Guide to teaching English in Taiwan
It's no longer a secret that Taiwan offers some of the best opportunities to teach English in Asia. Many choose Taiwan for its low cost of living and availability of high-paying jobs. Living in Taiwan is also a great opportunity to study Chinese while immersing yourself in Taiwan’s unique combination of urban progression and traditional Chinese culture.
Interested in teaching English in Taiwan? We’ve got you covered! Keep reading to learn more about the types of teaching jobs, average salaries and benefits, and how to get a teaching job in Taiwan!
Types of teaching jobs in Taiwan
English teachers with dreams of working in Taiwan have several options. Check out how to get started teaching in this great country.
Almost all new English teachers in Taiwan start at private cram schools known locally as buxibans. Students aged between 4-15 come to these schools after normal school hours just to learn English. The teaching hours will generally be anywhere between 2 pm to 10 pm. The largest of these buxibans include Hess, Shane, Reach to Teach, and Kojen. Hundreds of other small schools exist throughout the country so it is very important to research and compare schools to separate the good from the bad.
If you’re a certified teacher in your home country and have a few years of experience under your belt, you have the option of working in the Taiwanese public school system. Most commonly, open English teaching positions are for the high school level rather than the elementary or middle school level. You'll find more freedom in deciding your own teaching curriculum at public schools rather than at private after-school programs. At the end of your six to twelve-month contract, many public schools provide a bonus.
Finding a job to teach English at a Taiwanese university is harder than at other teaching institutions. Usually, you will need at least a master’s degree or a Ph.D. to teach at this academic level. The benefit is that you will generally work fewer hours for higher pay.
Average salary and benefits for teaching English in Taiwan
On average, an English teacher's monthly salary in Taiwan is between $1,800-$2,400 depending on location. Private schools tend to pay less than public schools. International schools pay the most, with monthly salaries up to $6,700.
Common benefits for teachers
Teaching positions in Taiwan usually come with a housing allowance, health insurance, and paid vacation days. Some employers may offer a flight allowance or reimbursement and/or an end-of-contract bonus.
Read more: How Much Money Can You Save Teaching Abroad?
Cost of living in Taiwan
The teaching salary in Taiwan will go a long way due to a low cost of living, allowing teachers to save each month. Of course, how much you save depends on your personal spending habits. If you enjoy eating out at restaurants and frequent travel, you’ll be able to indulge in a very comfortable lifestyle. However, you likely won’t stash away a substantial amount of cash.
- Food: $150-$250 USD per month
- Transportation: $30-$50 USD per month
- Entertainment: $50-$100 USD per month
- Housing: $200-$500 USD for a room in shared accommodation depending on city
- Utilities: $15-$50 USD per month
Where and how to find housing
Unlike other countries in Asia that provide you with a furnished apartment, you’ll need to find your own in Taiwan with your housing allowance. You’ll be able to find apartment listing online through websites like 591 and Tealit. Additionally, there is a Tapei-specific Craigslist site to check out.
It’s common to pay a deposit of between one to three months’ rent which is refundable at the end of your tenancy. Apartments may be furnished or unfurnished, although it’s more common for them to come without home furnishings. Second-hand furniture is easy to come by to save money outfitting your new apartment.
Where to teach English in Taiwan
As with starting a job in any new country, it's important to do your research before coming to Taiwan. Start by exploring these major teaching cities in Taiwan:
As the capital and largest city in Taiwan, loads of English teachers take up jobs in Taipei. Home to night markets, historic buildings, and shopping streets, there’s never a dull moment. A large expat population will make your transition abroad easier, although you’ll likely make lots of Taiwanese friends!
Located in the southern part of the island, Kaohsiung enjoys tropical weather and beautiful beaches. Jobs are plentiful here and you’ll find that less people speak English than in Taipei – perfect for cultural immersion!
Although it’s the second-largest city in Taiwan, it’s located close to great hiking areas perfect for nature lovers. Active teachers will enjoy the accessibility of this location as well. Taichung is located in the middle of the country, making it easy to travel around the rest of the island.
How to get a job teaching English in Taiwan
Through a combination of the Go Overseas job board, program listings, and recruiters that work to place teachers in Taiwan, qualified candidates will have no trouble finding the right fit. Read on to learn about what you need to succeed in the teaching market in Taiwan.
