For those eager to teach English in Taiwan, the path is promising. To secure a teaching position, applicants typically need a four-year degree, come from a native English-speaking country, and hold a recognized TEFL certificate. The recent initiative by the Taiwanese government, aiming to achieve bilingualism in Chinese and English by 2030, has boosted the demand for English educators. Coupled with attractive salaries, benefits, and a low cost of living, Taiwan's warm climate and renowned friendliness make it a sought-after destination for teaching professionals.
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To teach English in Taiwan, candidates must meet specific criteria. They should be over 20 years old and hold a passport from recognized native English-speaking countries: USA, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, or Australia. Additionally, they must have a bachelor's degree, regardless of the major. While a TEFL certification isn't a legal prerequisite, many employers favor candidates with this qualification, especially if they lack prior teaching experience.
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.
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.
Taiwan offers numerous great locations for teaching English. Taipei, the capital, tops the list with the highest number of job opportunities and competitive salaries, complemented by a supportive expat community. Taichung, renowned for its top-tier schools and scenic beauty, is another major hub. Meanwhile, Kaohsiung, Taoyuan, and Tainan also stand out as favorable destinations for ESL educators, each offering its unique blend of culture and teaching opportunities.