How to Teach English in Taiwan
Last year Taiwan announced that it plans to make English its official language. This shows the government realizes the importance of the language and the role it can play in national progress. It hopes to become bilingual Chinese-English by 2030. This is extremely good news for native-English teachers who want to travel to Taiwan to get valuable international experience.
In addition to experience, you will also get to know the exciting Taiwanese culture and its friendly people. The beautiful island is currently swarming with great job opportunities and offers a promise of an unforgettable experience.
Reasons for teaching in Taiwan
Here are the reasons why Taiwan could be a great place for English teachers:
- Great Market for English teachers – Due to the current status of the English language the job market for English teachers in Taiwan has great prospects. It offers a multitude of jobs with different types of educational institutions. Taiwan’s latest 2019 government policy regarding English language, is to hire and train 5000 elementary and junior high school English teachers in order to make Taiwan a bilingual Chinese-English land. Their target to achieve this goal is by 2030. If you are an EFL teacher, this seems like a great time to travel to Taiwan and build a great resume.
- Great salaries – As compared to countries like China, Thailand and Vietnam, Taiwan also pays well to its ESL teachers and this is true for both private and public schools. Average pay in Taiwan ranges from $2,000 to $24,000 per month and the cost of living is also not that high. The Taiwanese government has a great respect and regard for foreigners coming to the island looking for work. They show it by paying more to ESL teachers as compared to their local teachers.
- Low cost of living – Whether you want to save money or pay off your loans, Taiwan is a great place to work. You can not only get good salary packages but the cost of living is also not that high. For ESL teachers cost of living may become even lower because most of the teaching jobs in Taiwan provide accommodation. Here is a breakdown of how your expenses may look like:
- Utilities including electricity, gas, and water bills may cost around $76 per month
- Phone and internet may cost around $29
- Food $162
- Insurance $29.
Speaking ideally, if a foreign English teacher is earning an average salary of $1,947 per month then with the above cost of living, he/she may be able to save $1,648 per month.
- Great weather – Foreigners generally enjoy living in Taiwan because of its tropical weather that offers with long warm summers and short winters. The summers are not too hot as the temperature remains moderate and the ocean breeze produces a cooling effect.
- A friendly island – Taiwanese people are extremely helpful, honest and friendly. They welcome the foreigners with open arms and despite the language barrier always try to help them with directions and addresses. For the last 5 years, Taiwan has remained in the top three on InterNations’ Expat Insider Index. Rating of this survey is done after collecting data from more than 14,000 respondents’ from 67 countries, where questions are asked regarding countries friendliness, work environment, job security, career prospects, and satisfaction.
Requirements for teaching English in Taiwan
In order to teach English in Taiwan, one needs to fulfill the following requirements:
- Countries that can apply – You can work and English teacher in Taiwan if you are a native speaker from the US, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.
- Age group – Only 20 years old or above can apply for English teaching jobs in Taiwan.
- Bachelor’s degree – You must have at least a Bachelor’s degree in any subject to qualify for a job in Taiwan. Universities or higher education institutions may require a master’s degree and a few years of teaching experience as well. The degree also has to be notarized
- Employment letter – Employment letter from an employer in Taiwan is required in order to get a visa.
- TEFL or TESOL certification – TEFL or TESOL is not mandatory to acquire a teaching job in Taiwan. However, it can prove to be extremely useful if you do not have any prior experience or a bachelor’s degree. These certifications will also help you get more job opportunities with higher salaries.
- No criminal record – You will have to have a clean record in order to get the necessary visa to become an ESL teacher in Taiwan.
- Employment letter – You will have to have a job before you could apply for a work visa to Taiwan.
- Visa – You will have to apply for a working resident visa to teach English in Taiwan. Once you get your visa you are allowed to travel to Taiwan. Within 15 days of your arrival in Taiwan, you have to apply for the Alien Resident Certificate or ARC. You can get assistance from your school or employer to get an ARC.
These are the step you need to complete before you can apply for an ARC:
- Health check – You will have to get a complete health check for which you will probably be accompanied by someone from your school. The process may take around 30 minutes or so.
- Work permit – After getting a clean chit from the hospital you will have to apply for a work permit. Once again, your school or employer can help you get a valid work permit. Your employer will send a copy of your degree, passport and health certificate to the relevant government authority. The entire process may take around 7 to 10 days.
- Resident visa – This is not the same as ARC. Once the work permit is approved, you can then apply for a work visa. Remember, this step cannot be taken without getting your work permit first.
- Application for Alien Resident Certificate(ARC) – This is the final step. The validity of the resident visa is only for 3 months. In order to extend that period, you will need the ARC.
