Thinking about teaching English in Taiwan? If not, you should be! For years, Taiwan was an underrated and often overlooked teach abroad location, but not anymore. With wages comparable to those in Japan and South Korea, and a cost of living closer to what you’d expect in China, Taiwan is a great place to make and save money. And, thanks to a government initiative which aims to see Taiwan become a bilingual English-Mandarin Chinese nation by 2030, there has never been a better time to find a teaching job in Taiwan.
When you’re not teaching English to enthusiastic Taiwanese students, there’s an entire island of epic mountains, national parks, beautiful beaches and skyscraper-studded cities to explore. Not to mention the tantalising mix of Chinese, Japanese and Western-influenced cuisine. Add in an established, friendly expat community and it’s easy to see why so many TEFL teachers choose to live and work in Taiwan.
Take a look at a few of the key facts you’ll need to know before teaching English in Taiwan
- Popular locations for TEFL jobs include Taipei, Kaohsiung, Tainan, Taichung, and Anping.
- Salary will depend on the location and type of school but as a guide, the basic monthly salary for a full-time ESL teacher is likely to be in the region of NT$50,000 – NT$65,000 (£1,335 – £1,735 / $1,700 – $2,220) per month. In addition, freelance rates for one to one lessons are around NT$700 to NT$1,000 per hour (£19 – £27 / $24 – $34).
- A bachelor’s degree (in any subject) is required.
- A native-level of English is essential, with teachers from the US being particularly in demand.
- A TEFL qualification isn’t a visa requirement to teach English in Taiwan. However, many schools will look for a 120-hour TEFL certificate as a minimum.
- The age restriction for teachers is 65, but teachers between the ages of 20-35 are preferred.
- Previous teaching is not required for most jobs, unless at an elite school or for a more advanced position.
- Opportunities for teaching English in Taiwan include teaching at a private school (known as ‘cram schools’ or buxiban), teaching jobs at public schools and positions at universities, summer camps and freelance/private tutoring work.
- Term times run from September to July, with peak hiring times in January, February, and August.
- You’ll be paid in New Taiwan Dollars (NT$)
- Chinese Mandarin is the most widely spoken of Taiwan’s four official languages, alongside Taiwanese, Hakka and the Formosan aboriginal languages.
Requirements for Teaching English in Taiwan
Back when it was still a relatively unknown teach abroad destination, Taiwan was one of those countries where you could turn up with little more than a native ability and land a job with ease. These days, however – thanks to Taiwan’s growing popularity and the government’s crackdown on unqualified teachers – requirements are much tighter than they used to be.
In order to obtain a work visa and work permit, foreign teachers need to:
- Hold a bachelor’s degree (in any subject)
- Be a native English speaker
- Hold a passport from an English speaking country – such as the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand
- Be able to pass a criminal background check
In addition to these requirements, quality schools also usually look for ESL teachers who have a TEFL certificate, a teaching certification from their home country and/or prior teaching experience.
Teaching English in Taiwan Without a Degree
Can you teach English in Taiwan without a degree? In short, it’s not likely, and it definitely won’t be easy. In order to obtain a work visa to legally teach in Taiwan, it’s a government requirement that you must hold a bachelor’s degree. Those who have a two-year associate’s degree might be able to bypass that rule if they also hold a TEFL certification.
You’ll likely hear stories of people working at buxiban or ‘cram schools’ who are teaching without a degree. Often, these schools will hire TEFL teachers who are in Taiwan on a 90-day visa on arrival. When their visa is close to running out, they take a quick trip to Hong Kong or similar, before flying back to Taiwan and getting another 90-day visa. However, it is illegal to work as an English teacher on this type of visa and, as doing so can result in fines and ultimately deportation, this is not a recommended route to take.
Teaching English in Taiwan Without Experience
If you want to work in Taiwan but have no previous teaching experience, you’re in luck! Taiwan is a great teach abroad destination for brand new teachers. Although public schools and some of the top private international schools will look to hire those with prior teaching experience, new teachers can easily find work at Taiwan’s buxiban or ‘cram schools’.
In place of experience, many schools will look for English teachers with a TEFL certification. In addition, don’t underestimate how far enthusiasm and a willingness to learn can get you, especially when it comes to applying for jobs teaching Taiwanese children!
Visa for teaching English Taiwan
As mentioned earlier, to legally teach English in Taiwan, you will need the correct type of visa and a work permit. For most teachers, this falls into two categories – a work visa or a working holiday visa for Taiwan.
