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How Can I Get a Chinese Teacher License?

Updated February 21, 2017

As China's economy is growing at an exponential rate, the rest of the world is realising the increasing need to be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with the Chinese-speaking world. In fact, there is currently a great demand from K-12 schools in the United States for teachers who possess the proper qualifications to teach Chinese, according to Asia Society's website. However, the lack of qualified teachers (certified or licensed) is preventing students in the United States from learning the useful language. If you're interested in helping fill this void in U.S. education by obtaining a teaching licensure in Chinese, there are some general steps you can take to become a certified Chinese teacher.

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  1. Research the states that offer teacher certification in Chinese and decide in which you want to get certified.

  2. Research educational institutions that offer Chinese language teacher training programs; some offer these programs with the option of obtaining a bachelor's or master's degree, while others offer programs to obtain certification only (for those who already possess higher education degrees). A few schools that have Chinese language teacher programs include the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Rutgers University, Indiana University, University of Iowa, and New York University.

  3. Find out the prerequisites for the programs in which you are interested. Some common prerequisites may vary from program to program and may include, but are not limited to, the following are: a bachelor's degree; a passing score on a Praxis I type of exam, which "measures basic academic skill;" significant coursework in Chinese; a certain GPA; Graduate Record Exams (GRE) if you are planning to pursue a master's degree program while obtaining certification.

  4. Decide what school(s) fits your needs, interests, and budget. Also consider the location; generally, the state where you attend a training program is the state in which you will be getting your licensure, so think carefully about geographical preference.

  5. Fulfil the prerequisites of the prospective programs/schools before applying.

  6. Apply to the programs you have decided on and enrol upon acceptance.

  7. Follow the academic guidelines laid out for you by the school and fulfil the requirements of the program in which you are enrolled. In most cases, this will include the completion of a student teaching internship; completion of certain coursework on teaching in general, as well as coursework in teaching a second or foreign language; achieving a passing or high score (depending on the program) on your state's teacher certification exam in the subject area of Chinese to ensure that you are proficient in the language.

  8. Apply for licensure with your state's department of education towards the end of your program. This generally means paying a fee, submitting transcripts and educator licensure scores (for both the basic and language-specific exams), and proving that you have successfully completed a teacher-training program. If you have satisfied all the requirements for licensure, you should be approved as a licensed Chinese teacher in the United States!

  9. Tip

    Generally, when you first get your teaching license, it is valid for only several years of employment before requiring a renewal or an "upgrade" to a more permanent license. Make sure you know when your license expires and how to go about renewing it.


    The licensing process will vary depending on the state you are in. To ensure that you are on the right path, find out your state's particular requirements for licensure. Chinese language teacher programs tend to be limited in space as they are highly selective. Meeting prerequisites or minimal requirements for a program does not guarantee acceptance to that program.

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Things You'll Need

  • Internet access
  • Transportation
  • Financial funds
  • Academic records (transcripts and licensure exam scores)

About the Author

Nancy Chen is a professional writer and owner of a pet care business. She is also certified to teach English to middle and secondary school students. Chen holds a bachelor's degree in English and comparative religions from Tufts University, as well as a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard University.

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