Teaching English in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Overview

Hong Kong is a vibrant and exciting place to live and work. An efficient transport network and first-class infrastructure make it one of the most popular destinations in the region for those seeking an orderly and secure place in which to live. Teachers’ salaries in Hong Kong are often very attractive indeed. Unfortunately this is necessary because of the extortionate rental prices across the territory. Given that English is supposed to be a national language the level of spoken English in Hong Kong is actually fairly low in general. There are plenty of opportunities for experienced teachers but many employers prefer to employ those who already have Hong Kong residency as the process is much easier. Sadly a workaholic mentality pervades and stress levels can be high sometimes.

Type of Institution Typical salary (USD/month) Typical hours Typical annual leave
Language centres and kindergartens 1,500 – 3,000 (DOS) Various but often 6 days a week 2 weeks plus national holidays
Secondary schools 2,500 – 3,500 8am – 4pm Monday to Friday plus some weekend work 10 weeks plus national holidays
Secondary schools (on NET scheme) 4,000 upwards 8am – 4pm Monday to Friday 10 weeks plus national holidays
International schools 4,000 upwards 8am – 4pm Monday to Friday plus some weekend work 10 weeks plus national holidays

Main places for jobs

Territory-wide (Hong Kong island, Kowloon, New Territories and Outlying Islands).

Typical requirements

Degree, TEFL certificate, 1-2 yrs exp., local interview preferred.

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1. Experienced teachers are advised to research the Primary or Secondary NET (Native English Teacher) scheme and apply well in advance at the appropriate time. The usual deadline is January for an August start date. Inexperienced teachers are advised to get some experience elsewhere first!

2. When searching for accommodation, make sure you negotiate with your agent or landlord. If they know you are a teacher with limited funds they may be willing to lessen their financial demands. Many agents seek two months rent as deposit and half a month as a fee. Given that accommodation is so expensive, this can be a huge sum in total.

3. When in Hong Kong, check out the jobs section of the SCMP (South China Morning Post).

Red tape

If you have not been offered a job before you arrive in Hong Kong then not only will you face a rather tough search for a well-paid position but you will also have to wait many weeks for your work visa to be issued after you have signed a contract. Given that accommodation costs are so high, you will need some savings to help you through this lengthy period.

When your visa does arrive, you will normally take a ferry to the gambling mecca of Macau and back again the same day to re-enter with you work visa.

Cost of living

The cost of accommodation in Hong Kong is incredibly high. Unless you are sharing you will find it very difficult to live on Hong Kong island. The cheapest places to live are Lantau, Lamma and the furthest reaches of the New Territories. Thankfully, electricity, water and gas are all priced rather low. Transport is also very cheap – including taxis.

Eating in is cheap but eating (and drinking) out can be very expensive unless you know of special deals.

Tax and salary information

Income tax is paid on an annual basis and it is the employee’s responsibility. This means you need to budget and make sure you save enough over the year so you can pay off the hefty bill when it arrives. It also means you need to fill in a tax return form.


Excellent infrastructure – daily tasks can be accomplished easily Difficult to find a job unless you are already in Hong Kong and takes at least a month to arrange your work visa
Very cheap and efficient transport system Ridiculously high accommodation costs
Lots of opportunity for professional development A workaholic culture in which it sometimes seems employees are afraid of going home in the evening!

Directory of Recommended Schools, Language Centres and Recruitment Agencies

Would you like your school, language centre or recruitment agency to be listed here? Please contact us.

Qualified English teachers please register with World of TEFL and we will contact you with relevant vacancies as they come in. This is a free service for teachers.


  1. Maria Nicholson says:


    I am very much interested to apply for the position of ESL Teacher at your office in Hong Kong. I have good creative abilities and work experience that makes me the perfect person to function at this position.

    My work experience includes:

    – My primary role was to teach English.
    – The institutions are predominantly for elementary, middle school students, and adults.
    – As the age range and the level of ability of the students varied so much, the need to adapt and be flexible as a teacher has been essential.
    – Creating new materials and delivering them in different ways, in order for them to most benefit the students, has been a skill that I have developed.
    – During my time at the institutions I have taught within a classroom environment and also spent time teaching English to students via a web camera.

    I believe that I would add value to your team and make significant contribution to your company. I look forward to you for arranging the interview.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Maria Nicholson

  2. Mo Mario says:

    Subject: Application for Teaching English position/Administrator in Hong Kong
    Available: Immediately for September, 2014
    Teaching: English to High schools/adults & Cooperates/Business
    I’m Canadian citizen, hold Master of English & 3 teaching TESOL, PGCE & RSA certificates, bilingual English & Arabic instructor / lecturer. I’ve a long ESL/EFL teaching experience in Canada, Middle East, Korea and Saudi Arabia, which makes me very comfortable working with different kinds of people of all ages and expert in English Preparatory Year Program to better prepare students for university study …. I’m inquisitive, very energetic, dependable, and self-motivated. I’ve worked & lived in several Arab States and Asian countries & can approach issues / problems from different cultural perspectives.

    My special interest in academic management and teaching has arisen from my background in both the corporate and the academic worlds. Having taught and managed English Language Programs in South Korea, my experience has emerged principally from developing English Language Courses and from executing such programs in the classroom. My methodology has been developed upon the notions of confidence and the empowerment of language.

    I have served in the capacity of teacher & Head Teacher in Korea & also I established and managed schools in South Korea as well. My 20 years of International teaching experiences in Canada, South Korea, Kuwait, and in Saudi Arabia have inspired a simple philosophy: I seek to instill confidence in my students with a humorous and understanding attitude.

    If you are seeking a talented individual who stays abreast of his field as English Instructor & Business Management lecturer, who understands how to teach, who earns 100% students & Management supports, and who is as career-committed as it takes to achieve total success, then please consider what I have to offer.

    My resume will be sent on request for your information & consideration. Appreciate your time for reading this material, and I am looking forward to hearing from you in this regard, thanks.

    With respect,
    Mario Mo
    Canadian TESOL Consultant
    Cell: +62 81284736830

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