Importance of English
There is no doubt that English has attained the status of a global language. It has become the official language of more than 53 countries and is used worldwide for political, corporate, academic and even entertainment purposes. That is why it has become imperative for individuals to speak the English language fluently because in many parts of the world it is considered synonymous with success and progress.
This need to learn English and become fluent in speaking, writing, reading and listening the language has created a great demand for qualified English teachers. Many non-native English speaking countries have started language programs (at the government level) that invite native speakers from all over the world to not only teach but also receive the necessary training for teaching. Many of these countries do not even require the teachers to have a bachelor’s degree or any major experience. Therefore, teaching English as a Second or Foreign language abroad has become quite a popular job market for English teachers worldwide.
Why teach English in Hong Kong?
When it comes to the international job market for ESL teachers, Hong Kong is one of the best options and here are a few reasons why:
- A great job market – The job market in Hong Kong is without a doubt one of the best in the world. About 80% of the city’s population speaks Chinese but the city has two official languages, Cantonese and English, therefore, the Chinese population wants to not only learn but become fluent in English. This has created a good job market for English teachers in the city. From schools to privately owned institutions, there are many job vaccines that keeping surfacing throughout the year. If you have the right qualifications and a great command over the language, then Hong Kong may just be the place to start your ESL teaching career.
- Native speakers are preferred – Yes, Hong Kong does prefer to hire its local people but ESL job market (mostly private sector) prefers native-English teachers. If you are from one of the native-English speaking countries then you may find it relatively easier to secure a well-paid job with additional benefits.
- Excellent wages – Not only does Hong Kong have a great job market but it also offers the highest wages in Asia to teachers. Despite a relatively higher cost of living, the money you earn through teaching English allows you to save quite a lot. Therefore, if you are an English teacher and want to travel abroad to not only get international experience but also save money then Hong Kong may be your top choice.
- Teaching experience is not always needed – This is a great reason for those who are just starting their teaching career and do not have the necessary experience to get jobs in their native countries. With right certifications and qualifications, you may be able find work without any experience at all.
- A great tax policy – Most of the countries deduct tax from your monthly paychecks, however, in Hong Kong you have to pay an annual tax once a year. The current rate is somewhere around 17%. And it gets better, whether you pay this tax or not depends on your situation and earnings. The tax policy allows you to save quite a lot and still lead a very comfortable lifestyle.
- A dynamic culture – As we know, until 1997, Hong Kong was a British colony, which made it home to two very different cultures – Chinese and English. However, instead of clashing, these two cultures gelled really well and gave birth to a dynamic lifestyle and philosophies. Therefore, if you are from a native-English speaking country you may not feel like a complete Alien in Hong Kong. It is quite possible that you may encounter many familiar traditions and ways of life, which will make it easier for you to settle in a foreign country away from your friends and family.
What are the requirements to become an English language teacher in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong has a good job market and offers good salaries to English teachers, however, the city also has a few requirements that you need to meet. These include the following:
- Bachelor’s degree – If you plan to become an ESL teacher in Hong Kong then you will need to have a Bachelor’s degree because it is required by almost all the institutions in the city. The subject is not important as long as the degree is recognized.
- Teaching experience and TESOL, TEFL or CELTA – As mentioned above, you do not necessarily need teaching experience to become an English teacher in Hong Kong, however, there are conditions that apply to this. If you do not have two years of experience, then you will need to have a TESOL, TEFL, CELTA or any other recognized teaching certificate to get a job. So, this is how a lack of experience can still get you a job.
- Visa – Getting a working visa to teach English in Hong Kong is not that difficult. There are two ways you can get a visa:
- First, you land in Hong Kong and then the company that has hired you can help you apply and get your working visa.
- You can apply for a working visa to Hong Kong before you travel. This is the better way as you can get things in order before you reach the city and start working as soon as you get there.
- General Employment Policy or GEP Visa – Foreigners who are looking to work in Hong Kong require a General Employment Policy or GEP visa. If you