A little more about ARC:
o Within 15 days of landing in Taiwan, you need to apply for ARC.
o This certificate is acquired from a local National Immigration Agency (NIA) with the help of an employer.
o The ARC allows you to rent accommodation or make big purchases such as appliances etc.
o ARC also allows you to make multiple exits and entries into Taiwan.
o ARC is basically your Taiwanese ID.
o Documents required to apply for ARC are as follows:
o Application form
o A colored photograph
o Your resident visa and the original passport.
o Health certificate that is notarized.
o A criminal record certificate if required.
o Current residence certificate.
o A cause certificate.
How to get a job as an English teacher in Taiwan?
Following are some of the ways through which English teachers can find a job in Taiwan:
- Tealit.com – This is one of the major websites for job searching in Taiwan. You can find work through tealit.com in two ways:
- Advertise your services
- Look for people searching to hire teachers
That is not all, tealit.com also helps you find accommodation. It is a great website for native-English teachers who are looking to settle down in Taiwan but do not have any friends or family on the island.
- How does the website work?
- You can get registered on the website by filling out a simple form. This site advertises teaching jobs, teachers, tutoring jobs, and tutors.
- Educational intuitions publish their available posts along with their location, time of hiring, whether it’s a full time or part time job, job requirements, benefits, and salary packages. Whereas, local and foreign workers post their resumes, the field of specialization, experience, and duration of their work permit.
- All the registered users can view the profiles of the listed companies.
- Private schools – Private schools are governed by individuals and therefore have flexible hiring and working policies. Their hiring rate of ESL teachers is more than public schools, and once hired you can get a year-long working contract with them. However, the working hours may be longer as compared to public schools. Kindergarten classes are in the morning whereas secondary school classes start from the afternoon and continue till the evening.
- Fluent in English
- Bachelor or master’s degree in any field.
- TEFL certification is not mandatory though reputable private schools may ask for it.
- No prior teaching experience required.
- A complete police background check (must not be older than six months)
- General Benefits
- These are just the general benefits and may not be offered by a few schools.
- Airfare for your arrival and end-of-contract flight back home.
- Health insurance.
- Housing allowance.
- Teachers are paid for overtime.
- 20 days leave in a year.
- Salary – Salary in private schools is $20 per hour. The monthly wages depend on the number of hours you put in – the more hours you spend, the more money you make. Most of the foreign workers manage to earn around $1400-$2100 per month.
- Public schools – Public schools work according to government policies and follow a strict rule of fixed working hours with a fixed salary every month. Working hours start from 8:30 am till 5 pm. Jobs in public schools are hard to get but offer above average salaries and better benefits. With the government’s new policy of making Taiwan Bilingual (Chinese English) by the year 2030, public schools also plan to introduce some additional English programs in their curriculum. The initiative will be taken to not only teach students to read and write in English but also speak the language fluently. For such job positions, the demand for ESL teachers has increased.
- Fluent in the English language.
- Bachelor’s degree.
- Prior teaching experience in your native country.
- Complete criminal background check.
- If you do not have a specialized degree you can still qualify if you meet the following criteria:
- Bachelors in any field.
- TEFL, TESL or TESOL certification
- 1 year of teaching experience from any western public school.
- Fixed working hours.
- Arrival and return flight (after the contract ends) airfare.
- Health insurance.
- Housing allowance.
- 20 days of paid vacation leave.
- Performance bonus at the completion of the contract.
- Sufficient grants for supplies.
- Salary – You can get $35 per hour in public schools, which can allow you to earn somewhere between $2000-$2400 per month.
- Private tutoring – Private tutoring is a great way to earn some extra money and get valuable international experience. However, the downside is that in Taiwan they may be illegal because it does not allow you to work for anyone but the employer whose employment letter got you the visa. But not all is lost, you can discuss the situation with your school or employer and if allowed, can offer private tutoring to students.
- You can have flexible working hours
- You can teach as many students as you can manage
- It can be a great way to supplement your regular income
- Income is tax-free.
- Salary – The general hourly rate for private tuition is $25 per hour. However, if you are a native-English speaker, have a specialized degree and have more experience then you can ask for more.
- Universities – University jobs are the hardest to get as their requirements are tougher. But if you are lucky enough to qualify for a university teaching post, then you get to enjoy less working hours and a higher salary.
- You must have a Master’s degree in any field, from a recognized university
- A prior teaching experience
- The following requirements are not mandatory, but candidates are given preference if they possess any one of them:
- Extensive teaching experience
- Basic knowledge of the Chinese language
- Your publications
- A bonus equivalent to a 1.5-month salary is given at the end of your contract.
- Ph.D. professors have a very light workload and their working hours are only 9.
- Retirement pay.
- Free accommodation.
