Teach and Travel
Teach English in Hong Kong
Why Teach English in Hong Kong?
A Special Administrative Region of China, Hong Kong is a global center for trade and commerce. It also offers among the best opportunities for highly qualified teachers to earn a high income while living in a world-class city. The population of Hong Kong is around 7.5 million, with Cantonese and English being the two official languages. Approximately 98% of Hong Kong residents are Chinese, so with many well-paid teaching opportunities amidst a bustling and vibrant city, Hong Kong is an attractive destination to teach English.
Teach English in Hong Kong: Fact Sheet
|Header Column||Data Column|
|Education Requirements||Bachelor degree required|
|TEFL Certification||TEFL Certification preferred|
|Citizenship Requirements||USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa preferred|
|Typical Contract Length||3 - 12 months|
|Peak Hiring Seasons||Year-round|
|Hiring Process||Face-to-face interviews in Hong Kong or online interviews|
|Visa Requirements||Work visa in advance|
|Typical Students||Children, Business Professionals|
|Average Monthly Salary||$2,400 - $6,500|
|Average Monthly Cost of Living||$2,400 - $4,200|
|Types of Jobs||Private Schools, Private tuition, International schools|
|Teaching Hours Per Week||20 - 30 hours|
|Other Benefits||Assistance with visa applications and securing accommodation|
Top 5 Reasons to Teach English in Hong Kong
1. Hong Kong has an incredible social scene
Assimilating one’s daily life in a foreign land can be difficult, leading newcomers to be isolated without friends and colleagues of similar interests and backgrounds. Hong Kong offers a plentitude of social activity, sporting and recreation, shopping, dining, and entertainment. Many expats live in Hong Kong, so there are endless opportunities to meet people with similar interests.
Also considered the ‘culinary capital of Asia’, Hong Kong has more than ten thousand restaurants to choose from various cuisines such as Cantonese, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Lebanese, American, Italian, French, and plentiful street foods.
2. You can actually enjoy the outdoors in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is not just a skyscraper-filled metropolis, but an outdoor enthusiasts dream overflowing with country parks. Mountains rise to the sky, with the sea and stunning beaches within walking distance or short rides on public transport. Hiking and boating are popular activities. Hong Kong’s warm climate makes it a perfect location to be out among people and enjoy the beautiful land.
3. Hong Kong is one of the most popular and convenient travel hubs
A benefit of teaching is the multitude of public and school holidays. Hong Kong is a perfect location to travel inexpensively to nearby Asian countries such as Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. It’s just as easy to travel in and out of Hong Kong as it is within Hong Kong due to its world-class international airport and public transit system. Even on weekends, you can take short trips into Guangzhou or Shenzhen on the Mainland via high speed train lines.
4. Hong Kong has a simple, low tax environment
If you live in Hong Kong for more than 60 days, you are subject to a personal income tax of up to 17%, paid annually. The city has no payroll withholding tax nor sales or value-added tax, a reason why Hong Kong is an incredibly popular shopping destination. While Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, it’s also a place that has been attractive for international trade due to its low tax commercial environment.
5. Hong Kong is the quintessential 'East Meets West'
Hong Kong is a place where you’ll see and experience the blending of Eastern and Western influences, and where old and new merge together. With its ancient architecture and traditions, blended with a modern and progressive urban style, Hong Kong is a transformative place that is like no other. Here you will meet people from around the world, and enjoy everything from international cuisine, global banking and investment, international travel and tourism, and high street to traditional market shopping venues.
Recommended TEFL Certification to Teach English in Hong Kong
The TEFL Academy
Opportunities to Teach English in Hong Kong
Within public schools across Hong Kong, both elementary and secondary, the Hong Kong Education Bureau runs a program for foreign teachers called the NET (Native English Speakers) scheme. To be considered for employment via the NET scheme as an entry-level teacher, you must be a native speaker of English (or have equivalent proficiency), have a bachelor’s degree (in any subject), and have a TEFL qualification.
NET salaries are determined based on your qualifications and experience. Having several years of teaching experience or a degree in English or an education-related subject will give you an advantage in getting hired as well as the salary and benefits you will be offered.
Due to the attractive salaries and benefits offered via the NET scheme, qualified and experienced teachers can earn a significant amount of money (up to USD 9,000 per month) as well as receive airfare reimbursement and housing allowance, making the NET scheme a golden opportunity to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle and save money in a world-class city.
Female teachers are given preference for jobs that involve teaching young children, a practice which is acceptable and common in Hong Kong.
Candidates applying for opportunities to teach English via the NET scheme should keep in mind that the Education Bureau has a deadline for accepting applications, which typically occurs between February and March each year, with an employment start in August. Also keep in mind that due to the attractiveness of the NET scheme and Hong Kong as a place to live and work, teaching jobs in public schools are very competitive.
You can learn more about the NET Scheme and requirements here:
Private and Language Learning Schools
The majority of ESL jobs in Hong Kong are at private “language learning” schools for students of all ages, even seniors.
The requirements for employment at these schools are similar to public schools. You will need a bachelor’s degree in any subject and a TEFL certificate or teaching qualification, or a couple of years of confirmed prior teaching experience.
Teachers who are citizens of English-speaking countries with native fluency and clear accents are the most desired candidates. Language schools tend to give particular preference to such individuals who are based in Hong Kong with a residence permit.
There are fewer university jobs in Hong Kong than other opportunities, and the hiring requirements are more stringent. Thus, university positions are suitable for career teachers who are suitably credentialed.
Teaching jobs at the university level are primarily salaried full-time positions with benefits. You may find some part-time adjunct jobs at the universities, but these tend to have lower pay and teaching hours.
The requirements for a university-level position would be a Masters’s degree in English, TESOL, or linguistics (a Ph.D. is sometimes required), a teaching certificate, and at least two years of prior experience in teaching English.
Typical Salaries to Teach English in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is an exciting city to visit, but as one of the world’s most expensive cities in the world to live in, money can go quickly. Therefore, teaching English in Hong Kong isn’t for everyone, and considering an ESL teaching career in Hong Kong should be viewed with cost of living in mind.
Overall, ESL teachers in Hong Kong are well-paid, earning between USD $2,400 – $6,500 per month. At the lower end, teachers may find themselves breaking even, whereas at the top end, the potential save money can be high, particularly if living in a shared accommodation with another teacher or if the employer provides housing allowance. NET scheme and university teachers are usually paid the highest.
Again, salaries will largely scale up with one’s credentials. Teachers with years of teaching experience, advanced degrees and TEFL qualifications will the best opportunities to earn top dollars in Hong Kong, while entry level teachers will typically start at the bottom of the remuneration ladder.
If you are a NET scheme teacher, you can expect to receive a relocation package that typically includes roundtrip airfare from your home to Hong Kong, and you may also receive housing and medical allowances.
Private language schools typically don’t offer the same level of benefits as the NET scheme. However, many schools do provide partial or full reimbursement of airfare costs upon completing your contract, as well as cover medical insurance and visa costs.
To legally work in Hong Kong, teachers must apply for the “Z” visa. To obtain the “Z” visa, you must have a registered school provide the supporting documents pertaining to your employment offer. You can learn more about the “Z” visa, prerequisites, and process via the Chinese Embassy website. As a minimum, you will need to have the following qualifications to be eligible for the “Z” visa:
- Bachelor degree
- TEFL certification that can be verified. or two years of ESL teaching experience