Am I Selling Myself Short By Only Applying to English Teaching Jobs In Public School?

Honestly, I am mostly curious because the notion popped into my head. I never considered I was qualified for any position other than working as an English teacher at an elementary or high school level. Certainly, I never considered it could be possible to teach in a university instead. The reason is I have an MBA and a BS in Biology/Microbiology. I also have 1-year of experience as a second-grade Bilingual teacher and 1-year of experience in a pharmaceutical lab. So, am I selling myself short? I also speak Spanish. Do I have a reasonable chance of obtaining a “better” job at a university or elsewhere?

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You don’t mention a government issued teaching license. I assume you have that?

You’re currently teaching in a Taiwanese public school and you’re looking for something ‘better’, yeah?

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Why do you have an MBA if you want to be a teacher? Do you want to teach business?


Maybe wants to open a cram school or private school?

If you have these qualifications you should probably work in a biotech, not teach English in any capacity.


I’m applying to the English Teacher program. I do have a teaching license. My question is based on another post from someone with similar credentials that was seeking a teaching position in a Taiwanese university.

Do you have a PhD? Without it, I’m afraid you’ll be, as a newcomer, stuck at the bottom ranks of university teaching, with little room for advancement.

The biotech connection mentioned by @Gain sounds like a more intriguing gig.


I didn’t get an MBA because I wanted to teach. The only chance for me to get to Taiwan is thru teaching. I doubt that any company will sponsor me to get a job in the Marketing Business sector.

Are you eligible to get a Gold Card? If so, that would potentially open up more options for you.



This is great advice. Hsinchu is a good place to start looking for such jobs.

Taiwan has a surprising number of biotech companies. That are looking to hire right now.

Well in biotech I’ll be competing with the best and brittest from Taiwan. I just don’t have an edge for any company to sponsor me for a work visa. My question was basically should I try to get a job as a teacher in an university or stick to the TEFL program for elementary and high school.

Go into marketing, sales, or Investor Relations for biotech firms.
They need foreigners on the team to look “international”.
There are a bunch of them listed on the local stock exchanges and more on the gray market.
That would be a niche to target, if I were you.


That would actually ideal but I find it hard to believe they would even consider hiring me. Another thing is my age. I’m 53 y/o so… I don’t know how difficult it is in Taiwan for foreigners to get a job. If the USA is any indication, it is next to impossible unless you are uber qualified. Perhaps I should get in touch with a head hunter? (now we are going into the realm of employment agencies. Another can of worms.)

I don’t think I am if I remember correctly. They required a “X” numbers of years experience and/or a PhD if I’m not mistaken. I have neither.

What did you do besides 1 year teaching and 1 year pharmaceutical lab?

Also Spanish teaching pays better. If you can get it that is. There aren’t that many classes.

The bulk of my work history is mostly costumer service oriented. Like call center, clothing store etc.
Spanish, really? You mean like in the public school system? Please elaborate.

Well, unfortunately you have the wrong type of Master’s to teach in a uni. Even the RIGHT kind of Master’s (that being one specializing in English or education) is not a guarantee for getting a uni position nowadays. Most unis are requiring PhDs nowadays. So an MBA is not going to be that useful unfortunately. Your Bachelor’s degree is also not very relevant to teaching EFL. You also lack experience as well. One year is not a lot to have under your belt. So I don’t think you’re actually selling yourself that short. My advice would be to get licensed as a teacher if you haven’t and perhaps consider going for a Master’s degree in education (M.Ed). Doing it in residency is obviously preferred, but you’re in Taiwan (right?) and with remote learning so prominent, online degrees are becoming a bit more accepted. You can bang this out in 2 years. That might give you a small chance to get a uni job, but it’d still be a lower-tier one perhaps at a smaller, private uni.

So it’s up to you whether you want to continue this path, but it won’t be over night and the end goal might not even be that worth it. Tbh, people put uni jobs on too much of a pedestal nowadays. I work at a uni and it’s not as fun as it used to be. The quality of the classes have been declining since the birth decline started to affect enrollment numbers, the pay is not great for the amount of work you’re doing (MUCH more prep and grading than a public school job, and obviously extra things such as committee assignments, working on journal papers, etc), there’s no opportunity for upward mobility or promotions unless you either get a PhD or get an unholy number of papers published… you’ll always be a lowly contract lecturer subject to annual review with fears of job stability, and since the pandemic started the best part of the job… the huge amount of vacation time… is not even that fun anymore. Perhaps that will change again with travel slowly opening up. There are other cool parts of being a uni teacher, which includes no desk warming, ability to create your own curriculum and (for the most part) teach the way you want to teach and use your own material, more mature teaching environment (although student quality has been on a decline in recent years tbh), the ability to get published, etc. but it’s up to you if that’s worth the time and effort to pursue. Good luck in whatever you decide.


You are mistaken! Have a closer look at the Gold Card thread. No guarantees it’ll work, but it might surprise you.


I know of two people that taught ESL but then switched to Spanish teaching for the higher pay. That’s the extent of my knowledge on the topic unfortunately. Not sure if it was public school but they were in day schools for sure.

Also I would recommend sales positions in biotech then. They would appreciate your people skills. Salary wouldn’t necessarily be higher than ESL though.

In Taiwan? What schools, other than the real international schools who have an actual target student population of Americans and Europeans, offer Spanish?

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