- Can avail daycare facilities for their little kids at a very nominal fee.
- Most universities provide free facilities such as pool, track and a library.
- You can get funds for any research work done on campus.
- Some universities offer compulsory overtime and pay $340 on top of the pay every month.
- If you want to earn some extra cash then you can ask for additional administrative work on campus.
- The starting pay is $1700 per month and it goes higher with experience. If you have a Ph.D., you can get paid more.
- Universities also provide a lot of opportunities for earning extra money by working overtime legally.
- Buxibans – These are after-school tuition centers specifically owned by private entities. These schools are also commonly known as cram schools. The purpose of buxibans is to enhance the English language skills of students and empower them to get admissions in the best universities. The word buxibans means “Supplemental Learning Classes”, which means they are not regular schools but specialized teaching centers for additional learning. These institutions are highly competitive and known to provide the best quality education. Therefore, their hiring requirements are pretty tough too. These schools mostly hire native-English teachers for teaching English who are qualified to maintain their very high standard of education.
- At least a bachelor’s degree holder in any field.
- Prior teaching experience is mandatory.
- The basic knowledge of the Chinese language.
- The ability to teach and control a large-sized classroom.
- You must agree to stay for 2-3 years in Taiwan.
- Once hired, teachers are required to get mandatory teaching training at school.
- An increase of $2 in salary every six months.
- After you have spent about 2-3 years at a buxiban, you can get a profit-sharing bonus from the school after every 6 months.
- Bonuses may vary from $3000-$10,000.
- Teachers gain a lot of experience through the training provided by the school.
- Salaries may vary from buxiban to buxiban.
- Most of the cram schools pay teachers during the training period also, i.e. $20 per hour.
- The average monthly salary at these schools is $30-$40 per hour, which means you can make around $1,300-$2,000 per month. Moreover, increments in salaries are given every 6 months.
- After you complete your training, you can expect to earn around $3000 per month. And once bonuses start chipping in, then one can earn around $4500 per month.
- American schools – American schools are also privately owned and follow the American schools’ system and curriculum. The students who have foreign passports can take admissions in these schools. Their purpose is to provide education to native-English children and Taiwanese students who wish to get admissions in college and universities in America.
- At least a bachelor degree holder in any field
- Must have a prior teaching experience
- Native-English speaker
- Three letters of recommendations (with one at least from your current direct supervisor and other two from the previous direct supervisors).
- You get paid for your arrival and return flight back home.
- Free accommodation
- Duty-free household shipments.
- Cost of all vaccinations done as a requirement for a visa.
- Visa fee gets reimbursed.
- No tax is charged on income.
- Grants are provided for school supplies.
- Salary – These jobs are highly paid and one can expect to earn around $6,600 per month.
- HESS – HESS is an educational organization named after its founder, Karen Hess. It is the single biggest organization in Taiwan when it comes to English education. Their curriculum consists of two sets of series; one is the Treehouse series which includes books written and published in Taiwan. Whereas the second type of curriculum is the ESL series which consists of books written and published in America. Hess creates and produces curriculum not only for its students but for other schools too. Their in-house production includes books, CD’s, props and artwork. They hire two types of teachers: native speaking teachers and Chinese Co-teachers. Salary and benefits for native-English teachers are as follows:
- You must be a native speaker/Prefer to hire Native speaking teachers from abroad.
- You must have a passport of a native-English speaking country.
- A bachelor’s or associate degree with a TEFL/TESOL certificate.
- No prior experience required.
- You must be willing to sign a contract for one year.
- You get an on-campus training session, which allows you to become a better teacher.
- You can get a TEFL certificate after completing your one-year mandatory training program.
- Teaching material is provided by the school, which can save time that you would otherwise have had to spend on looking for material.
- Free accommodation during the time of training.
- Salary – Hess, on average, pays $20 per hour and has a work requirement of 20 hours per week. Therefore, you can earn around $1,700 per month. However, employees with more experience and qualifications get a higher salary (offers a maximum wage of $27 per hour). If you perform well, you can get a $2 per hour raise at the end of your year.
- HESS Pros
- Attractive salary packages for the first time teachers.
- Easy job requirements; no certification or prior teaching experience required.
- Gives extensive teaching training.
- Gives TEFL certification after completing a one-year training program.
- Experience at Hess can help you get better jobs in the future.
- Your contract may say 20 hours a week but you may have to work longer hours and 2 shifts a day (morning and noon).
- Attending your training sessions and teaching students at the same time can get stressful for you.
- Hess doesn’t have a proper system for calculating the working hours, therefore, salaries are sometimes miscalculated.
- Their starting salary is below the industry standard.
