At the end of 2018, China introduced new regulations that affect English teachers both in-person and online teachers. Today we’re going to talk about those changes and updates that have been made recently affecting online English teachers. Continue reading to find out if these changes will affect you and what to do about it!
I first started hearing about some of these changes early this year and I wasn’t sure what to expect. But then I started to get some emails from others asking about these changes. Some were feeling discouraged from even pursuing teaching English online. So I wanted to find out whether there are any reasons to take such an extreme view of things.
Good news is that not everyone will be affected by these changes. Even if you’ll be affected there are things you can do to meet the new requirements being required by Chinese regulators. But let’s talk about the changes.
When did the new Chinese regulations come into effect?
Towards the end of 2018, China announced that there would be a management platform created in order to tighten scrutiny over after-school training agencies across China.
Since English classes fall under the category of after-school training programs these changes have had an effect on the ESL industry.
Why did China change laws for teachers?
A few reasons were mentioned by the Ministry of Education in China:
- Addressing concerns about poor quality training programs
- Providing some regulation that has been lacking in after school training programs
- To ease pressure on students in primary and secondary schools
What are the new Chinese requirements for teachers?
The first changes that came in 2018 require that all English teachers have the following:
- A bachelor’s degree in any field
- A TESOL, TEFL, or CELTA certification 120-hours minimum
- Criminal background check
On July 12, 2019, more regulations were announced that online language platforms would now be required to publish to students the qualifications of all foreign teachers.
This would include giving students and their parents “access to teachers’ names, photo, teaching qualifications, and previous academic and professional experience.”
Another change is that the length of online classes for all students is being reduced. All classes must be 40 minutes or less.
There are many other regulations about the type of information companies are allowed to teach. Changes have been made requiring certain technical requirements for the teaching platforms.
Companies need to clearly layout class cost and any additional fees. And a clearly defined refund policy must be available for parents.
Does this mean online teaching is not for you?
Well, keep in mind that these changes don’t affect all teachers. These new regulations will only affect you if you work for or are planning to work for a company based in China or teaching Chinese students.
So if you’re planning, for example, to teach children and you were considering the following companies, you’d need to meet the new requirements:
- Magic Ears
“Aren’t the only teaching jobs available for Chinese students?”
You may think this because China is probably the biggest market for the English teaching industry. However, this thinking is really limiting.
There are literally hundreds of companies teaching students English in other countries, like France, Spain, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Russia and more! I’ve spent the last four years teaching students in France and Germany, just to give you an example.
So if you find that you don’t meet the new requirements and that you prefer to not pursue meeting them- you have options! Options are great, aren’t they?!
What to do to meet new Chinese requirements?
So if you’re a teacher or potential teacher affected by these new Chinese regulations, what do you need to do to meet the requirements?
Get your TESOL certificate
This is now required if you will be working for a company teaching Chinese students or based in China. There are different options to obtain your TESOL certificate.
- Get it by enrolling in an in-person TESOL certification class. This can be a good option as you get hands-on experience in person with your instructor. These classes can be more costly in general but are a good option.
- Take your TESOL certification online. If you’re looking for flexibility and ease of completion, going online can be a great option. Generally, these classes are self-paced. One word of caution, you want to look for a certificate that will be recognized internationally and will provide you with 120 hours of instruction.
Keep in mind that you will need to have a TEFL or TESOL certificate of at least 120 hours. Also, beware of discount TESOL certifications. These often will not be enough hours or are not internationally recognized.
While it may be tempting to just get a quick $25 TEFL certificate on Groupon, these programs are generally bottom of the barrel and don’t offer any standard on what is being taught.
If you’re making a change to teaching as a way to support yourself, you really want to be properly equipped so that you will feel confident teaching. If you have questions on finding the right TESOL certification course see our post that addresses this.
This requirement is a bit difficult if you don’t already have one. There aren’t so many ways to get around the three to four years required to obtain an accredited bachelor’s degree.
However, there are a few companies that offer programs that take into account your experience and can reduce the time required to sometimes a year or less.
If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, I would suggest applying to companies that don’t require one.
This can be done in your home country or country of residence. For example, if you live in the US, you may need to go to your local police department to request a criminal history report. You can even order one online in some states.
Change is inevitable. Change is constant.
― Benjamin Disraeli
So as you can see these changes can affect some teachers but not all. The teaching industry is in continual change and I’ll continue to update this post if there are any new developments.
I really hope you got value out of this blog post as you continue your journey towards teaching English online! If you want to keep learning why not subscribe to this blog by clicking here.
You can also check out and subscribe to my daily podcast called You Can Teach English Online by clicking here, available on iTunes, Spotify and more.
What do you think about these changes? Will they improve the standard of online ESL teaching? Comment below with your thoughts!