International School Jobs in China

- Know about K-12 international schools and what to expect teaching there in China -

How Many International Schools Are There in China?

The number of international schools in China has reached 661 and has exceeded that in UAE, ranking first in the world, according to the 2016 China International School Development Report (IEduChina, 2017). According to TopTutorjob's research in 2020, during 2017-2019, there are 156 more international schools in China being set up.

These hundreds of international schools can be divided into three categories by its definition: international schools for foreign nationals (namely schools for expats, 118), private-funded K-12 Schools offering international curriculum (388), and international programs in public schools. The above data shows that private schools play a dominant role in the international school market in China. More than half of these schools are in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangdong.

Curricula offered by international schools are primarily based on American, British, Canadian, or Australian education systems, in which A-levels account for 45%, IB 23%, and AP 30%. The quality of international schools are mostly determined by both the quantity and quality of international educators and managerial staff. With the rapid growth of international schools, foreign teachers are in high demand in this market.

Learn more about AP schools in China/ IB schools in China/ Cambridge schools in China here.

Legal Definition of an International School in China

In TopTutorJob's terminology, an international school (particularly, schools for foreign nationals and private schools), normally refers to a institution/organisation who has acquired a self-owned  education-purposed property/campus, and obtained the "school permit" from local education department, with the legal rights to deliver "academic teaching" (i.e. any international school  can issue an official diploma  certificate to graduates).

See our Glossary for detailed information.

International School Jobs in China

Our analysis of the recruitment market in the field found that international schools offer a great variety of job opportunities, from subject teachers to administrative and management roles, such as physics teachers, school counselors, and school heads. In particular, international schools catering to ex-pat children or with overseas backgrounds prefer foreign candidates when hiring for senior management positions.

The typical positions in international schools are EAL teacher, MYP/ DP Mathematics, Computer Science Teacher, Humanities Teacher, Chemistry Teacher, Economics Teacher, School Counsellor, and Head of School/Principal.

We believe that now you should have a general idea of international schools in China. In the next section, we will give you some practical guidance on finding jobs in international schools in China.

Learn more about different types of international schools in our School Type topic series.

General Requirements for Teaching in International Schools

To get a teaching job or a management role in international schools in China, you need to meet both the requirements of both the Chinese government and employers. See our Career Advice for more information.

Here we list several conditions for job seekers which are essential for working visa application:

  • Bachelor's degree or above in related subjects. (Degree needs to be authenticated by PRC Embassy).
  • Two years’ related working experience.
  • Age under 60.
  • Non-criminal record.

Based on our experience, International Schools tend to have a higher requirement for their candidates than training centers and kindergartens, who are mostly only looking for ESL teachers. Usually, employers prefer candidates with qualifications as following:

  • Relevant teaching experience with international school or foreign language school and/or extensive experience in settings with diverse English language learning needs.
  • Working experience above three years.
  • With a teaching certification/qualification issued in the U.S, Canada, UK, Australia, or New Zealand.

How to Identify “Authentic” International Schools?

Along with the rapid development of international schools and the increasing demand for foreign teachers, as a job applicant, you might feel confused with so many opportunities and advertisements presented in front of you. It is a kind reminder from TopTutorJob that be sure to choose legitimate and authenticated institutions when you look into the market. In relation to this issue, we have some tips for our job seekers to identify the employers yourself.

It is worth mentioning that all of the positions on our have been verified with below approaches and are posted by trusted employers.

  • The institutions engaged in teaching must obtain a permit for running a private school in the PRC.
  • Must have an official website, and the site has been verified by Internet Content Provider (ICP).
  • If the legal entity is a school (known from ICP), the brand name shall be consistent with the school name.
  • If the legal entity is a company, its business license must have permissions for training or education-related services.


  1. NSI. (2016, November 20). New Schools Insight (NSI) has published 2016 China International School Development Report.
  2. CSSN. (2016, December 14). Understand the Blue Book of 2016 China International School Report.

Feel free to email us: [email protected] if you want to discuss anything about this article.