Can I teach in Hong Kong without a degree?

I have been there before – the seemingly hopeless journey of finding a job without having acquired a bachelor’s degree. It can be extremely disheartening to look around for jobs and see that every job advertisement shows a requirement of a degree at the very least. While this is an ongoing issue that has plagued the entire community of people who either did not choose to further study after high school or are still in the process of studying but looking to find respectable work in their desired field.

This article is specifically for those who have the passion for teaching.

So, let’s get started.

Do you need a degree to teach in Hong Kong?

The short answer to this million-dollar question would be – NO, and the proof is me – an individual who has been working as a teacher for the past three years and is only now in his final semester in university. While this is true, there is more to it. Please read on to find how can one get a teaching job in HK without a degree.

How do I get a job without a degree?

Well, the first order of business would be to be open to different possibilities instead of just the traditional ones. Yes, we would all like to start teaching in a great school as the head of a particular subject. However, because you do not have a degree yet (which is why you are here reading this article), it is crucial to know that there are other options to be aware of.

What are the teaching options in HK?

I am not sure how many people’s cup of tea this suggestion would be, but the answer would most likely be: Tutorial Centres.

Tutorial centres offer the maximum number of teaching jobs, and one of the good news is that many of them are entry-level positions which means that they do not look for the most experience or the fanciest degree.

To be more transparent – here are the four possible situations you can face while looking for tutorial centre teaching jobs:

  • They require an education-related bachelor’s degree
  • They require a bachelor’s degree of any sort
  • They require some teaching qualification, albeit not bachelor’s degree
  • They do not require a bachelor’s degree

Where can I find a jobs in HK that do not require a bachelor’s degree?

Admittedly, it is not an easy task to find a teaching job without the requirement of a bachelor’s degree. Your best option would be to continually look for jobs on various sites such as JobsDB, Indeed, Glassdoor and CPJobs.

One other personal suggestion would be to Google ‘Tutorial centres in Hong Kong’. Then, I would suggest going through as many centres as possible and look at their websites for enrolling steps.

The reason for this is, as far as I know, there are plenty of tutorial centres that look for employees but do not post on websites as they want their reach to be organic and word-of-mouth based. Also, do make sure that you put forward your best resume and cover letter. Just because they do not need a bachelor’s degree from you does not mean they have low standards.

It can still be very competitive, so make sure that you put your best foot forward for the best chance of finally landing a job.

Here is the trick to gaining entry into teaching positions in HK

As I mentioned before, while it is very much possible, it is not easy to find a job without any technical qualification. Therefore, it is always useful to future proof yourself by attaining such qualifications. Since a bachelor’s degree costs four years and an upwards of $40,000 per year, it is a very costly affair. Thankfully, there is a much cheaper and less time consuming alternative:
TEFL/ TESOL Certification Courses.

What is TEFL/TESOL? Why is it useful?

Simply put, TESOL (Teaching English as a Secondary Language) or TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) are teaching certificates and they are internationally recognized qualifying you to teach English abroad. This means that it is a very strong return on investment as you can utilize it almost any part of the world.

Having this qualification specifically means that you will be taught how to teach students who do not use English as their primary or native language. There are quite a few teaching centres and schools in Hong Kong that require such internationally recognized teaching certificates and virtually every education centre prefers their teachers having such a qualification.

Fortunately, we provide TEFL and TESOL training programs accepted by Education Bureau, to start teaching English in Hong Kong under the NET scheme for primary teachers. CELTA is another equivalent certificate accepted by EB.

How much can you expect to get paid?

The question of how much one can expect to get paid as a salary depends on several variables. This includes your qualifications, experience, and the centres themselves. If a teaching centre have you teaching only one or two students at a time for a more intimate and focused approach, you can expect to get more compared to handling 3-4 students at a time.

Also, having certifications such as TESOL or TEFL can increase your starting salary by quite a bit. Most likely, tutorial centres led by Hong Kong locals or western people offer somewhere above a $100 or $200 per hour while a tutorial centre led by ethnic minorities tend to offer less, like around $60 – $70 per hour. While the disparity may seem quite a bit large, tutorial centres led by ethnic minorities tend to offer more hours of work and are typically easier to get a job in. For these reasons, keep an open mind and do not reject any opportunity before giving it a shot.

To Sum Up

Contrary to what you might hear elsewhere, it is very much possible to get a teaching job in Hong Kong without a degree. Your best bet would be tutorial centres (especially ethnic minority ones) which you can find on a various job listing sites and Google. However, a much cheaper and quicker alternative to getting a bachelor’s degree to increase your chances of landing a teaching job as well as starting with a stronger salary would be TESOL/ TEFL. As for the salary, it is dependent on the centre and your experience/qualification.

Best of luck in all your endeavours!

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This article was originally published on December 10, 2020 and was last updated on March 4, 2021.

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