Asia is the hottest destination for teaching English abroad right now and Taiwan is one of the most popular locations in the region. The government of Taiwan recently announced an ambitious plan to make the country bilingual Chinese – English by 2030, something that offers a big increase in opportunities for English language teachers in the coming years. Along with the buoyant job market, other great attractions for teachers are the high salaries and extra benefits, a low cost of living, the warm and tropical climate, and a well earned reputation as one of the friendliest nations in the world.
What are the requirements for teaching English in Taiwan?
You have to be over 20 years old and be a native English speaker with a passport from the USA, the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, or Australia. A university degree in any subject is also necessary. Although a TEFL/TESOL certification is not a legal requirement for jobs or work visas in Taiwan, most employers prefer their applicants to possess one, particularly if they have little or no previous classroom experience.
Who are the main employers of English teachers in Taiwan?
Private language schools are one of the biggest employers of foreign teachers in Taiwan. Jobs are available at anytime of the year and most contracts are for a 12 month period. These schools often run kindergarten classes in the mornings and then classes for older children in the afternoon and evenings. As demand for teachers is generally very high, no previous experience is typically required for these positions.
There are also positions available in government run schools, but these are far less common than private schools and prior teaching experience is generally required. However, if you can land a public school job you will be rewarded with a better salary and benefit package than those offered by private schools. Unlike private schools, public schools operate a typical school day from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Cram schools, also known as Buxibans, are private schools that specialize in enhancing student’s English skills that will help their admission into the best universities. These schools offer additional classes outside of normal school hours and are known to be highly competitive and to offer a very high standard of education. To reflect this, the hiring requirements are particularly tough and generally include prior teaching experience, some knowledge of Chinese and a two to three year commitment to the school. Teachers are given in-house training once employed and will receive generous salaries and bonuses.
Other options include universities and private tutoring. University jobs are small in number but they offer less working hours and a higher salary for those who are lucky enough to secure them. A high level of qualifications and previous experience are a must for these positions. Private tutoring is not easy to do full time in Taiwan as you are only allowed to work for the employer who secured the employment letter for your visa. However, many teachers are able to top up their main salary by offering private tutoring with students from the school where they work. This needs to be discussed with the employer first to avoid any problems.
What is the visa process for teaching English in Taiwan?
In order to apply for a work visa you will need to secure a job first. Once you have been offered a job you will receive an Employment Letter that allows you to apply for a visa to initially enter the country. Once in Taiwan, you have to apply for an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) within 15 days. Your employer should provide all the help you need with this process.
In order to get the ARC you will need a basic health check that allows you to then apply for a work permit. Once again, your employer should take care of the paperwork for you. The work permit should arrive within 7 to 10 days. Once you have your work permit, you then need to apply for a resident’s visa. Once that is completed you can then take the final step of applying for the ARC which acts as your Taiwanese ID. Although this whole process sounds complicated, your employer should take care of most of the paperwork on your behalf.
Where are the best places for teaching English in Taiwan?
Taipei, the capital city, is the number one destination in terms of job numbers and salaries. The city also has a large expat community that can be a real help to teachers who are new to foreign travel. Taichung is the country’s second biggest city and also home to a good job market for teachers. The city is known for its high quality schools, natural scenery and cooler climate. Other cities such as Kaohsiung, Taoyuan, and Tainan are also popular places to live and teach.