Hopefully the online TEFL/TESOL course you take will broaden your horizons and get you one step closer to what you want - teaching English in China with a smile on your face. If that is what you want. Maybe even if you are unsure of what you want it will get you one step closer to that.

People take courses for different reasons.

"Dude, I just want a job."

For some it's like that, they're here to take a TEFL course, get their certificate and go.

Others want something different. For them it's:

"I have got these students that are driving me crazy!!!!!!!" or "My students are so bored and well, ughhhh, me too."

Others say, "I don't know anything about teaching, but I want to learn!"

I even knew a guy who said, "Teach English! I'll never do that. I am not a teacher." And then a few years later he was teaching abroad.


You probably want a course that:

  • inspires you
  • prepares you
  • makes teaching English fun
  • isn't too hard or too easy

Do you need a TEFL course to teach in China?

No, not necessarily. It will depend on the school and the location. Tier 1 cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzen tend to have the strictest requirements. Other provinces and schools may not require them.

Does it matter if it's online or not? Not for most part. A course would be more beneficial to you if you didn't have any teaching experience as well. Teaching is not that easy especially if you are new to it.

Here's an online course for teaching in China. It also focuses more on teaching children (young learners) which is a large part of the job market there.

How many hours? You will find courses of various lengths like 20, 60, 100, 120, or 150 hour courses. In the case of online courses these hours are not accurate. Some say that 100 or 120 hours is standard yet in the case of online courses there are no real TEFL course hours. It's a little industry lie.

"Hi Ian! I loved the course! It wasn't really difficult, but it was not easy - and I feel like I learned a lot..." - Sandra B.

The 1st teacher in this video gives some good advice about teaching in China

Here's a video that's used in the course. I asked these teachers in China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan if they had any advice. Here's their advice.

Great thanks! What about that course?

Oh yeah, you have a few options that you can check out when you get there. You could just sign up for the free course for starters.

Do you have what you need to teach in China?

To teach English in China you often need to be a native speaker and to have a degree in any discipline. There are cases when you can get a job without either of those. The rules for teaching in China are not so clear cut and can vary from province to province.

But for the most part you need those things to get a Z visa. And also you may need to be 25-55 years old with a few years of work experience outside of school. But again even that is not set in stone everywhere. What about TEFL/TESOL certificates?

Again it depends on the school. Compared to other countries in Eastern Asia more schools tend to require or prefer it than other countries. But don't take my word for it. It's best to see for yourself.

So you may not need it, but are you confident in your abilities to teach?

If your answer is no then that is why this course is here. Even experienced teachers have found it useful.

"I just completed the 120 hour online TEFL course. I am an experienced teacher, having taught Science and Gifted Education in the US for ten years prior to coming to Taiwan. Although teacher prep programs will help, many aspects of teaching EFL are unique.

I wish I would have taken this course BEFORE I started teaching here three years ago. The methods and insights given in ESL Insider's 120 hour TEFL course could have saved me a lot of grief and disappointment. Now I am optimistic about starting a new school year armed with better lessons and a realigned perspective. Thank you, ESL Insider!" - Dolly M.

So teaching English can be difficult even if you have taught other subjects before.

Even if you don't need it to get a job some schools as mentioned above can prefer it. Here is a quote from Michael who took the 60 hour course:

"I took your 60 hour TEFL-60 course and it was great, got me a nice job in China." - Michael Brennan

What are the courses like?

They are practical. They focus on what to do in the classroom versus studying grammar or teaching theory.

These courses cover such topics as:

  • Teaching methods
  • Public speaking
  • Learning styles
  • Lesson planning
  • Presenting language
  • Teaching writing
  • Teaching reading
  • Teaching listening
  • Teaching speaking
  • Teaching phonics and pronunciation
  • Grammar
  • Teaching songs
  • Classroom management
  • Culture shock
  • Writing your resume
  • & finding jobs

Topics 1-6 online TEFL course outline

There's a screen recording video on this page that will show this course outline in more detail.

How long do they take?

It depends on you. It's possible to finish the 20 hour course in a few days, the 60 hour course in a week and the 120 hour course within a couple of weeks.

Which course?

Well the 20 hour will be the quickest and cheapest. The 60 hour course is the middle option. For a little bit more work you'll get better training and a better qualification. The 120 hour course is the most reputable of the 3 and offers the most thorough training.

There is no set timeline and you can work on it as you like. Check it out.

"There's a lot of TEFL courses out there and I found ESL Insider's course to be very useful. The content is concise and the advice is practical. I've looked at other courses costing many times more than this one and wasn't impressed. I will definitely be using the ideas and activities presented in the course in my future jobs. I would highly recommend this course to any prospective ESL teachers out there." - George P.