With the stated ambition for the country to become bilingual Chinese – English by the year 2030, the Taiwan government has all but guaranteed a huge number of opportunities for TEFL qualified teachers for many years to come. On top of a growing job market, Taiwan also offers very competitive salaries, a relatively low cost of living, and the reputation for being one of the friendliest and most welcoming nations in the world.
What do I need to teach English in Taiwan?
To work as an English teacher in Taiwan you must be a native English speaker from the USA, the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, or Australia. You will also need to be over the age of 20 with a degree in any subject. Although it is not a legal requirement to teach in Taiwan, a TEFL qualification is effectively a necessity as most employers will expect their teachers to have one.
What type of TEFL employer will I work for in Taiwan?
Private language schools are common all over the country and they make up a large proportion of potential job options. Teaching jobs in this sector are typically available throughout the year and most will involve signing a one year contract. Although there are many different types of private language school, a typical day might start with a kindergarten level class in the morning, followed by classes for older children in the late afternoon and early evening. Demand in this sector is very high which means that previous teaching experience is often not necessary when applying for jobs.
Government-run schools also offer a smaller amount of teaching jobs in Taiwan. To be eligible for this type of job you will usually require some previous classroom experience. The average salary and benefits package you can expect in the public sector is generally superior to that offered by private schools, although this means that the competition is also likely to be of a higher standard. Another reason why this option is popular is the working hours, which are typically a standard school day of 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Another popular option is to work in a private cram school known as a Buxiban. This type of school specializes in helping students to gain the specific English skills needed to get into the best universities in the country. In this environment you will be teaching students extra lessons outside of their normal school hours. These schools operate to a very high standard, which means you will probably require previous teaching experience and some understanding of Chinese. If you are able to secure a job in one of these schools you can expect to receive in-house training, a very good salary, and a range of extra benefits. It is worth noting that some jobs in this sector require a contract of two or even three years.
One final option is to apply to universities where the working hours are often quite short and the average salaries are generous. This type of job is not easy to find and a high level of qualifications and experience are almost certain to be required. Whatever type of school you end up working in you might also want to consider taking on a few private students outside of your normal hours in order to earn a bit extra. Many teachers go down this route if they are looking to save as much money as possible during their stay.
What is the visa process for teaching English in Taiwan?
To get your visa in place for teaching in Taiwan it is necessary to secure a job offer first. Once you have found the right job your employer will send you an Employment Letter that allows you to apply for the initial visa you require to enter the country. Upon your arrival in Taiwan, you will need to apply for an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) within 15 days. This is usually a straightforward process as the employer should take care of everything for you.
You will need to supply a basic health report in order to get the ARC document and once you have it you can then apply for an official work permit. Your employer should also take care of this on your behalf. The work permit typically takes around 7 to 10 days to arrive, at which point you can apply for a resident’s visa. On paper this process can sound a little complicated, but in reality it should be quite straightforward as the school should take care of the paperwork for you, from beginning to end.
Where should I look for TEFL jobs in Taiwan?
As the capital city, Taipei is home to the largest market for TEFL qualified teachers in Taiwan. It is also where the highest salaries are often found. Within the city there is a large expat community made up of many different nationalities, that can be a great source of information and support for first-time teachers. Taichung is Taiwan’s second city which is known for its high-quality schools, beautiful scenery and a cooler climate. Other options that are well worth checking out are the cities of Kaohsiung, Taoyuan, and Tainan.