A comprehensive guide to the different aspects of teaching English in Thailand

If you have completed your TESL or TEFL Certification and are ready to explore new locations for a fruitful career as a teacher, you should try your luck in Thailand.

This Land of Smiles has a flourishing tourism industry attracting tourists from all over the world and with that the need to speak the international language. There is also an increasing trend among Thais to work in the global market making English speaking abilities a necessity.

Therefore native teachers in English are in demand and Thailand has become a popular landing space in Asia for eager teaching professionals. With every stratum of education system requiring faculties in the English language, there is a growing demand for them.

To communicate effectively with the world more specifically the western world, Thailand has thrown open its doors for teachers from foreign countries to teach English at various levels.

Thailand is…

Located in the south-eastern part of Asia, and is famous for its amazing locales, exotic cuisine, pristine beaches, peaceful religious places. The Thai people are distinctly noticeable for their happy-go-lucky attitude and their hospitality.

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Thailand has a Monarchical Head and Thais are well known all over the globe for their respect towards the king. The country follows Buddhism and has approximately 35000 temples built in its territory.

The Thai currency is known as Baht (THB). 1 US dollar is equal to 32.31 Thai Baht and 1 Thai Baht is equal to 2.35 Indian rupees.

Thailand has a tropical climate, and experiences majorly three seasons; summer, rainy, and winter. The temperature on an average doesn’t go below 30 degrees all throughout the year except the northern part which is at an elevation.

Bangkok the capital of Thailand is considered to be the hottest place. However, most of the population of Thailand stays in Bangkok. So if you are planning to settle there you need to adapt yourself to the tropical climate.

For all of you who want a friendly neighborhood while working in foreign lands must head to Thailand. It is a place that offers a congenial social atmosphere, an affordable lifestyle, an opportunity to unwind by partying and occasional boozing.

And, of course, an impressive list of weekend getaways.  Their education industry is undergoing many positive changes and expansion making a place for talented professionals to join them.

To become an English language teacher in Thailand.

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  • You should be a Graduate from a sanctioned University.
  • TEFL/TESOL or CELTA certification. (Either of these certificates allows you to teach in Thailand)
  • Previous work experience in the field. (not compulsory but none the less desirable)
  • A clean background check

Though Thailand gives more importance to native English speaking candidates (i,e. people from US, UK, Canada. Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, etc. ) people who have a proven track record can definitely apply and get through and teach English in Thailand.

Major cities in Thailand offering employment as English language facilitators are Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, and Pattaya.

Thailand follows a typical hiring process wherein…

Most of the hiring is done through face to face interviews but presently modern facilities like skype and other apps are also being used for recruitment.

The peak season or months for hiring teacher of English is from :

  • February to April
  • August to October (for formal schools)
  • All the year-round (for language institutes)

The people getting hired can work in…

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#1. Public Schools –

The session in this school begins from May and ends in March, that includes a three-week break in October.  

A public school teacher is a full-time employee in Thailand and is expected to be engaged in academic activities throughout the working hours even if not teaching every moment.

They are responsible for creating lesson plans, generating exam papers, and grading them as well as keep office hours. The teachers are usually not compensated for the extra hours that he/she might take for fulfilling his/her responsibilities.

In public schools the ratio of teacher to student is high, therefore be ready to manage a class of around 50.

The students in public schools vary a lot in their knowledge and understanding. Thai students spend approximately four weeks for different exams all the year-round. Failing a student is not allowed and if at all a student fails he or she appears for the retest and is passed.

Most of the teachers teaching in public schools may get a certificate from the Thai Ministry of Education.

#2. Private Schools and International Schools –

The difference between public and private school teaching is based on the student-teacher ratio. Usually in private and international schools, it is 1: 10.

The pattern of delivery in these schools usually follows the west as compared to the public schools that follow the Thai system of education. To be eligible to teach in these schools you have to have a TEFL /TESOL/CELTA certification along with prior teaching experience as also you should be from a native English speaking nation.

For more information about TEFL

 Getting a job in International schools is quite difficult and you have to put up with a lot of competition. They pay the highest salaries among schools and belong to the highest category of Thai salaries. Only the best and deserving candidates get through in International schools. The perks and other financial benefits are high in these schools.

Earlier the private schools were the primary employers of English teachers from abroad however at present times it is the public schools that hire more teachers.

One negative aspect of private schools is that they may come and go and not able to sustain in the competitive market, rendering the employees jobless. So if you are being hired by a private school make sure to know about the time since when they had been in the business.

Teachers teaching in Private schools may earn extra through private tuitions but many schools do not allow them and in these cases, if they are caught breaching a contract they may face disciplinary action.

#3. Universities –

Teaching in Universities is usually a part-time job. The working hours are quite less. Though it is laced with a lot of respect the salaries are similar to public school teachers.

However, University teachers have an upside in the sense that they can take up other jobs like teaching part-time in school or go for private tuitions. They are also compensated very well for working overtime.

The University teachers are expected to be graduates and preferably postgraduates or more. Their responsibilities vary with the place they work. Usually, their duties include devising their own lesson plans, sometimes teaching other faculty or students outside the classroom.

Class sizes in universities are usually large. (50 students on an average)

#4. Language Schools –

These are basically for business people who want to learn the English language to become more saleable. The timings for these kinds of schools are flexible and are usually held early in the morning or out of business hours in the afternoon or evening. Generally, the school extends up to weekends.

