Guide to teaching English in Thailand
Known to be the most visited country in Southeast Asia for tourism, teachers in Thailand can explore dense jungles and beautiful beaches, enjoy world-class shopping, and admire stunning architecture. No matter your budget, there is something for you to take part in Thailand.
As the country is experiencing a boom in tourism and education, teaching English in Thailand has grown in popularity. Though the average salary for teaching in Thailand is $945 - $1,481 USD per month, the low cost of living and excellent benefits such as housing allowances and health insurance can allow teachers to make money while getting to experience all of what Thailand has to offer!
Interested in teaching English in Thailand? We’ve got you covered! Keep reading to learn more about teaching jobs, average salaries and benefits, and how to get a teaching job in Thailand.
Types of Teaching Jobs in Thailand
Private language schools
These are usually available in big cities and tourist spots. However, you may have to have a TEFL certificate or degree to get a job here.
If you don't have an education background, this is your best option for finding work quickly.
These positions are often higher-paying than others, but they require that you earn the right qualifications first. They're also more competitive because there's more demand for them among expats and locals alike.
Universities and colleges
If you're looking for something more long-term with benefits like health care coverage and retirement plans, this could be your option! The downsides are that finding one with openings might take some time, and university teaching positions tend to be harder to get because of stricter qualifications.
You assist the lead teacher by helping with activities, grading papers, tests, etc., while learning from their experience and observing their techniques.
You’ll teach one or more students in your own home or theirs in private lessons. This is a popular option for expats who don't want to work with large groups and can offer small classes individually.
Average salary and benefits
Teaching English in Thailand is a great way to earn a living and have fun at the same time. Thailand has a national minimum wage of 16,000 baht per month (approximately $500 USD). However, teachers who work for large private language schools and international school chains will earn significantly more than that. The average teacher salary for native speakers ranges from 30,000 baht ($945 USD) to 50,000 baht ($1,481 USD) per month, depending on the location and age of the students.
Common teacher benefits
As an English teacher in Thailand, you can expect to receive benefits like:
- An average monthly salary of 30,000 baht (about $1,300) or more
- One-time allowance of 10,000 baht (about $300)
- Free housing and utilities paid by your employer
As with most jobs in Thailand, companies usually offer a bonus of 15-20% of your monthly salary at the end of each contract period if you pass their review successfully. This bonus can go up to 30% if you're working on a long-term contract or have many years of experience!
Cost of living in Thailand
The cost of living in Thailand is relatively low compared to other countries. You can live on a shoestring budget, but if you want to enjoy some of the finer things in life – like eating out at restaurants and traveling around the country –you might need to earn more than $1,000 USD per month. The following is an estimation of how much it will cost you to live per month, based on your personal preferences and lifestyle:
- Food: $190-$350 USD/month (depending on eating habits)
- Transportation (public or private): $58-$188 USD/month
- Entertainment (movies, bars/clubs, etc.): $13-91 USD/month
Finding housing in Thailand can be a little tricky. However, with the help of some resources and tips, you should be able to find suitable accommodation for your needs. Here are some steps to follow:
- Contact friends or family members who have lived here before; they may be able to provide insight into the best places for finding affordable housing options.
- Your school will likely have the best connections, so ask them for advice.
- Local expats will know the market and can help you negotiate a good deal.
Where to teach English in Thailand
Bangkok is one of the most popular cities to teach English in Thailand due to its size, affordability, and public transport links. Schools hire teachers on a short-term basis, so it's easy to come here for a few months before moving on elsewhere. Teachers can live cheaply by sharing an apartment or house with other teachers or renting alone.
Chiang Mai is located north and has become increasingly popular among expats seeking longer-term positions. There are plenty of opportunities for teaching jobs here, but you'll need at least some conversational Thai language skills since many schools require native speakers. It's not as cheap as Bangkok, but there are many other benefits, such as being closer to nature!
Phuket is an island with an international airport and plenty of tourist opportunities. Some of the best things about Phuket are its white-sand beaches, traditional markets, and local food. You might also want to visit nearby islands like Koh Phi Phi or Koh Tao, where there are beautiful lagoons and coral reefs with lots of marine life.
If you're after something closer to nature and beaches, there’s plenty of options on islands off Thailand's west coasts like Koh Samui or Koh Phangan. For those seeking solitude away from crowds, consider venturing north into Isaan!
How to get a job teaching English in Thailand
There are many options for finding a job teaching English in Thailand. The most common way is through an agency, often offering TEFL certification, living accommodations, and other perks. You can also find jobs on your own by contacting schools directly, but this requires more time and effort.
