ISAC Program Q&A
Before You Apply
International School Alliance of China or ISAC is a government certified recruitment firm. We work with public universities, public schools and education bureaus to hire foreign language teachers to work at Chinese public institutions.
Through the ISAC Teach in China Program, teachers around the world are invited to teach at one of our participating schools (your host school) for one academic year.
What we do：
- Recruit foreign teachers for ISAC partner universities and schools
- Conduct preliminary interview and introduce Chinese public universities and public schools teaching conditions
- Connect teachers in a direct conversation with interested universities and schools
- Provide assistance on visa application process, pre-arrival medical check, airport pick-up, resident permit application process etc;
- Organize activities including orientation, food tour for foreign teachers in our program etc.
What we don’t do：
- ISAC does not work with the private sector including private training schools and language centers. We receive government budget funds from our partners.
- ISAC does not decide teacher’s salary: your host university/school does. Your salary and benefits are not affected wherther you are introduced by ISAC or other agencies;
- Contract: contract is signed between foreign teacher and your host university/school, not with ISAC.
The ISAC Teach in China Program is a sum of teaching programs ISAC run to recruit teachers to teach at our partner institutions. ISAC Program include:
- University Teaching Program
- Hangzhou Teaching Program
- National Teaching Program
ISAC is working constantly to improve the standards of our program to attract more quality teachers into the public classrooms in China.
- ISAC is certified.
We are certified by SAFEA (State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs) and MOHRSS (Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security)
- ISAC is prompt.
We deal with applications in a prompt manner. You can expect to hear back from us in 1-2 days. Also we are commited to provide real and most updated information.
- ISAC is trustworthy.
We work closely with our partner universities and schools who share the same values with us, that is being truthful, responsible, and welcoming.
An issue with the ESL industry in China is that teachers do not have enough information about the employer.
With ISAC, we believe more information should be provided such as salary, accommodation, city location, class size, school location etc so that foreigners can have an idea what to expect.
ISAC hope to build a trustworthy relation with every teacher and every institution we work with;
You are hired by your host school. You will sign your contract with the school. ISAC is responsible for providing job information (salary, accommodation, etc), taking in C.Vs, screening and conducting first round interview.
We only provide the following types of jobs:
1, Language Instructor (English, German, French, Japanese, Spanish, Russian, Korean etc.)
2, Subject Instructor (Mechanical Engineering, Software, Computer Science, Petro Science, Chemistry, Math, Medicine etc)
- Submit an application to ISAC;
- C.V. screening and a 10-15 mins first round interview with ISAC;
- Second Round Interview with interested schools;
- Receive job offer and contract for visa application purpose;
- Apply for work visa (Z visa) at a Chinese Embassy; arrange a flight to China;
- Fly to China and attend ISAC Orientation before the semester starts
- Start work
*Note that for Hangzhou Program applicants, ISAC conduct the final interview on behalf of Hangzhou Education Bureau, and reach a decision based on your performance.
We have two terms for each academic year. ISAC program starts in September and February of each year for the two terms including
- the Fall term (Sept-Jan) and
- the Spring term (Feb-July)
ISAC also have sporadic openings during a term. You can check updated Job Vacancies and apply.
ISAC has a fairly strong network in China. No matter where you wish to move to, your previous ISAC teaching experience will help you secure a more competitive job at ISAC partner universities/schools.
For example: One of our foreign teacher Teresa taught English at Nanhai Foreign Language School and after a year of service and positive feedback from the school, she was referred by ISAC to teach at Hangzhou Normal University.
No. However you need to pay for the authentication fee of your degree and background check, and the visa application fee paid to the Chinese embassy.
The first round interview is to know each other; you will have a better idea what level and which school/university you have a good chance to teach in. The second interview you will face more specific questions which may include classroom management, teaching methods etc.
You will also have time to ask questions you have. It’s advised to prepare your questions beforehand. For any specific questions regarding accommodation, cost of living, class size etc, please have them ready at the second interview with the university/school.
For each intake we recruit about 20-30 new foreign teachers. The most recent intake is 2019 Fall intake, we placed 28 foreign teachers to our partner institions.
Chris, Hangzhou Program
Foreign Teachers at Jiangxi Normal University
One thing is working hours. University teachers have about 12-16 classes (45 minutes each class) per week and no office hours. For public schools, the working hours are about 36-40 hours per week (usually 18-20 teaching hours plus 18-20 office hours). That’s why most university salary falls into the 5,000-8,000 range. Of course you need to consider what to do in your spare time. So university jobs are perfect for those who wish to have more spare time (for travel, study, learn a new language etc). University jobs usually have better hourly rate but less overall amount.
Another thing is benefits. Universities provide free accommodation, and sometimes it is quite spacious. It’s common to see a two-bedroom apartment being provided for university teachers but less common for public school/private sector jobs. Also, most university campuses are out of downtown in a less populated, quieter neighborhood with more greenery, and easy access to city center (for students and teachers to commute). It’s advised to check each job position to be sure you are aware of the location, environment and facilities.
