Find Your Dream TEFL Job

Quick Facts

  • Degree Required

    Bachelor’s Degree

  • Salary

    $3,000-7,400/month

  • Visa

    Work visa in advance

  • Age

    21-55/60 (The retirement age is 55 for women and 60 for men)

  • Contract

    12-24 months

  • Cost of Living

    $2,300-5,500/month

  • Typical Students

    Business Professionals, Children

  • Interview

    Phone / Video call

What Kind of Teaching Jobs Are There In Hong Kong?

There are lots of types of teaching work available to foreigners in Hong Kong, including working at public schools and internationals schools. However, the most popular type of English teaching work in Hong Kong is at private language centres.

Teaching at private language centres in Hong Kong

Private language centres are extremely popular in Hong Kong and there are a number of well-known, reliable companies in the industry. Simply do a bit of research and you’ll find the same names popping up again and again, often with multiple branches across the city.

Students of every age learn English at private language centres, from tiny tots to pensioners, though most students are in high school. Some private language centres offer courses in other languages too, so it’s possible to be a French or Spanish teacher in Hong Kong too – though these positions are much harder to find.

Finding a job

You can find jobs both by applying online through jobs boards like ours or by applying to specific schools directly. You may be able to find slightly more opportunities on the ground in Hong Kong (through local newspaper adverts and word of mouth) but generally it’s perfectly achievable to secure work from your home country.

When to apply

Most English teaching contracts start in August, so you’ll need to apply for work in the months leading up to then. The most popular hiring time is in spring. Employers can take as little as a day to respond or they may take a number of weeks, depending on the time of year. As the TEFL job market is competitive here, we recommend sending a follow-up email if you haven’t heard back from an employer after a while!

Teaching hours & Class sizes

Class sizes are usually fairly small and facilities tend to be up-to-date. Teaching days are Monday to Saturday with most teachers offered Sunday and another day off, and teaching hours are between 09:30-11:30 and 13:30-19:30. You’ll usually be offered 20-30 hours of teaching per week, though you can expect to do an extra 10 hours of marking and lesson preparation on top of this. Some employers may call this ‘part time’, even though you could be working up to 40 hours a week. So, make sure to keep this in mind when accepting a salary – part time isn’t really part time!

Salary & Bonuses

You can be paid anywhere between $3,000 and $6,000 per month to teach English in Hong Kong. Most private language centres will offer you a 12-month contract (though some may offer a 6-month contract) along with a contract completion bonus. You may also be offered a housing allowance and airfare reimbursement. As the cost of living is high in Hong Kong, it’s really worth searching out jobs that offer these benefits, rather than looking for a high salary only.

Vacation

Most private language centres offer their teachers 9-12 days of paid holiday annually as well as 16 days of paid public holidays. However, private language centres often require teachers to work on public holidays, so you be offered days in lieu instead.

Pros

  • Usually, a 12-month contract with completion/renewal bonus
  • A generous salary with opportunity for salary increases
  • A 5-day working week

Cons

  • Work on Saturdays
  • Extra hours of work often expected on top of your contracted hours
  • The possibility of working on public holidays
  • Very expensive cost of living

Teaching at public schools in Hong Kong

Most public school English teachers in Hong Kong work in primary or secondary schools. There are some positions teaching very young children but these are harder to come by. Working at a public school is a slightly less popular option that working at a private language centres because there is less of a demand for foreign teachers and candidates usually need to go through a government-sponsored scheme to find work.

Finding a job

The most popular way to find teaching work at a public school in Hong Kong is through the NET (Native-Speaking English Teachers) Scheme. This scheme was first implemented by the public sector in 1998 and has been a successful way to increase students’ exposure to English. Candidates can apply for work through the EDB website or in some cases, directly through a school with a NET vacancy.

When to apply

Teaching contracts at public schools generally begin in mid-August and run for two years. If you apply through the NET scheme, you’ll usually need to apply for positions starting in the same year by mid-March. i.e. To start in August 2020, you’ll probably need to apply by March 2020. Bear in mind, you might need to apply by post, so make sure you allow enough time for your application to reach Hong Kong!

