Is teacher certification worth getting?

My husband recently got a relocation offer to move to Taipei. If we take the offer and everything goes through we would be moving to Taipei sometime in the next year. I would like to also look for an English teaching job in Taipei. My degree is in English and I have worked previously as a technical writer, though I have been staying home the past few years with our kids. The past few days I have found a few programs locally where I could potentially get my teacher certification before we would need to move. My question is - is it worth getting a certification? And what subject areas are most in demand? Although my degree is English, my husband’s software job does a lot in the math education industry, so for me there is an appeal for getting certified in math as well as English.

Thanks so much for your advice!

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First we need to ask if your husband is Taiwanese (ROC national with household registration), because in that case you don’t need a work permit once you have an ARC.

Assuming he’s not Taiwanese, if you have a passport from a country Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers English speaking, basically all you need to teach English in a buxiban (“cram school”) is a degree in any subject.

They set the bar higher if you want to teach in a “school” (public or private), even if you don’t need a work permit. A search through previous threads can shed some light on this.

Under current laws, you can’t get a work permit to teach math in a buxiban, and you can’t get a work permit to do private tutoring (though some buxibans have 1-on-1 classes and may offer them off-site). Under a recently passed law to attract foreign talent, it should be possible to teach other subjects in a buxiban, but we’re still waiting for the subsidiary regulations and the announcement of when the new law will come into effect.

Do it.
It will open doors for you to much higher paying jobs at public, private and international schools.

A degree is bare minimum.
A degree + valid teaching license gives you a significant advantage.

My 120 hour TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) cert opened doors to me, gave me 9 free credits towards my eventual masters, and made me a better teacher. I don’t see any downside to bettering yourself if this is the profession you’re pursuing. I don’t think it’ll be too demanding (except for a brief 10 week period or so) and it’ll be a really smart move in the long run. You’re teaching English in Asia, so I’d get the certification I just mentioned.

yes, without a doubt it is

OP is not talking about a TESOL certificate. Those are a dime a dozen. It will give you a slight advantage with some schools and others don’t really care about them.

The OP was talking about:

Teacher certification = being a licensed teacher.

Excuse me, speak for yourself. I did not “sit behind a computer.” Mine was an in-class 120 hour course taught by extremely knowledgeable professors and researchers on site at a Uni. It also helped me transition to my Masters, which has been extremely valuable (and helped me attain my own current Uni teaching position). Beyond that, the knowledge I received during my TESOL course helped me become a much better teacher.

You could’ve just said “OP didn’t mean TESOL, but…” You don’t have to be condescending and dismissive.

Thank you all for the great responses! I am definitely feeling more motivated to get my teacher certification. There is a TESOL option as a subject area, so I will probably pursue that one. It really helps to hear that it does make a big difference.

Apologies. Just, most teachers I have run into on this island who have a TESOL got theirs for a dime online.

Do look into getting a license if you want to work at a public/private school, regardless of how good a TESOL course you have available to you.

This would be a full license with TESOL as the subject area, not just a

If it is within your power to get a state-issued teaching certification, get it! It will open up many doors for you in the public / private school system. I would go for the math as well as English option, as from our experience, getting state-certified math teachers is always challenging. If you’re going to work in the public school system, you are most likely going to be teaching English.

A few benefits of working as a certified teacher, as opposed to a cram school teacher:

  • salaried position, as opposed to an hourly pay (hooray! paid typhoon days)

  • paid vacation days

  • usually return airfare included in contract

  • guaranteed bonuses (Chinese New Year, completion, re-signing)

  • no need to do the health check to get your work permit

Ah, yes, well, buxiban teachers also have paid vacation days and annual bonuses by law, not to mention typhoon days if they’re on monthly salaries (it’s possible). Unfortunately, respect for the law is not what buxibans are known for. :frowning_face:

I got my my alternative teaching license and that allowed me to work in public schools. Those jobs are much better when compared to cram school jobs. They have yearly bonuses, long (unpaid) vacations, and better hours. I have a TESOL endorsement on top of my license and that helps in the classroom but its not nearly as valuable as the license. I find it surprising that you could get an alternative license in less than a year. What state are you in?

I am in Colorado. There are alternative teacher programs for people who
already have a degree. These generally take about a year from what I have
seen. I am also looking at the Teacher Ready program, which is appealing
since it is more time flexible. The actual date we move is somewhat
flexible as well.

I keep seeing “certification” and “license” used interchangeably here. What are the differences vis a vis teaching in public schools in Taiwan?

I saw a website about teaching certificates, not TOEFL or anything like that, but actual teaching of standard courses. They said they only offer certification, and not licensing since that is the responsibility of what ever locale you are in. They required a background check and two exams via Pearsons. Would the powers that be in Taiwan accept something like this? What about a substitute teacher license?
Are foreigners allowed to teach anything other than ESL in public schools here? My BA English does not qualify me to teach math, but my question is in general.

my understanding is people here have meant license is a certification issued by a state to allow to teach in the state. if the certification is not issued by a state, taiwanese MOE wouldn’t recognize it. Iirc, a substitute teacher license is usually ok, unless the license says you can only teach at a specific school or for a short limited period.

in usually public school, it may be just ESL. In some schools with special English program, you may teach art, music, science, social science too.

just as a note, at this moment, you cannot get a work permit as a grade school teacher with a full teacher license with TESOL as the subject area.

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Hey, thanks!

I worked in a school (not the buxiban variety) without a teaching license and with only an associates, but then again I have a JFRV. I imagine having a Bachelor’s and a Teaching License would make you a pretty attractive candidate actual schools (private/public/international). For example when I got my bachelor’s the school offered to up my salary.

I’m currently not working (fortunately wife’s family is fairly well off and she makes enough for both of us anyhow) but I am considering getting a license just so I can go back if I ever want.

Teaching certificate/diploma plus TEFL and TESOL with a bachelor degree.