Teach Abroad

How Much Can You Earn Teaching English in Thailand?

Learn all about the salary and benefits you can expect teaching English in Thailand.

How Much Can You Earn Teaching English in Thailand?

Bustling cities, shimmering golden temples, towering northern mountains, and picturesque southern beaches: Thailand is a destination that will cling to your heart and incite never-ending wanderlust. But you don’t have to make your visit fleeting, especially if you’re an English teacher living in the land of smiles!

But, you’re probably wondering just how much money you can make teaching English in Thailand. You might want to know whether it allows you to live comfortably or save up, and how the cost of living matches up with the salary for English teachers in Thailand. We’ve got all the answers and insight from current and former teachers in Thailand, so read on to find out!

How much money can you make teaching English in Thailand?

The average monthly salary for English teachers in Thailand will typically vary from around $915 to $1,300 USD for first-time teachers. Teachers with higher-level teaching or TEFL qualifications and more teaching experience can expect to earn around $1,500 to $2,500 USD per month depending on their school type and location.

While it isn’t the highest-paying destination for teachers abroad, Thailand still ranks as one of the best countries for teaching English abroad. The low cost of living means that teaching English in Thailand offers a fantastic lifestyle in a dreamlike destination.

Teachers may earn a higher salary in Bangkok than in other areas, but they’ll also have to factor in an increased cost of living. Areas in the north such as Chiang Mai and the northeast (Isaan) in particular typically offer lower salaries but also have lower costs of living.

However, while the location’s cost of living is a relevant factor, the type of school you teach English in will have a major influence on your Thailand teacher salary, too.

Read more: The Best Countries for Teaching English Abroad

Public schools

Students writing on a whiteboard in Thailand

💰 Average monthly salary: $915 - $1,100 USD
Common benefits: Accommodation (or accommodation allowance), health insurance
Work hours per week: 16 to 25 hours
📝 Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, TEFL certificate, native or near-native English proficiency

Working at a public school is one of the most common options when it comes to teaching English in Thailand. At a public school, teachers will lead classrooms of around 20-30 students and teach general English communication skills. English teachers at Thai public schools don’t bear heavy workloads when compared to other schools in Thailand, and this is reflected in their salary.

Language academies

💰 Average monthly salary: $650-$1,300 USD
Common benefits: Flexible schedule
Work hours per week: 15 - 25 hours
📝 Requirements: TEFL certificate, native or near-native English proficiency

Working at language academies after school or on the weekends entails teaching students, business professionals, and hobbyists who want to improve their English skills outside of school or work hours.

While English teachers in Thailand can direct their entire focus towards working at language academies, it is also an excellent way to supplement your income in addition to your contracted teaching job.

Most language academies have erratic schedules with classes on evenings, nights, and weekends to accommodate the children or business professionals you are teaching. Class sizes are typically smaller, with around 10 students per class. These schools usually have limited benefits and little vacation time.

Private schools

How Much Can You Earn Teaching English in Thailand?: Private Bilingual Schools

💰 Average monthly salary: $1,500 and $2,500 USD
Common benefits: Health insurance, reimbursed airfare
Work hours per week: 40 hours
📝 Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, TEFL certificate, native or near-native English proficiency

Private schools are often used to working with foreign teachers and will be more accommodating to cultural differences. Teachers working at private schools in Thailand will typically receive a higher salary than those at public schools, and this is because the parents are paying for their children’s education. This also means that responsibilities may be greater due to the higher expectations of parents.

International schools

💰 Average monthly salary: $2,500 - $5,000 USD
Common benefits: Health insurance, reimbursed airfare, accommodation allowance
Work hours per week: 40+ hours
📝 Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, teaching license from your home country, native English proficiency

Working at an international school in Thailand often grants English teachers the highest salary and the most benefits out of all the school types. English teachers at Thai international schools will have higher levels of responsibilities and administrative duties when it comes to teaching, but this is reflected clearly in their salary.

Jobs for international schools are highly competitive due to their excellent salary and benefits. Many of the students at international schools are the children of expats who work in Thailand. These parents pay sizable tuition for their children to have access to high-quality English education so teachers are expected to be qualified.

Read More: What are the Requirements to Teach English Abroad?

Cost of living in Thailand

Thai sunset

You might not be surprised to hear that the cost of living in Thailand is significantly lower than in western countries, with Bangkok being around 70-80% cheaper than London and New York. While salaries may be lower in Thailand, the low cost of living allows you to lead a more than comfortable life.

However, you must take into consideration where you’ll be teaching in Thailand.