Teaching hours & Class sizes

Teaching hours vary from school to school but are generally Monday to Friday from 08:00 until 17:00. Some schools may start earlier and end later with a long break in the middle of the day. Class sizes are manageable, with around 25-30 students per class.

Salary & Bonuses

The salary for most public school English teachers through the NET scheme is currently HKD28,725-38,490 ($3,650-4,900) per month. Teachers with higher qualifications, such as a recognised teacher training qualification, can earn up to HK58,345 ($7,400) per month.

Some teachers may be eligible for special allowances or housing benefits, depending on their circumstances. It’s a good idea to ask what benefits you could be eligible for before signing your contract. If you plan to stay in Hong Kong long term, you may be offered a bonus for renewing your contract with your employer.

Vacation

In Hong Kong, there are school holidays at Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year, Easter and summer. There’s no guarantee that teachers will have all of this time off and may sometimes need to work on some public holidays. However, you can expect to have the entire summer vacation off work.

Pros

  • A one/two-year contract with a completion/renewal bonus
  • A generous monthly salary
  • Potential for accommodation allowance, completion bonus

Cons

  • Extra hours of work often expected on top of your contracted hours
  • The possibility of working on public holidays
  • Very expensive cost of living
4 pictures of Hong Kong

Other types of teaching work in Hong Kong

Another option for teachers is working at an international school, of which there are many in Hong Kong. However, you may need training or experience in other types of teaching to secure these positions, as you’ll likely be expected to teach a whole range of subjects.

There are also opportunities to work in colleges or universities for qualified teachers. However, you’ll need to have a really strong CV with plenty of experience and at least a Master’s Degree.

Am I eligible to teach in Hong Kong?

To teach English in Hong Kong, you’ll usually need a minimum of Bachelor’s Degree and a TEFL/TESL certificate. In some cases, you may be required to have a Bachelor’s Degree in a specific subject, such as English Language, English Studies or Linguistics. And to do certain positions in public schools, you’ll need a recognised teacher training qualification.

Although the minimum requirements to teach English in Hong Kong are technically a Bachelor’s Degree and a TEFL/TESL certificate, you are generally expected to have a couple of years’ teaching experience too. Hong Kong is a competitive teaching destination and you may find it difficult to find work with out extra qualifications or experience.

You do not need to be a native English speaker to get a job as an English teacher in Hong Kong, nor do you have to have a passport from one of the ‘Big 6’ countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US). However, you do have to have excellent, native-level English, and employers tend to favour candidates without strong accents.

How can I get a visa?

Like mainland China (country guide), you’ll need a Z Visa to legally work as a teacher in Hong Kong. Once you’ve secured a teaching position, your employer will start the process of sponsoring your working visa. As with most working visas for teaching English abroad, you’ll need to provide copies of your qualifications and passport. You may also be asked to do a basic background check. Once all your papers are together, you should be given a Foreign Expert Certificate and an invitation letter by your employer. You’ll need to take these documents to a consulate or embassy to officially apply for your visa, which you can do with help from your employer if you’re in the country or you can pay an agency to do the process for you. You should get you Z Visa within a month of applying correctly. Then once you enter the country on your Z Visa, you’ll need to convert the visa to a residency permit.

Where can I teach English in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is a small destination at 1,104km2 – about 70% the size of London, UK. With that in mind, Hong Kong is small enough to live and work almost anywhere in the country if you’d like to. There are private language centres and schools all around the country, and you should be able to find work in most districts.

What are the challenges of teaching English in Hong Kong?

One of the greatest challenges of living in Hong Kong is the high cost of living. It’s one of the most expensive places in the world to live and it may take careful budgeting or cutting out some luxuries in order to live comfortably.

Another great challenge in Hong Kong is the fierce competition for jobs. You’ll need to meet the minimum requirements and more to secure a teaching job and will likely need two years’ experience to be considered by most schools. Male teachers will also find it difficult to find work with young learners as employers almost always give preference to female teachers in these positions.

