Teaching Programs in Taiwan
Guide to teaching English in Taiwan
Taiwan offers some of the best opportunities to teach English in Asia. Many choose Taiwan for its low cost of living and high-paying jobs, as well as its 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. Read on to find out how to get started teaching English in Taiwan.
- Public schools: Teaching English in Taiwanese public schools has stricter requirements than in other countries. The government requires that English teachers are native speakers and have either a teaching license from their home country or previous experience teaching English abroad. You'll find more freedom in deciding your own teaching curriculum at public schools rather than at private after-school programs.
- Private schools (Buxiban): Almost all new English teachers in Taiwan start at private schools known locally as Buxibans. Students aged between 4-15 attend Buxibans after school hours to learn English. Hundreds of small language schools exist throughout the country so it is very important to research and compare schools to separate the good from the bad.
- International schools: Jobs teaching English in Taiwan’s international schools are much more competitive than at other schools. While these positions require a higher level of responsibility and work, international schools offer English teachers in Taiwan a higher salary and better benefits.
- University: Finding an English lecturer position 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, teaching English in Taiwan offers a salary of around $1,800 USD to $3500 USD per month depending on your location and the type of school you are working at.
- Public schools: Teaching English in Taiwanese public schools tends to pay higher than teaching at private schools. The salary for teaching English at a public school in Taiwan ranges from around $1,800 USD to $2,500 USD per month.
- Private schools (Buxibans): Private schools tend to pay less than public schools, and the teaching hours will generally run anywhere between 2 pm to 10 pm. English teachers in Taiwan typically earn around $1,400 USD to $2,200 USD per month.
- International schools: International schools pay the most for teaching in Taiwan, with monthly salaries up to $6,000 USD for experienced and highly qualified teachers. However, teachers have a higher level of responsibility and may need to work a higher number of hours than at other schools.
- Universities: Teaching English in Taiwanese universities can offer a high salary per hour, but hours may be fewer than at international schools. Teachers can make upwards of around $1,800 USD per month working at universities. Additionally, teachers will need to prepare lessons outside of contact hours.
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.
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 and achieve a very comfortable lifestyle. Of course, how much you save depends on your personal spending habits, and living in the capital, Taipei, will lead to a higher level of spending than living in other cities.
Here are some of the average monthly costs you can expect while living and teaching in Taiwan:
- Food: $150-$250 USD
- Transportation: $30-$50 USD
- Housing: $200-$500 USD for a room in shared accommodation depending on the city
Where to teach English in Taiwan
As with starting a job in a 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, many English teachers find TEFL jobs in Taipei. Home to night markets, historic buildings, and lavish shopping streets, there’s never a dull moment. A large expat population will make your transition abroad easier, although you’ll also 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 language immersion!
Taichung is the second-largest city in Taiwan and boasts great hiking spots perfect for nature lovers. Taichung is also centrally located, making it a prime home base for easy travel around the rest of the island.
Tainan is the oldest city in Taiwan, and with traditional culture thriving at every turn, English teachers will fall in love with its ancient roots. Located on the southern part of the island, Tainan has fewer English speakers and provides an alternative experience to those based in the capital.
How to get a job teaching English in Taiwan
In order to teach English in Taiwan legally, you will need a bachelor’s degree in any subject and a clear criminal background check. You will also need to be a native English speaker with a passport from the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa.
- Submit your application: 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. The new school year starts in the fall (late August to early September), so the best time to start looking for an English teaching job in Taiwan is a few months beforehand, in June and beginning July.
- Prepare for the interview: Be sure to research your role requirements and also the details related to your destination. Additionally, prepare some questions for your potential employer – while they are interviewing you, treat it as if you are also interviewing them!
- Apply for a visa! To teach 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.
- In Buxibans, there is a strong emphasis on spelling and memorization with less regard given to reading and understanding. This is reinforced by educational values that prioritize quick results over participatory learning. For example, you might find some students who will memorize a book instead of learning how to read and understand 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.
- Visiting Taiwan can come with some culture shock for Westerners. 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.
- Overall, 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 they take great pride in that.
- Vegetarians and vegans will have lots 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.
How expensive is it to live in Taiwan?
Taiwan has a low cost of living, especially when compared to Western countries such as the US or UK or East Asian countries such as South Korea or Japan. Teaching English in Taiwan can allow you to save up while also living comfortably.
What is the age limit for English teachers in Taiwan?
You will need to be old enough to have acquired a bachelor’s degree in order to teach English in Taiwan. Additionally, the local retirement age in Taiwan is 65, and you are unlikely to be offered a job teaching here if you are close to this age.Related Content
What visa do I need to teach English in Taiwan?
To teach English in Taiwan, you will need a work visa. You will need to obtain this beforehand, and your school will help sponsor your visa.
How much do English teachers make in Taiwan?
Salaries vary depending on the type of school you teach in, but on average, English teachers in Taiwan earn between $1,800-$2,400 USD per month. Many schools also offer benefits such as housing, end-of-contract bonuses, and flight allowances.Related Content
Is English widely spoken in Taiwan?
While it's possible to get by in Taiwan only speaking English, it's a good idea to brush up on some basic Mandarin phrases. English is more widely spoken in Taipei than in other parts of the country.
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.