Taiwan is one of the most popular options for teaching English in Asia as it has so much to offer, including plenty of well paid jobs, a relatively low cost of living, a highly developed infrastructure, and a stable economy. If you are a native English speaker with a degree and a TEFL certification, you should have little trouble finding a suitable position in a public school or a privately owned language academy. Although jobs are available in most parts of the country, the main markets are in the capital Taipei, and other major cities such as Kaohsiung, Taichung, and Tainan.
What can I expect to earn while teaching English in Taiwan?
The salary you can expect while teaching in Taiwan will depend on several factors, such as the type of employer, your level of qualifications, and your previous classroom experience. It is common for teachers to be paid by the hour, with rates ranging from around 600 NTD (currently $20) for new teachers, to 1,300 NTD ($40) for teachers with extensive experience. On top of a salary or hourly rate, many teachers in Taiwan also receive additional benefits such as return airfares, free accommodation, health insurance, and a contract completion bonus.
What kind of employer will I work for while teaching English in Taiwan?
Taiwan has a large network of privately run 'cram schools' known as bushibans which are one of the main employers of foreign teachers, particularly those with little or no previous experience. This type of school can be found in large numbers all over the country, offering an average rate of around $20 per hour. Working hours in this environment are typically around four hours of actual teaching, five days a week. Another popular option that offers similar pay and conditions are kindergartens that are also widespread throughout the country.
If you have some previous teaching experience, you might be able to land a position with a foreign-run bushiban that pays considerably more than a standard language center. In this environment you could earn between $30 and $40 per hour, plus bonuses. Because of the extra benefits offered by this type of school, you should expect the competition to be high for every available position. It is worth noting that while the pay is higher in this area of teaching, so are the expectations placed on the teachers. In many cases, an understanding of Mandarin might also be expected.
Are there any other employers of TEFL teachers in Taiwan?
There are also opportunities for TEFL qualified teachers within the Taiwanese public school system. These schools usually pay a monthly salary of between 60,000 and 70,000 NTD (currently $1,900 to $2,200). Most of these jobs will be at high school level. In this type of environment, the working hours are often more than you would expect in the private sector and extensive lesson planning will also be required. The average working day in the public sector is from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. If you want to earn the highest salary on offer to foreign teachers in Taiwan, you should look at international schools. These schools generally follow an American based curriculum and require applicants to have a high level of teaching qualifications. If you are able to meet the tough criteria required, you could earn up to 200,000 NTD (over $6,000) per month.
How does the cost of living affect TEFL teachers in Taiwan?
Foreign teachers working in Taiwan can generally live a very comfortable lifestyle due to a great combination of high salaries and a relatively low cost of living. Daily expenses such as public transport and eating out are very cheap by Western standards, although accommodation can be quite pricey in the more popular areas. Teachers should budget between 5,000 NTD and 15,000 NTD per month for a shared apartment, depending on where they choose to live. However, this expense is not a problem for a large percentage of teachers as many jobs include free housing. In general, most teachers should be able to save a good amount of their income every month while teaching English in Taiwan.