When to apply
To get a teaching job in Thailand, you'll need to apply during the application season. This is typically between February and March each year. However, it's always best to check with the school or organization you're applying with before applying.
The application process
You can look for a job in Thailand without even visiting the country by perusing Go Overseas teach in Thailand programs and teaching job board. You can also look at online teaching job boards like Ajarn and connect with other teachers through forums and social media.
You'll submit a CV or resume and recent photos and transcripts from your degree program with most agencies, if applicable. If you're applying directly to a school without an agency intermediary, expect to provide similar information and examples of previous work or references.
The application process can take anywhere from two weeks to several months, depending on how quickly they respond. Therefore, it's best to allow at least four weeks for them to review your application before following up. If needed, you may also be asked for additional materials such as transcripts or reference letters, so make sure you have those ready.
Qualifications vary depending on which school offers your position; however, most employers look for candidates with:
- An undergraduate degree from an accredited university
- Some experience working with children or young adults
- Teaching experience and training – such as TEFL certification (often, but not always required)
- Good written and verbal communication skills because they will be dealing with students directly through these mediums, most often during work hours
Obtaining a work visa
If you are from a country not part of the European Union, you'll need to get a non-immigrant B visa. This is for people who live in Thailand temporarily for educational purposes or business meetings. You will also need a letter of acceptance from your school to apply for a work permit. Your school will help you with this process because they are the ones who sponsor your employment and file everything with the Thai government on your behalf.
The next step is getting background checks done by an authorized agency in Thailand and submitting it all to the Ministry of Education and your application forms. This can take anywhere between one month to three months, depending on how fast they move through their backlogs.
What it’s like to live & teach English in Thailand
Thai culture is a perfect blend between modernity and tradition. You can be at a restaurant eating Pad Thai or drinking beer from the same brand as you would back home, but also watch monks walking through town with their robes on. People are generally amicable and welcome foreigners. The cost of living is relatively low compared to other developed countries, so you get more bang for your buck!
Classrooms are generally noisy places with lots of laughter and talking back and forth between students and teachers. It is not uncommon for students to argue with their teachers about various topics, including schoolwork or politics. Teachers can even get scolded by their superiors if they don’t follow the protocol!
Teaching in Thailand classroom culture tips:
- Women typically wear more conservative clothing in professional settings, such as a knee-length dress or skirt when teaching at work or in the classroom. Men should wear a collared shirt and black shoes, not jeans.
- Remember that most meetings start late and don't always begin at the stated time (see Sanuk).
- In Thailand, the head is a sacred part of the body. Therefore, if you dip your head lower than your students—kneeling or sitting down—your students might feel uneasy.
- The Thai culture of face (a person’s or a collective’s reputation) may influence students' avoidance of answering questions and passivity in the classroom. Therefore, teachers should understand the importance of culturally responsive teaching.
- Teaching jobs may require long hours, but most employers provide housing and other benefits such as free transportation around town and discounts at restaurants and bars.
Ready to find your dream teaching program in Thailand?
Teaching English in Thailand is the perfect way to combine your passion for travel with a rewarding career. Whether you’re teaching in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, or on an island off the coast of Koh Samui, there are so many reasons why teaching English in Thailand is such a popular place to work.
Start researching and comparing teaching programs here at Go Overseas in the Teaching Programs in Thailand section below.
Want to read more? Get started with these articles:
Teaching Programs in Thailand
Volunteer Teaching Programs in Thailand
Volunteering is a great way to teach in local communities in Thailand
TEFL Courses in Thailand
A TEFL Certification will help you acquire the skills and qualifications to teach abroad in Thailand
View the latest teaching job postings on our job board.
Can you teach English in Thailand without a degree?
Most schools will require all English teachers to hold a 4 year Bachelor's degree. For non-degree holders, volunteering can be a good way to still get classroom experience.
How much money can you make teaching English in Thailand?
Salaries vary depending on the type of school you teach in, ie public, private, or international. On the lower end, public schools may pay around $800 per month, while private international academies can pay up to $5,500 per month.Related Content
What are the requirements to teach English in Thailand?
While not always the case, most teaching jobs will require you to be a native speaker of English and to hold a Bachelor's degree. Some may also require TEFL certification. Teaching abroad through a volunteer organization can be a good way to get teaching experience without necessarily fulfilling these qualifications.Related Content
How can I teach English in Thailand?
Most teaching jobs in Thailand will require a near native level of English fluency, as well as a Bachelor's degree. A TEFL certification may be required in some cases. Teaching jobs can be found through a number of different means: you could go through a recruiter, a third-party organization that will set you up with a job, or apply directly by looking at job boards and searching for international schools.