Hong Kong may be synonymous with shopping and banking, but it’s also a place where English teachers can earn a good living by practicing their profession. In addition to Cantonese, English is considered to be one of the official languages of this Special Administrative Region. But with over 90 percent of the residents being Chinese, there is a huge demand for English teachers in Hong Kong. If you want to teach in Hong Kong, stay tuned for all the details you need to know.
Before we dive into teaching in Hong Kong, let’s talk about the country first in case you’re unfamiliar with the place. It is a Special Administrative Region of China and is one of the top financial centers in Asia. It’s quite similar in terms to teaching English in Shanghai.
Hong Kong has more to offer to visitors who may want to explore this former British colony. Some of the places they may want to visit are Victoria Peak, the Man Mo Temple, the Tian Tan Buddha or the Big Buddha, and Hong Kong Disneyland.
If you love food, you’ll have to check out the authentic Chinese food offered in one of the many stalls of the Temple Street Night Market. You may also want to check out the Symphony of Lights at the Victoria Harbor and see the largest permanent light and sound show in the world.
Now that we’ve whetted your appetite, let’s talk about what you can expect if you’re planning to teach English in Hong Kong. You may also be interested in teaching in Beijing.
Teaching English in Hong Kong
The demand for teachers is so high that it has become one of the top places for English teachers to find a job. Salaries for English teachers are high in this Special Administrative Region. It’s among the top ten highest-paying places for English teachers and often considerably more than a Japanese Eikwaiwa or when teaching ESL in Oman for example.
But it is considered among the most expensive cities in the world. Due to this, you should expect that a good percentage of your salary will go to lodging and food expenses when teaching English in Hong Kong. Then again, there are several things you can do to reduce living costs.
For instance, instead of renting your own flat, you can find flatmates to share rental costs. You can also opt to cook your own meals rather than eating out every single day. Or you can eat in budget-friendly restaurants or stalls in the night market to save on food costs.
It should go without saying that you’ll definitely want to consider the high cost of living when accepting a teaching job here. It’s similar to teaching in Okinawa in this regard. You may want to consider one of these top cities for teaching ESL in China if you’re looking to save a bit more money. Or, somewhere with a lower cost of living like Poland.
Requirements to Teach English in Hong Kong
Each school may have its own set of requirements for its teachers. But the government has set minimum standard requirements for an English teacher to teach in Hong Kong. These requirements for teaching in Hong Kong are as follows:
- Bachelor’s degree in any subject
- Two years of ESL teaching experience
- 120-hour TEFL certificate
These are just the minimum qualifications set by the government. But schools can have other requirements from the teachers.
Teachers may also want to have more qualifications to increase their chances of getting a job as an English teacher in Hong Kong. The qualifications also determine the salary the teachers will get. So, if you have more qualifications, you’ll have a bigger salary.
Salary and Benefits
English teachers in Hong Kong earn a considerably higher salary compared to their counterparts in other parts of Asia.
The following are the salaries the teachers can expect to earn here:
- Public schools and universities – $2,300 USD to $6,500 USD per month
- International schools – $2,200 USD to $5,600 USD per month
- Private schools – $2,300 USD to $3,200 USD per month
Universities and public schools typically pay higher, but they are also stricter when it comes to the implementation of the minimum qualifications of the teachers.
Aside from the salary, teachers also receive some perks and benefits if they teach in Hong Kong. But these perks and benefits depend on the school that hires them.
The perks and benefits are as follows:
- Subsidized or full reimbursement of airfares
- Medical insurance
- Housing allowance
- Completion bonuses from private schools
- Performance bonuses
That’s the basic summary for teaching English in Hong Kong salary.
Teaching Opportunities in Hong Kong
While private English-teaching schools have become popular in Asia these days, teachers have several options when it comes to teaching in Hong Kong. The following are the teaching opportunities for English teachers:
Public school teachers are typically hired through the Native English Teacher (NET) scheme of the government. The scheme hires native English speakers to enhance the English learning environment of public elementary and secondary schools.
Public schools typically look at the teaching experience of candidates and give higher salaries to teachers with more experience. Moreover, teacher primary school experience is also preferred when handling young children. They also prefer or even require teachers to be female for young students.
While university teaching jobs pay better, it’s challenging to secure one since they set high standards for their teachers. They normally require a Master’s degree in English and at times a doctorate. A teaching certificate and teaching experience are also preferred.
So, if you’re planning to apply for a teaching job at a university, make sure you have all the necessary documents and experience for you to qualify. If you don’t have all the necessary qualifications, consider teaching at a university in Korea where you can often get by with just an MA degree.
Hong Kong has a considerable expatriate population since it’s a global financial hub. Due to this, international schools were set up to cater to the needs of the children of these expatriates. This presents a good opportunity for teachers who want to teach here.
These schools normally follow an international educational system and most of its students are non-Hong Kong citizens. You should take into account the diversity of the student population before you send in your application.
Private language schools are also good options for English teachers in Hong Kong. They have a less rigorous set of requirements that tend to be consistent with what the government mandates.
The students of these schools range from young children to adults. They normally attend these schools to prepare for exams. Most of the teachers in these schools come from different parts of the world, which makes it a quite interesting place to work in.
Things to Consider When Teaching in Hong Kong
Now that you have an idea about English teaching in Hong Kong, let’s talk about some things you need to consider before finalizing your decision to fly there to teach.
- If you’re hired under the NET scheme, expect to be assigned anywhere in Hong Kong. So, it’s best to have a sense of adventure when you apply for a post in a public school.
- Work normally starts at 8:00 AM and ends at around 5:00 PM. Classes in elementary schools are divided into two sessions: the morning session and afternoon session.
- Homes are normally small due to the high demand for real estate. But you will receive assistance in finding suitable accommodations during your stay in Hong Kong.
- School children in Hong Kong are typically well-behaved so you won’t have any issues when it comes to classroom management.
It can be considered a good option for teachers looking to go on an adventure while getting paid a good salary at the same time.
English Teaching Jobs in Hong Kong FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about ESL jobs in HK. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
How much do English teachers make in Hong Kong?
English teachers in Hong Kong make an average of $3000-5000 USD per month. However, the qualifications are generally higher than other Asian countries and the cost of living is very high as well.
How can I become a teacher in Hong Kong?
In order to become a teacher in Hong Kong, you will need the following qualifications:
- BA degree at a minimum but a teacher’s license or MA is preferred
- Recognized TEFL certificate.
- At least 1 year of teaching experience.
- Meet the basic requirements for a working visa.
Can you save money teaching English in Hong Kong?
It’s certainly possible to save money while teaching English in Hong Kong. While the cost of living is quite high, so is the salary. Most English teachers can expect to save between $500 and $1500 USD per month.
Have your Say about Being an English Teacher in Hong Kong
What are your thoughts about English tutoring or teaching in HK. Is it right for you, or are you considering another country like Sweden, Finland, or Puerto Rico? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
Also, consider sharing this article on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other English teachers, like yourself who are interested in teaching in this Asian country.