If you’re applying for a work visa, this will most likely be done before you leave your home country, after receiving a job offer. This is often the easiest way, as the school who you will be working for will sponsor your visa and help you with all of the required documents.
If you are between the ages of 18 and 35, it may also be possible for you to apply for a working holiday visa. These allow citizens of certain countries to live and work in Taiwan for up to one year.
There are also those who come to Taiwan on a temporary landing visa and look for work once they have arrived. To legally stay and teach in the country, this visa must then be changed to a work visa once a school has made an offer. While possible, it’s always a safer bet to have work and sponsorship for a visa secured before you leave your home country.
Teach English in Taiwan: Salary and Cost of Living
With high wages and a low cost of living, you’ll be impressed with how much you can make and save working as an English teacher in Taiwan. While different factors, like what kind of school you want to work at, how much previous teaching experience you have, and whether or not you have a TEFL qualification will alter your salary, even brand new TEFL teachers will find they make enough to live a comfortable life on Taiwan’s affordable shores.
How much can you make teaching in Taiwan?
Exactly how much can you make teaching English in Taiwan? As a guide, the basic monthly salary for a full-time ESL teacher is likely to be in the region of NT$50,000 – NT$65,000 (£1,335 – £1,735 / $1,700 – $2,220) per month.
Meanwhile, those hoping to boost their monthly salaries with a few extra private/freelance lessons can charge in the region of NT$700 to NT$1,000 per hour (£19 – £27 / $24 – $34).
Factors like prior teaching experience or holding a TEFL certification will give you better negotiating power when it comes to discussing salary for potential teaching positions. Teaching in Taiwan can actually be quite lucrative, with experienced teachers being able to command high salaries, year-on-year wage increases and some teachers even go on to open their own private language schools.
How much does it cost to live in Taiwan?
Taiwan is one of the most affordable countries in Asia, especially when you compare the cost of living to the average wages English teachers can make. Rent will usually be the biggest expense, with some teachers choosing to share to keep their monthly outgoings low. Living costs will be higher in some places, mainly in Taipei city, but even here it’s possible to spend very little if you live like a local and forgo Western bars and restaurants.
|Country||Avg. monthly salary||Degree required||Start of term||Teaching experience||Housing & flights included||Suitable for non-native English speakers||Age restrictions|
|Teach in Taiwan||£1,335 – £1,735
($1,700 – $2,220)
Take a look at the tables below to get an idea of how much you might spend on daily essentials in Taiwan:
|NT$ ($)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|Inexpensive restaurant meal||120.00||4.06||3.24|
|Domestic beer (0.5 litre)||57.00||1.93||1.54|
|Water (0.33 litre)||20.86||0.71||0.56|
|NT$ ($)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|Regular milk (1 litre)||93.39||3.16||2.52|
|Loaf of white bread||58.54||1.98||1.58|
|Regular eggs (1 dozen)||79.53||2.69||2.15|
|Apples (1 kg)||117.33||3.97||3.17|
|NT$ ($)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|One-way ticket (local transport)||24.50||0.83||0.66|
|Monthly pass (regular price)||1280.00||43.31||34.61|
|Taxi start (normal tariff)||80.00||2.71||2.16|
|Gasoline (1 litre)||29.94||1.01||0.81|
|NT$ ($)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|Electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage (for a regular apartment)||2205.69||74.64||59.63|
|Regular prepaid mobile tariff (per minute, local without discounts)||5.38||0.18||0.15|
|Internet (60 Mbps, unlimited data, cable/ADSL)||751.12||25.42||20.31|
|Clothing and Shoes||Cost|
|NT$ ($)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|Pair of jeans (Levis 501 or something similar)||2193.14||74.21||59.30|
|Summer dress in a chain store||976.59||33.05||26.40|
|Nike running shoes (mid-range)||2452.86||83.00||66.32|
|Men’s leather business shoes||3513.30||118.89||94.99|
(Source: Cost of Living)
What benefits do employers in Taiwan offer teachers?
In addition to a monthly salary, English teachers in Taiwan will also usually receive additional benefits as part of their teaching contract. These tend to include free return flights to and from your home country, a bonus for completing your contract, and healthcare or insurance. Accommodation is also sometimes provided by schools. However, this is less common in Taiwan than in some other countries, for example, China.
While some benefits are listed on ESL job postings, it’s always worth asking your employer about any extra perks they offer during your interview.
