Dreaming of teaching English in Thailand? With a thriving tourism industry and a burgeoning desire for English proficiency among the locals, the need for skilled ESL instructors there has never been greater. So, if you like the idea of teaching abroad in a country with picturesque beaches, lush rainforests, and an internationally acclaimed gastronomic scene, come and teach English in Thailand.
Read on to learn where you can teach, what sort of salary to expect, and how to get a job teaching English in Thailand.
There are numerous avenues to explore if you want to teach English in Thailand. One way is to apply for a teaching position with a private language school. These private institutions typically require their teachers to have a TESOL, CELTA, or TEFL certification. Another popular option is to find employment at a public school.
Alternatively, you can opt to offer private English lessons to families and businesses. Large companies often look for private teachers to teach their employees how to speak English. So, whether you want something short-term or plan on making a career of teaching English as a foreign language in Thailand there is something for you.
Bangkok alone has dozens of private language schools that offer teaching jobs to native speakers who can teach English. This is a great place to start your job hunt. You can also find numerous language schools in other big cities like Chiang Mai and Phuket.
While most language schools do not require their teachers to have a bachelor's degree, your chances of getting a position in these schools are better if you do. And, you will need to have a TEFL certification.
Teaching English at a public school in Thailand is highly sought-after since it offers a normal work schedule. Your teaching hours will generally not go over 22 hours a week. Plus, the job usually comes with a housing stipend, allowance, national insurance, regular holidays, and paid vacation. That sounds good to me! However, they can be more difficult to land than other teaching posts.
Many Thai public schools require their English teachers to have a TEFL, CELTA, or TESOL certification and at least some prior teaching experience. Note that not all public schools require this so it is better to check the schools' requirements carefully before applying.
International schools in Thailand are mainly aimed at children of expats and offer a foreign curriculum or an international curriculum. Teaching jobs in private schools offer more lucrative salaries and more stable job prospects since the requirements are a lot stricter.
Beyond the TEFL certifications and teaching experience, most schools require that the applicants have a bachelor's degree in teaching and be licensed teachers in their home country. A few even require post-graduate degrees in education.
For teachers who are seeking long-term employment, teaching jobs at a University in Thailand are the ideal option. Besides the more formal setting of teaching university students, the teaching jobs here come with benefits like retirement plans and health care coverage. One downside to seeking a teaching contract from a university is that finding teaching jobs can take some time and have stricter requirements.
If you are determined to teach abroad but don't want to teach in schools, you can always offer to give private tutoring. You’ll need to teach individuals or groups in their homes or offices. You can also offer to hold the classes in your residence. This path is quite popular among expats and digital nomads who don't want to teach English in Thai schools and would rather handle smaller groups or even individuals.
What you will earn will depend on where you teach, the age of your students, and the size of your class. But on average, a native speaker can expect to earn from 30,000 (approx. $900 USD) to 50,000 Baht (approx. $1400) a month. Most teachers from private language schools, universities, and international institutions earn more than that.
The English teacher’s salary in Thailand can be considered average compared to what you can earn in other professions, but the work is not too stressful and the cost of living is very low. You will find yourself living comfortably in this country on a teacher's salary.
Additionally, companies typically give exceptional employees a bonus of up to 20% of their monthly salary. You will receive this bonus if you pass the review at the end of every contract period. The longer you stay with the company, the higher the bonus.
Since there are a variety of teaching jobs you can take in Thailand, the requirements are varied as well. However, there are several basic qualifications that you must have to qualify for most teaching posts.
While you are not legally obliged to hold a certificate to teach English, having a TESOL, CELTA, or TEFL certificate will give you a better chance of getting hired. Some schools will also require it.
According to teachers who have gone through recruitment processes to teach abroad in Thailand, most schools in the country pick the TEFL certification over the others. You can take an online TEFL course to gain an advantage before you travel there.
For a non-native English speaker, you will need a 5+ IELTS score or a 600+ on your TOEIC. Again, this is not a standard requirement for English teaching jobs, but it will help convince your future employer of your competence in speaking and teaching the language.
Having a bachelor's degree is one of the requirements that you need to qualify for the non-immigrant B visa which allows you to apply for a Thai work permit. The Department of Labor may ask you to present the original copy of your degree or diploma so make sure that you have your copy on hand. If you don't have a degree and still want to work in Thailand, it might be worth checking out one of the volunteer programs.
As with many other jobs, you will be required to submit a copy of your Criminal Background Check certificate from your country of origin. This is a requirement for getting the Thai Teaching License.
Teaching English in Thailand is a great opportunity and there is always high demand for native English speakers. Let's take a look at some of the most popular locations:
The best place to look for work teaching English in Thailand is in Bangkok. The thriving capital boasts a number of public and international schools. Positions in Bangkok also offer higher pay since the cost of living there is also a little higher than in other Thai cities. Living in Bangkok may seem a little hectic in the beginning, but it will become easier as soon as you get used to the transport systems and get to know the local places. Plus, it's an incredibly vibrant city!
If the bustling life in Bangkok is too fast for you, you may want to consider Phuket. Phuket combines the best of city and island life that showcase Thai culture. It houses many public schools and private institutions that need teachers so there are plenty of opportunities there.
The cost of living in Phuket is still higher than in other parts of Thailand, but the stunning beaches, top shopping centers, and interesting local markets more than make up for it.
