Most people from Western countries moving to Taiwan end up in the English teaching field. Whether it’s as a way to support themselves while exploring a new culture, or as a way to try and speed up repaying their student loans, English teaching in Taiwan is extremely popular among westerners.
Today, there are more options than ever for aspiring EFL teachers.
These positions are the most common type of English teaching job in Taiwan. They are also known as cram schools. These are basically like after-school programs.
Buxibans are businesses that offer parents a place to send their children after school with the added bonus of supplementary education. Buxibans come in all shapes and sizes, from small boutique schools to large international organizations, such as Hess. They teach everything from musical instruments to foreign languages. Most of the English language focused schools look for native English speakers for their EFL programs.
As a buxiban teacher, you can expect a starting hourly wage to be around NT$600 (As of February 2015, that’s about $18.95 USD), or a monthly salary of around NT$60,000.
In order to qualify for a work visa, you should be working a minimum of 14 hours a week, so most teachers work anywhere from 60 to over 100 hours a month. Since buxibans are a form of supplementary education, and they don’t replace students’ compulsory schooling, most classes are held in the afternoon and early evening. Some buxibans even hold Saturday classes.
These are another option for people who are looking to teach in Taiwan. There are not as many of them seeking native speaking teachers as there are buxibans, and they tend to have stricter hiring requirements, but they also tend to be more stable positions.
Being a licensed teacher from your home country greatly helps when you are trying to land one of these jobs as a new teacher in Taiwan. You will also find teachers who are married to locals, or have permanent residency, working here.
Public schools have the strictest hiring requirements, so they are not for everyone. If you are a licensed teacher, finding one of these gigs should not be a problem.
The one drawback that I have seen with public school jobs is not the job itself, but that it’s harder to find the vacancies as the schools do not have much experience with hiring native speaking teachers. Once you find them though, they should be fairly easy to land.
Often referred to as private teaching, tutoring is another way to make money; but, there are a few things to be aware of regarding this form of income.
Firstly, this type of work should only be done by those with APRC’s and JFRV’s. Permanent residency allows someone to get a work permit that comes with open work rights, and marriage visas also come with open work rights. If you obtain your visa through a school, then you are tied to working for them. You may have other schools added to your ARC, but you may not work independently.
Remember, even those with proper work rights have to report their earnings so that they can be properly taxed.
Also known as kindy, it’s is a bit of a taboo subject. I want to preface this section by stating that both Nick and I have pretty much avoided this aspect of teaching English in Taiwan. There is a lot of gray area involved with the legality of non-Taiwanese individuals teaching kindergarten.
I am not a lawyer, and I have almost no clear understanding of Taiwanese law, but there has been so much confusing information over the years about working in kindergartens, that if you want to move to Taiwan the right way, or if you want to live in Taiwan for several years, I personally would avoid teaching kindy.
Many people do teach kindergarten and don’t run into any problems, but I never wanted to run the risk of getting deported. I never really saw kindergarten as an option, but you are of course free to make your own choices.
Your Work Visa
Before accepting any type of job, teaching or otherwise, you should have a general understanding of the Taiwanese visa system. In an earlier post I linked to the Bureau of Consular Affairs, because they have a really detailed explanation, and I strongly suggest taking a few minutes to look it over.
The short story on visas and work permits is that there are four main types:
- Students get a student visa. They can apply for permission to work a limited amount of hours. To my knowledge, this permission allows them open work rights. That is, their work permit and visa are not tied to a particular employer.
- Next in line is the standard work visa. This is sponsored by a particular company, and you will come to know it as an ARC. You can attempt to add more companies to this later, but you need to get the initial sponsor first.
- The other two visas are the aforementioned Alien Permanent Resident Certificate, or APRC, and…
- the Joint Family Resident Certificate, or JFRV. If you have Taiwanese citizenship, then all of this is moot, as you don’t need any type of visa.
Finding a Job
Knowing how to find a teaching job in Taiwan is just as important as knowing what types of English teaching jobs are available. Finding a job here is very similar to how you would find one in your home country.
One avenue is the Internet. The most popular job website used by foreigners in Taiwan is tealit.com. You may or may not have success using it, but it’s a must visit if you are job hunting. There are other sites too, like Forumosa, but they don’t have the same volume of job postings. They are still worth a visit though, as every lead helps.
The other three methods of job hunting are rather traditional approaches. One surprisingly effective method, which many people seem reluctant to use, is to simply hit the sidewalk and visit buxibans. I have personally had some great results with this approach, so I know it works.
You can also use your network, if you have one. Word-of-mouth goes a long way in Taiwan, so if you are moving because you have friends or family here, don’t be afraid to ask for their assistance.
The last method is to use a recruiter. The opinion on recruiters varies from person to person, and I am not their biggest fan, but if you are in a jam, they can help. We’ve heard positive things about Reach to Teach, but have never used them personally. They are also one of the ways to get in contact with public schools.
If you are wondering about how to move to Taiwan to teach English, I hope this post is useful. If you have any questions about this topic, please leave us a comment below. Best of luck with finding a job teaching English in Taiwan!