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Teach English in Taiwan: Requirements, Salary, Jobs

Teach English in Taiwan

Have you ever wondered about what it would be like to teach English in Taiwan? On this page, we’ve put together a guide with all the most important information you will need. This guide includes things the requirements to teach as well as the salary and benefits you will earn as an English teacher in Taiwan. We also include information about TEFL courses and English teaching programs available in Taiwan.

Taiwan is located north of the Philippines and Southwest of the Japanese Island, Okinawa. The potato shaped island is one of the most populated places in the world. When teaching English in Taiwan you get to export the beautiful nature first-hand. From tall mountains, green forests, national parks to offshore islands and hot-springs, Taiwan has it all. Taiwan's capital city, Taipei, is loved by English teachers for its vibrant culture, food and entertainment.

Living in Taiwan gives you a chance to experience its vibrant culture. An eclectic mix of Chinese, Western, Japanese and indigenous influences have brought about a rather interesting vibe and lot’s of festivals and food to go along with it. English teachers have said that Taiwanese people are known for their friendliness. Taiwan is one of the most welcoming countries in the world and you will more than likely experience many bouts of kindness and generosity. Taiwan has a marine tropical climate. The summers are hot and humid and you can expect temperatures above 30°C (86°F). Winters are relatively cold, especially in northern Taiwan where temperatures can be as low as 8°C (46°F).

If you have already been teaching English, Taiwan is a great place to find a new job. There are many opportunities for English teachers in Taipei, Kaohsiung, and all around the island. If you have never taught English before and come from a completely different background or have no experience at all, Taiwan is also a fantastic place to get your foot in the door. From TEFL courses and English teaching programs to internships and jobs with mentorships, you will have a ton of opportunities.

Requirements to teach English in Taiwan

So assuming you’d like to teach English in Taiwan, but have no idea if you would be able to satisfy all the requirements, this next section will cover all the important factors. Teachers often worry that they are not experienced enough. They worry that they have worked in a completely different industry so will never be able to teach English. They assume you need many years experience to get any job. The good news is that those are all false. English teachers in Taiwan come from many different backgrounds. Some are experienced English teachers and others come from other industries, such as babysitting, public speaking, corporate, medicine, acting and many more. The most important thing is that you are willing to learn and are friendly and positive while working with a team. Here is a list of some of the requirements to teach English in Taiwan:

  • You will need a Bachelor's Degree (In any subject) for most jobs
  • You need to be a native English speaker and a passport holder of either The United Kingdom, The United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or South Africa. However, many schools hire teachers from other countries if you are well qualified
  • A TEFL certificate will give you preference with some schools, but it is not required
  • Teaching experience is not a requirement, but it certainly does help
  • You need to pass a national criminal background check (minor traffic violations will not disqualify you)
  • Be physically and mentally healthy
  • Be at least 20 years of age or older
  • You should have an interest in Taiwan and Taiwanese culture
  • Have a passion for the English language

Salary for teaching English in Taiwan

With the demand for English growing steadily in Taiwan now is a great time to work as an English teacher. Opportunities are plenty and the pay is good. Taiwan is often overshadowed by it’s Asian counterparts but is largely underrated. The cost of living is relatively low compared to your salary. Your salary often depends on a few things. How qualified and experienced you are, your teaching location and the type of school you teach at. Teaching English in a big city like Taipei will earn you a higher salary but also bear in mind that the cost of living will also be higher. Here are a few examples of salaries English teachers earn at different institutions:

School Salary
Public Schools 60,000 - 70,000 NT$ per month
Private Schools 50,000 - 60,000 NT$ per month
Buxiban 40,000 - 70,000 NT$ per month
International Schools 80,000 - 200,000 NT$ per month
Universities 55,000 NT$ per month

Public school jobs

Public school jobs are usually quite difficult to find. If you have years of experience you might be able to get an offer. These jobs are often taken by teachers with Education degrees but schools are open to teachers with a bachelors if they can prove themselves. If you teach at a public school in Taiwan you will most likely be teaching high school level instead of primary or elementary. Typically you will teach around 15 hours a week but you still need to stay at school all day from around 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM daily.

