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How To Become An International School Teacher in Hong Kong?

Are you passionate about teaching and ready to embark on an international adventure? Consider becoming an international school teacher in the vibrant city of Hong Kong! Teaching abroad can be an enriching experience that not only expands your professional horizons but also opens up a whole new world of cultural exploration. In this article, we will guide you through the process of becoming an international school teacher in Hong Kong, from the necessary qualifications to the challenges you may encounter along the way. So, let’s dive in and discover this exciting career path!

iPGCE or iQTS – Pathways and Benefits in Hong Kong

When it comes to becoming a teacher in Hong Kong, there are two main pathways to consider – iPGCE (International Postgraduate Certificate in Education) and iQTS (International Qualified Teacher Status). Each pathway has its own benefits and requirements, so let’s take a closer look.


The iPGCE is an internationally recognized qualification that equips you with the necessary skills and knowledge to become an international school teacher. It focuses on developing your teaching practices and understanding of international education.

The iPGCE programme typically includes modules on pedagogy, curriculum development, assessment strategies, and classroom management. It provides a comprehensive foundation for educators looking to excel in an international school setting, where diverse student populations and varied teaching approaches are the norm.


On the other hand, the iQTS pathway is specifically designed for qualified teachers who are already registered in their home country. With iQTS, you can gain recognition for your teaching qualifications and experience in Hong Kong.

Teachers pursuing iQTS often benefit from streamlined accreditation processes, allowing them to transition smoothly into the Hong Kong education system. This pathway is ideal for experienced educators seeking new challenges and opportunities in a dynamic and culturally rich environment.

Both pathways offer a range of benefits, including competitive salaries, professional development opportunities, and the chance to immerse yourself in a vibrant multicultural environment. Now, let’s explore why becoming a teacher in Hong Kong is such an appealing prospect.

Why become a teacher in Hong Kong?

Teaching in Hong Kong offers a multitude of advantages that make it an attractive destination for educators worldwide. Here are just a few compelling reasons to consider this exciting career move:

  • High demand: Hong Kong has a thriving international school sector, creating numerous job opportunities for qualified teachers.
  • Competitive salaries: International teachers in Hong Kong can enjoy attractive salary packages, often including benefits such as accommodation allowances and health insurance.
  • Cultural exchange: Hong Kong’s rich cultural heritage and diverse population provide a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a vibrant multicultural society.
  • Professional growth: Teaching in an international school exposes you to different teaching methodologies, approaches, and perspectives, enhancing your own pedagogical skills.

Furthermore, teaching in Hong Kong allows educators to experience a dynamic and fast-paced environment where innovation and creativity are highly valued in the education sector. The city’s strategic location in Asia also provides teachers with easy access to travel opportunities within the region, allowing them to explore diverse cultures and gain valuable insights that can enrich their teaching practice.

Moreover, Hong Kong’s education system is known for its high standards and rigorous academic curriculum, providing teachers with the opportunity to work in a challenging yet rewarding environment that fosters intellectual growth and academic excellence. By teaching in Hong Kong, educators can make a meaningful impact on the lives of students from various backgrounds and nationalities, contributing to the development of future global citizens who are equipped with the skills and knowledge to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world.

What qualifications do I need to teach in Hong Kong?

To become an international school teacher in Hong Kong, you must meet certain qualifications. These requirements may vary depending on the specific school and position you are applying for. Generally, the following qualifications are essential:

  • A recognized teaching qualification: This could be a bachelor’s degree in education or a postgraduate teaching qualification such as the iPGCE.
  • Teaching experience: Schools in Hong Kong typically prefer candidates with prior teaching experience, particularly in an international school setting.
  • Language proficiency: Proficiency in English is essential, as English is the primary language of instruction in international schools.

It’s important to note that individual schools may have additional requirements, such as subject-specific qualifications or knowledge of the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. Therefore, thorough research and contacting prospective schools directly is essential.

Furthermore, in addition to the basic qualifications mentioned above, many international schools in Hong Kong also value candidates who have experience with diverse student populations and a commitment to promoting intercultural understanding. This can be demonstrated through previous work with students from different cultural backgrounds or involvement in multicultural initiatives.

Moreover, some schools may require teachers to have specific certifications related to special education or English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching. These additional qualifications can enhance your application and make you a more competitive candidate in the international school job market in Hong Kong.

What’s the hiring process for becoming an international teacher in Hong Kong?

The hiring process for international teachers in Hong Kong usually involves several stages. Let’s break down the typical steps involved:

  1. Application submission: Begin by submitting your application, including your CV, cover letter, and relevant supporting documents, to the schools you are interested in.
  2. Interview: If your application is shortlisted, you will likely be invited for an interview. This can be conducted in person or via video conferencing.
  3. Teaching demonstration: Some schools may require you to demonstrate your teaching skills by delivering a lesson to a group of students.
  4. Reference checks: Schools may contact your references to gain further insight into your teaching abilities and suitability for the role.
  5. Contract negotiation: If you are offered a position, the school will provide you with a contract outlining the terms and conditions of your employment.

