Postings are starting to appear about teaching at universities in Taiwan. Most of what you will see will be negative. Some of them will be factually inaccurate, perhaps even based on heresy, rather than the authours personal experience teaching. The university teaching situation in Taiwan is complex and full of difficulties, but it is certainly not without hope.
Most positions for English teachers in Taiwan are offered by private universities. Some of these schools are quite poor and lack adequate resources to support classes. These schools are generally, but not exclusively, found outside Taipei. Many of these rural schools have never employed foreign teachers before, and, as a result, don’t know how to manage them adequately.
Another problem is that of your employment status at the school. Teachers in Taiwan can be either staff or faculty teachers. Faculty teachers have been certified by the Ministry of Education (MOE) as qualified to teach in the ROC. While faculty conditions vary from school to school, contracts are generally based on the model that the Ministry uses to employ teachers in the national university system. Staff positions are usually filled with local instructors, and if you end up in one of these, you get what you get.
Many of the positions that you will see being called ‘university teaching’ are not faculty positions. Some of them are not even staff positions. Some universities use agents to find teachers for their classes. These would be the worst positions in terms of quality, support and compensation.
While you will hear talk that schools want PhDs, this is not completely correct – a master’s level degree is often sufficient for the positiosn available at private universities. To qualify for a full-time faculty position, you must be certified by the MOE. You must hold a master’s level degree that was earned in residence at an accredited university. There are many high quality distance degrees available these days. Such degrees are not recognized by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan.
Your master’s degree can be in any discipline to qualify for MOE certification, but don’t let talk about how the subject of your study doesn’t matter. It is a significant advantage to have an MA in TESOL, education or another related discipline when applying for positions.
There are many high quality schools that employ MA holders as full-time faculty. Some postings appear in the English newspapers. You can find others posted on ESLResearcher and the Chronicle of Higher Education. I continue to hold the belief that the best employer of foreign faculty in Taiwan is Ming Chuan University in Taipei. I am biased, of course, since that’s where I teach. Other schools that employ foreign teachers are Kaohsiung Medical University, Chung Tai University of Technology and Shih Chien University.