At a public school you are given more freedom in planning your curriculum than at the others. You also get more benefits. Public school teachers earn 60,000 to 90,000 NT$ per month. After completing your contract there is usually a year end bonus. Other benefits like housing, flight reimbursement and health cover are also usually included. Taiwan's government program to teach English at public schools is Foreign English Teachers or FET.

Private school jobs

The first notable difference between public and private schools are the class sizes. Private schools generally have smaller class sizes the public schools. Smaller classes are easier to handle so you can say that there is a better work environment here. Your workload will be around 20-25 hours a week. Private schools usually offer great benefits as well included housing and paid vacations. English teachers earn 50,000 to 60,000 NT$ per month which is lower that public schools but teachers say that the lower pay is worth it because of the benefits and work environment.

International school jobs

International schools are the most prestigious schools in Taiwan. These are typically like the schools in your home country and although they are in Taiwan they follow a British or American curriculum. Fees at these schools are much higher than other options so they need to follow a high standard. To get a job here you need to be a fully qualified teachers with an Education degree and experience. It's best to apply for these jobs in your home country as they are not filled easily. International school teachers earn a salary of 80,000 to 200,000 NT$ per month. These schools also have great benefits such as reimbursed flights and school supplies as well as a not taxing your salary.

Buxiban jobs

Buxiban's are also called "cram schools" and these are privately owned schools where students come after school to prepare for university. This is the most common school for new English teachers to work in Taiwan as the jobs are plentiful and easy to get, even if you don't have a degree.

These classes can be big (some over 100 students) or small and you will get paid per hour. One thing to note is that you are only paid for teaching hours and not preparing lessons and assessing students. Students are usually aged 4 to 15 and classes can be any time of the day and your schedule might vary. This can be a nice flexible teaching job and it can help you earn experience. The salary earned here on average totals up to 40,000 to 70,000 NT$ per month depending on the number of hours you work as you are paid per hour.

University jobs

University jobs are some of the hardest to find. They require teachers to have at least a master's degree and sometimes a doctoral degree to teach. Working days will be mixed between weekdays and weekends but your will generally have less teaching hours than other schools and still earn a salary of 55,000 NT$ per month. This can easily be increased by working overtime hours or tutoring students privately.

Cost of living in Taiwan

A big reason you should teach English in Taiwan is the low cost of living. Having a low cost of living means having affordable housing, transport and food and also means being able to have a good lifestyle and save some money. Taiwan is a first world country like Singapore and Hong Kong, so you can enjoy all the benefits of that without breaking the bank. As an English teacher your salary will depend on which city you secure a job in, but the cost of living will also be lower places away from the main city centres. A single persons estimated monthly costs are 23,000 NT$ per month without rent. The currency used in Taiwan is TWD or NT$ (New Taiwan Dollar or Taiwan Dollar for short) and according to Numbeo here are some basic costs to consider in Taiwan:

Item Cost
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 13,389.10 NT$
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 8,892.76 NT$
Monthly basic utilities (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) 2,287.90 NT$
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) 732.58 NT$
Water (1.5 liter bottle) 34.72 NT$
Chicken Fillets (1kg) 257.87 NT$
Potato (1kg) 75.34 NT$
Rice (white), (1kg) 82.22 NT$
Banana (1kg) 57.93 NT$
Local Transport (One-way Ticket) 20.00 NT$
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult 1,219.68 NT$

Things to know about Taiwan and Taiwanese culture

In the past Taiwan might have been known as the manufacturing hub of Asia, but now we know it as one the best places to live and work as an English teacher to experience Asian culture. Things are just so much easier for foreigners now and there is a large expat community. Taiwanese people are extremely welcoming of foreigners and English teachers are very well respected. Just like every place in the world, Taiwan has it's own district culture which is a unique blend between Japanese and Chinese so learning a few things will go a long way when living there, so let's look at a few things about the beautiful island.