If you don’t live a lavish lifestyle, you can save a large portion of your salary. Working in the public sector means most expenditures are covered. Housing, rent, utilities, flight tickets, travel allowance, medical insurance are all included in your salary package. You need to pay for meals with affordable price at school canteen.
No doubt that you see private sector providing better salary, but you should take a closer look at the benefits and the package in a big picture. Public schools/universities do not excel in the number, but it wins over benefits, more relaxed working environment and work-life balance.
ISAC and your host school will guide you through your work visa application including what to prepare, where to go for medical check, and for document authentication etc. We know that the Z visa application process can be daunting at first sight, but you don’t need to worry as we got all the expertise to make it a smooth process.
After the preliminary interview, we will get back to you with a decision in 1-2 days. If you pass the interview, you will proceed to the second interview with a school; it usually takes about 2-4 days for a school to make a final decision.
If you pass the second round interview, expect a job offer sent to your mail box in a week’s time.
No, you need a bachelor’s degree or higher to apply for a work visa. You do not wish to work illegally in China.
Yes. A new teacher needs to have one of the following:
1. TESOL/TEFL/CELTA Certificate on a 120 hours or more training
2. Valid teaching certificate issued from your home country
3. You majored in Education or Linguistics, and that should be shown in your diploma or transcript.
Unfortunately no. ISAC encourages teachers to teach their mother languages. For example, if you are from France and grow up in a French speaking environment, we think the best option would be a French teaching position.
You must have either one of these:
- Formal teaching experience for 2 years or more
- A TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate or teacher’s license from your home country
- Diploma in Education or Linguistics
As you can see from our job list, there are so many universities and cities! Which one is the best fit for me?
University positions are very similar in terms of salary and hours. One variable is location and the other is university ranking. From ISAC’s experience, for teachers who are new to China and new to the higher education, being open-minded is the key for your success here. Big city or small city, top level university or vocational college, they all have got pros and cons. A vocational college in a small city does not mean it is going to be a bad experience; on the contrary many teachers in a small college enjoyed the experience of being close to everyone at school, being popular on campus and being appreciated by others for their work done because there are only a few foreign teachers at that school (See Brian, Esther, Connie). Top-level university has got motivated students, great facilities. But the cons is that it’s more difficult to stand out. Imagine that you work at a university with 30 foreign teachers and half of them have PhD degrees.
Our suggestion is to get to know the city and the university , know what is included and what is not and go for it. The most important thing is to get all required documents ready for work visa application. After a year or two at one university you will have a better idea where you are heading for the benefits of your career and life.
For primary and secondary schools, it is from Mon-Fri. For university positions, you will work about 3-5 days a week depending on your class schedule.
Yes with satisfactory feedback from your employer.
Yes, however, the cost needs to be covered by the teacher. We do have teachers who bring their partners and children. It really varies case by case, and it is possible especially if your partner will be teaching at the same/nearby university.
Yes. You will know which city and which school/university you will be teaching before you accept or deny a job offer.
For many ISAC teachers, your employer may not be in Hangzhou. But as an ISAC teacher, you are still part of our community even if you are not in Hangzhou. When you visit Hangzhou, we will have our staff to pick you up and be your tour guide. We have various activities for ISAC teachers to participate for each semester. Activities include field trips, group meet-ups etc. Remember that whenever you visit Hangzhou, please let us know. 🙂
Yes as long as you have a satisfactory feedback from your host school.
Most positions are for 10~12 months. 6 month is the minimum length, and pleasse note that 6 month positions are very limited.
1. Sign a contract directly with your employer, not with an agency.
2. Compare salary. If it goes too high, that could be a scam; if too low, that could be a position where agent takes a portion of your salary.
Common Public School Salary Range:
- University: 6,000-10,000/month;
- Primary, Middle & High: 12,000-14,000/month;
- Subject Teachers: 14,000-18,000/month;
Please note that the range above is a general guide for public sectors in China; It can vary depending on your qualification. (e.g. If you have a Doctoral Degree, then you could expect a better renumeration from a university or academic position)
For most teaching positions, if accommodation is not included, a housing allowance of 1,000-3,000 is usually provided depending on which city you are in. (RMB 1000 for tier 3 cities and RMB 3000 for tie 1 cities like Beijing and Shanghai)
Starting from July 1st 2019, we start to provide referral reward to encourage teachers to recommend their friends to teach with ISAC Program. Our incentive is $60 for non-ISAC teachers and $100 for ISAC teachers. You will get your reward after your friend’s arrival at their host school.
Yes it does, in a way or another. ISAC does NOT judge one’s teaching ability based on skin color. But unfortunately many schools in China do. Universities tend to be less judgemental than high schools and elementary schools.
No, you don’t have to, but it is advised you have them ready or at least apply for them while applying for a position with us.
Admittedly teachers who have the documents (criminal backgroud check and diploma authentication) ready have advantages over those who do not, especially when a semester is going to an end. That’s partly because schools think foreign teachers who have them ready are more willing and dedicated to work in China than those do not (which sometimes may not be true). Plus it excludes the possibilites of delays and uncertainty.
Unfortunately no. China has a more strict regulations on age limit now than a few years ago, which was possible then, but not any more.