When to apply to schools

Feb 11, 2012

You may be wondering when the best time to apply for a teaching position is. This all depends on what type of school you are looking to teach for and what age group you want to teach. Here we have given you the details of the different types of schools to help you understand the best time to apply for your perfect school!

Private English language training center for kids or adults:

These schools are attended by kids or adults on the evenings and weekends, specifically for English language instruction. This is the fastest growing segment of education in China. Classes are held year around with the majority of vacation time based around Chinese holidays. Because of the rapid growth in this segment many of these schools provide potential for career advancement.

When to apply: For these types of schools, the application process can be done year-round. They are always looking for teachers so there is no specific time that you should apply. You should, however, apply 1-3 months in advance of your intended departure date. So, if for example you wanted to begin teaching in January, we would advise you to apply around October time.


The name says it all; the children are 18 months to 6 years old. You will be helping them become familiar and comfortable with the English language. Schedule is daytime weekday hours. Preschools hold classes’ year around while kindergartens work on the traditional 2 semester schedule with winter and summer breaks.

When to apply: The majority of hiring is done for a September start, so it would be a good idea to apply before then. There will also be openings that are available after the Chinese New Year in February (this year new years in on February 10th). Once again, it would be a good idea to apply 1-3 months in advance however, there are usually always urgent openings available so don’t ever feel that it’s too late to apply.

Foreign language primary, middle or high school:

These are traditional schools for all grades. Some subjects are taught by foreign teachers in English, while others are taught by local teachers in Chinese. Classes are held on the traditional 2 semester schedule with breaks in the winter and summer.

International Schools/Foreign language schools:

These schools are where the professional expats and wealthy locals send their children. Tuition is expensive and the level of education is top notch. Classes are held on the traditional 2 semester schedule and almost all classes are taught in English. Teacher qualifications are toughest in this category but the remuneration is fantastic. These schools often require a 2 year commitment.

When to apply: About 80% of the hiring for these schools is done for a September start. Roughly 20% is for after Chinese New Year’s in February. With this type of job you would want to apply anywhere between 2-9 months in advance. The more prestigious that the school is, the earlier we would advise you to apply. Once again, there are almost always urgent openings available near the beginning of each semester!

Always remember that Teaching Nomad is here to help you and to help make this whole process easier. If you have any questions, you can easily send us a question at [email protected], or alternatively, you can find most answers to your questions on our FAQ section of our website. Sign up today and you can get set up with your own free placement consultant! We look forward to working with you and helping you to finding you the perfect school!


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