Here are some average monthly cost of living (including housing) figures for popular teaching areas in Thailand:

  • Bangkok: $800 - $1,100 USD
  • Chiang Mai: $600 - $800 USD
  • Phuket: $1,100 USD
  • Isaan: $500 - $600 USD

Source: Numbeo

The biggest difference I noticed right away was the difference in accommodation and eating out - which are huge aspects of your budget - Teacher Molly

How to save money while living in Thailand

Bangkok streets

Teaching English in Thailand can offer you an excellent lifestyle, however, it may not be the answer if you are an entry-level teacher who’s solely focused on growing your savings. While Thailand certainly boasts a low cost of living, the English teacher’s salary and benefits are far less than teaching English in Japan, China, or South Korea, for example.

If you want to pay off student loans or other debt in addition to saving up while teaching in Thailand, it may be worth looking into upskilling in order to find positions in higher-paying schools. English teachers in Thailand who are highly qualified can certainly save up money working at international schools, but they have invested the money, time, and effort into obtaining reputable qualifications such as a teaching license, CELTA, Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), and so on.

I would eat out every day, often go away on the weekends and would still have money to spare at the end of the month. - Teacher Aled

Depending on their location, entry-level teachers can expect to save around $500 USD per month if they are frugal, whereas more experienced teachers can save around $1,000 per month.

Read more: What’s the Difference Between CELTA and TEFL?

Top money-saving tips

While Thailand certainly caters to foreign teachers who seek modern amenities, comfortable accommodation, and a lavish lifestyle, it also caters to the frugal English teacher. You can certainly save up money if you opt for a more modest lifestyle which is as equally as enriching.

  • Opt for a humble abode: While there are luxurious apartments across Thailand, you’ll save much more money opting for something more modest. And let’s face it, with the sun and a plethora of fabulous food options, you won’t be spending much time in your accommodation! You can find plenty of nice housing at very low costs ranging from $200 to $500 per month.
  • Find a housemate: Rent takes up a huge chunk of your budget, but finding a housemate can decrease your bills significantly. If you are teaching in Thailand with a friend, this is a good opportunity to decrease costs. Teachers and expats alike move in and out of Thailand frequently, making it viable to find roommates on expat forums if you so wish.
  • Eat out: Food is not only delicious but extremely cheap in Thailand, and it is even cheaper to eat out instead of cooking your own food. Street food stalls and markets are aplenty, so you’ll have an abundance of cheap yet heavenly eateries at your disposal.
  • Give private lessons: There will be many students, young and old, who want to learn English from a fluent speaker like yourself. Teaching private lessons, as long as it does not break any rules in your work contract, is an excellent way to supplement your income.
  • Be willing to barter: Many things are negotiable in Thailand, when it comes to renting a motorbike, buying food at your local market, or negotiating a gym membership. While some companies may flat-out refuse to compromise, you can barter significantly at markets in order to minimize costs for food, clothes, household items, and more.
  • Use a taxi app: Download a licensed taxi app such as Grab or Bolt onto your phone before you arrive. Since you are foreign, rogue taxi drivers may try to increase taxi rates wherever they can. By downloading a licensed app, you will not only get cheap taxis and fixed fares but also licensed drivers.

If you ate local food, you could get a really good meal for around £1 - £2 GBP or $1.20 - $2.50 USD. - Teacher Aled

Are English teachers in demand in Thailand?

While Thailand is a popular destination for teachers and expats, there is still a strong demand for English teachers in Thailand. There are many reasons for this.

Thailand’s tourism and hospitality sector is enormous and requires English speakers to cater to the major influx of travelers and expats. Bangkok is an economic and business hub, and English is seen as the business language or “lingua franca” of the world. Furthermore, there are areas in the north and northeast in particular where the level of English is considerably low, and Thailand’s Ministry of Education is determined to improve this.

How can I get a job teaching English in Thailand?

Thai school ceremony

There are many ways you can get a job teaching English in Thailand. Fortunately, you don’t have to go anywhere, as you can find employment as an English teacher in Thailand from the comfort of your own home!

You can find a job teaching English in Thailand independently by visiting job boards online online, where you’ll be able to apply directly to schools. Or, you can find teaching programs in Thailand right here on GO.

Typically, a TEFL program will support you with your TEFL training, job placement, visa process, accommodation, and more. Finding an independent job may allow you to find a position that boasts a higher Thailand teacher salary, however, vacancies are more competitive and you’ll have to invest more time and effort to find the right job for you. Teaching programs cut out the extra leg work and help you find reputable positions.

Read more: How to Get an ESL Teaching Job in Thailand


Teach English in the land of smiles!

From the busy streets of Bangkok to the temple-lined alleys of Chiang Mai, there is so much to offer a teacher in Thailand. If you're looking for beautiful weather, a decent salary, and an easy pace of life, Thailand is the perfect country for you to teach abroad. While entry-level teachers may receive a lower salary when compared to other TEFL locations, the low cost of living can make up for this by allowing you to live a more than comfortable life.

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