Cost of living in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the more expensive TEFL locations to live and work, coming in at less expensive than Japan but more expensive than South Korea. Living in Hong Kong is more expensive than many places in the Western world, including Australia, New Zealand, the UK or the US, however, the average salary is higher than many of these places too. However, it may take a little bit of careful budgeting to live comfortably in Hong Kong on a TEFL teacher’s wage.

Membership at a gym costs about $80 per month, a cinema ticket is around $13, and a one-way ticket on public transport is $1-2. A meal in a casual restaurant can cost $6-9 per person, whereas a three-course meal at a nicer place could cost $20-35 per person.

About Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a melting pot of nationalities and cultures, offering a truly diverse population that many countries simply don’t. One of the most fascinating parts of this place is its neighbourhoods – as a densely populated country home to over 7 million people, living quarters are tight and neighbourhoods are filled with action.

The landscape itself is unique, with some extremely hilly areas and even the longest outdoor escalator in the world! It also has the most skyscrapers around, even beating New York City to the title! Despite this, much of the country is actually made up of mountains and parks.

Hong Kong culture

Hong Kong is an interesting fusion of the East and the West with an extremely diverse population. The lingua France is Cantonese and both Chinese and English are the country’s official languages, but all sort of different languages can be heard as you make you way around the country. There are also a number of different widely practised religions in Hong Kong, including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Taoism.

At first, Hong Kong can seem clean-cut and modern, especially in comparison to nearby traditional China. However, the country has plenty of ancient traditions and culture hidden beneath its glass skyscrapers. One of the best places to discover Hong Kong’s age-old values and traditions is by exploring local markets where you can try classic cuisine and enjoy some old-fashioned haggling!

Hong Kong cuisine

Hong Kong has a diverse food scene, with culinary delights inspired by many nearby Asian nations, such as China (especially Guangdong Province’s Cantonese cuisine), Japan and Korea. There is also some influence from British cuisine as Hong Kong was once a British colony. You can also expect to find a range of dining options, from fine dining to simple eateries.

Some of the most popular dishes to try in Hong Kong are dim sum – bite-size snacks, such as dumplings and buns, usually served in steamer baskets, char siu – Cantonese style barbecued pork, beef brisket – curried or with noodles, roast goose, pork or chicken – the Hong Kong people do roasted meat extremely well, soy sauce braised pigeon and lo mai gai – clay pot rice. These are just a handful of popular meals though, you really can find no end of great food in Hong Kong, including plenty of international cuisine.

4 pictures of Hong Kong
4 pictures of Hong Kong

Accommodation in Hong Kong

Accommodation in Hong Kong will be your greatest expense and is often extremely small. ‘Micro-apartments’ and ‘nano-apartments’ have taken off in recent years in an effort to manage Hong Kong’s housing crisis, many of which are found in skyscrapers and tower blocks. There are some larger accommodation options available, but these often come with a hefty price tag. You’ll likely find yourself living in a low-rise/mid-rise apartment building (which is cheaper than living in a high-rise) or a tong lau (a building with no elevator) as these are considerably cheaper than some accommodation options. And if you’re a single teacher, you may find it beneficial to get a roommate to cut down on costs.

A one-bedroom apartment in the city centre will set you back between $1,500-3,500 per month, depending on the size and location of the apartment. Outside of the city centre, a one-bedroom apartment costs roughly $900-2,300.

Weather in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a small country on the southern coast of China. Located in the equatorial area of the Northern hemisphere, you can expect warm, subtropical weather throughout the year. Temperatures reach their lowest in January, dropping to an average of around 16°C, and reach their highest in July, with an average temperature of 29°C. And no matter where you are in the country, you can expect some humidity.

Please note: The information in this guide is accurate as of the time of writing. However, the laws and requirements to teach abroad can often change. Make sure to check the latest advice from the local authority of the country you plan to work in.

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