Hong Kong International School Salaries Revealed!

Hong Kong International School Salaries Revealed!

Teaching in international schools in Hong Kong can be very lucrative, and people are often curious about what salaries are like for international school teachers in Hong Kong. In this article, let's have a look at what kind of salaries/benefits are typical in international schools around hong kong.

A rough ballpark figure for salaries in the international school circuit here in Hong Kong would be anywhere from HK$40,000 - HK$70,000.

There is a lot more nuance to the answer than this, though. While we have a good idea in regards to the range of salaries that international schools provide, your experience, qualifications, and position you apply for all carry weight. With that said, let's have a little bit of a deeper dive into this.

What Do Real International School Salaries Look Like?

If you have an idea of what international school you want to join, it's worth looking them up on google to see if they list their salary ranges. One of the largest chains of international schools in Hong Kong called "ESF (English Schools Foundation)" list their salary range per year along with more information on the benefits they provide, too.

ESF Salary range screen shot.png

ESF provides some clarity on their pay scale below, stating that they have a "15-point pay scale* ranging from HK$475,080 to HK$831,300 per year." This means at the lower end you would be earning roughly HK$ 39,590 per month, and at the upper end you would be raking in 69,275 per month. Not bad! If you want to do a deep dive on ESF's typical contracts, you can have a look here. They provide more information, such as benefits, etc.

What's interesting, but probably not surprising is how secretive this information is. ESF are practically the only ones disclosing their salary ranges while the rest of the international school scene has opted to keep it a well-guarded secret, for the most part. International schools here do seem to be a little more open to sharing their benefits, however. Here are some of the more common benefits we've come across

  • Fee remission for staff whose children attend the school.

  • performance-related payments.

  • Housing allowance or cash allowance in lieu off housing allowance

  • Complimentary school breakfast, lunch and supper.

  • Medical/dental coverage

  • Gratuity

  • Flights and hotels covered for prospective employees living overseas.

  • Pension. (Although this is a legal requirement and schools shouldn't be listing it as a benefit)

Photo by  Joshua Eckstein  on  Unsplash  (edited by Jamie Thorne)

Photo by Joshua Eckstein on Unsplash (edited by Jamie Thorne)

Are International Schools Better Than Local Schools?

International schools generally offer much better salaries and benefits than local schools as they charge much higher school fees. Many teachers have also noted that working conditions in international schools tend to be better. They have smaller class sizes as oppose to the local system, which will have you teaching up to forty students per class.

It is essential to think about teaching philosophy, too. International schools often opt for a more western approach to education, which stands in stark contrast to the "spoon-fed" approach that is present in many local schools. International schools put much more emphasis on professional development, too. When you speak to educators who have worked in the local system and move over to the international scene, they often praise it for its forward-thinking approach to professional development and work-life balance.

It is always wise to consider career advancement when you are looking at working in local schools compared to international ones. Many teachers lament local schools for the lack of career advancement opportunities. You may get hired as an English teacher, and that might be the only position they can offer you, so you end up stuck there.

The single scenario where that might not be the case entirely is Hong Kong NET scheme. At the very least, you will receive regular pay bumps and the opportunity to break paywalls by studying. If you're interested in the NET scheme, we have a killer article that will get you onto the NET scheme in no time right here.

How do I become a teacher at an international school?

Ten years ago, it was far easier to find teaching jobs in Hong Kong. Now, even entry-level positions require far more qualifications than what they once did. To be considered for an international school teaching role, you will need to be a registered teacher at the very least.

Experience wise, most teachers peg this at a minimum of two years in an international school setting before they'd even consider hiring you. It's important to remember that if you have been working in a local school setting, this experience won't count. The reason is simple: They operate under very different philosophies and curricula. You need experience in International schools.

Many teachers have also commented on how competitive the market for teachers is in Hong Kong. All the best international schools hire worldwide, so you are competing against the entire world. On top of that, many teachers have a master's degree and more and more are becoming IB trained as it is increasingly popular in Hong Kong.

Which International Schools Are The Best To Apply To?

Unfortunately, there isn't such a list for teachers, but there is one for families, and it gives teachers great insight into what each of these international schools offers. The Hong Kong Tatler has a semi-recent list of the top twenty-two international schools in Hong Kong which is as a good a kick-off point as any.

Another excellent resource for reference is topschools. Topschools sends its staff out to schools to gain a better understanding of how these schools work and what their students say about them. While it isn't teacher-focused, it does provide a rich source of information that you to weed out which schools to apply for.

Related Questions

Q. What 's the salary for an assistant teacher in an international school?

A. TA's in international schools tend to earn anything from HK$18,000 to HK$23,000. They usually will have a PGDE and lack the experience or they have a little experience and are studying to attain a bachelors in education or a PGDE.

Q. How can I become a teacher?

If you are thinking of becoming a teacher and you already have a degree, you should be looking at doing a PGDE. This will allow you to become a registered teacher in Hong Kong. We have previously looked at the best way to land a teaching job in Hong Kong here. In this article, we cover what you need to teach as well as advice for quickly finding your first teaching job. If you don't have a degree, you can study one part-time while you work.

Thank you for reading and If you’d like more articles like this or have something to say, do email us at jamie@navigatehk.com. We’d also love to hear your views in the comment section below!

Header image by moren hsu on Unsplash

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