  • While the language spoken in other Asian countries might seem obvious, Taiwan not so much, as there is no such thing as Taiwanese language and the official language of Taiwan is actually Mandarin Chinese. The government pledged to also make English a second language by 2030, because of this Taiwan will be an easy country to integrate into for English teachers. Because English is mandatory in Taiwan, students and young adults should have a good understanding of the language, but learning a few Chinese phrases wouldn't hurt. So hello Taiwan! or ni hao Taiwan! "Ni hao" (pronounced "nee hoaw") is the standard greeting in Chinese.
  • Taiwan has everything you need. If you think living in an Asian country like Taiwan, means leaving all your western comforts behind, that is not the case. Here stores will sell pretty much anything you can find back home so you don't need to pack a years supply in your suitcase. Although, once you first try some Taiwanese foods you might no longer be interested in your western comforts. Another great thing is convivence, you will find that stores like 7/11 or Family Mart are located on almost every corner and are open all day, every day. You can find pretty much everything you need at convenience stores.
  • Take off your shoes! When visiting someone's home in Taiwan remember to take of your shoes even if they say you don't have to. It is seen as very rude to wear shoes inside someone's home as they are seen as dirty. If you bring a small gift with you, it will also be a neat way to show respect to your host.
  • Handshakes or Nodding the head slightly? Shaking hands is not the common way of greeting in traditional culture, but these days it has become common practice especially in a work setting between men. Woman are also likely to shake hands but some might opt for a slight nod instead. In the classroom setting, try and take note of how your co-workers prefer to greet and then try your best to greet them that way. When shaking someone's hand don't grip too firmly. When calling someone over, should it be a friend, co-worker or student you should never do it with your palm facing an and finger rolling back (especially when addressing a woman), instead face your palm down when rolling your fingers back.
  • Be polite, but keep your hands to yourself. Being polite is something that is taught to Taiwanese people at a young age. As an English teacher it's important to be polite and keep your cool with your co-workers, even if you are angry. When it comes to greeting, many people might for a wave or small nod instead of a handshake (please don't hug or kiss a stranger, it will quite the shock to them as they are not used to this).
  • Use two hands when handling important papers. When you give or receive some important document, be it a contract, business card or other important papers use both hands to receive them and hand them over. Also, if you receive a gift from someone, don't open it right away, open it once you are not around the giver anymore.
  • Don't sign your name or anyone else's in red. As a teacher you might see your red pen or maker in close proximity in the classroom and want to write down your name or even one of your students, do not do this, use another colour.

Do you need to speak Chinese to teach English in Taiwan?

Not, not at all. The language spoken in Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese, but English is also widely spoken especially in the main cities. In the classroom your school will often ask you to not speak Chinese even if you can as they want the students to engage in English as much as possible.

Can I teach English in Taiwan without a degree?

To legally teach English, a degree is required to process your Visa. You can also get a work visa if you have an Associates degree with a TEFL. A degree is a government requirement for English teachers, but that doesn't mean it is a requirement for all schools. If the school likes you, they will want you to work for them, and will usually be okay to work around the system. We recommend working legally as there are risks involved with not doing so, but we are open to share what we know and let you decide for your self if it is something you want to do.

Schools have been known to hire teachers on tourist visas. Most nationalities are given 3 months on arrival in Taiwan and some teachers fly over to Hong Kong or someone where every 3 months. Other teachers get student visas and work on that. The issue with doing this, is that it is technically illegal. You are at risk of being deported if caught, and you also are vulnerable to being taken advantage of by your employer because if they decide to pay you less, or change the contract terms, there is not much you can do, as reporting it will not be an option. Another option that usually isn't mentioned, is that Taiwan has a working holiday visa for some nationalities and that could be an interesting option for you to.

Tutoring privately, means that you are your own boss and don't need to fit any requirements. This is perfect for teachers without a degree as you can simply meet up with students casually at their homes or at a café and get paid hourly.

Do I need to be a native English speaker?

Being a native English speaker means having a passport from a country where the national language is English. In Taiwan it is a government requirement for English teachers to be from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States, the united Kingdom, Ireland or South Africa, and you can only get a work visa if that is the case. This rule includes teaching subjects like science and health in the English departments.

However, there are many talented English teachers from Spain, Czech Republic, France and all other non English speaking countries. Some schools are open to hire teachers from these countries if you can prove your ability. Getting a work permit, will not be possible though. In some cases schools might hire you as a Spanish/French teacher and allow you to teach English classes, and a work permit might be issued. In other cases schools will hire teachers on student, marriage and less commonly, tourist visas.

Do I need a TEFL to teach English in Taiwan?

Any TEFL website you visit will probably say a TEFL is a requirement to teach in Taiwan. The honest truth is that it's not a requirement at all. You can get a job and visa easily without it. There are a few schools that insist on teachers having a TEFL but the majority don't require it. If you don't have a degree or have an Associates degree, the advantage of having a TEFL is that it might give you some credibility.