Where to find jobs
The most common ways to find a job in Taiwan are through online postings, like the Go Overseas job board, or by using a recruiter. As you'll quickly discover, many recruiters in Taiwan specialize in placing English teaching jobs. Many forum posts are debating the pros and cons of recruiters, but overall we believe that most do offer quality services that make the transition to Taiwan easier.
Teachers may also want to seek work through English teaching programs in Taiwan like those featured below. Programs differ from recruiters in that recruiters work with a range of different schools and organizations across the country while programs tend to work with a set school or schools in a defined city or area.
When to apply
The new school year starts in the fall (late August/early September), so the best time to start looking for an English teaching job in Taiwan is a few months beforehand, at the end of June or the beginning of July.
For a long time the requirements to teach English in Taiwan were very relaxed. While this is no longer quite the case, many job opportunities still exist for teachers with limited qualifications. The standard requirements are:
- Native English speaker
- Bachelor's degree in any discipline
- A criminal background check
- Be able to sign a one year contract
- Be physically and mentally healthy
- Be at least 20 years of age or older
It’s best to find an English teaching job before arriving in Taiwan, as the school will usually sponsor your work visa and help arrange the necessary paperwork. To start teaching legally in Taiwan, you’ll need to go through a health check and apply for an Alien Resident Card and a work permit. You will need a copy of your university degree, your background check, and your passport (valid for at least six months). Also, take note that it’s illegal to arrive in Taiwan on a tourist visa with the intention of finding work.
What’s it like to live & teach English in Taiwan
As an ESL teacher abroad, it’s essential that you take the time to research the country’s etiquette and classroom culture, as it can be vastly different from what you’re used to at home! ESL teachers should be respectful and understanding while adapting to a new classroom environment.
Classroom & work culture
In buxibans there is a standard curriculum that is already established and ready for new teachers. For the most part, the materials are entertaining and well-grounded in teaching the kind of English Taiwanese can relate to. There is a strong emphasis on spelling and memorization with less regard given to reading and understanding. This is reinforced by educational values that emphasize quick results that may overlook learning. For example, you might find some students who will memorize a book instead of learning how to read it.
Children in public and private schools usually have heavy workloads and feel pressure to succeed. Keeping classes both educational and fun without placing heavy expectations will help ease stress for your students.
Many classrooms in Taiwan with a foreign teacher will also have a Taiwanese co-teacher to help with classroom management and comprehension.
Culture & etiquette tips
Visiting Taiwan, especially for Western visitors, can come with some culture shock. Staring and pointing are not considered impolite, so visitors may find they are the center of attention if they don’t look like the local population. However, remember that Taiwanese people are genuinely kind and warmhearted. It is not odd for a stranger to take you to your hostel as a friendly gesture or pay for your meal if you're a guest. Taiwanese people take care of family, friends, and newcomers alike, and take great pride in that.
Vegetarians and vegans will have a lot of choice when it comes to food. A large percentage of the population identify as Buddhist or Taoist which are religions that promote vegetarian diets.
Ready to find your dream teaching program in Taiwan?
Start researching and comparing teaching programs here at Go Overseas, in the Teaching Programs in Taiwan section below.
Want to read more? Get started with these articles:
Teaching Programs in Taiwan
View the latest teaching job postings on our job board.
Is English widely spoken in Taiwan?
While it's possible to get by in Taiwan only speaking English, it's generally a good idea to brush up on some basic Mandarin phrases. English will be more widely spoken in Taipei than in other parts of the country. The government has alluded to plans to make Taiwan a Mandarin-English bilingual nation by 2030, but at this point English is not nearly as commonly spoken as Mandarin.
How long can a US citizen stay in Taiwan?
US citizens can stay in Taiwan up to 90 days without a visa. If you plan to stay longer you will need to apply for a visa.
What do I need to teach English in Taiwan?
In order to teach English in Taiwan, most schools will require you hold a Bachelor's degree and have a clean criminal record. Preference will generally be given to native English speakers. A TEFL certification is generally preferred but not required.
Can you teach English in Taiwan without a degree?
Almost all English teaching jobs in Taiwan will require a Bachelor's degree. If you are not a degree holder, you may be able to find a volunteer program through which you can teach.
How much do English teachers make in Taiwan?
Salaries vary depending on the type of school you teach in (ie public or private), but on average, English teachers in Taiwan earn between $2,000-$2,400 per month. Many schools also offer benefits such as severance pay, housing, and flight allowances.Related Content