6 Jobs for Americans in China: What It Takes to Get Hired

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China has become the go-to place for many Americans who are looking for global opportunities in order to build careers, earn money, or simply try something new.  The country offers numerous lucrative job opportunities for Americans who want to experience a different lifestyle or venture into new careers. 

If you’re wondering which interesting jobs are available to Americans in China, we’ve put together a list of the 6 most common, including their average salaries and requirements.

Jobs In China For Americans

English Teacher

Salary:$1,400 to $5,000 monthly, depending on experience.

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree and TEFL certification or at least two years of professional teaching experience.

The demand for English teachers is high in China and teaching is among the most lucrative jobs for Americans in the country. As an American, you’ll easily find a teaching job in many places—from cosmopolitan cities like Shanghai and Beijing to small villages in rural areas like Yunnan. Most Americans who pursue careers in teaching English get jobs in universities, high schools, and private language schools that are increasingly gaining traction in China. 

To get a teaching job, most Americans either get placements through agencies or respond to email adverts. Others contact schools directly via phone. There are many placement agencies that link English teachers from foreign countries, including the United States, with Chinese schools. Some go the extra mile of providing teachers who register with them with pre-departure training for a modest fee. 

To work as an English teacher in a public school in China, you’ll need to be a native speaker with at least a bachelor’s degree. You should also acquire a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification. People who have advanced degrees are highly marketable, which means they earn high salaries that often include relocation packages. If you hold a master’s degree, consider getting a teaching job at an international school as most of them pay the highest salaries in the country. 

IT Expert 

Salary: $3,000 to $10,000 monthly.

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree or above and 2 or more years work experience in a medium to large IT environment.

The information technology industry is booming in China. The Chinese government’s commitment to building the IT industry, coupled with the rapid adoption of technology in the business world, has pushed China’s demand for IT professionals up in recent years.  There are numerous small and medium-sized enterprises offering employment opportunities to people with IT expertise, particularly in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.

In addition, China’s IT job opportunities exist due to the fact that unlike other countries, China uses different standards and principles when it comes to the internet. As such, big Chinese companies and websites are constantly looking for ways to create a global market for their services.

This competition among companies places foreign IT experts among the most sought-after professionals in the country as internet providers seek to fill positions with western IT experts. Alibaba is a great example of a Chinese company that has hired IT professionals from other countries, including the US, to boost its global presence. 

Marketing Professional

Salary: $2,500 to $8,000 monthly.

Requirements: Marketing graduate with experience in product planning and market analysis.

Similar to the IT industry, there is a tremendous demand for foreign marketing experts by companies looking to expand their global footprint.  As the e-commerce industry grows, content and design related jobs have increased significantly as businesses search for foreigners who have relevant skills. 

There are two types of companies in which Americans with marketing skills are likely to find jobs:

  1. These are foreign companies looking for ways to penetrate the Chinese market
  2. Chinese companies seeking to boost their global presence

Building a marketing career in China can be a rewarding experience for Americans who are curious, great communicators, or critical thinkers. This is particularly so because marketing jobs involve bridging two distinct business cultures.

English Editor or Journalist 

Salary: $1,500 to $4,000 monthly.

Requirements: Journalism graduate or English major

If you’re an American with a strong command of grammar and the English language as a whole, you can work in China as a writer, an English editor, or a journalist. English media is common in China and in Beijing alone, you’ll find many English newspapers, news portals, radio stations, and TV channels that are run by the state but are broadcast across the world. 

Working with media companies enables you to grow your network while laying a strong foundation for future career opportunities. At the same time, there are numerous corporate organizations that need English speakers to translate legal documents, write technical documents, create online courses, and develop coherent correspondence for overseas clients. 

In addition, you can work as a writing tutor. To do this, you’ll need to find an online agency that matches tutors with students and check available courses to see which ones you’d be comfortable with. All these opportunities translate to thousands of jobs for English writers, editors, and journalists.

Sales Manager 

Salary: $3,000 to $8,000 monthly.

Requirements: Business management graduate with three to five years managerial experience.

In most companies, sales managers are responsible for directing sales teams and handling the account of large customers. Americans with sales backgrounds and a solid understanding of Chinese business etiquette and customers can successfully work as sales managers, business development, or operational support. 

With numerous Chinese companies now selling products to buyers in the west, sales management jobs are on the rise as such companies search for qualified people to facilitate the sales process for them. Americans with strong sales and managerial skills can take advantage of this opportunity to build successful careers in China.

Translator

Salary: $1,000 to $4,000 monthly.

Requirements: A good Chinese speaker with HSK certification and a bachelor’s degree, or at least two years of professional translation experience

As China seeks to spur its economic growth and stamp its authority in the global market, numerous Chinese companies are seeking to translate their business content from Chinese to English. To do this, they require people who can speak both English and Chinese alike.

Americans who have a good mastery of the English language—including idioms, vocabulary, and colloquial expressions—are likely to secure great translation jobs in a wide range of companies that have their eyes set on the global market. 

A common approach to translation is to open your own company (called a WOFE) and pursue contracts with multiple companies.  Using this method, you’re still able to work legally, but you set your own rates and hours.

Jobs for Americans in China: Where to Start Looking

China is no different than other major countries when it comes to searching for a job and the usual suspects are still a good place to start your search.  Assuming you meet the requirements for your target industry, use ESL job boards for teaching jobs and sites like Linkedin or Glassdoor when it comes to business opportunities.

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