How to Become a Teacher Without a Degree in China

China has long been an attractive teaching destination due to its large population and robust English teaching market, but one question often remains unanswered: how to become a teacher without a degree in China? In this article we will investigate legal requirements for teaching English there as well as provide alternatives for teachers without degrees.



What Requirements Are Needed to Be a Teacher in China?



Unfortunately, recent changes in regulations have mandated that a degree be obtained as part of the Z (work) visa requirements to legally work as an English teacher in China. While schools in China were more flexible before, government has tightened regulations now; therefore, no you cannot teach legally in China without one.



What about teaching with a tourist or business visa?



Though it might be tempting to teach on a tourist or business visa, it's essential to remember that such visas do not permit individuals to legally work as teachers in China. Engaging in illegal work could have serious repercussions, including fines, deportation or imprisonment if caught doing it illegally; to stay safe it's best to avoid advertisements or agencies offering work visas in this regard as it's both risky and illegal.



Risks associated with teaching without a Z visa



Due to China's increasing teacher shortage, schools in China may accept teachers without degrees. Unfortunately, working without a Z visa carries with it significant risks; authorities conduct random raids looking for illegal workers and the consequences could be severe if caught; embarking on this uncharted path could result in premature and unpleasant termination of your Chinese adventure.



Alternative Options for Teachers Without Degrees (ATTDs)



If your dream of teaching English in China doesn't require a degree, there may still be hope. One alternative route is applying for an X (student) visa which enables part-time internship positions at lower pay than regular teaching jobs - providing valuable classroom experience while living in China - though its potential pay may not match up directly to regular teaching jobs in terms of salary. Keep in mind that an X visa typically lasts six months before expiring but there may be extensions after initial expiration date.



What are some other alternative options for teaching English in China without a degree?


While earning a degree is the fastest and easiest path to teaching English in China, other options exist for individuals without one as well. While these may have certain restrictions or requirements attached to them, they still offer opportunities to gain teaching experience while living abroad. Here are a few other possibilities you should keep in mind:



1. Volunteer English Teaching in China:

Volunteer English teaching can be an excellent way to gain teaching experience without needing to obtain a degree. There are various organizations and programs offering volunteer placements that allow teachers to contribute educational initiatives while immersing themselves in local culture - although these positions tend to be unpaid they provide invaluable experience and present opportunities to make a significant positive difference in lives around you.



2. Private tutoring services:

A second way of earning extra income with English language skills is providing private English tutoring services. Many Chinese families are eager to hire native English speakers as tutors for either one-on-one or small group lessons, which provides more independence and potentially higher income potential than traditional teaching jobs.



3. Online Teaching Platforms:

Online teaching platforms offer new opportunities to teach English remotely to Chinese learners. Various English teaching companies cater specifically to this market and some don't require degrees as prerequisites - however it is still vitally important that research be performed to verify legitimacy and reputation before proceeding with these companies.



4. Teaching in Language Centers or Smaller Cities:

While major cities in China typically require stricter requirements of their English teachers, smaller cities and language centers may have more lax requirements and might be willing to hire individuals without degrees - however keep in mind that salary and benefits could differ compared to teaching positions in larger cities.



5. Pursue a Degree or Other Qualifications:

If teaching English abroad is your long-term goal, considering obtaining either a Bachelor's or Master's program in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or becoming certified for TEFL can significantly increase your chances of finding quality teaching positions both locally and globally.



Don't be misled into thinking these alternative teaching opportunities will allow you to teach English in China without needing a degree, however. Each option may come with specific regulations or require additional qualifications, so it is crucial that you conduct ample research on all available opportunities before making a decision and considering its potential effects on long-term career goals.


Teaching English in China legally requires a Z visa, and possessing an appropriate degree is now required in order to apply. Teaching without the appropriate visa poses serious risks that could have serious repercussions, however those without degrees still have options through part-time internship roles and the X visa option; though shorter in duration than Z visa, both still provide valuable classroom experience as well as open doors to future opportunities. Therefore it is essential that teachers understand and adhere to legal requirements to ensure a rewarding teaching experience in China.

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