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Above: East Gate Elementary School in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

Qualifications to Teach

What degrees do I need to have?

All positions require at least a bachelors degree. Bring a very good copy of your diploma or bring your actual diploma like me. A copy of your diploma is needed when your employer applies for your work visa. Unfortunately, I did run into a few situations where some “teachers” had diplomas from obvious “diploma mills”. Be honest with yourself and with your future employers, don’t misrepresent your educational qualifications.

How can I teach at a University or College?

All positions at universities or colleges require graduate degrees. A Masters or Doctoral degree is required, preferably in English. Besides teaching a few classes her eand there, I never met an English teacher who transitioned from working at language schools to a full time position in a college or university.

Are there other qualifications I need to have?

A cursory search on teaching English abroad invaribly leads to search results dealing with Certification as a "Teacher of English as a Second Language" or TESL for short.

There is no one authoritative body that governs TESL certification, so each website/company is basically setting their own standards for certification. This means that the variety and quality of certification is different with each program. While applying for jobs in Taiwan, I did not have a certification and I was able to find a job. Some schools ask for it, some don't.

If you have time before you go to Taiwan, certification may be a worthwhile thing to do. It would make you more competitive for hiring and may make you stand out among the other applicants applying for the job.

Do I need a teaching certificate?

You do not need to have teaching certification. I was never certified in anything and had no problem finding a job.

Do I need to speak Chinese?

Not at all! In fact, the owners of some schools prefer you not to speak Chinese so as to give the students the full experience.

What other skills may be beneficial to teaching in Taiwan?

You have to be able to speak clearly and communicate effectively. Being able to draw helps too. I tried to avoid just translating the word when students asked me what something meant - therefore I resorted to drawing figures. Also, you have to be organized, I had many private students, classes and other classes at companies. It's important to keep all your teaching stuff organized. Finally, you need to think on your feet. Sometimes you have to explain something that you would never really wonder about in English. Also, sometimes you plan activities for your class, but only receive a lukewarm reception to this activity, you need to think on your feet for something else to do during class.