Taiwan used to be one of those TEFL destinations where you could just turn up with little more than a native ability, and you could land a job with ease. These days restrictions are tighter, and to get a work visa you’ll need a BA degree, TEFL qualification, and a school willing to sponsor you. Despite tougher restrictions, the TEFL industry is still booming and Taiwan remains a popular destination for EFL teachers at every stage of their career. There are enough jobs that newbies with no experience can still find work, and there are also positions for those with more advanced qualifications and years of experience.
With wages comparable with Japan and a cost of living closer to what you’d expect in China, Taiwan is a great place to make savings while still having a great experience. This beautiful country boasts mesmerizing skyscrapers, epic gorges, stunning mountains and national parks, fascinating museums, a delectable cuisine, and a wealth of historical attractions. You’ll find much to enjoy if you embark on a TEFL career in Taiwan.
- Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Taipei, Kaohsiung, Tainan, Taichung, and Anping
- Average salary for EFL teachers: The basic monthly salary for full-time positions is likely to be in the region of NT$50,000 – NT$65,000 (£1,335 – £1,735 / $1,700 – $2,220) per month. Freelance rates for one to one lessons are around NT$700 to NT$1,000 per hour (£19 – £27 / $24 – $34). Many full-time jobs pay by the hour at a rate of around NT$600 (£16 / $20)
- TEFL qualification requirements: A 120-hour TEFL qualification is required for most positions.
- Prerequisite university degree: A BA degree (in any subject) is required
- Term times: September – July
- Currency: New Taiwan Dollar (NT$)
- Language: Chinese
- Teaching programmes: Private language schools (cram schools – buxiban), Kindergarten, University, Summer Camp, Freelance
- Age restrictions: Maximum 65
- Previous teaching experience: Necessary for more elite positions, not required for most jobs.
A teacher fresh off their TEFL course can easily find work in Taiwan, where there is a high demand for English teachers. Like in many Asian countries, parents are encouraging their kids to learn English younger than ever, and so kindergarten positions are available for native speakers. However, don’t think that working with younger students means you don’t need to be qualified – the government stipulates that teachers in kindergartens need to be fully trained kindergarten specialists, so if all you have is a TEFL (or even a CELTA) you won’t get hired. More advanced qualifications are generally needed for university positions, and also for private language schools where they focus on exam and university preparation classes.
Children learn English in school, but there are opportunities to teach adults in Taiwan, too. Many businesspeople are also looking for one-to-one private English tuition to improve their career prospects in the world of international business. Learning English can make a huge difference to the lives of your students as it improves their job prospects drastically. In Taiwan, you’ll find that your students are often enthusiastic and keen to learn, and this makes the whole experience worthwhile and enjoyable.
Taiwan can be a great place to find teaching work, but there are also pitfalls. Expect split shifts, students cancelling at the last minute (and not paying), school managers having unreasonable expectations, frequent weekend work, and a certain amount of ‘clowning around’ if you’re teaching young children. Traditional rote learning in Taiwan and the expectations of parents can add other pressures. Jobs are always available because turnover is high – some TEFL teachers don’t take the role seriously, and so you might meet employers who have been given a bad impression by previous foreign staff.
Requirements for teaching English in Taiwan
|Country||Avg. monthly salary||Degree required||Start of term||Teaching experience||Housing & flights included||Suitable for non-native English speakers||Age restrictions|
|Cambodia||£680 - £1,000
($900 - $1,300)
|China||£1,000 – £2,000
($1,300 – $2,575)
|Yes||September||No||Yes||Yes, if degree obtained from an English-speaking country||Under 55|
|Hong Kong||£1,550 – £6,300
($2,000 – $8,380)
|Yes||August||No||Not usually||Yes||Under 60|
|India||£120 – £775
($150 – $1,000)
|Indonesia||£565 – £1,030
($745 – $1,355)
|Yes||July||No||Not usually||No||Under 60|
|Japan||£1,600 – £2,000
($2,100 – $2,675)
|Kazakhstan||£360 – £470
($465 – $600)
|Malaysia||£550 – £1,450
($720 – $1,900)
|Myanmar||£600 – £1,500
($800 – $2,000)
|Mongolia||£630 – £1,000
($875 – $1,400)
|South Korea||£1,280 – £1,600
($1,670 – $2,000)
|Taiwan||£1,335 – £1,735
($1,700 – $2,220)
|Thailand||£740 – £980
($1,000 – $1,280)
|Vietnam||£920 - £ 1,500
($1,200 to $2,000)
The cost of living in Taiwan is cheap compared to the amount you earn, and you can afford a good quality of life. By eating locally, not only do you get the chance to sample the local cuisine, you will also save a bundle. Few jobs offer free accommodation, and rent can be a large expense in Taiwan, so finding a flat share will be the cheapest option. Other benefits your school might offer include paid flights and attractive bonuses.
Life in Taiwan can be an exciting adventure, and you won’t fail to notice the generosity and hospitality of the local people. Taiwan has a low crime rate, cheap options for eating out, a great social scene (which can cut into your savings if you overindulge!) and plenty of opportunities to make friends. On the downside, expats in Taiwan often complain about the pollution, bad traffic, and typhoon season.
- Accommodation: £743 – £1,020 / $970 – $1,331
- Utilities: £125 / $163
- Health insurance: Cost of typical visit to a GP: £31 / $40
- Monthly transport pass: £45 / $59
- Basic dinner out for two: £32 / $42
- Cappuccino in expat area: £3.13 / $4.09
- A beer in a pub: £3.57 / $4.67
- 1 litre of milk: £2.47 / $3.22
- 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £1.79 / $2.33
(living costs sourced from Expatistan)