The class size habitually is small, having only four to ten students. The teacher is expected to come up with suitable lesson plans for children and adults.

The teachers who get hired in language schools may be employed on a full time or part-time basis. You do not need prior experience and in most cases, you do not even need a TEFL certification to be employed in Language schools.

These kinds of schools are prevalent largely in Thailand and hire a lot of foreigners for better results.

#5.Corporate Training Programme –

In these cases, companies hire experienced facilitators with expertise in teaching English for imparting knowledge to their employees.

The facilitators take sessions usually outside business hours (usually in the morning or late at night) and the classroom size is often quite big.

The working hours and the reimbursement for different sectors are…

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In the case of public schools:

  • Average salary: $800 – 1,000 USD per month
  • Schedule: Monday – Friday; 40 hours per week
  • Requirements: A Bachelor’s degree and fluency in English. TEFL certificate is a plus.

In the case of Private schools

  • Average salary: $8 – $20 per hour
  • Schedule: Varies; nights and weekends often required. The average hours are 18 – 25 per week.
  • Requirements: A Bachelor’s degree and fluency in English. A TEFL certificate is a plus.

For International schools

  • Average salary : $2,633 – $5,596 a month
  • Schedule: Varies. However average hours are 18 – 25 per week
  • Requirements: A Bachelor’s degree and fluency in English. A TEFL certificate is required along with prior teaching experience.

For Universities

  • Average salary: $800 – $1000 per month
  • Schedule: 10 –12 teaching hours per week.
  • Requirements: A Bachelor’s degree, usually higher. A TEFL certificate and/or a teaching certificate is a plus.

For Language Schools

  • Average salary: Full-time teachers make anywhere from $987– $1,316 per month; part-time teachers make  $11.50 – $16.50 per hour.
  • Schedule: Varies according to the need of the students
  • Requirement: A Bachelor’s degree.

In the case of Corporate Trainers

  • Average salary: $1,481– $1,974 a month and also the travel expenses.
  • Schedule: Varies according to the requirement.
  • Requirement: A Bachelor’s degree and fluency in English. A TEFL certificate is required along with prior teaching experience.

In Thailand you spend.

$500 to $800 per month for accommodation. With a very low cost of living, teachers can live comfortably in Thailand.

  • Some schools offer accommodation or assistance, however, in most cases teachers will generally find housing on their own.
  • Apartments usually meet Western standards and have facilities like air conditioning etc. Internet might not be available in apartments but are available on campus or internet cafes (for around $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.

In general, teachers living in Bangkok can get away with a monthly budget of about $1,000 (more or less, depending on your lifestyle), while those outsides of the city can live on even less — from $300 – $800 per month.

Typically, the teacher salaries and cost of living in Bangkok are about 30% higher than anywhere else in the country.

However, in any case, the monthly savings of a teacher vary from $450 to $700 per month. That is a handsome saving that prompts many qualified teachers to flock to the dream location of Thailand.

Visa requirements

To go and work in Thailand as an English teacher you need a type of visa which is determined by your nationality, the kind of teaching job, and other aspects like whether you get your job in advance, or if you get hired after you land in Thailand.

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To teach English in Thailand you need to get a legal work permit. For most of the countries, the requirement is usually to obtain either a Non-Immigrant “B” visa, which requires a valid degree in any field or a Non-Immigrant “O” visa which does not require any valid degree.

Either of these Non-Immigrant visas permits you to stay in Thailand for 90 days and provides the necessary time to obtain a valid work permit from your employer. After you get your work permit from your school you can get your visa extended to a period of one year from the date of entry to Thailand.

The school or the potential employer categorizes those who come for working as a teacher into two broad groups;

  • those with a valid educational degree and those without the required educational degree at that time.

  • The employers also group the potential teacher of English on the basis of their origin; i.e. whether they hold the passport of native English speaking nations such as The United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, or Australia.

  • On the basis of whether the potential employees are from or hold the passport of non – English speaking nations, i.e. they belong to other countries rather than the ones cited before.

  • However, for a long time, Thailand has made some exceptions and has considered passport holders from South Africa and Ireland as native English speakers, but these countries have not been formally added to the list.

For more details about visa and related information contact concerned officials.

Some important takeaways are:

  • TEFL or TESOL or CELTA certificate is a must if you want to have an impressive career in teaching abroad

  • You should have excellent command over the English language

  • Should have a proven ability in devising interactive and engrossing lesson plans

  • The class strength varies from 10 to 50 students.

  • The average working hours varies with the kind of school.

  • The average salary of a foreign English teacher is around 16000 – 50000 Baht which is enough to make a considerable saving.

  • The average monthly expenditure varies between 9500 – 32000 Baht.

  • A Non-Immigrant B visa is required for teaching in Thailand.

Working in Thailand as a teacher is an experience of a lifetime. Many people who opt for such exotic locales as Phuket are ready to be hired at a lower salary because the place is marvelous.

If you want to embark on a prolific career in a serene environment do land in Thailand as a teaching faculty in English. All you need is a TEFL certification and you need to wear a smile on your face.

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Moumita Ghosh is a teacher and it is her passion for writing which made her venture into the world of blogging. She likes to write about different issues related to the youth and their concerns. She strongly believes that the young generation can lead a country towards prosperity both financial as well as social. Therefore, she believes such content that focuses on inspiring and guiding the next generation is the need of the hour.

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