If you have a Master’s in Education or TESOL, you can apply to teach English in a Taiwanese university. And if you hold a teaching license from your home country and at least one year of teaching experience, you can apply to work in a Taiwanese public school. These positions often come with a number of perks, such as a high salary, completion bonus, flight reimbursement, 10+ vacation days, and maybe even an accommodation allowance. Contracts are typically one year but can be as short as six months.
Work Visa in advance / Convert Tourist Visa to Work Visa
Cost of Living
Business Professionals, Children
Phone / Video call / In person
What Kind of Teaching Jobs Are There In Taiwan?
The most popular type of TEFL work in Taiwan is at private language centres, or ‘buxibans’. Most of these positions are teaching children, though there are some centres that teach adults. There are also a number of job opportunities at private schools, though these are considerably more competitive.
Teaching at private language centres (buxibans) in Taiwan
Private language centres are usually attended by school children aged 4-15 after school on weekdays or during the day on weekends. Language centres are very popular in Taiwan, and both small, independent centres and large, well-known companies have opportunities for TEFL teachers. Some of the most well-known private language centres in Taiwan are Hess, Kojen and Sesame Street English.
Finding a job
There are a number of language centres across Taiwan, though the majority of jobs can be found in Taipei. Most openings will be posted on online jobs boards and can be applied for from overseas. If you apply online, employers will usually ask you to do a video call interview.
You can also apply to jobs at language centres on the ground in Taiwan. Lots of TEFL teachers recommend this as it gives you the chance to check out centres in person. If you decide to look for work on the ground, just make sure to visit during peak hiring periods!
When to apply
The best time to look for work in Taiwan is in July or August – before the new term starts, or after the Chinese Lunar New Year – usually in January or February.
Teaching hours & Class sizes
Most English teachers at private language centres work roughly 25+ hours on evenings and weekends. These hours don’t include the time spent preparing for lessons, but usually little preparation is needed as most centres provide a clear curriculum and lots of teaching materials.
Language centres tend to have 10-20 students per class, though some centres may have larger classes and others may have as few as four students in a class.
Salary & Bonuses
Teachers at private language centres earn about $19 per hour which adds up to about $2,000 per month. If you have prior teaching experience or work at a specialist language centre, you could earn considerably more, with some teachers reportedly earning more than twice that amount! Some of the larger language centre chains may offer a completion bonus, but most small, independent centres don’t offer bonuses.
Many private language centres offer two weeks of paid vacation as well as paid time off on national holidays. However, it’s important to check exactly what your contract includes when you receive a job offer.
- Established curriculums and teaching materials
- Lots of job opportunities
- Generous hourly pay with opportunity to earn more
- Unsociable working hours
- No accommodation or flight reimbursement
Teaching at private schools in Taiwan
Private schools are known worldwide for their high standard of education and top-notch facilities – and this is certainly the case in Taiwan. Students are usually 3-15 years old and class sizes are small. Jobs at private schools are some of the most highly sought-after positions in the TEFL world as they offer normal office hours, rather than evening and weekend work, as well as great benefits.
Finding a job
Most positions at private schools are advertised on TEFL jobs boards and can be applied for online. Some private schools start hiring months in advance, so it’s a good idea to start looking for work well before you plan to move to Taiwan. You can also apply to jobs on the ground but be prepared to support yourself if you bag a job that starts a few months later.
When to apply
Just like English language centres, the peak hiring times for private schools are July and August – before the new school term, and after the Chinese Lunar New Year – usually in January or February.
Teaching hours & Class sizes
You can expect to work between 20-30 hours per week. Most of these hours will be teaching classes and some hours will be spent in the office preparing lessons or doing paperwork. You can also expect small class sizes at private schools, with only 5-15 students in each class.
Salary & Bonuses
The average salary for an English teacher working at a private school is $1,300-1,900. Lots of schools also offer an attendance bonus or a completion bonus for finishing the contract.
Private schools offer a generous number of paid vacation days, often adding up to 20 days annually.
