Common Qualifications Required for
English-Language Teaching (ELT) in Hong Kong

When recruiting English teachers, school employers will most likely look for relevant qualifications. For individuals who wish to pursue an ELT career in Hong Kong, the most straightforward approach would be to study for a relevant degree or an English PGCE at university level. However, with a prerequisite of a Bachelor’s degree, graduates from non-teaching disciplines can also consider several pathways to establish essential qualifications in order to be eligible for English-teaching positions.

Dive into the rabbit hole of ELT qualifications and you will come across a lot of acronyms. If you have started your research process, you will most likely have heard of the ‘Cambridge Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults’ (CELTA), one of the most commonly recognised ELT qualifications worldwide. You may have also heard of TEFL and TESOL, which respectively stand for ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’ and ‘Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages’. There are numerous private TEFL/TESOL course providers and institutions out there, offering certification options of varying quality, duration and cost. In Hong Kong, quite a lot of schools accept accredited online TEFL/TESOL certificates as valid teaching qualifications, as long as the chosen course involves at least 120 training hours. We will provide more information about these qualifications below.

Choosing the Right Course

Every aspiring teacher has unique needs and expectations when it comes to career development, which is why it is important to do sufficient research before choosing a training provider. Try to consider the questions below to figure out what suits your circumstances best.


The CELTA course covers the principles of effective teaching whilst allowing access to a range of teaching techniques and practical experience. The qualification is administered by Cambridge Assessment English, part of the University of Cambridge. As a result, one can expect the course content to be of a standardised quality across the world, regardless of where you take the course. Delivered only by centres authorised by Cambridge Assessment English, CELTA courses can be taken face-to-face, online or as a hybrid of both. 

CELTA is a reputable and internationally recognised qualification for English teachers. It also has a higher perceived prestige for obvious reasons. It is a good choice for individuals who wouldn’t mind investing a bit more to train with a world-famous education institution and gain more hands-on teaching practice.

Sign up for a CELTA course:

GPEX Central Hong Kong

(Apply using Eureka’s promotional code to enjoy HK$1,000 discount* on the regular price: GPEXCELTAEU. Early birds will also receive a free CELTA textbook.)

*This offer cannot be used in conjunction with other discounts or promotions.

Online TEFL/TESOL Certification

The acronyms TEFL and TESOL are often used interchangeably, and it is worth noting that the acronyms themselves do not refer to a singular accreditation body, brand or certification. Some sources have suggested that TEFL courses are generally designed for teachers who wish to focus on teaching English to students living in countries where English is not the native language, whereas TESOL courses are for those who are looking into teaching English in both non-native and native English speaking countries to speakers of foreign languages. Yet, the reality is that there are nuances as to how different places interpret the definitions of these acronyms. So, what really matters is what specifications are promised by the individual course providers.

Based on our experience, most school employers in Hong Kong regard both types of courses similarly. TEFL and TESOL certifications acquired through accredited online courses are accepted by many school employers amongst our clientele.

Compared to CELTA, online TEFL or TESOL courses usually cost substantially less. Conducted online, they also offer the flexibility of studying at your own pace and from the comfort of your own home. They are suitable for individuals who are looking for a more relaxed and economical way to obtain the required qualification.

Sign up for a TEFL/TESOL course:

Global English - Accredited Online TESOL Courses

(Apply using Eureka’s promotional code to enjoy an extra 10% off discount on the regular price: Eur5.)

The TEFL Academy - Accredited Online TEFL Courses

(Discounts are offered periodically.)

A Quick Glance

CELTAOther Online TEFL/TESOL Courses
Course experience and approach to training- Has an emphasis on providing practical teaching experiences
- Offers access to classroom teaching practice
- Can be taken face-to-face, online or a hybrid of both
- Suitable for both experienced and inexperienced teachers
- Conducted mostly or entirely online (depending on the course provider)
- Suitable for both experienced and inexperienced teachers
Cost- Can cost around US$2,500–$2,700, depending on which centre you attend- Prices depend on the course provider and course duration, but one can expect to pay around US$300–$500 for a 120-hour online TEFL/TESOL course
Duration- You can also choose to take it full time, usually 4–5 weeks, or part-time over the course of a few months to a year- Most people would need a month or two to complete a 120-hour course, but it can be completed in as little as two weeks if you are extremely motivated or have more spare time
Acceptance amongst employers- CELTA is a popular and well-known qualification valued by many ELT employers worldwide- Accepted by plenty of Hong Kong school employers, provided that the number of training hours is not less than 120

Still not sure what is right for you?

*Please note we can only provide Hong Kong specific advice to those who are interested in teaching English in Hong Kong.
We are unable to answer enquiries about teaching destinations other than Hong Kong.

Disclaimer:  Eureka Language Services Limited operates independently from all course providers mentioned on this webpage. Completing the recommended courses does not necessitate immediate eligibility for our listed positions. In order to join Eureka’s teaching team, you are required to go through our application process, in which your suitability will be assessed based on various factors, including qualifications, experience, aptitude and passion. Under no circumstances shall Eureka be liable for any disputes that may arise between these course providers and their attendees.