If you’re interested in teaching at a Chinese university, then bear in mind that the peak period for job applications is in April – July. This is so that all the formalities can be completed for a September start. There is also a certain amount of recruitment for the 2nd semester that begins in early March. But this recruitment is mainly to replace the few teachers who might quit or are fired after the 1st semester.
So where to find university teaching jobs? Check out this lot:
These days most recruitment is done online, and recruitment of foreign expert teachers for China is no exception.
The best job websites I have found are:
On the first two just search for the “University” keyword.
Dave’s has been around forever.
eChinaCities is good but their website is terribly slow.
Jobs.ac.uk has a focus on China section which is intended to lure UK academics over to China. It tends to feature high level jobs that aren’t necessarily for teaching English. But I’ve included here because it’s a good place to see who’s recruiting. It’s also worth speculative applications, especially if you have some sort of specialism. Accountancy and law experts are particularly in demand in China, as are scientists.
After this it’s also worth checking out the jobs section of Tefl certification providers. I found good jobs on offer both with The Tefl Academy and tefl.org.uk. In fact I found my first China teaching job on The Tefl Academy’s website. You need to register for the latter one and they keep the best jobs for their paying customers. But don’t worry too much as the same job vacancies can usually be found elsewhere online.
The British Council recruit teachers but to be honest it’s a waste of time applying for them. Especially if you want to teach in China. I applied in November and it wasn’t till the following April that they told me I wasn’t up to their standards. In other words I was too old or two free thinking for them. Turns out I’ve become a pretty good teacher, so how wrong they were. It was also annoying that they had to get a referee to put in a recommendation for me even though I wasn’t even guaranteed an interview. On top of that the application process was really long winded. So I now have a very low opinion of the British Council. Avoid them if you can. You don’t need them.
Many jobs at universities are filled by agencies. These work much the same as recruitment agencies in Western countries. The agents will seek out job hunters and put them in touch with recruiters who are looking to hire people.
A few agencies have their own websites where you can submit your details. This one seems pretty good.
With agencies beware of bait and switch tactics. If you want to teach at university level, then don’t accept a job teaching at a high school or kindergarten. Agencies want to fill whatever vacancies pay them the most, they’re not necessarily there to serve your best interests.
Of course the other important thing about agencies is NEVER send them money.
Finally if you get interviewed then make sure it is with the school itself and not just the agency. Usually interviews can be conducted using Skype or WeChat. If you’re serious about teaching in China then get the WeChat app for your phone as soon as possible.
Referrals and Word of Mouth
This is how much recruitment is done in China. If you know anyone already living in China, then remember to ask them if there are any job vacancies going.
If you have a particular university in mind, or you want to work in a specific city then you’ll probably have more luck by making direct speculative applications.
CUCAS handles applications to over 300 official universities in China and it’s a great place to search for universities in particular areas. The site is also in English.
Search the internet to see if you can find the university’s website. If you’re particularly lucky then they should have an English language version of their site. But it must be said that on average, Chinese university websites aren’t terribly useful.
Once you’ve found a website then see if there are any email addresses you could send a speculative email to.
Alternatively if you’re already living in China then try just walking in the main gates and looking for the teaching department’s administration office.
Just remember that legally you need a bachelor’s degree and a 120 hour teaching certificate. You’ll also need to be a native English speaker.
So that’s a few places to look for university level teaching jobs in China. If you know of any other good places to find jobs, then post a comment below.