Dr Tan was a secondary school Chinese Language teacher for more than ten years before being posted to the Curriculum Development Institute of Singapore (CDIS) to design and develop curriculum. From 1996 to 1999, she was a Senior Head in the Educational Technology Division (ETD). In 2000, she was appointed as Head of Department, Mother Tongue language at Greenview Secondary School, followed by a secondment to the National Institute of Education (NIE) as a Lecturer. She was appointed as Head of Secondary Chinese Language Unit, MOE from 2008-2014. Under her leadership, 120 titles for 5 Chinese Language courses were published during the period 2010 to 2014.
She joined NIE, Asian Languages and Cultures Academic Group as a Lecturer in Jan 2016.