Guide to TEFL in Thailand
Looking to have the ultimate teach abroad experience in a country rich with culture and amazing natural beauty? Look no further than Thailand. While Asia is one of the hottest regions for ESL teachers in general, there are so many reasons why Thailand, in particular, should be your top pick when it comes to teaching destinations abroad.
In recent years, Thailand has placed an increasing emphasis on the importance of English language learning in classrooms, meaning many more opportunities for native English speaking teachers are opening up throughout the country.
So, if you’re considering teaching English in Thailand for the first time, keep reading to find out the qualifications you’ll need, where the best places are to find work, and what you’ll need to get your visa in order.
What types of English teaching jobs are available in Thailand?
There are a few different options. Most positions are as ESL instructors in private language institutes or English teachers at private international schools.
While it is technically possible for overseas teachers to land a job teaching at a Thai public school, these positions are usually reserved for certified teachers with a wealth of teaching experience behind them.
Where exactly can I teach English in Thailand?
The majority of jobs for ESL teachers in Thailand are in larger cities such as Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Bangkok is the capital and economic hub and a popular choice for ESL teachers wanting to live in a modern, metropolitan city. Chiang Mai is northern Thailand’s major city, and has many opportunities for teachers.
If you feel the need to escape to a more remote and tropical teaching destination, the islands of Phuket and Phi Phi offer more and more opportunities for teachers wanting to work in Thailand. Phi Phi is known for its amazing beaches and relaxed island living and also has a low cost of living, making it easy to live comfortably on a teacher’s salary with some basic budgeting and planning.
Due in large part to their popularity, larger cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai have a more competitive job market for English teaching positions. It is possible to land a teaching job in the more rural areas of the country, but these positions are less common for teachers coming from abroad.
Do I need a degree to teach English in Thailand?
If you want to teach English in Thailand, you’ll need a Bachelor’s degree, but don’t worry about your major – all fields are considered for ESL teaching positions.
To teach in a private or international school, educators will need to be a licensed teacher in their home country and hold some teaching experience. International schools will usually teach a North American or British curriculum and will want to hire experienced teachers to teach a variety of English-medium subjects, not just ESL.
Do I need a TEFL qualification to teach English in Thailand?
Having a TEFL certificate will definitely set you apart from other candidates. The demand for TEFL-qualified teachers in Thailand is increasing by the day and, as a result, a TEFL certification is quickly becoming more and more of a minimum requirement for many hiring schools.
It is important to be aware that there is no central accreditation body for TEFL. Choosing a TEFL course through a trusted academic provider, such as a university with a specialization in education and foreign language teaching can go a long way in ensuring your TEFL certification will be recognized and trusted by potential employers in Thailand.
Do I need to have experience to teach English in Thailand?
Due to the popularity of Thailand, having previous teaching experience in your home country is becoming more of a necessity in order to land a job in an international school. Positions in ESL schools are great options for recent college grads, as the only requirements are a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate. Previous teaching experience is not usually required!
What are the visa requirements to teach English in Thailand?
Thailand has specific requirements for expat teachers. If you do receive a job offer you will need to apply for a visa in order to enter the country.
Teachers must first obtain a non-immigrant B visa, which you apply for before entering Thailand. Once you’ve obtained your B visa, you can then enter Thailand and apply for a work permit. This may be a lengthy process, but it will be worth it. Your employer should also be willing to help you with this process. Schools that frequently hire teachers from overseas will play a role in assisting you with your visa paperwork, making the process much easier.
What’s the best way to find English teaching work in Thailand?
Going through a recruitment agency is, by far, the best way to get hired for teaching jobs in Thailand. Ensure before you jump on board that the agency you choose to work with is reputable and works with well-established school. Beware of job recruitment agencies that charge teachers fees for placement; this is a red flag and legitimate agencies will not do this.
When is the best time of year to look for English teaching jobs in Thailand?
The best time to find a job is usually at the beginning and the end of each school semester. Peak hiring occurs around mid-April to May and again between October and November. Job openings for English teachers are generally quite common during these times, so it is best to try to schedule your job hunt around the school calendar.
How much money can I make teaching English in Thailand?
Although salaries for ESL teachers in Thailand can be lower than teaching salaries back home, this is balanced by the low cost of living throughout the country. Teachers can expect to earn around $1000 – 1200 USD per month, which is more than enough to live a comfortable lifestyle with basic Western necessities.
Teachers may not be able to apply a large portion of their salary towards high-end travel plans or massive student loans, but traveling within Thailand or to neighboring countries and saving a decent nest egg for your return home is more than achievable with some careful planning.
How many hours a week will I work teaching English in Thailand?
Teachers working in Thailand can expect to work anywhere from 35 to 40 hours a week, five days a week. This includes classroom hours and time for preparing lesson plans.
What kind of benefits do English teachers in Thailand get?
Benefits can vary depending on the job position and individual school. Generally, private international schools will provide teachers with the most competitive benefits packages, including health insurance and paid sick days. It’s also becoming more common for public government schools to offer their foreign teachers some form of healthcare insurance.
Looking to teach abroad in a country with great weather, friendly locals and a well-established market for ESL teachers? Thailand may just be the right place for you to start your English teaching adventure in Asia!
Still mulling your options over? If you’re feeling unsure about how to jump start your teach abroad job search, check out this free guide to teaching abroad, created by ESL job experts from Teach Away and the University of Toronto TEFL Online.