- Benefits such as flight reimbursement, completion bonus and health insurance
- Lots of vacation days
- Great facilities
- Small classes
- Lower pay than at private language centres
- Some general office work required
Other types of teaching work in Taiwan
Am I eligible to teach in Taiwan?
To teach English in Taiwan, you’ll need a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate. You’ll also need to be a passport holder of Australia, Canada, Ireland, South Africa, the UK or the US to get a working visa.
If you have an AA degree and a TEFL certificate, you can apply for work through the Hess International Education Group.
How can I get a visa?
To get a working visa, you’ll need to have a job offer and a signed employment contract with an employer in Taiwan. Your employer will then apply for your work permit and, upon receiving this, you’ll be able to apply for your working visa.
During this process, you’ll need to provide your degree, university transcripts, TEFL certificate, passport photos and a passport with at least six months of validity. Some of these documents will need to be authenticated or notarised by the official authority. You may also need to have a health check and a police check. Any reputable employer will help you through the visa process, often offering to take you to appointments where there might not be any English speakers.
It’s possible to arrange the visa before or after arriving in the country. If you arrive in Taiwan on a tourist visa or a stamped passport, you should be able to convert this to a working visa. In some cases, you may need to fly out of the country and re-enter on your new working visa.
Bear in mind, your working visa will be associated with your specific employer. So, if you change employer, you’ll need a new working visa too.
You can also teach English in Taiwan on a student visa. You’ll need to sign up to learn Chinese at a registered institution for a minimum number of hours daily/weekly, and then apply for a student work permit. You’ll then be free to teach English in your spare time!
Where can I teach English in Taiwan?
Taiwan is a small island and most TEFL teaching jobs are in the capital, Taipei. There are also some opportunities in Hualien, Kaohsiung, Taichung and Tainan, though there is less of a TEFL market in these places than in bustling Taipei.
What are the challenges of teaching English in Taiwan?
Many Taiwanese education institutions favour spelling and verbal drills, rather than necessarily teaching students to comprehend and use English in conversation. This can be frustrating for teachers who are used to helping their students really grasp the English language. However, this isn’t the case in all schools, and you’ll usually be given the opportunity use your own teaching games to aid students’ learning.
Cost of living in Taiwan
Taiwan’s cost of living varies across the country, with Taichung and Taipei costing the most and cities in the south costing significantly less. On the whole, the cost of living in Taiwan comes in at less than Japan, Hong Kong or Italy and more than Greece, Spain or Costa Rica. However, no matter where you live, you can expect to earn a generous wage as an English teacher, with plenty of expendable income.
In Taipei, a monthly gym membership is about $50, a meal at a local restaurant is $4.50, a beer is $3 or less, and a coffee is $4 or less. In Kaohsiung, prices are slightly cheaper, with gym membership at roughly $45, a meal costing about $3, beer being $2, and coffee at $2.50.
Travelling around the country can be cheap and easy too, with reliable, reasonably-priced buses. Travelling one zone costs as little as 50¢ in Taipei and 40¢ in Kaohsiung. And the six-hour trip from Taipei in the north to Kaohsiung in the south costs roughly $15. If you prefer to travel by train, the same journey costs just under $50 and takes two and a half hours.
Taiwan is a tiny island, taking only eight hours to drive around the country! Though it packs a punch into a small space with some incredible scenery, including verdant tropical forests, craggy sea cliffs, and tremendous winding coastal roads.
Taiwan has a complicated relationship with China. It officially recognises itself as the sovereign state of the Republic of China, however, China refuses to accept Taiwan’s independence and claims that Taiwan is a province of the People’s Republic of China.
Taiwan is arguably a front-runner in modern politics in Asia, with improvements to human rights and animal rights. It is one of the few countries in Asia that recognises same-sex relationships and is making steps to become the first jurisdiction on the continent to legalise same-sex marriage.
The Taiwanese share many customs and traditions with the Chinese but overall, Taiwan is quite culturally different to mainland China. The state has many cultural similarities to Japan, as a result of years under Japanese rule, as well as some inspiration from American culture.
