Teaching English in Taiwan – FAQs

Teach English in Taiwan

Frequently Asked Questions – Updated Feb 2024

Where is Taiwan?

Taiwan is 160km (96 miles) off the coast of Mainland China. It is officially considered a province of the Mainland, but for all intents and purposes, Taiwan is an independent democratic country. It has its own elections, currency, flag, army and government.

The official language in Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese, but Taiwanese is also widely spoken.

Teach English in Taiwan – What Are My Options?

What are the main teaching options in Taiwan?

Option A: Language School Positions – These positions start throughout the year, but mostly between Jan-March and June through August

  • Teach elementary students (7 – 12 years of age)
  • Teach a 5 1/2 day work week. Monday to Friday classes are typically between 5 and 9pm. Most schools require teachers to teach a half day on Saturday from 9am to 1pm
  • This is a great schedule if you want your mornings free to study Chinese, go to the gym, etc.

Option B: Kindergarten/Language School Positions – These positions start in Jan/Feb and again in July and August

  • Teaching a mixed schedule of kindergarten aged students (3 – 6 years) and language school students (7-12 years)
  • These jobs are typically a 5-day work week (Monday – Friday)
  • Teach a variety of subjects between 9am to 5:30pm
  • Your RTT advisor will want to speak to you directly about the legalities of teaching kindergarten in Taiwan. It’s your decision to decide whether or not this option is right for you.

Option C: Public school positions – August start date each year

  • Reach To Teach is partnered with a number of public elementary schools in Taipei
  • 5-day work week from 8:30am to 5pm
  • Most public schools in Taiwan offer a bare-bones curriculum. Furthermore, you can count on the fact that there will be a huge variance in English proficiency in your classes
  • Teachers interested in this option must be a certified teacher in their home country and have a year of formal classroom teaching experience that is validated by letters of experience from previous employers
  • Taipei public schools do not accept sub teaching licenses
  • Note that if you do not have the required certifications to teach at the public schools that Reach To Teach is affiliated with, we will let you know about it briefly in your interview, but we are not obligated to talk to teachers in depth about schools they are not qualified to teach at.

Teachers generally make between NT$65,000 and NT$95,000 per month, plus flights, a housing stipend, and paid time off during the summer. Your salary is determined by your education, certifications, and teaching experience

You must have a valid national Criminal Background Check that has been issued within the past six months in order to receive a work permit.

We advise that you do not fly to Taiwan on your own. The Taiwan government changed the law for ESL teachers in July 2017. You must have the proper documentation to satisfy the Taiwan government’s rules and regulations for ESL teachers in Taiwan.

Our schools require teachers to be fully vaccinated. Teachers must provide proof of vaccination as part of the school’s hiring process. Note that our schools require you to provide proof of vaccination and then you will be asked again for your government health check.

If you arrive in Taiwan without the correct documentation for a teaching position, you could end up waiting months for the documentation to be sent over from your home country.

How will I be paid?

Everyone in Taiwan is paid in New Taiwan Dollars (NT$). Schools pay your salary directly into your local Taiwan bank account. Most schools pay by the hour. ANNOUNCEMENT: As of March 2020, Reach To Teach is no longer working with schools that offer the minimum rate of pay in Taiwan, which is NT$600 per teaching hour. You’ll start at NT$700 per teaching hour. 

How much will I be paid?

Hourly Positions – Most schools in Taipei have switched to hourly contracts, which means you are paid for the number of hours you teach in your classroom. Hourly contracts do not offer benefits like paid vacation time and paid public holidays.

The average wage is NT600 per hour, but we are no longer working with schools that offer this base hourly wage. Our teachers are earn NT$700 per hour. Hourly pay is the most common type of pay system in Taiwan. Schools will pay you for exactly what you teach. You aren’t paid for lesson planning or time spent grading, but teaching on an hourly basis can be a good option for teachers that are looking for flexibility with their schedules.

