Must Have Qualifications to Teach English in Hong Kong

Must Have Qualifications to Teach English in Hong Kong

Do I Need a Degree?Do I Need a TEFL/TESOLCan 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?".

My Research

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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

 "Agency" and "Centre/Agency" were separated for visual reference which I thought would be interesting as it shows the merging of business models in Hong Kong.

"Agency" and "Centre/Agency" were separated for visual reference which I thought would be interesting as it shows the merging of business models in Hong Kong.

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, But...

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!) 

 To keep this graph simple, posts that "preferred" a degree holder where listed as "yes" and the ones that didn't mention were listed as "no". Education-related degrees where also listed under "no".

To keep this graph simple, posts that "preferred" a degree holder where listed as "yes" and the ones that didn't mention were listed as "no". Education-related degrees where also listed under "no".

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.

 To keep this graph simple, posts that "preferred" an IRTC where listed as "yes" and the ones that didn't mention were listed as "no".

To keep this graph simple, posts that "preferred" an IRTC where listed as "yes" and the ones that didn't mention were listed as "no".

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. 

Jobs Offering Visa Sponsorship

Conclusion 

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. 

 

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