What You Should Know About Teaching English in Taiwan

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Taiwan is situated just off of the coast of  China where old traditions meet modern infrastructure. Although it’s just a small island, Taiwan offers something for everyone, like free WI-FI across the country or the tallest monastery in the world, the Chung Tai Chan Monastery in Puli Town, or the most visited museum worldwide, the National Palace Museum in Taipei. 

In recent years, Taiwan has become one of the most popular destinations among TEFL teachers. High yet affordable living standards, a tantalising but healthy cuisine, and an incredible variety of things to do and places to see make Taiwan the right location for a long-term teaching experience abroad. What makes this island even more special is the friendly locals and its welcoming atmosphere. Perhaps that’s why it ranked the happiest country in East Asia in 2019


Working in Taiwan

Taiwan has been working towards becoming bilingual by 2030. This is an ambitious goal that has increased the demand for teachers of English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). A new guide from the researchers at The TEFL Org shows that the requirements to move and work in Taiwan are stricter than those in other countries in South-East Asia, but the salaries there are much higher - an average of around $2,200 per month, depending on your qualifications and experience.

In order to teach in Taiwan, you will need to obtain a visa. To apply, you must be from one of the following countries: Canada, the USA, the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, or New Zealand. Most employers in this sector will request that you hold a bachelor’s degree (sometimes a master’s) and a TEFL qualification. You must have a clean criminal record.

Once you have secured a teaching post, you need to provide your employer with the results of a health check. Only then will your employer help you change your ‘visa-on-arrival’ to a ‘visitor visa’. You can then apply for a work permit - your employer should guide you in this. Last but not least, you need an ‘alien resident certificate’ (ARC), which needs to be validated by your employer. Upon receiving your ARC, you will be given health and dental insurance and you can then open a bank account.

The whole process can take up to six weeks and cost around $300 USD.


Where to teach in Taiwan

Depending on your qualification and previous teaching experience, there are plenty of options to choose from. 


Test-prep schools

Also known as buxiban, or ‘cram schools’, they offer after-school programmes that prepare students to enter university.

Finding a job there is relatively easy, as you don’t need a university degree or teaching experience. However, the working conditions buxibans offer are far from ideal. Although you would teach only between 15 and 20 hours a week, having classes of up to 200 students can be exhausting. Your schedule can vary greatly, as lessons are offered at any time of the day. You get paid for contact (teaching) hours only, so marking students’ homework and lesson planning is unpaid. 

Teaching in this kind of institution is hard work but it’s a great starting point in the TEFL career. It will allow you to learn the ropes very quickly and to gain the all-important teaching experience for future employment.


Public high schools

Working in public schools will grant you a much better salary and a generous benefit package that includes housing, return flights to your country, and an end-of-contract bonus. 

The class size is usually large and you are expected to teach 15 hours a week, but you must stay at school from 8.30 until 5. When you’re not teaching, you can plan your lessons or mark your students’ homework. Some schools might pay for your work outside the classroom, but that’s quite uncommon.


Private schools

Teaching in private schools is a very different experience from that in public schools. There, the salaries can be lower, but there are greater benefits. Although you can teach up to 25 hours a week, the classes are much smaller, which makes your work in and out of the classroom a lot more manageable. For this reason, the competition to work in private schools is high.


International schools

The most sought-after teaching roles are at international schools, which usually follow either a UK or US curriculum. You are likely to be taken into consideration for a position there only if you have previous teaching experience and a university degree.

Teachers’ salaries at international schools are exceptionally high and the perks are extremely generous - e.g. tax-free income.



Teaching positions at colleges and universities are few and far between and are very competitive. In terms of qualifications, they require a minimum of a master’s degree, but you get a higher pay if you hold a PhD.

You start off at a low salary, but you get paid overtime for any extra work you might do. You are expected to teach in the evening and/or at weekends, as well as during the daytime, depending on the courses you teach.



If you are passionate about Taiwanese culture but you prefer to teach online, you could advertise your services on Teacher On, together with other teachers based in Taiwan. Every teacher on the platform has their unique selling point and focus on a specific area, e.g. conversational English, exam preparation, business English etc.

This platform is particularly popular among business professionals and university students who take advantage of technology to study remotely where and when they can.

If you’re interested in teaching remotely, take into consideration the equipment you will need. You might already have everything necessary to get you started, such as a laptop with plenty of memory space and an in-built camera and mic, but you might not have considered some extras that can make your teaching life much easier. A good quality headset is handy when there’s some noise around, and a monitor extender for your laptop if you want to see your slides and keep an eye on your students at the same time.


Are you ready to discover Taiwan?

The demand for TEFL teachers has increased dramatically in the last few years and the employers’ requirements have become stricter. Passports from specific countries and suitable qualifications are a must, but a lack of teaching experience shouldn’t put you off. There are many different options for a newly qualified TEFL teacher who wants to start their career in Taiwan.

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