While teaching abroad is a phenomenal opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and make a difference in the world, potential teachers need to be mindful of the requirements imposed by each country. Unlike its neighbor, China, Taiwan can be much more strict about its teaching requirements and it’s not easy to teach in Taiwan without a degree.
Is it Possible to Teach in Taiwan without a Degree?
You must have a four-year bachelor’s degree if you want to teach in Taiwan according to the most recent government regulations on cram schools hiring foreigners. Acceptable bachelor’s degrees are those issued by a reputable university or college in the worker’s origin country or in Taiwan.
For those who have a two-year degree, a TESOL/TESL certificate is required before you can get a job as an English language teacher in Taiwan. It also helps if you have prior language teaching experience.
If you intend to work as a teacher in Taiwan, you should make sure that you have the required qualification so that you will be able to obtain a work visa and an alien resident certificate (ARC). Working without a degree means you would be doing so illegally and run the risk of being deported if you are caught.
Other Requirements for Teaching in Taiwan
Having a bachelor’s degree isn’t the only thing you have to bear in mind if you want to work legally in Taiwan. There are other government requirements you would have to provide when processing your work visa to Taiwan. Here are some of them;
Age – You must be at least 20 (twenty) years old before you can get a job as a teacher in a cram school in Taiwan. This is the age limit for most countries in Asia for non-indigene teachers. This is important because teachers need to be mature enough to deal with children and teenagers from a position of authority and mentorship.
Native Speaker – You are only allowed to teach the official language of your country as it appears on your international passport. This is to ensure that the teacher is fluent and well-versed in the language that he/she intends to teach and means that only native English speakers can work as English teachers.
How do Buxibans Work?
Buxibans are private businesses and they run from around 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Cram schools are popular in Taiwan and most parts of Asia because of a heavy dependence on skill testing from pre-school to college and even during career life. Therefore, most parents subscribe to several extracurricular academic classes for their kids.
Teachers in cram schools provide up to 30 hours of teaching to students every week to get them up to speed. These cram schools are highly competitive so they are always looking for an advantage to encourage more parents to choose them.
Buxibans hire native English speakers because of their experience and quality of language. Unlike before when cram schools just employed English speakers for show, the education standards are now high with most buxibans even have a structured curriculum of learning.
Pros of Teaching in a Cram School
Teaching at cram schools in Taiwan is quite lucrative. Even as a new teacher with the basic qualification of a Bachelor’s degree and not much experience, you could earn as much as NT$600/hour (about US$20) with other benefits. Experienced teachers can bargain for much more. There are also lucrative performance-based bonuses for teachers.
Getting a job at a cram school is also easy as there are many chains of cram schools run by foreigners and always in need of foreign English teachers. This helps you to build up your work experience which comes in handy when looking for other jobs.
Another benefit of teaching in Taiwan is the ton of new friends, experiences, and culture that you would be exposed to. For most teachers that spent time abroad, it is always a memorable chapter in their lives that is cherished.
Lastly, teaching children in a buxiban is rewarding. Teachers are able to work with students from the basic A-B-C’s to having full command of the English language.
Cons of Teaching in a Cram School
Buxibans are profit-driven businesses and your welfare as a teacher might not be a priority. Be sure to do your research about the different crams schools in Taiwan before accepting a teaching position.
Because you are teaching full-time with strict curriculums to work with, you may not have as much free time as you would like to travel and explore the country. Teaching in a buxiban is tasking and quite demanding.
You also have to have formidable classroom management skills as cram schools often have large classes with more than 30 children that you need to keep attentive for prolonged periods. This can be a daunting task for any teacher.
Finding Work in Taiwan
Kindergartens and cram schools are some of the biggest employers of English teachers in Taiwan. With a two-year degree and a teaching certificate, you can also work in public schools or private elementary, middle or high schools. There are also private tutor jobs available that can bring in additional income.
Teachers are expected to work between 19 to 33 hours weekly and can earn up to 750 New Taiwan Dollars per hour. This is exclusive of private lessons and tutoring that parents usually request.
Taiwan is a prime destination in Asia and filled with culture and amazing people. While it’s not impossible to teach in Taiwan without a degree, you will have more success and better opportunities with a 2 or 4-year degree.