Certified Teacher (USA) with Master's degree in Teaching moving to Taiwan in July or August


I am a newly certified teacher here in the USA for English Language Arts for grades 6-12 and will be graduating with my Master of Arts in Teaching in mid June.

A friend of mine with similar credentials and I are planning to take a trip to Taiwan and look for teaching jobs. Neither of us have TEFL certification, but I would think that our Master’s degrees and teaching licences make up for that.

Will we need to get our TEFL certification?

I also spoke to a recruiter from the International TEFL Academy who said that Taiwan doesn’t hire very much in-person and mostly hires via Skype now. Is this true?

With my friend and my teaching credentials, will we likely be able to find a decent job if we have enough money to stay for 1-2 months without seeking TEFL certification?

Thanks for any help.


What kind of job are you looking for? Something longer term in a school, or more of cram school type work?


I would probably be fine with either. I think mostly I’m interested in a good work environment with decent pay to live in Taipei probably. I probably wouldn’t want to commit anywhere more than a year as I may move back home or somewhere else after a year.


Well, you definitely don’t need TEFL for a cram school. But with your master’s you don’t have to do that if you want to stay for a while. Less sure how much TEFL might help you in those kind of jobs.

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With your background, you should quite easily be able to find a well-paid teaching job at a private or international school. Around now is the time they start recruiting for a September start. But Taipei City is highly competitive in this field, with well-recognised international schools that would require several years’ experience to work at. Your best bet is to look at international schools in places like Hsinchu, where there are many such schools, often of dubious educational standards (though still well paid). Most of these jobs advertise online and expect teachers to fly in, so you’re not at a particularly big advantage if you’re in Taiwan, though you certainly wouldn’t be at a disadvantage if you apply within.

If you want to go down the cram school route, on paper most such schools require a TEFL qualification, so they might ignore your application if you apply online without one. But I think that once you’re in Taiwan and they see you teach a demo class, they’re not as strict about it. But your impressive academic background in education would kind of be going to waste if you go to a cram school in my opinion - unless you just use the cram school as a way to get yourself in the country and gain a little experience as you complete the contract.


I should also mention that I am transgender. Will that have much of an impact if I go to schools outside of Taipei? Will it have much of an impact in Taipei? Things I’ve read suggest that Taiwan is a good place for queer and trans people in Asia.

Great to hear though that it appears like I am well qualified. Probably not suggested to drop money on TEFL certification then?

Are there any good places to look at job listings for private or international schools?


Honestly, maybe I’m just too cynical for my own good about teaching in Taiwan, but I think that being transgender probably will have an impact on your chances of getting a teaching job there. This is especially so at cram schools, which are infamous for discriminating against applicants who don’t “look the part”. Black people find it hard to get English teaching jobs at cram schools, so do Western-born Asians, and even middle-aged guys with beer bellies. Employers at those places can be incredibly judgemental and discriminatory.

This is less the case at international schools, where their priority is getting the best teacher and attracting “customers” with good results, rather than at cram schools where they’re looking for some stereotypical-looking young American clown to entertain the children and impress the parents. But, although your average young Taiwanese person won’t have a problem with you being transgender, your average old man who employs people probably will. And this is especially the case when you’re reflecting their company to the outside world, which is essentially what you’d be doing as a teacher in any kind of private school.

Probably not necessary with your background. International schools don’t require them at all, and I think cram schools are more lenient about not having one when you’re there (from what I’ve seen and heard).


One more point on this. Despite the good news that came out regarding legalising gay marriage, I think this point is exaggerated, although it might be good compared to many other Asian countries. You have to remember that gay marriage was voted down by the majority of the public when it was put to referendum. Most older Taiwanese people look very unfavourably on anything LGBT - and they’re the ones giving out the jobs. LGBT Taiwanese people often have to hide their identities from their parents. Taiwan still has a long way to go - especially anywhere outside of Taipei.


With a teacher’s license you also have the option of working at a public school (no TEFL required). They offer more consistent hours than a cram school: Monday-Friday, 8-5, typically, instead of evenings and weekends, and from what I understand just tend to have a better work environment. I have a friend who works at a junior high in New Taipei City who has been really happy with it and just renewed for another year. Your Master’s degree should earn you a pay bump too.

You could look into the MOE website for more info, but there’s also a free agency called Teach Taiwan that can help you with placement, help you figure out paperwork, reimburse your plane ticket, etc. Feel free to message me if you would like more info, or you can check out the Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/teachtaiwan

Full disclosure is I work there, if you couldn’t tell :wink: I’m relatively new but it’s a great resource if you’re interested in public schools! Hope this is helpful to you! :slight_smile:

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Public school is the way to go. They will pay for your flight here and back to your home country if you sign a year contract.