The Taiwan government has recently stated its ambition is for the country to become bilingual Chinese ? English by the year 2030, which is certainly going to provide a huge amount of opportunities for ESL teachers. As well as having a booming job market, Taiwan also offers high salaries, excellent benefit packages, a relatively low cost of living, and an international reputation as one of the world?s most friendly nations.
What are the requirements for teaching English in Taiwan?
In order to work as an ESL teacher in Taiwan you need to be a native English speaker from the USA, the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, or Australia. You must also be over 20 years old and possess a degree in any subject. A TESOL qualification is not a legal requirement for finding a teaching job, however, the majority of employers expect their applicants to have one, especially if they are new to teaching.
Who are the main employers of English teachers in Taiwan?
One of the biggest employers of teachers are private language schools that are common in all major towns and cities. Jobs in this environment can be found at anytime of the year and you will be expected to sign a 12 month contract. A typical day in many language schools would be classes at kindergarten level in the morning, followed by classes for older children in the afternoon and evening. No previous classroom experience is typically required for these positions as demand is so high.
There are also a small number of jobs available in government run schools. This type of position usually requires some previous teaching experience and offers higher pay and a better benefit package than those typically offered by private schools. This type of job is also more appealing to some teachers as the working hours are a standard 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Private cram schools known as Buxibans that specialize in helping students with the English skills that will help them get into the best universities are another popular option. This type of school provides extra classes outside of school hours and they have a reputation for being highly competitive and for setting a very high standard. Because of this, teachers will usually need to have prior teaching experience and some level of Chinese language skills. Contracts can often be for two or three years and include in-house training, very generous salaries and various bonuses.
Universities can be a popular place to work as the hours are generally quite short and the salaries are quite high. These jobs are rather thin on the ground however, and you will require a high level of qualifications and previous experience. Many teachers, regardless of where they work, will also take on a few private students in their spare time to give themselves some extra income. Often teachers will recruit students from their main job, although this should be discussed with the employer to avoid any unnecessary problems.
What is the visa process for teaching English in Taiwan?
To start the work visa process it is necessary to secure a teaching job first. Once you have found a suitable position the employer will provide you with an Employment Letter that allows you to apply for the initial visa you require to enter the country. Upon arrival in Taiwan, you need to apply for an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) within the first 15 days. This process should be quite straightforward as the employer should provide all the help you need.
To get the ARC document you need to supply a basic health check that will then allow you to apply for a work permit. The school should also help you to arrange this. You will receive the work permit within 7 to 10 days which then allows you to apply for a resident?s visa. Once you have this document you can then take the final step which is to apply for the ARC which is essentially your Taiwanese ID. While this process sounds very complicated, it should be quite straightforward as most employers will take care of the paperwork for you.
Where are the best places for teaching English in Taiwan?
The capital of Taiwan, Taipei, is the most popular destination due to the high number of jobs and the high salaries. Taipei is also home to a large expat community which can be a real bonus for many teachers, particularly those without any travel experience. As the country?s second city, Taichung is also a good option as it is known for its high quality schools, beautiful scenery and a cooler climate. Kaohsiung, Taoyuan, and Tainan are a few other cities that are well worth looking at.