two years. I am also a post-graduate student working towards a PhD in the History of Education. I don’t have TEFL, however, I taught EAL students from Poland when I worked as a Learning Support and English Language teacher from January 2012 to June 2012. I also spent four weeks last summer working as an English language teacher in a English summer camp in Spain. Would I be able to apply without having the TEFL qualification?

    • Jim says:

      Hi Anne – thanks for the message. It certainly seems like you have good qualifications and teaching experience. We have various teaching jobs with a range of schools so the exact requirements will depend on the school. Many of them do require a TEFL certificate along with a BA degree in order to apply for the work visa, but there will also be schools that can take teaching experience in place of the TEFL I’d say. Having a TEFL will open more doors not just in China but for teaching jobs for other countries too. It might be worth considering the 100 hour INTESOL course –

  25. Jenny says:


    I am of Chinese ethnic background. English is not my first language but I have been in Canada since I was 6. In fact my English is considerably better than my Chinese. Would I still be able to secure a teaching position in China? Does my Chinese “appearance” work against me? As I have found informal information that a western appearance is preferred.

  26. Jenny says:


    I am of Chinese ethnic background. English is not my first language but I have been in Canada since I was 6. In fact my English is considerably better than my Chinese. Would I still be able to secure a teaching position in China? Does my Chinese “appearance” work against me? As I have found informal information that a western appearance is preferred. Thank you.

    • Jim says:

      Hello – thanks for the message. It is unfortunately true that a lot of schools in China still prefer to hire ‘white’ teachers over Asian teachers even if both speak fluent English and a clear accent. There are schools that are more open minded, you will just have to be more patient in your job hunt. It also helps a lot if you have a TEFL certificate (we recommend INTESOL – and some teaching experience, even if it is just some volunteer teaching.

    • Jim says:

      Hi Jenny – we will do what we can to help, there are plenty of schools in China that are able and willing to hire non white teachers however there are also unfortunately many that do not. Please submit an application and we will send you more details

  27. Linda says:

    What is your typical age for teachers looking for summer employment?

  28. Stan says:

    Hi, I am a elementary school teacher with experience teaching in an ESL and special education classroom to Chinese students in New York City. Is it too late to apply for summer teaching? My school year ends on June 26.

  29. Nabeel Jaffer says:

    Hey I have a bachelors degree in economics and biology, and am currently studying a BA in Education. What are my options and should I still need to take the TESL course. Does being an education major give me any advatange

    • Jim says:

      Yes, a Bachelor’s in Education will definitely give you a huge advantage when applying for teaching jobs. A lot of schools do also require a TEFL certificate in addition to a Bachelor’s degree to satisfy the requirements for the work visa application. Therefore, you may want to consider doing a short, online TEFL course in order to get that certificate. There ae some schools that do not require the TEFL certificate though.

  30. Liana says:

    I am currently working on a Bachelors degree majoring in psychology and minoring in English, as well as working on a Bachelors of Education. I am also in progress of completing a D-TEIL certificate (teaching english as international language), all of which will be complete by may 2014. I am Chinese but born and raised in Canada so I am fluent in English. I have taught children Arts and Sciences for 4 months in total during 2 summers in summer camp. and I have also taught various subjects, including language arts, at an elementary school for a total of 2 months. I will be obtaining more experience this coming year.

    Will my qualifications and teaching experience be enough to teach in china for summer of 2014? Please let me know. Thank you.

    • Jim says:

      Hi Liana

      Thanks for the message. Yes, you most certainly will be qualified to teach for the summer in China with qualifications and experience like that. Some schools in large cities such as Shanghai and Beijing require teachers to have at least 2 years of full time, post graduate teaching experience in order to secure a visa but for most cities this is not a requirement.

      We will begin interviewing for summer 2014 jobs around March next year. Look forward to discussing things further then.

  31. Tom Probert says:

    I am very interested in teaching English in China in the summer of 2014. I have the Cambridge CELTA certificate, over 9 years’ experience as a TEFL-teacher, a BA and an MA.
    I can be available from June to August inclusive.
    I would greatly appreciate any advice.

    • Jim says:

      Hi Tom – thanks for the message. With your qualifications and experience you will have plenty of options for teaching positions over the summer. We generally start holding interviews around March 2014 for summer jobs in the same year, so please get back in touch then and we can provide details on suitable positions.

  32. Melanie says:

    I will be teaching at a University in Hefei this September. It’s a ten month contract and I will be available from June 30th onward through the summer. I’m interested in a summer camp position in Shanghai. Is this possible?
    I have an MA, 200+ hour Tesl certificate and three years University teaching experience. I also have experience teaching kids.



  33. nithya says:

    I am a studying my Bachelors degree in journalism. I have two months of vacation and i would want to use it fruitfully by teaching English to children from the month of April to June. I would like to know more details on this . Kindly help me

    • Jim says:

      Hi Nithya – thanks for the message regarding summer teaching jobs. Right now, it’s a bit early as schools generally don’t know their recruitment needs for summer teachers until around April. Could you get back in touch with us then and we’ll send you details of schools hiring. In the mean time if you don’t have a TEFL certificate I would recommend getting one, we recommend INTESOL as an excellent course provider and have some good discounts on their courses here –

  34. Susan says:

    Hi Jim,

    I am a 32 year old Canadian that is really eager to experience China. I have a Bachelors degree and secondary education certificate. I am currently completing my Tesol certification and should be finished sometime in May. Unfortunately I am only able to travel between May – August (October at the latest). Are there any positions available that I could apply to? Thanks!!


  1. […] Summer jobs are an excellent way to get a taste for teaching in China without having to commit for a full 12 months. The package offered is usually very good with the school provides a decent salary, flight allowance, free housing, visa and insurance. Schools are looking for teachers with experience who can jump straight in and do a good job without too much support. The teaching schedule is generally busier than other times of the year so expect to teach 26 – 30 hours a week with only one day off a week. You will see your students 3 or 4 times a week rather than once or twice which is usually the case. More details about summer jobs teaching English in China are given in this article. […]

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