But just because you don't need it doesn't mean it won't be useful. If you have never taught before a TEFL course will be a good warmup and confidence boost before starting your teaching job. Not all courses are created equally and one of the most useful parts of a TEFL course is the practical teaching so make sure to take a course that focuses on that. Taking a TEFL course in Taiwan will most likely also give you a good briefing on Taiwanese culture and working culture and help you meet many other foreign teachers that could lead to long term friendships.

How to get a visa to teach English in Taiwan

One things teachers always worry about, is how how to get a visa to work. The process usually seems overwhelming, but don't worry it's actually quite simple. Taiwan has an agreement with a several countries and offer a Visa Exempt Entry. This means you get a visa when you arrive at the airport and there is no need to apply. If you are from the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia (for Australia, this is temporary and it is usually 30 days) or an EU country you will be given 90 days. If your country isn't granted the Visa Exempt Entry you will need to apply for a Visitor Visa, which are granted for 60 or 90 days, at your nearest Taiwan Embassy or Consulate.

It's best to find a job before you come to Taiwan so you can start the process immediately, but if you are in Taiwan and need more time you can extend your Visitor Visa for up to 180 days and if you are on a Visa Exempt Entry you can apply for a Visitor Visa. Your school will usually help you with this while they file your work permit. While most teachers do it, working on a Visitor Visa or Visa Exempt Entry, is technically illegal and the correct visa to work with is a Resident Visa. This is sponsored by your school and you can only receive it once the school has obtained your work permit. Once the Resident Visa is issued, it is tied to your employer and valid until the end of your employment with that school. As soon as you receive your Resident Visa, you have 15 days to apply for your ARC (Alien Resident Card). This is basically an ID card that grants you access to rights of Taiwan residents such as healthcare and travel re-entry. These are the documents needed to get your Resident Visa:

  • Original degree certificate
  • Police background check
  • Passport (with at least 6 months validity)
  • 2 passport photos
  • Flight itineraries (if applying from outside of Taiwan)
  • Health check (In Taiwan, on arrival or when applying for the Resident Visa)
  • Original teacher Work Permit issued by the Ministry of Education

When to apply for a teaching job

The school year in Taiwan begins in September (sometimes end of August) and ends in June every year. The year is split up into 2 semesters, with a holidays in between. Winter holidays are after the first semester in February and are usually about a week long. Summer holidays begin in July after the second semester and are around 2 months long.

The biggest hiring period for schools is in February and March, as well as August. Most schools also hire teachers throughout the year, so you will be able to secure a job whenever it is convenient for you to move to Taiwan. Universities will do most of their hiring in August, but you can still find a few jobs during the year.

How to apply for a teaching job

Getting a job as an English teacher in Taiwan is relatively easy if you check all the boxes of the basic requirements. Our Taiwan job board is a great place to look compared to other sites like Tealit, Craigslist and Facebook. Taiwan has declared that by 2030, English will be a national language, so with that the demand for English teachers has skyrocketed. To make sure you secure the best possible job for yourself you need to understand what a school or recruiter is looking for in a candidate, so let's look at a few things you can do to stand out:

  • Look clean and professional. Schools are a status symbol in Taiwan and teachers are very highly regarded as professionals. It's important to look the part. Schools want to see that you look neat (no tattoos, piercings, long beards or crazy hairstyles) and that you dress the part. Whenever you need to send any photos or videos, or attend any interviews, try your best to look as smart as possible and don't forget to smile.
  • Speak loud and clear. One reasons schools like native English speakers is because they were born speaking English and have a clear accent. As a teacher you will be speaking to a group of students and need to speak clearly and loudly enough for them to understand you. If you can show this ability during your interview or demo, you will be golden (especially if you are from a non English speaking country.
  • Update your CV. You should make sure your CV is updated with all your latest qualifications and experience, even if it's not related to teaching. You should highlight your strengths and write a brief passage about yourself and why you want to teach in Taiwan.
  • Send a video introduction to stand out. Schools will receive many CVs from teachers wanting to fill the position, so one way to stand out is to attach an intro video. It can just be a short clip about yourself and anything interesting you want to share. If you have a video demonstrating your teaching ability you can also attach that.