Teach English in Thailand

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  • About

    Although not quite as popular as nearby South Korea and neighbor China for teaching English abroad, Thailand has nonetheless caught up in terms of being a great place to teach in Asia over the past decade.

    A hot, tropical climate (which some people love...), friendly people, and a high but affordable quality of life have all added to the attractiveness as Thailand for ESL teachers.

    If you're interested in teaching abroad in Thailand, read on for the low-down on teacher salaries, visas, and how to find a job.

    Photo Credit: Chelsea Perez
  • Job Types

    Most teachers will end up teaching at either a private language school or a public school. There are also quite a number of opportunities for teaching young learners at preschools.

    The possibility to teach at a university also exists, but isn't quite as common.

    Public Schools

    Most teachers teach in public schools and can expect to receive training from the Thai Ministry of Education. Depending on the region, the resources available could range from limited (in poor areas) to modern. Expect to have many large class sizes (around 50 students in a class) but also expect many days off (2-3 months off fully paid per year).

    The numerous tests Thai students take (4 weeks of testing per year) further cuts into teaching time. While students might normally be stressed over tests, teachers cannot fail any Thai students. If a student fails a test, the student retakes the test until he/she passes.

    Private Language Academies/Schools

    While they were the primary employer of English teachers in the past, the most common employer are now public schools. If you apply for work at a private institution, ask how long they have been in business because many come and go due to the difficult business environment.

    Working in a private language institution can result in a more erratic schedule to accommodate business people (early morning) and students (afternoon and evening). Class sizes are generally small (around 10 students per class).

    Teachers may be able to earn additional income by offering private tutoring to their students for around 300-700 baht/hr but be aware that some contracts prohibit private tutoring and schools will fire teachers for "stealing their customer."

    Universities

    Teaching at a university is highly prestigious and comes with few contact hours (10-12 hours per week). However, the salaries are similar to the salaries of public school teachers and professors must have at least a Bachelor's degree, usually higher. The high prestige allows many professors to obtain other work and supplementary income while teaching at the university.

  • Finding a Job
    When and Where to Look for Jobs

    The Thai school year is composed of two semesters starting May and November respectively. Semester breaks are on April and October. Finding a job in a popular city, such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai, might be difficult due to the competition but otherwise, finding a teaching job in Thailand is fairly easy.

    Private institutions hire year-round but public schools and universities generally recruit teachers from March-May. Schools may also need to hire replacement teachers during the mid-year break in October. You can also look for a job throughout the year but try to avoid looking for one from December-February.

    Qualifications

    A Bachelor's degree in any discipline is required to teach legally in Thailand -- though you can still find jobs or schools willing to work around this if you don't have a degree.

    In the past, this requirement was laxly enforced but the Thai government is enforcing the regulation more strictly. Teachers should bring their actual university diploma to Thailand but should always keep the original copy in their sight. If the school needs to bring the original copy to the Thai government, ask the school official to allow you to accompany him/her.

    Many schools are disorganized and have a tendency to lose important documents. A teaching qualification (such as TEFL) and/or a prior teaching experience is not required but Thai schools give preference to teachers with prior teaching. Thai schools also prefer native English speakers and Caucasians (over Asians and blacks).

    Classroom & Work Culture:
    • When teaching, men should wear long pants (not jeans), a collared shirt and loafers or dress shoes. Black pants and shoes are preferred. Women should make sure to always cover their shoulders.
    • Try to avoid public confrontations and disputes. You don't want to attract the wrath of the spirits. On the other hand, students will rarely say anything bad about their teachers.
    • Thai students are fun but get bored very quickly. Make sure to keep your lessons interesting and informative.
    • In public schools, attend all of the ceremonies throughout the year, even if they are not during school/work hours. Schools want to improve their face by displaying their foreign teachers.
  • Salary & Visa
    Working Visas for Thailand

    Teachers in Thailand will have to obtain a Non Immigrant B Visa before entering Thailand but the provider or school will help you with the process. Then, after arriving Thailand and being granted an initial 90-day stay permit, teachers should apply for a work permit. For more information on obtaining your work permit and your visa as a teacher, we've got a detailed guide on how to teach legally in Thailand.

    Salary & Cost of Living

    With a very low cost of living, teachers can live elegantly in Thailand with a monthly salary of around 16,000-50,000 Baht.

    When not working, teachers can experience the wonders of Thai cuisine, ranging from fried eggs to poached shrimp (always with a side of rice!). Wash it all down with a fresh mango smoothie.

    Teachers will generally find housing by themselves, though some schools might lend assistance. Apartments usually meet Western standards and have air conditioning. Internet might not be available in apartments but are available on campus or internet cafes (for around 60 baht (US $1.50) per hour). You will have to pay for your airfare to Thailand but most schools/providers will reimburse you for your return flight home if you teach in Thailand for at least one year.

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  • Thai Palace
    ITTT TEFL
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    ITTT's in-class TEFL course in Phuket is the ideal location to enter the thriving ESL market in Thailand. This beautiful...
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    BR Language School
    BR Language School is a based 120 kilometers outside of Thailand. We need native English speaking teachers for our English...
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    GeoVisions
    Thailand is a country filled with wonders and beauty. Golden beaches, prowling tigers, ancient cities, amazing culture. But...
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    This program has been rated exceedingly fun by 5+ reviewers.
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    GapForce
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    An epic South East Asian adventure combining an introduction to Thai culture, community projects, working at our Elephant...
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  • Go TEFL Thailand
    UniTEFL.com
    TEFL job in Thailand with full 120-hour training course subsidized by us (worth $1,200). We are looking for ideal teachers...
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  • Teach in Thailand, TEFL Thailand, ESL Jobs Thailand. Teach and Travel
    American TESOL Institute
    A unique opportunity to explore Thailand! Earn while you travel. Jobs in 14 attractive locations in Thailand. Earn US$ 1000...
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  • Teach Away English Teaching Jobs in Thailand
    Teach Away Inc
    Gain valuable teaching and cultural experience in beautiful Thailand. Teach Away recruits teachers throughout the year and...
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    VIA - Volunteers in Asia
    The Global Community Fellowship is a 13-15 month program for young and established professionals. Fellows work at NGOs and...
    4 reviews
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