Taiwan is the prime location for a new teacher, before committing to a life-long career in education or settling down as an expatriate in Asia. Although Taiwan is only a small island, it has a lot to offer in terms of culture and its people. Those who travel to Taiwan claim that its people are some of the friendliest and this is evident in the classroom as well!
You will receive top-quality training while receiving your TEFL certification in Taiwan, and don’t worry - there’s plenty to do after class as well. From visiting the skyscrapers in Taipei to checking out the tropical beaches of Kenting, your travels to Taiwan will hardly feel like a never-ending study session.
Within Asia, Taiwan isn’t widely known as the hub for TEFL training. Rather, you often hear about teachers flocking to Thailand or China to get TEFL-certified. However, this could be to your advantage, especially if you plan to live and teach in Taiwan for longer than a few weeks or months. While there isn’t an abundance of course options, you will find quality instruction and attention when weighing your options as a teacher in Taiwan.
TEFL + Teach:
The most common program type for teachers in Taiwan is the combined TEFL course + teaching job placement (it’s almost too good to be true!). While there is no national requirement in Taiwan, for teachers to hold a TEFL, those with 120 hours of “official” training will be able to find a great deal of job opportunities. With this, if you are a new teacher, with little to no experience in the classroom, the combination program will greatly improve your confidence. These TEFL courses will cover the basics, and toward the end of the course, you will have the chance to practice your learnings in front of a mock classroom.
Once the course is over, program staff will be able to assess your teaching, and learn about your preferences, in order to place you in a fitting school in Taiwan. You might discover that you enjoy teaching children during the length of your course, and they can help you to find a job teaching younger learners!
120-Hour TEFL Courses:
Often these 120-hour TEFL courses are broken up into modules on instruction and on hands-on practice (or mock lessons). Since these courses are held on-location, you will have the chance to build a local network if planning to stay in Taiwan. In addition, most courses last between 4 to 6 weeks, with options for expedited courses if you need to travel or relocate. Overall, the 120-hour course is a great and flexible option for teachers looking to make a short stop in Taiwan or find a more permanent placement in the country.
Planning Your Trip
When and Where to Look:
Taiwan is a small island, with most of its TEFL courses offered in the capital city of Taipei. When choosing a start date, consider when Taiwanese schools are in and out of session. The local, private cram schools, buxiban schools, hold classes year-round. If you are looking for employment at one of these schools, then it won’t be too difficult to choose a TEFL course start date.
On the other hand, public and private schools follow the typical semester system. A typical TEFL course lasts 4 to 6 weeks, and you will want to allow yourself 2 to 3 weeks to find a job. Try looking for a TEFL course start date in late November to early December or during the months of May or June.
Teachers and/or TEFL students in Taiwan are typically required to be a native speaker of English and hold a bachelor’s degree in any field. When you begin to apply to teaching jobs in Taiwan, some schools may request a criminal background check, ask that you are over the age of 20, and make sure that you are physically and mentally healthy.
Generally, Taiwanese buxiban schools do not require their teachers to hold a TEFL certificate. However, with a TEFL certificate, you will most likely receive a higher pay than teachers who were not trained through a TEFL course. It is always a good idea to have some experience, whether it is from a TEFL course or an ESL classroom, when moving to a new country to teach English.
Once you’re all trained and ready to go, there are plenty of options for employment in Taiwan’s education system. While you can go the most popular route of working at a buxiban school, there are also private and public schools that need teachers. In Taiwan, primarily in Taipei, bilingual schools are also looking for teachers who have TEFL certification and experience working at an international school.
Though, most ESL teachers will begin their search through a recruiter in Taiwan. Many recruiters have long-standing relationships with the best and most trustworthy schools, and will be there to guide you through the whole recruitment process. The recruiter’s services are free (for the most part) and many of them are expats who have taught abroad themselves. If you do choose to go on your own, try searching for employment with your TEFL learnings fresh in your head. Try looking at online job boards, or talk to local Taiwanese friends to see if they know of anything!
Cost of Living:
On average, a teacher’s monthly cost of living is between $800 to $1,600 USD. This is a wide range, and of course your monthly costs will depend on your preferences, and what’s included in your TEFL program. Luckily, food in Taiwan is relatively inexpensive - you can find a good meal for about $1 USD. In addition, your program costs will likely include accommodation (in a hotel or a shared apartment with other participants).