If you are somebody who needs to be at the beach every weekend, you can try your luck finding a teaching position in Krabi Town. It has numerous private and public schools and a handful of international schools. Securing a job here should be doable if you have the right qualifications. The town is small but it has all the amenities that tourists and travelers look for.
For the more adventurous teachers who enjoy trekking, Chiang Mai may be the place for you. It boasts a range of jungles and mountains for you to explore when you are not teaching or lesson planning. The salary is quite low in Chiang Mai but the cost of living here is significantly lower as well.
There are several ways to find a teaching job in Thailand. Perhaps the easiest way is to apply through an agency or TEFL course provider. This comes with guaranteed job placement and typically includes a TEFL certification, housing, and other perks.
If you don’t want to pay extra to be placed by an agency, you can also hunt for jobs on your own by contacting the schools in the city where you want to visit or by checking TEFL job boards by looking for Thailand English teaching jobs. This is cheaper but will take more time and effort.
For English teaching jobs in public schools in Thailand, the application period is between February and March. However, most private language schools are open to applicants from English teachers throughout the year. It is best to check the institution’s website or contact the offices directly to find out when is the best time to send your application.
You can look for and secure a job teaching English without entering the country by checking out "teach abroad program" posts. Many schools post openings online through their websites. There are also numerous teaching job boards and online forums for those planning to teach abroad that you can visit.
Once you find a reputable institution, send your resume or CV along with any supporting documents that are requested. Expect to be asked for your references. The application process can take from two weeks to a few months.
You will need a non-immigrant B visa to teach English in Thailand if you are not a Thai national. To qualify for one, you will need a letter of acceptance from the institution that hired you. The school should help you secure the necessary documents and apply on your behalf.
Once the process is ongoing, you will need to get background checks done via a reputable agency in Thailand. The certificate will be submitted to the Thai Ministry of Education. Note that this process can take anywhere from a month to three months. Your employer or agency that you are using should be able to guide you with this.
Once all your documents (visa, TEFL certification, passport, etc.) are in order, you can start hunting for accommodation and packing for your trip.
The Thais are generally welcoming of foreigners and that is one of the reasons why their country is popular among those who dream of teaching abroad. English teachers are well respected in Thailand and you can expect great treatment from the local teachers and the community at large. They know and appreciate that you are helping Thai students improve their English communication skills.
Students, especially those at the elementary level, are always excited to learn to speak English. They are friendly and want to show off their newly learned words as much as possible. Expect your classroom to be noisy at all times.
Teachers should encourage their students to speak up. Do not be surprised if any of your students engage you in friendly debates over various topics. However, it is also important for you to maintain discipline and follow protocols inside the classroom.
Adapting to different cultures is an important skill if you dream of teaching abroad. The people in Thailand are mostly warm and welcoming. The Thai culture and lifestyle is laid back. However, there are some things that you should remember to live harmoniously with the Thais.
Using the wai is a show of respect. The Thais use this as a greeting, show of apology, and sign of gratitude. You must always return the gesture.
You do the wai by putting your palms together in front of your chest. Allow your hands to touch your chest then bow your head until your nose touches your index fingers.
Women in Thailand tend to dress on the conservative side, especially in professional settings. They often wear knee-length skirts or dresses when teaching. Men are expected to wear pants (or trousers if you're from the UK!), collared shirts, and black shoes. Teachers are normally not allowed to wear jeans in school.
Meetings in schools often start late. If you are the facilitator of a meeting in your institution, this is something you should take into consideration. But you should still arrive on time to remain professional.
Do not sit down or kneel where your head will be lower than that of your student. The head is seen as a sacred body part, and you might make your student feel uncomfortable if you do so.
Most schools hold a small flag-raising ceremony in the mornings at eight. It is advisable that you attend these ceremonies unless your school supervisor tells you that you do not need to.
The country’s National Anthem is played every 8 am and 6 pm. You should stop what you are doing and stand still for the entire duration of the song.
The pay for English teaching jobs is more than sufficient to live on in Thailand. Compared to neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, the cost of living in Thailand is quite low. Even if you were to receive the minimum wage (16,000 Baht), you would be able to live decently. Given that the average salary of an English teacher is almost double that, it is safe to say that one can live comfortably in this country.
However, if you want to experience some luxuries such as traveling to other parts of the country or eating out at fine restaurants, you should look for a teaching position that offers around 30,000 Baht or more.
Expect to spend about $190 to $350 monthly on food, $60 to $190 on transportation, and up to $100 on entertainment. How much you need will depend on your lifestyle and living preferences.
Thailand is a wonderful place, and it has so much to offer its visitors. The country is blessed with insanely beautiful landscapes, incredibly tasty food, and the most welcoming people. You will never run out of things to see and do if you decide to teach in Thailand.
The weather is always pleasant so it’s not unusual for people to want to stay outside. It’s sunny almost all year round so coats and bulky jeans are not needed here.
Besides the sights, food, people, and weather, the country also boasts a rich heritage. Everywhere you turn, you can see part of its history and culture. Each corner has a Buddhist temple. You might even spot a monk or two on the bus.
With the country’s continuing development, it is experiencing an influx of tourists and foreign businesses. Consequently, speaking in English is becoming more and more important to the Thais.
The demand for teachers who are native English speakers is therefore growing with the average salary reaching as high as $1,400 USD a month. Combined with a low cost of living, TEFL teachers can earn enough to enjoy their lives and live it up in Thailand. So, if you're interested in teaching English abroad, why not come to Thailand?