How to Find a Job Teaching English in Hong Kong

photo of four girls wearing school uniform doing hand signs

Last Updated on February 4, 2023 by Charmaine | The Canadian Wanderer

Teaching English in Hong Kong is one of the easiest ways for expats to come and live in Hong Kong. You will find people from all over the world coming to experience the bustling and exciting life of Hong Kong, many of them either working in financial institutions, starting their own restaurant business or teaching English.

In this post, I will show you how you can teach English in public schools via the NET scheme and teaching agencies, international schools and private language centres.

Why teach English in Hong Kong?

Teaching English exposes you to the local culture, helps students boost their language skills and allow you to work and stay in Hong Kong as an expat.

If you are a native English speaker with a degree, love working with people (and children) and want to build a meaningful career, you should definitely give teaching a chance!

How do I become an English tutor in Hong Kong?

There are many ways in becoming an English tutor in Hong Kong. Here is a breakdown:

  1. NET Scheme in Hong Kong
  2. Teaching English Agencies in Hong Kong
  3. Working in Public Schools
  4. Working in International Schools
  5. Teaching English in Language Centres

I will be explaining the number of options below.

NET Scheme in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Native English Teacher (NET) scheme is a popular option for expats who want to work in the local school. You would need a minimum qualification of a bachelor’s degree. For those with higher qualifications and more experience, you would be more competitive and be rewarded with a higher salary.

Asian student in uniform with a microphone- The Canadian Wanderer

Working as a NET in a Primary or Secondary School in Hong Kong

If you have a teaching qualification and/ or majored in English in university, I highly recommend the Native English Teacher (NET) scheme sponsored by the Hong Kong government. The NET scheme in Hong Kong allows you to work in a local primary or secondary school. Depending on your educational qualifications, the appointment of NETs is considered based on a priority order, which has an impact on the salary you may receive. It is a two-year contract with the possibility to renew. 

Hong Kong NET Scheme Salary

The NET scheme’s salary is one of the most attractive packages for teaching English in Hong Kong. Salaries start from HK$30,165 – HK$70,090 (approx. USD $3,848.72 – $8,942.71 per month, depending if it is primary or secondary school). On top of this appealing salary, NETs will receive a generous housing and medical allowance for anyone who resides outside of Hong Kong. (Updated April 2022).

Working as a NET in a Hong Kong College / Vocational School

If you prefer working with older students, there are also opportunities with the Vocational Training Council (VTC). The VTC is the largest vocational and professional education and training provider in Hong Kong. These positions are less competitive than the primary and secondary levels and are less publicized than the NET scheme above.

To qualify for the VTC’s NET scheme, you will need to have a CELTA or a level 5 TEFL certificate, in addition to a Bachelor’s degree. If you do not have a TEFL certificate at the time of the interview, you will need to ensure you are qualified before the start of the position.

You can find these positions to be posted online on VTC’s career site once a year. The NET scheme includes an accommodation package, while the local English teacher positions do not. In 2014, I applied for the NET position in November, so you may want to look at the VTC’s career website at the end of the year. Due to the pandemic, I know there was a pause for hiring NETs so I am unsure whether that has been resumed at this time.

Teaching English Agencies in Hong Kong

If you are not a qualified teacher and do not have much experience, do not fret! There is still hope to teach English in a public school system! There are many teaching agencies in Hong Kong that partners with local schools in supplying them with a Native English teacher (NET). They can either employ you for a full-year contract with a school or for after-school programs. These experiences are very valuable especially if you want to apply to the NET scheme in the future or be hired directly into the school. 

men and women discussing with coffee in Hong Kong- The Canadian Wanderer
Photo by The Coach Space on


Most of these agencies only require a Bachelor’s degree in any subject as long as you are a native English speaker. However, having a TEFL certificate also increases your chance to get hired. I chose to do the CELTA as it is recognized worldwide and gave me an opportunity to work in Canada in the long run. 

Here are three organizations that I have worked with and can recommend in Hong Kong. 

Chatteris Educational Foundation

I first landed in Hong Kong by teaching English for a non-profit organization called Chatteris Educational Foundation. If you are a new graduate and want to test the waters in teaching English, Chatteris recruit candidates to work in a local school for a nine-month contract. The position starts at the end of August until June every year.

Chatteris partners with local primary, secondary and vocational schools across the city to provide teaching jobs to young people. Depending on the age group you are interested in, you can choose which type of school you wish to work in.

Here are some benefits of working for Chatteris Educational Foundation:

  • Chatteris takes care of you throughout the entire process. My visa process was very simple and it was mailed to me. I was impressed by their efficiency!
  • Chatteris helps you get settled in Hong Kong. During training, you get a temporary place to live for two weeks while hunting for an apartment. You get time to meet new friends and pair up as roommates.
  • They provide a lot of support including teaching you how to find your first home, what to say to real estate agents, and how to budget your money properly
  • They host workshops every month to help you learn about the local culture in Hong Kong and conduct professional development workshops. 
  • As a non-profit organization, they partner with local organizations to provide volunteering opportunities. I was able to earn a bit of side money by conducting English workshops for students at a local university and made some local friends. I really enjoyed this experience.
  • Many Chatteris grads end up getting hired directly by the school they work for and some even landed a job within the NET scheme.

