Become a successful Native English Teacher (NET) in Hong Kong. Familiarise yourself with the basics of Hong Kong's education system and language policies. Here you will find an overview of the education landscape in Hong Kong and some useful information pertaining to teaching English in the city.

Schools in Hong Kong

Since the 2018/19 school year, the Hong Kong Government has extended free education in public sector schools from 9 years to 12 years. There are three main types of local schools, namely government schools, aided schools and private schools. In addition, there are international schools which offer different curricula to children mainly from overseas or expat families. Government schools and aided schools provide free primary and secondary education with a curriculum that is recommended by the Government.

Normally, a child’s schooling journey starts in pre-school/kindergarten. Kindergarten education is offered to children from 3 to 5 years old. After 3 years of kindergarten schooling, students will move on to attending primary schools, in which they will receive another 6 years of education. On the completion of primary education, pupils will progress to secondary schools. Under the New Academic Structure (NAS), all students can benefit from 6 years of secondary education before they sit for one public examination – the Hong Kong Diploma Secondary Education Examination (HKDSE). 

While the Government has been promoting the use of mother tongue, Chinese, as the principal medium of instruction (MOI) for local schools, The English language has long been a core and compulsory subject in the primary and secondary school curricula. In fact, with both Chinese and English being the official languages in Hong Kong, the Government invests heavily in helping students to attain a high level of proficiency in English. One of the many important measures taken is the Education Bureau’s introduction of the Native-speaking English Teacher (NET) Scheme, which benefits public sector primary and secondary school. With the support from different sources of funding such as Government Additional Funds, Parent-Teacher Association and school sponsoring bodies, the recruitment of native English teachers (NETs) is also made possible in all types of schools.

For more information about the education and language policies in Hong Kong, you may visit the following websites:



For the complete list of registered schools in Hong Kong, please visit the Education Bureau’s (EDB) website:


NET Recruitment in Local Schools
(Non EDB NET Scheme)

Many schools in Hong Kong hire NETs to support and enhance English Language learning and teaching. The recruitment of NETs is not limited to public sector schools, as many kindergartens and private schools hire NETs too. 

While there are schools which directly employ their own NETs, a large number of institutions recruit NETs through agencies. Overseas ESL job seekers and inexperienced  ESL teachers are advised to seek help from a well-established agency that offers work visa sponsorship, sufficient placement support and career advice.

Apart from NET, you would probably want to bear in mind a couple more acronyms for your ESL job hunt. NETs in local school are sometimes hired under different titles such as:

ELTA – English Language Teaching Assistant

GELTA – Graduate English Language Teaching Assistant

GELT – Graduate English Language Tutor

Despite the variations in job titles, the job nature and major objectives of the above positions are more or less the same – to provide an authentic environment for children to learn English and arouse their interest in the language.

Eligibility and Requirements

To become a Native English Teacher in Hong Kong, you have to be:
For English teachers who are seeking visa sponsorship, the following documents are required:

Sexual Conviction Record Check (SCRC)

As a requirement of the Hong Kong Police Force, teachers are required to complete a Sexual Conviction Record Check (SCRC), which is an administrative scheme to enable employers of persons undertaking child-related work and work relating to mentally incapacitated persons (MIPs) to check whether eligible applicants have any criminal conviction records against a specified list of sexual offences. To apply for the SCRC, the applicant has to be a Hong Kong Identity Card holder.

Learn more about the SCRC: https://www.police.gov.hk/ppp_en/11_useful_info/scrc.html

Salary and Career Advancement

HK$ 18000
Average monthly salary of a Full-time entry-level NET

The monthly salary range of a full-time entry-level/fresh graduate NET (with less than 2 years of local teaching experience) is from HK$20,000 to HK$23,000 (approx. USD$2,500 – USD$2,900). 

Click here to view more full-time job openings.

HK$ 250
Average hourly wage of a Full-time entry-level NET

For NETs who teach short-term courses or projects on a non-regular part-time basis (e.g. after-school/weekend courses and private tuition), the hourly rate ranges from HK$250 to HK$350 (approx. USD$30 – USD$45).


After gaining 1-2 years of solid teaching experience in local schools, some NETs will make their next step up in career by applying to the EDB NET scheme, which offers a relatively more attractive remuneration package. 

