Although teaching English in China sounds like a perfect job for many travellers there are always two sides to every story. What may seem perfect on one side, is totally wrong on the other.
According to visa regulations, working visa for English teaching can be granted only to passport holders of English-speaking countries (USA, UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ireland and South Africa) or graduates, having a B.A. from accredited college in English-speaking country. Due to high demand of English teachers in China, most of the public institutions are willing to employ almost everyone with white skin and fluency in English language. Regardless of their nationality and degree.
What does it mean for you?
You are still able to teach English, but it will be ILLEGALLY. Even if you are teaching English on business visa it is still considered illegal. The only suitable option is working visa, but in order to qualify for this visa your passport has to be issued in English-speaking country. If you are a non-native speaker, willing to teach English, you should consider other Asian countries, such as: Cambodia or Thailand. Their requirements are less strict and they are also willing to employ non-native speakers as English teachers. The only disadvantage may be that living standards in those two countries are lower compared to other developed countries in Asia and therefore you will earn less money.
If you are serious about English teaching, I strongly suggest you to complete TEFL course. By obtaining TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) you are eligible to teach English in a non-native English speaking country. It will not only make you more credible, but will also enhance your chances of getting a job. The HR managers are most likely to hire someone with proven training.
Teaching English in China has already become a cliché and it is losing on its meaning – foreigners do it because it is the easiest and fastest way of earning money while travelling. Regardless of their education and ability to teach. Although that may be profitable for the English teacher, it is not for the kindergarten! Demand for English teachers in China exceeds supply. That is why most of the kindergarten are interested in hiring English teachers as long as they are white, fluent in English and speak English without accent. In most cases they don’t care about their background and ability to teach.
English teachers are well aware, that the public institutions need them more than they need them. That explains why most of the travellers first teach English for a couple of months in China and later travel around Southeast Asia. Some public institutions are consequently struggling forever to find an English teacher who would stay there long-term and will not go travelling as soon as he earns some money. Although this win-win situation may be very beneficial to English teacher and kids on short-term, I wonder what kind of impact that may have long-term on the kids.