Salaried Positions –In August 2017, we started seeing a trend in schools beginning to offer salaried positions outside of Taipei. Schools that offer a fixed salary will require you to be at school for office hours and for teaching hours. Generally, contracts with a fixed salary include at least ten hours of office work, which is used for planning lessons and grading. These types of contracts include paid vacation time at Chinese New Year and other public holidays.

Most Reach To Teach schools pay similar rates of pay and monthly incomes will typically range around NT$63,000 – NT$70,000 (approximately $1,900-2,500 USD) as a starting salary. If you accept a position that offers an hourly rate, your contract will include a MINIMUM number of hours that the school promises to give you. This is set at a minimum of 20 hours. Reach To Teach does not work with schools that offer less than 20 hours per week as anything under 20 hours is not enough money to live on. Most of our teachers teach 23 to 27 hours per week.

Do I have to teach in the city? Where are most schools located?

We have positions available throughout the island. We will work with you to place you at a school that best fits with your skills and preferences. Like anything else, the more flexible you are, the more options you will have. Visit our Taiwan Teaching Locations page to learn more about different teaching locations in Taiwan.

How early can I apply?

We recruit for positions year round, so you are welcome to submit your application at any time. If we feel your application is too early we may wait a few weeks or months before offering you an interview. This is because schools aren’t yet sure of their vacancies at the time you are looking to arrive. Don’t worry ~ we will keep you updated of your application status and ensure there is enough time to guide you through the interview, placement, visa and arrival process.

How late can I apply?

You can apply at any time. There is no deadline for applications. However, it is best to plan as early as possible. Generally, three months prior to your anticipated arrival is ideal, but you can also apply within  a week if you have your national CBC in hand.

Can I apply even though I haven’t yet received my diploma?

Yes, but you must have your degree in hand before you arrive in Taiwan. If you have not received your diploma, please get a copy of your transcripts from your University. Then contact your University to find out when you will receive your actual degree.

Please note that if your diploma is issued in any other language other than English, you will need to have it translated and authenticated.

We are very sorry to say that the government in Taiwan will NOT accept online degrees of any kind.

If your university is listed as an online university, your work permit application will be rejected. Two examples that we can confirm as of today in the summer of 2022 are UNISA in South Africa and Open University. This information is especially relevant to teachers who have an online Masters Education degree who are applying for public school positions. The government will not acknowledge it and this has resulted in public school teachers earning the base salary for teachers with a Bachelors degree. Please understand that this has nothing to do with Reach To Teach.

I can come to Taiwan immediately. How soon can I arrive?

You can arrive as soon as we have secured your teaching placement for you and guided you through the Taiwan visa process. We’ve helped people arrive two weeks after they first applied with us, provided they have all the required documentation for their work permit.

Can I pay off student loans on my salary?

This depends on how much your monthly payments are. Most of our teachers continue their student loan payments while teaching abroad. Your salary doesn’t appear high but the cost of living in Taiwan is much lower than in your home country. Teachers have saved an average of $10,000US here during their first year in Taiwan. We know this because we’ve done it. Of course, your savings depend on your lifestyle.

Your rent will almost certainly be less than NT$15,000 per month ($540 USD), unless you are living in downtown Taipei. Be prepared to pay a minimum NT$15,000 if you want your own place in Taipei.

If maximizing your earning potential is important to you, some teachers pick up private tutoring jobs on the side (NOTE: Although this is widely practiced and quite lucrative, it is also illegal. Reach To Teach does not offer or support illegal teaching positions.)

Your salary is enough to live well in Taiwan and save money.

What is the cost of living in Taiwan?

The cost of living in Taiwan is cheaper than the United States or Canada. Costs will vary somewhat depending on whether you live in the city or country. However, your salary in the country will also be moderately lower. In either situation, your salary will be more than adequate to live a comfortable lifestyle. There will be more specific details on cost of living in your Acceptance Package.

Will I have health insurance?

