There are several well known government backed recruitment programs for ESL teachers worldwide such as the EPIK program in South Korea, the JET program in Japan, and the TAPIF program in France. However, there is also one in Taiwan that is sometimes overlooked. The FET program, which stands for Foreign English Teachers In Taiwan, is run by the Ministry of Education who aim to place overseas English teachers into local public schools. Successful applicants can expect to receive a competitive salary and a range of extra benefits including paid airfares in and out of the country.
What are the requirements for the FET program?
Firstly, to be eligible for the FET program you need to be a native English speaker from an English speaking country. The other big requirement for this program is applicants have to be a certified teacher in their home country with an official state-issued teaching license. The full requirements for the FET Program include:
- Native English speaker from an English speaking country.
- A state-issued teaching license from your home country.
- A bachelor’s degree or higher (less the half of which was completed via distance learning).
- A criminal background check from your home country.
- An internationally recognized TEFL or TESOL certificate.
Before applying it is important to be aware that the program focuses on suburban and rural areas, so you will not be able to teach in any of the main big cities such as Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan, or Kaohsiung. However, Taiwan is a relatively small country with excellent transport links, so getting around and exploring the rest of the country will be straightforward whenever you have any freetime.
How do I apply for the FET Program?
Applications need to be submitted online by the cut off date of April 30. If your application meets the requirements you will be given an online interview, with successful applicants notified before June. Once accepted onto the program you will need to apply for a work permit and once received you can then apply for your Resident Visa. You will be expected to arrive in Taiwan around the middle of August to attend an orientation event and to sign your contract. The contract is for one academic year that runs to July of the following year. If you love the experience so much that you don’t want to leave, your contract can be renewed for a further year if the school agrees to keep you on.
Also read: How can I pass an ESL job interview?
What are the benefits of the FET Program?
The exact figure you will earn each month will depend on your level of teaching experience and your academic qualifications. Your educational background will be measured by the level of your degree, while your experience will only count if it was completed in schools in Taiwan. The potential salaries per degree type are:
- Bachelor’s degree: NT$ 62,720~78,045 (around $2,000 to $2,500 per month)
- Master’s degree: NT$ 69,965~86,820 (around $2,300 to $2,800 per month)
- Doctoral degree: NT$ 73,025~91,420 (around $2,400 to $3,000 per month)
If you see out the full contract you will be eligible for a performance bonus which depends on the grade you receive from your employer. An A grade receives an extra month’s salary, while a B grade receives half a month’s salary. On top of this excellent bonus you will receive overtime pay, paid vacation time and all public holidays.