The requirements to teach English are usually not very strict in many schools. You will need the correct work visa (see our visa section for full information) and frequently a BA (Bachelor of Arts) undergraduate degree.
Taiwan is fairly good at offering visa sponsorships as in certain areas, English teachers are in high demand. Although a teaching English qualification such as TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate is not a strict requirement, you will find you will be a favoured candidate amongst others if you do have one.
Where you can teach English
There is a variety of schools where you can teach English to a range of ages. You must first decide for yourself if you prefer teaching children or adults and go from there. You should then look into the location of where you want to teach as some areas such as in the capital Taipei, favour an American accent.
The most popular choice for teachers when deciding where to work is the private ‘cram’ schools (buxibans, in Mandarin).
These cram schools provide extra classes in subjects such as maths, science and languages in English for students from the age of two to university level.
You will find that parents feel a need to push their children academically to compete against other students and will use these cram schools to ensure their children get the best results. If you do work at a cram school, expect to work a minimum of 14 hours and maximum of 36 hours per week.
If you chose to teach at a buxiban at elementary or kindergarten level, you will usually not be required to have any teaching experience or an EFL (English as a foreign language) certificate.
Commitment to the school is highly regarded as well as a good work ethic. A full-time contract will offer 15 to 25 hours of work per week on average.
Always check what teaching resources the school will supply as you will find that some schools will have a very basic or non existent supply of teaching resources.
In classes with younger children, you can expect to have between 5 to 25 pupils to teach. The youngest you will find is two years old and some schools will offer a Taiwanese teacher to help you manage the class.
High school and university buxibans are another possibility if you prefer teaching older students. They pay slightly more than elementary level, but these positions are a bit more difficult to find. Classes are taught more in the afternoon and early evening and combine a mix of conversation, reading, listening and writing activities. Again, you should check with your school if teaching materials are supplied.
University English night classes
The university year in Taiwan is split into two semesters, one starting in September and the other in January. If you apply for a teaching English position at a University you will need a degree in education with teaching experience. The students will normally consist of university students as well as business people.
Some companies in Taiwan will sponsor English classes for their staff and will therefore, privately hire English teachers. Experience is usually preferred however, it all depends on the specific company requirement. Teaching materials are not normally supplied and the type of class may vary as some classes may be more conversational and others may involve more written work.
Private international junior, middle and elementary schools
It is only since the year 2000 that the Employment Service Law allowed private schools to hire foreign teachers. For more information on the most renowned private schools you should contact the Taipei American School, the Taipei European School, or the Morrison Academy in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung.
Home tutoring and teaching privately
You may find yourself with the option to make some spare cash by in-house tutoring. However, you should be warned that teaching in another institution which is not the original that has sponsored you- or tutoring privately- is illegal in Taiwan.
It is also illegal for foreign registered students, only on a student visa, to teach while attending classes. If you are caught working illegally, the consequences include fines, detention, deportation and/or being blacklisted from reentering the country.