Must Have Qualifications to Teach English in Hong Kong
Do I Need a Degree?Do I Need a TEFL/TESOL? Can I Get Visa Sponsorship Without a Degree/TEFL/TESOL?
These are the questions that I see popping up on forums frequently visited by people looking to move to Hong Kong to start teaching. I have written briefly about What You Need to Teach in Hong Kong but these questions got me thinking, "while there is a lot of advice out there, what about doing some research of your own?".
I decided to look at four main job sites in Hong Kong. Initially, I was going to use Indeed but this site seems to aggregate jobs from other websites, so I went for CPJobs, JobsDB, Recruit and GeoExpat Jobs. I had planned to take a sampling of twenty jobs from each website for July, but some of the websites had less than twenty job posts listed for the given month. In total, I ended up with a sampling of fifty job posts. I stuck to "Native EnglishTeacher" posts and avoided obvious duplicates. Let's dive into the results for July.
The Jobs Offered
Most teachers who have been working in Hong Kong for a few years consider working for a Learning Centre/Agency as an entry-level position. So, given that the majority of the jobs were offered by Learning Centres (at least for July), do you need a degree to teach English in Hong Kong?
Yes, you need a degree, but it can be any bachelor degree for an entry-level position with a Learning Centre/Agency. There were a small number of jobs that required education-related degrees as shown below. Some jobs did mention that applicants who possess an education-related degree would have priority. (Naturally!)
What About a TEFL/TESOL?
Broadly speaking, I’ll refer to this qualification as an "Internationally Recognised Teaching Certificate" (IRTC). Most jobs referred to TEFL and TESOL heavily whilst a few mentioned CELTA. (All fall under “IRTC”) Guess what? You guessed it, as the data shows clearly, you're going to need an IRTC in your life. If you have a bachelor degree but don't have an IRTC, you could do one online (just make sure that your certificate has a practical element) or if you are in Hong Kong already, look into Train The Teacher.
What About Visa Sponsorship?
Unfortunatley, a lot of companies are simply unwilling to list whether they would sponsor you for a work visa or not. In my experience, as long as you have a bachelors degree and an IRTC, Agencies/Learning Centres are willing to do the legwork to get you a Visa.
Any bachelor degree and an IRTC are a must if you want to stand the best chance of landing an entry-level position teaching English in Hong Kong. Visa sponsorship is very unlikely if you don't have a degree or an IRTC.
I hope this has been insightful. Leave a comment if you want more data. Perhaps a follow-up post for other months? Leave your suggestions and feedback in the comment section below.