English Teaching Jobs in Taiwan
Taiwan is a popular TEFL destination for teachers at every stage of their careers. There are teaching jobs for newbies right through to positions for those with advanced qualifications and years of experience.
Teaching opportunities are wide-ranging, with the possibility to teach students ranging from kindergarten through to adults looking for business English classes. Freelancing can also be lucrative in Taiwan but you’ll need to have an official job first to receive your visa.
Read on to find out more about the different types of TEFL jobs in Taiwan
Teachers in positions at public schools in Taiwan are generally placed through teaching programmes, such as the FET programme discussed above. This means that, while not a hard-and-fast rule, it’s most likely that you’ll need to have a valid teaching certification in order to land a position at a public school. Although not always the case, the majority of those who do meet this requirement will usually end up teaching at high school level, instead of at elementary schools or middle schools.
The perks of working at a Taiwanese public school include a good salary, weekends off, input into the curriculum, and an end-of-contract bonus. On the other hand, working hours can be long and class sizes can be much larger than those in private schools.
If you do end up teaching English in Taiwan at a public school, you can expect to make somewhere in the region of NT$50,000 – NT$65,000 (£1,335 – £1,735 / $1,700 – $2,220) per month.
English Teaching Programmes in Taiwan
One of the most popular ways to start teaching English in Taiwan, especially for newly-qualified TEFL teachers, is through a teach English abroad programme. There are many different English teaching programmes, all of which will offer slightly different opportunities and benefits.
The main reason these programmes are so popular is that they take all of the stress and worry out of finding a teaching position. The programme provider will usually take care of all of the necessary paperwork, as well as provide housing, training and support on the ground. These programmes will also often place new teachers together, meaning it’s easy to make friends once you arrive. For those who have very little travel experience or who have never taught before, this can be a great option.
Foreign English Teachers (FET) Programme
The Taiwanese Government runs their own Foreign English Teachers (FET) programme. They recruit qualified teachers to teach in K-9 public schools across Taiwan, with the aim of establishing links with international schools and expanding English immersion for young learners.
To apply for the FET Programme, teachers must have both a university degree and a teaching licence from their home country. In return, FET teachers receive return flights, housing and a good, reliable salary.
Teaching English in Taipei
Considering a move to Taipei City to teach English in Taiwan’s laidback capital? Compared to Asia’s other big cities – like Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai – Taipei is still fairly under-the-radar when it comes to international travellers. It does, however, have a strong expat community and endless things to see and do on your days off.
The city is a perfect blend of old and new, from modern skyscrapers and luxury hotels to ancient temples and traditional street markets. The food and drink scene in Taipei City is vast, with everything from Michelin Star restaurants to hawker stalls and familiar Western names.
More than 2.6 million people call Taipei home which, given its relatively small size, can sometimes make it feel overcrowded. But, if the city gets too much, it’s easy to escape to some of the nearby natural beauty spots thanks to Taiwan’s excellent public transport network.
As the most popular location for ESL teachers in Taiwan, competition for teaching positions at schools in Taipei can be high. However, the city has so many public and private schools hiring teachers for ESL jobs that even those teaching abroad for the first time should be able to secure a position.
Have a look at our teaching opportunities abroad
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How much money can you make teaching English in Taiwan?
A. The basic monthly salary for a full-time TEFL teacher is usually in the region of NT$50,000 – NT$65,000 (£1,335 – £1,735 / $1,700 – $2,220) per month.
Q. Are English teachers in demand in Taiwan?
A. Yes! Taiwan is aiming to be a bilingual country by 2030, meaning there has never been a higher demand for English teachers.
Q. Is Taiwan open to ESL teachers?
A. ESL teachers are welcome in Taiwan, where there is currently a big push to learn English.
Q. Do you need a degree to teach English in Taiwan?
A. For most teaching positions in Taiwan, a bachelor’s degree will be required. This is because you must have a university degree in order to receive a work visa, which allows you to legally work as a teacher in Taiwan.
Q. Can non-natives teach English in Taiwan?
A. To obtain a work visa for Taiwan, ESL teachers must be native English speakers and hold a passport from a native English speaking country.
Q. Do you need a TEFL certificate to teach in Taiwan?
A. While a TEFL qualification isn’t a legal requirement for teaching English in Taiwan, having one under your belt can greatly increase your chances of landing an English teaching job and prepare you for your first teaching abroad experience.