Teaching English in Shanghai, Jobs & Certification

Living and working in Shanghai as an English teacher can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Shanghai is one of China’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities, offering a mix of modernity and traditional Chinese culture. Here’s what you need to know about living and teaching in Shanghai:

  1. Job Opportunities: Shanghai has a high demand for English teachers due to its status as an international business hub and its desire to improve English language proficiency among its residents. There are various opportunities to teach in language schools, international schools, kindergartens, universities, and private tutoring.
  2. Qualifications: To work legally as an English teacher in Shanghai, you’ll need either a high school or college degree, plus a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate. Experience and fluency in English are highly valued as well.
  3. Work Culture: The work culture can vary depending on the institution you teach at. Language schools and kindergartens may have more relaxed environments, while international schools and universities might have more structured and demanding schedules. Generally, teachers are respected and valued in Chinese culture, and students often show great enthusiasm to learn.
  4. Salary and Benefits: Salaries for English teachers in Shanghai can vary based on experience, qualifications, and the type of institution. International schools and universities typically offer higher salaries and more benefits, such as housing allowance, flight reimbursement, health insurance, and paid vacation. Language schools may have lower salaries but can still provide some benefits.
  5. Cost of Living: Shanghai is a major metropolis, and the cost of living is higher compared to other Chinese cities. Rent and housing costs can be significant, especially if you prefer to live in the city center or expat-friendly areas. However, there are options for more affordable housing if you’re willing to live a bit farther from the downtown areas.
  6. Accommodation: Some schools might offer accommodation as part of your employment package, while others may provide a housing allowance. Alternatively, you can choose to find your own accommodation through local real estate agents or online platforms.
  7. Transportation: Shanghai has an extensive and efficient public transportation system, including the metro, buses, and taxis. The metro is particularly popular for getting around the city quickly and affordably.
  8. Language Barrier: While English is widely used in international settings and among younger generations, the overall level of English proficiency among the local population might vary. Learning some basic Mandarin or Shanghainese can be beneficial for daily interactions.
  9. Cultural Experience: Living in Shanghai allows you to immerse yourself in Chinese culture, try traditional cuisine, and explore historical sites alongside modern landmarks like the Oriental Pearl Tower and The Bund.
  10. Social Life: Shanghai has a vibrant expat community, offering various social and networking opportunities. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, clubs, and cultural events to enjoy in your free time.
  11. Visa Regulations: To work legally in Shanghai, you’ll need a valid work visa (Z visa). The process can be somewhat bureaucratic, and it’s essential to ensure you have all the required documents from your employer.
  12. Challenges: Adapting to a new culture, language barrier, and potential homesickness are some common challenges expats may face. However, with an open mind and a willingness to embrace the local culture, many people find these challenges to be enriching experiences.

Overall, teaching English in Shanghai can be a fantastic opportunity to live in a dynamic city, experience a different culture, and make a positive impact on the lives of your students. It’s a journey that can be both professionally and personally fulfilling.

If you are looking to live in a metropolitan city and save a bit of money you should consider teaching in Shanghai. Shanghai is the most densely populated city in the world with 24 million people. Every job opportunity that you can imagine exists somewhere in this city from volunteer to high-end private schools.

Most teachers are able to find jobs netting $2,100 monthly, and are able to save roughly half of that for future adventures. This makes Shanghai a great destination to have an incredible experience and save. For these reasons alone Robert chose to teach in Shanghai and he was not disappointed. He  shares with you the pros and cons about teaching in the city with no limits.