Taiwan has universal health care, so everyone receives a health insurance card. The card will allow you to visit any of the numerous health centers, dental clinics and hospitals in Taiwan. Taiwan provides excellent health care, and many teachers feel that the health care they receive in Taiwan is better than what they receive in their home country. Your school is responsible for covering roughly 75% of your monthly health care deduction. The remaining 25% is deducted from your paycheck each month.

Am I provided with housing?

Most schools in Taiwan do not offer free housing. Some schools outside of Taipei offer housing at a reduced cost. When you first arrive in Taiwan, you will stay at a local hostel or hotel at your expense. Reach To Teach can provide you with a list of affordable hostels in Taipei that are English friendly and are recommended by our teachers.

If you are outside of the greater Taipei area, your school will help you find a permanent apartment which you find to be comfortable and agreeable. Most teachers are able to find housing in Taipei within walking distance of their school. If you are placed outside of Taipei, you will definitely be within walking distance of your school unless you choose to live elsewhere.

Note that if you plan on teaching in Taipei, schools in Taipei do not typically provide much assistance in terms of helping teachers get set up with an apartment. There is a massive expat community in Taipei, but that means it’s typically fairly easy to find a roommate or a room for rent.

Most teachers find an apartment within two weeks of their arrival.

Where can I find housing in Taiwan?

We have a helpful page on finding housing in Taipei.

You might also consider checking out the Looking for Roommates or Apartments in Taipei and Taiwan group on Facebook. This group was created to help people in Taipei and the rest of Taiwan to connect with folks that are looking for a shared apartment or a new roommate.

Can I apply for my visa to come to Taiwan before I have secured a teaching placement? 

Most teachers can now enter Taiwan on a 90-day landing visa. South African teachers must supply for a visitor’s visa at the TECO office in South African. As of November 2012, residents of Canada, England, New Zealand and the United States are granted a 90-day landing visa upon arrival in Taiwan.

Schools are not responsible for the cost of your health check, which is required for your work permit and ARC. Schools also do not typically cover the costs of your work permit and ARC, although some international schools will offer this as part of your salary package.

The cost of your health check is approximately NT$1,420. Your school will then switch your visa exempt status to a visitor visa while you’re in Taiwan, and then apply for your work permit and ARC.

Learn more about how to do your health check in Taipei here.

Typically, the total cost of your documents is between NT$8,000 and NT$10,000 in total.

Do you place couples in Taiwan?

It has become difficult for us to find positions for couples in Taiwan due to schools that are not within hiring distance of each other and availability. If you wish to apply as a couple, the best time to secure positions with us is in June and July. We typically only have a few schools in Taipei each year that will hire couples, and we very rarely have positions outside of Taipei that can accommodate couples. With that said, on average, we have been placing 3-6 couples during these months each year.

How much vacation/holiday time will I have?

You will have all national holidays off. If you work at a private school, your national holidays are unpaid. If you are working within the public school system, teachers enjoy paid National Holidays and paid time off each summer. Additionally, schools close for a week during Lunar New Year (generally the end of January or early February).

We recommend that you do not ask for time off during your first six months of employment.

How is the food? Will I like it?

This is a subject everyone can agree on: The food in Taiwan is varied and fantastic. The shabu-shabu’s, BBQ food, fresh seafood, different varieties of tofu, teppanyaki and even strange exotic food like snake’s blood and bird’s nest are just a sampling of the extremely large Taiwanese palette. Food is plentiful and extremely cheap. Wandering the night markets and sampling the varied specialties of each food vendor is a great experience. You can also find any Western food in Taiwan, though you will likely have to pay “home” prices for it. McDonald’s, Subway, Hooters and other Western chain restaurants can all be found in Taiwan. Higher end restaurants such as Morton’s Steakhouse are also to be found.

Is my flight to Taiwan paid for or at my own expense?

Schools do NOT pay for your flight up front. However, some schools offer a completion bonus at the end of your one year contract. This bonus is typically at least as much as the cost of a flight.