It’s worth mentioning that competition for international teaching positions in Hong Kong can be fierce, so it’s advisable to start your job search well in advance and apply to multiple schools to increase your chances of success.

Living as an international teacher in Hong Kong

Once you secure a teaching position, it’s time to prepare for your new life in Hong Kong. Moving to a new country can be both exciting and challenging, so here are some tips to help you settle in:

  • Housing: Research various housing options in Hong Kong, considering factors such as proximity to your school, amenities, and affordability. Many schools also offer assistance with finding accommodation.
  • Healthcare: Familiarize yourself with the local healthcare system and ensure you have valid health insurance coverage.
  • Transportation: Hong Kong has an excellent public transportation network, including buses, trams, and the iconic MTR subway system. Take time to understand the routes and fares.
  • Join communities: Connect with other international teachers and expats through social and professional networking events. They can provide valuable support and help you navigate your new environment.
  • Embrace the culture: Immerse yourself in Hong Kong’s rich culture, traditions, and local cuisine. Learning a few basic Cantonese phrases can also go a long way in building connections with locals.

By embracing the local culture, seeking support from the community, and being open to new experiences, you’ll find yourself thriving as an international teacher in Hong Kong.

Cultural Insights for International Teachers in Hong Kong

Teaching in a multicultural environment like Hong Kong requires an understanding and appreciation of the local culture. Here are some cultural insights to keep in mind:

  • Respect for hierarchy: Hong Kong places significant importance on social hierarchy and seniority. Show respect to colleagues and administrators, addressing them using appropriate titles.
  • Punctuality: Being punctual is highly valued in Hong Kong’s culture. Make sure to arrive early for meetings, classes, and other professional commitments.
  • Work-life balance: Hong Kong can be a fast-paced and competitive city. Balance your professional responsibilities with personal life to prevent burnout.
  • Collectivism: Hong Kong values collectivism, emphasizing teamwork and collaboration. Engage with colleagues, share ideas, and contribute to the overall success of your school.

By respecting and adapting to the local culture, you will build strong relationships and create a positive impact in your teaching environment.

Cost of Living in Hong Kong

Before committing to a teaching position in Hong Kong, it’s crucial to consider the cost of living. Hong Kong is known for its high living expenses, particularly in areas like accommodation, transportation, and dining out. However, salaries for international teachers often reflect this higher cost of living, providing a comfortable lifestyle. It’s advisable to create a budget and plan your finances accordingly to ensure a smooth transition.

Popular International Schools in Hong Kong

Hong Kong boasts a wide range of reputable international schools, each offering a unique educational experience. Here are some of the popular international schools in the city:

  • International School of Hong Kong (IS-HK)
  • Canadian International School (CDNIS)
  • German Swiss International School (GSIS)
  • French International School (FIS)
  • Chinese International School (CIS)
  • Australian International School Hong Kong (AISHK)

These schools provide excellent learning environments and countless opportunities for professional growth.

Challenges for International Teachers and How to Overcome Them in Hong Kong

While teaching in Hong Kong can be fulfilling, it’s important to be aware of certain challenges that may arise. Here are a few common challenges and strategies to overcome them:

  • Cultural adjustment: Adapting to a new cultural setting can be daunting. Stay open-minded, be patient with yourself, and embrace the differences.
  • Language barrier: Although English is widely spoken in international schools, there may still be instances where language barriers arise. Be proactive in seeking assistance and take the initiative to learn basic Cantonese phrases.
  • Workload: Teaching can be demanding, and Hong Kong’s education system is known for its high standards. Prioritize self-care, establish work-life balance, and seek support from colleagues and mentors.
  • Homesickness: Living far away from family and friends can lead to feelings of homesickness. Stay connected with loved ones through technology, build a support network in Hong Kong, and take time for self-care.

Remember, challenges are an inherent part of any new experience. By being proactive, adaptable, and seeking support when needed, you can navigate these challenges and thrive as an international school teacher in Hong Kong.


Becoming an international school teacher in Hong Kong opens doors to a world of exciting opportunities for personal and professional growth. By acquiring the necessary qualifications, navigating the hiring process, and embracing the local culture, you can embark on a rewarding career while immersing yourself in the vibrant city of Hong Kong. Despite the challenges you may face, the rewards of enriching young minds and being part of a global educational community make this journey truly worthwhile. So, take the leap and start your adventure as an international school teacher in Hong Kong!

Take the Next Step with IPGCE

Ready to transform your teaching career and overcome the barriers to international education? Join IPGCE, the UK’s #1 Teacher Training Course, and gain the qualifications you need to stand out in the competitive international school job market. With our program, you’ll experience a significant increase in interview callbacks, promotion rates, and salary growth. Connect with a global network of educators, deepen your understanding of international curricula, and enjoy the flexibility of online study tailored to working professionals. Don’t let inadequate credentials or isolation hold you back. Join our community and start your journey towards a rewarding international teaching career today.

Meet Our Successful Graduates: Learn how our courses have propelled graduates into rewarding careers. Explore their success stories here!

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