Teach English in Hong Kong – the following answers are from English teachers who have taught, or currently teach English in Hong Kong.
Do I need a degree to teach English in Hong Kong?
Do I need a TEFL qualification and/or experience?
“Private language schools do not always require a TEFL qualification or experience, but such jobs are few and far between and attract a lower salary.”
What are the visa requirements?
For a work visa you need a degree and a letter of sponsorship from your prospective employer. The process can take up to a month and involves a small processing fee, usually paid for by the teacher.
Where are the jobs?
All over Hong Kong.
What’s the best way to find work?
“The English language newspaper the South China Morning Post list English teaching jobs, including NET scheme jobs. Larger schools may advertise jobs on the internet, but visiting schools with your CV is the best way for smaller schools.”
“I only know of two schools out of the dozens in Hanoi that employ teachers prior to their arrival in Vietnam.”
When is the best time of year to look for work?
Work is available year round at language schools, but a lot of recruitment is done in May and June for summer programs and for the next school year.
What kind of salary can I expect?
15,000-30,000 HKD a month in language schools, 300-500 HKD an hour for private tutoring, and up to 50,000 HKD for NET scheme jobs plus a housing allowance.
What kind of teaching schedule can I expect?
In language schools, 20-30 hours a week, mostly in the evenings and at weekends. There are a lot of after-school classes for children, as well as business English.
Are there opportunities for private teaching?
“There are a lot of opportunities to teach children privately. A lot of that kind of work comes through word of mouth contacts once you start teaching at a school. Only people with permanent residence status in Hong Kong advertise themselves as private tutors because people on a work visa shouldn’t be doing private work on the side according to the restrictions of their contracts.”
What about the cost of living?
a cup of coffee 18-30 HKD
a beer 30-50 HKD
a cinema ticket 60-80 HKD
a meal in an average restaurant 50-100 HKD
a month’s rent 10,000-15,000 HKD for a one-bedroom apartment of 300 to 500 square feet, depending on the area
a ferry to the outer islands 20 HKD one-way
a bus ticket 3-10 HKD
50% of respondents in our survey thought that the cost of living in Hong Kong is quite low compared to salary; 50% thought it is quite high.
What’s the best way to get around?
By bus and MTR.
What about internet access?
Internet is very easy to install at home and wifi is available everywhere, even on public transport.
What’s the best way to find somewhere to live?
“Schools do not often help with this. Websites such as AsiaXpat have good classified listings.”
The following are more general comments from English teachers who have taught, or are currently teaching English in Hong Kong.
Internet connection contracts require you to have at least a two year contract. You can apply for a one year contract with some mobile companies and use your phone for tethering up to a certain amount. Usually it’s unlimited if you are using your phone depending on your plan. Tethering is limited.
Working in Hong Kong is an enjoyable experience overall. The students are pleasant and better behaved than in western Europe. They are eager to learn and have a great sense of humour. Many youngsters have a basic grasp of English. There are many expats in Hong Kong and British/Irish pubs and bars. The food is great but if you go to a nice restaurant expect to pay western prices. They have a great underground rail system the MTR which is cheap, punctual and popular. Taxis are also very cheap for short hops. Rent can be high though due to the lack of flat land. Expect to be in a 30 storey apartment building unless you’ve got money. Crime is very low. Best places for entertainment are WanchaI and Causeway Bay and Kowloon. Be careful of street merchants “copy rolex” and “cheap suits sir” A great place overall, Better than South Korea that’s for sure!
Learn some basic commands in Cantonese such as, sit down and be quiet if you are teaching children. This is very useful for controlling large classes of children. Another word of advice is that private teaching can be very lucrative during the school terms but in the holidays you will find this dwindles as students go on holiday. Therefore it is good to have a main job and supplement that income with private tuition. Also some of the schools don’t have air conditioning so think about this when you apply for jobs as it can get mighty hot in summer. Finally the Chinese mantra is hot and loud so if you follow these suggestions you will be on your way to a great experience.