- TEFL job boards – TEFL job boards are a tool for helping ESL teachers to find jobs online. Some of the most known online job boards are:
- Dave’s ESL café
- English Job Maze
Do schools and teaching companies in Taiwan offer health insurance?
Taiwan health insurance program is one of the best in the world. Once an applicant is hired in Taiwan, his/her entire health insurance is covered by the Taiwan National Health Insurance. However, applicants pay will determine how the insurance payment to NHI will be split between the employer and the employee. Most of the schools are responsible for paying 75% of an employee’s monthly health, whereas the rest of the 25% is deducted from your monthly pay.
As soon as you get your ARC card, you can collect your NHI card from the NHI office.
Most of the medical procedures, medicines cost, and a few dental procedures are covered by the NHI, though a few which are not covered are very nominal and can easily be covered by your salary.
Which city in Taiwan offers the best English teaching jobs?
- Taipei – Taipei is the capital of Taiwan and offers multiple jobs to English teachers. The average salary of ESL worker in Taipei is $2200 per month, which is higher as compared to the other cities. Apart from the higher salary and job options, Taipei also has a very large community of foreigners, which will help you settle down well and become socially active.
- Taichung – Taichung is another big city which is located on the western side of Taiwan. It has a lot of International schools that prefer to hire native-English teachers. Some of the best schools in Taichung are:
- Cornel English School
- Morrison Academy
- American School in Taichung
The average salary of an ESL teacher in Taichung is $2000 per month. It’s a quiet place with cool weather and a lot of scenic beauty.
- Tainan – Tainan is located on the southwestern side of Taiwan. It is one of the smallest cities in Taiwan and yet has a lot of teaching jobs to offer to native-English teachers. Some of the major schools are:
- Adventurous English
- Echo International Language School
- David’s English Center- Tainan School
The average salary of an ESL teacher in Tainan is $1600 per month. However, Tainan being smaller in size has a very low cost of living, which allows you to save money. The city has a good transportation system, which keeps you connected to the bigger cities.
Does Taiwan have a good transportation system?
Taiwan has a well-developed transportation system. There are five major modes of transportation with Taiwan and they are mentioned in detail below:
- Trains – Train services cover a distance of 1496 km in Taiwan. It provides 4 classes of tickets with a slight difference in cost, route, and schedule. So, if you do not want to spend too much, you can buy relatively cheaper tickets.
- Taiwan High-Speed Rail (THSR) – THSR route runs along the west coast of Taiwan. Its tickets have to be purchased 14 days in advance. It consists of two classes of tickets, with a standard ticket being 50% cheaper than the business ticket.
- Buses – Buses are the cheapest mode of transportation in Taiwan with an average fare of $0.50 for a bus ride.
- Taxis – These are the easiest to find but most of the drivers are not familiar with the English language. Therefore, it may get difficult for you to tell them where you want to go. The taxi fares are set by the local government, however, extra charges are applied after 11 pm.
- Metro-mass rapid transport (MRT) – MRT only operates in the bigger cities like Taipei and Kaohsiung from 6 am till 12 am. All of its routes and charges are written in the English language, making it easier for foreigners to travel on it. Its fares are relatively cheaper than other modes of transportation. It offers a special discount of 20% on its pre-paid cards, which is given to the frequent travelers of Taipei only.
Other options to teach abroad without traveling
If you cannot afford or do not want to travel to Taiwan, then you can still become an EFL teacher by teaching online. One o the best ways it to get hired as an EFL teacher by VIPKID. With over 500,000 students and more than 60,000 teachers, VIPKID is the largest online school.
In order to work through VIPKID, you need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in any field along with a minimum of one year of teaching experience.
What benefits does VIPKID offer?
Some of the benefits VIPKID offers are as follows:
- International experience – You do not have to travel anywhere, in fact, you do not have to leave the comfort of your home to get international teaching experience. This is ideal for the teachers who are new to the field of teaching and do not have any expenses to travel.
- You are self-employed – You do not have to report to anyone or work difficult hours. You can decide the time when you teach and the number of classes you want to take. You will practically become your own boss.
- Attractive salary – You can earn anywhere between $11 to $22 per lesson. This rate is quite competitive as compared to other online language schools. VIPKID can become a great way to supplement your regular salary and help you save money to, perhaps, one-day travel to another country to teach English.
In the next few years, Taiwan will become an even better option for English teachers. With more and more English language schools sprouting in Taiwan the job market for EFL teachers is getting healthier. The public schools and universities may have slightly tougher job requirements but the private sector and buxibans makeup for it. Taiwan has always been kind to foreigners, therefore, you may find it very easy to adjust to the new lifestyle and surroundings. And if due to any reason, you do not want to travel to Taiwan then you can fulfil your dream to become an English teacher by getting hired by VIPKID.