Taiwanese people are generally friendly, kind and hospitable. It’s not unusual for locals to invite you to their house early on in your friendship, and it’s polite to bring a small gift and take your shoes off when entering someone’s home. It’s also common for locals to greet each other by asking: “have you eaten?” – as a way of showing an interest in each other’s health.
Unlike many of its neighbours in Asia, greeting someone by shaking hands in Taiwan is becoming quite common, especially in business circles. Though, there are still lots of locals who prefer to offer a slight bow of the head instead. Business cards are also treated with respect and care – much like in Japan – giving and receiving them with both hands.
On the more traditional side of things, showing respect to others plays a big part in local culture as is the concept of ‘face’ – which in its simplest terms, concerns using behaviour that saves embarrassing another person.
Food in Taiwan is a little like a fusion of Chinese and Japanese food, with some similarities to Vietnamese food. (In other words, it’s absolutely delicious!)
Seafood is a popular ingredient in Taiwanese cuisine, as is pork and chicken. Lots of traditional dishes are served with noodles or rice, though snacks served on skewers are becoming increasingly popular. And there is an incredible range of vegetarian food, with 10% of the nation reportedly being vegetarian.
A tasty and unusual dish, unique to Taiwan is gua bao – a folded steamed bun filled with pork belly and pickled vegetables, flavoured with soy sauce, peanut powder and sugar. A must-try drink is boba (bubble tea) – a tea-based beverage served with tapioca or jelly balls. It comes in a variety of flavours, some fruity and others milky, and with a healthy serving of ice and sugar. And a popular dessert is baobing – a bowl of fresh fruit, ice cream and shaved ice, usually all mango flavoured.
One of the best things about Taiwanese food is it’s extremely varied and inventive – from bamboo shoots with mayonnaise to ‘coffin bread’ – that there’s no end of things to try! One of the best places to sample a variety of Taiwanese cuisine is at a local night market.
Accommodation in Taiwan
Most TEFL teaching jobs in Taiwan do not come with accommodation included, though some employers may help you arrange accommodation, especially when it comes to communicating with a landlord who doesn’t speak English.
With the help of a local friend or an employer, finding accommodation can be relatively easy. In fact, most TEFL teachers in Taiwan book a hostel for their first week or two in Taiwan and find an apartment within a fortnight.
The cost of rent varies in Taiwan with smaller cities being considerably cheaper than major cities. For example, a one-bedroom apartment outside of the centre in Taipei can cost about $650 per month, whereas a one-bedroom apartment in the centre of Kaohsiung can be about $250 per month.
One unusual thing about renting in Taiwan is that renting a one-bedroom apartment can often cost the same amount as renting a two-bedroom apartment. This is due to Confucian culture that favours families living together rather than single individuals moving out by themselves.
Weather in Taiwan
Taiwan enjoys hot subtropical weather with high humidity. During the winter months, many cities enjoy relatively dry weather, whereas the summer months come with heavy rainfall.
In Taipei, you can expect warm weather year-round with the temperature averaging between 16°C and 30°C. Winter is very short and mild, only seeing a little fog rather than any real cold weather. The summer is hot and humid, with the average level of humidity at almost 80%! Between December and September, the amount of rainfall rises, peaking in September with 270mm of rain.
Taichung is located in central Taiwan on the west coast. The temperature is slightly more extreme than Taipei, with lows of 13°C in January and February and highs of 33°C in July and August. The city endures more rainfall than the capital, peaking at around 350mm in August.
Tainan is on the west coast of south Taiwan, receiving a hot and humid summer peaking at 31°C from June to September, and dropping to lows of 13°C in January and February. The city enjoys fairly dry weather between October and March, rainfall starts to increase in April and peaks in August at 445mm.
Please note: The information in this guide is accurate as of the time of writing. However, the laws and requirements to teach abroad can often change. Make sure to check the latest advice from the local authority of the country you plan to work in.