Taiwan public school teachers receive flight compensation as part of their teaching package.

How much are flights to Taiwan?

This depends on when you are traveling and how far your journey is. Busy vacation times can increase the price.

How will I be able to obtain my working visa?

Your school will help you change your landing visa to a visitor visa which then allows them to apply for a work permit for you. Once you have completed your health check in Taiwan, your school will submit your documents to the CLA for your work permit. When your work permit has been issued, you will submit your documentation to the NIA for your ARC (Alien Residence Card).

The schools that we work with in Taiwan are fully licensed schools and they are able to sponsor their teachers for a work permit and ARC for the duration of your contract. You must have a clean national Criminal Background Check from your home country in order to receive a work permit as well as a clean bill of health. You’ll do your health check in Taiwan when you arrive after you’ve accepted a job offer. Your recruiter will go over the health check with you in detail during your first interview so you know exactly what to expect.

Reach To Teach does not place teachers at schools that cannot offer a work permit and ARC.

I’ve heard there are legality issues concerning working in Taiwan. Do you have more information on this?

The laws concerning English foreign teachers in Taiwan may seem complex. For example, some teachers like to work additional hours at other schools, but technically you can only work at the school which is sponsoring your ARC. If you choose to work outside of your work permit limits, you do so at your own risk.

Additionally, it is illegal to teach kindergarten in Taiwan. However, thousands foreigners do so without any problem. Whether or not to work at a kindergarten is a decision which every teacher needs to make for themselves. Reach To Teach does not work with independent kindergartens. Our friendly and informative staff will go over teaching options with you in detail during your first interview with us.

Can I break my contract?

If unavoidable circumstances are involved, yes, you may have no option but to break your contract. Your recruiter will explain this to you in detail so you know what your rights are as a teacher in Taiwan.

How will I pay taxes as an American citizen abroad?

Great question! This is a very common concern for teachers who are teaching English abroad in Taiwan. So common in fact, that we have dedicated an entire page to answer just this question. Please follow this link to find out more about paying your taxes as a US citizen abroad.

What is the tax rate in Taiwan?

Your tax rate will be at an 18% rate until you have been in Taiwan for 183 days in a calendar year. 183 days is approximately 6 months (half a calendar year). After accumulating 183 days, the withholding tax rate drops to between 6%-15%, depending on your salary rate.

There are so many things to think about! Where do I start?

Here is a great list to help you get started:

– Prepare your resume, cover letter and recent photo.

– Your photo should be job appropriate. Please give some thought to what you send as. Your photo goes on your teacher profile package which is then sent out to our client schools. Please send us a headshot or a photo of you with kids. Please don’t send us photos where we can’t see your face clearly or a photo that doesn’t relate to your desire to teach abroad.

– Your cover letter does not need to be long but it should express your interest in Taiwan and the reasons you feel you are the right person for a teaching position. It should also highlight any strong preferences you may have (although we would encourage you to remain flexible if possible). For example, if you wish to only be located in a specific town/city, etc. Your photo should be a recent smiling picture – as we like to see you look friendly and approachable! A full length photo is preferable to a headshot.

– Check your passport to see if it is valid for 12 months or longer.

– If you don’t yet have your University diploma/degree, find out when it will be sent to you. That date will mark the earliest time you feasibly can arrive in Taiwan.

Submit your application! We will guide you from there.

What happens when I arrive at the airport?

In Taiwan, some schools will organize your collection from the airport. Either a manager from the school will pick you up or the school will hire a taxi service to pick you up. When you enter the Arrivals Hall, look for your name written on a placard. Your school representative or driver will bring you to your school or lodgings.

It’s also important to know that during the pandemic, schools were not allowed to collect teachers from the airport and teachers had to make their own way to their hotel. Reach To Teach can provide you with some guidance on this as we’ve noticed that more and more schools are deciding to let teachers make their own way to their hotel.