*  If you decide to apply to Chatteris, please include my name ‘Charmaine‘ as your referral on your application. I would greatly appreciate it! * 

Eureka Language Services

Eureka Language Services is another teaching agency that places native English speakers in local schools. Like Chatteris, they employ young graduates in full-time teaching jobs but also have some short-term positions available as well. 

If you are looking for a supplementary income or just missed the school year, Eureka has options for after-school or weekend English programs. I worked with Eureka for one semester and really enjoyed it. I worked for a local primary school on Saturdays and Eureka provided me with materials and notes for reference. It was a nice touch to my daily routine. 

If you sign up on their mailing list, you will receive an email with different projects available at the time. It consists of both full-time and part-time positions.

English For Asia

English for Asia is known for its Trinity TESOL courses and for recruiting English teachers for kindergarten, primary and secondary schools. I have the least amount of experience working with them. Besides attending a professional development workshop for teachers, I have not worked directly with English for Asia. To my understanding, they are a similar organization like Eureka that employs both full-time and part-time positions across Hong Kong. I would give them a shot!

international school students in uniform in Hong Kong - The Canadian Wanderer
ptksgc/ Pixabay

Working in Public Schools

Another route you can consider is applying directly to the school. When I worked for Chatteris, I have seen some of my colleagues who have built a rapport with the school they worked for, to be hired directly. For example, the Vocational Training Council (VTC) has many English teaching positions available. Since these are generally catered towards local teachers, it would not have a compensation package that includes accommodation. However, the salary is still decent and it is a great way to start a teaching career. On the side, I’ve seen my friends upgrade their qualifications and take on a part-time education degree at a local university.

Word of Caution

A disadvantage of these programs is that you would most likely be the only English teacher at the school, and this experience can be quite isolating. Since these are local schools, most teachers are Cantonese-speaking and are from Hong Kong, but you will learn a lot about Hong Kong in the process.

Working in International Schools

Teaching your Subject of Expertise

If you are a licensed teacher in your home country, international schools pay their teachers extremely well in Hong Kong. Instead of teaching English as a second language (ESL), you will be teaching the subjects you are trained for, whether that may be Math, Science or English Literature to students from all over the world. Your students will most likely be a combination of local and ex-pats.

Support Staff

International schools also need support staff and if you have strong English proficiency and an area of expertise, you might fit into one of the roles. Most of these jobs are not willing to sponsor your visa so you would need to either be a Hong Kong resident or possess a valid visa to work (i.e. dependent visa, right to land, working holiday visa, etc.) in Hong Kong. Some of these roles include communications, counselling, and educational assistant.

Teaching English in Language Centres

children laughing at learning centres in Hong - The Canadian Wanderer
Photo by Gabby K on

If you are looking to teach young children (generally 3-12 years old) in a small classroom, there are so many language centres to choose from! Generally, classes only have up to 8 students so it is small and intimate. Since language centres are private businesses and target middle-class parents, teachers get paid fairly well. The peak hours for language centres are mornings (for kindergarten classes) and after-school (4-7 pm for primary school students).  Therefore, your working hours can be quite long, lasting from the morning to past 7 pm.

Many language centres recruit on JobsDB, a job searching website in Hong Kong, or on expat websites such as Geoexpat and Asiaxpat. If you need the company to sponsor your visa, make sure you have at least a Bachelor’s degree. A TEFL or CELTA is also preferred to show you have relevant training.

Word of Caution for Minorities or Ethnically Asian Teachers

Although language centres are serving education, it is a business enterprise and they tend to hire based on demand. Most parents associate authentic and native English to a Caucasian blonde with blue eyes. Therefore, if you are Asian (like me) or coloured descent, stay optimistic and keep looking. There are many organizations out there and it is important to find one that will not discriminate against your skin color. I have and continue to face this barrier in my teaching career but I remain hopeful.

Extra Support and Resources

If you need extra support, there is a strong community for expats on Facebook.

Expat Facebook Groups

Teaching Facebook Groups

My Other Articles on Hong Kong

If you have any other ideas and organizations that you wish to suggest, I would love to hear it. Please leave me a comment below.

Teaching English in Hong Kong Jobs and Opportunities - NET teacher - The Canadian Wanderer
How to Find a Job Teaching English in Hong Kong

5 thoughts on “How to Find a Job Teaching English in Hong Kong

  1. Interesting article. I agree the NET programme pays well, but I think you should perhaps highlight the potential downsides too, such as being the ONLY native speaker within a school, not being able to choose your location and often feeling isolated. These may be great for some, but not for others. These are local schools and as such adopt local customs and practices, many of which would be different from the more western approach.
    You also mentioned teaching for private companies. At minimum a degree is now required and a TEFL (or other) preferred to get through Immigration if you wish to be sponsored. People shouldn’t come to HK without a degree thinking they can walk into a teaching English job. It’s not the city it was 15 / 20 years ago, and rightly so. It’s raising its standards and I’m really happy to see that!

    1. Thanks for raising those points! I have done programs where I am the only English teacher, and yes, it is definitely hard and isolating especially working in the local system. Also thanks for the reminder about the Bachelor’s degree. I’ll add that in! : )

  2. What’s the salary difference working for NET Secondary vs directly with an international school with a teaching degree?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top