HK$ 20000 /mo
starting salary of a registered Government NET in primary schools
HK$ 20000 /mo
starting salary of a registered Government NET in secondary schools
HK$ 20000
monthly housing allowance for eligible government NETs

Education Bureau (EDB)
Native-speaking English Teacher (NET) Scheme

The Education Bureau (EDB) of Hong Kong conducts NET recruitment exercise annually to recruit qualified candidates for the selection and appointment by public-sector primary and secondary schools. Preference will be given to applicants with substantial experience in teaching English as a second/foreign language. In fact, it is unlikely that someone without English teaching experience will be selected. Therefore, interested parties are encouraged to accumulate two years of local school teaching experience before applying.

Becoming an EDB NET is seen by many NETs as a good opportunity for career progression. The monthly salary range of a primary school EDB NET (PNET) is from HK$28,725 to HK$58,345 (approx. US$3,867 to US$7,480) per month , and the monthly salary range of a secondary school EDB NET (SNET) is from HK$30,165 to HK$70,090 (approx. US$3,867* to US$8,986*) per month, depending on the candidate’s qualifications and post-qualification teaching experience. EDB NETs are also entitled to a housing allowance of HK$20,989/month and various fringe benefits if their normal place of residence is established to be outside Hong Kong.

Read more about the Government’s NET Scheme: http://www.edb.gov.hk/en/curriculum-development/resource-support/net/index.html

Application for the position of NET under the NET Scheme in Primary Schools (Please note the application deadline): https://www.edb.gov.hk/en/sch-admin/admin/about-sch-staff/net-scheme/recruitment-primary-net.html

Application for the position of NET under the Enhanced NET Scheme in Secondary Schools (Please note the application deadline): https://www.edb.gov.hk/en/sch-admin/admin/about-sch-staff/net-scheme/recruitment-secondary-net.html

A Comparison of the 3 Main Types of NETs

Non EDB NET Scheme NETs in local schools

EDB NET Scheme NETs in local schools

Learning centre NETs


Kindergarten, Private/Public Primary or Secondary Schools, etc.

Only Government Primary or Secondary School


Typical teaching hours

8am - 5pm

8am - 5pm

Vary from centre to centre. Full-day Saturday work is often required.

Typical working days

Monday - Friday; occasional Saturdays (e.g. Parents' Day, Open Day, special events, etc)

Monday - Friday; occasional Saturdays (e.g. Parents' Day, Open Day, special events, etc)

Vary from centre to centre. Full-day Saturday work is often required.

Paid holidays

Public holidays + School holidays (e.g. Christmas and New Year break, Easter break, etc)

Public holidays + School holidays (e.g. Christmas and New Year break, Easter break, etc)

Public holidays + Annual leave (approx. 7-14 days)

Starting salary

Approx. HK$20,000 - HK$23,000

HK$28,725 (PNET)/HK$30,165 (SNET) with housing allowance

> HK$23,000 

Teacher-to-student ratio




*The above table is for general reference only. Actual salary, working schedules and hours may vary from school to school.

Being a NET in a local school and being one in learning centre are two different kinds of experience. In terms of starting salary, learning centres are often able to offer more than local schools. Depending on the scale of the learning centre, the class sizes in learning centres are also usually smaller than those in local schools. If you are more salary-driven, or prefer to teach smaller groups of pupils, teaching at a learning centre might be the better option for you. However, do take note that you may not be able to enjoy as many holidays and weekend time off as you do in local schools. This is due to the commercial nature of learning centres, and also the fact that long school breaks (e.g. Christmas, Easter, Summer, etc) are the peak seasons to their business. 

Teaching in local schools, on the other hand, allows considerably more days off and relatively more regular working hours. If you are a wanderluster who intends to travel to different places while you are in Hong Kong, teaching in a school would give you more flexibility in terms of planning your vacations. Also, if you are planning to become a Government NET, definitely seize every opportunity to teach at local schools, as local school teaching experience is considered more significant.

Calendar and Term Dates

Schools in Hong Kong generally start in September and end around mid July. There are approximately 90 school holidays in a school year, including long holidays such as Christmas break, Easter break and Chinese New Year. To get a better idea of how a typical school calendar looks like, check out this sample calendar from the Education Bureau website: Calendar_1718_Eng

Are you ready to teach in Hong Kong?

Check out our job board to see what ESL teaching opportunities are available. Submit an application if you are interested! Don’t worry if your ideal job isn’t on our job listings, we always welcome speculative job applications. If you fit all the requirements and we see you a potential candidate for future opportunities, our recruitment team will  arrange an interview (Skype/in-person) with you to assess your suitability and discuss options.