If you haven’t had the chance to visit Thailand, you need to put it on the list of places to go and see, or in many expats’ cases, to work. Thailand is the place where you’ll get a lot for your money – the dollar seriously goes a long way and it’s one of the most affordable places in the world to live and work. If the affordability is not enough then the year-round sunshine should be. Home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Thailand is really worth visiting and judging by the growing number of expats living and working in Thailand, it may not even be such a bad idea to look for a job teaching English there. Can you think of a better place to go and work?
There are a number of different kinds of teaching jobs in Thailand and with Thailand being one of the most visited places in the world each year, English is necessary for those working in the tourist industry. There are people who actively search TEFL jobs in Thailand and then there are those who fall in love with the diverse land while backpacking through it.
The first thing you need to know about teaching English in Thailand is that you have to be a native English speaker (although near native English speakers will often find work), hold a 4-year university degree, and a TEFL or TESOL qualification, so even though you’re a native English speaking backpacker, you won’t get the job unless you meet Thailand’s strict requirements. So, before you pack your bikini and the rest of your summer gear into your suitcase and head to Thailand in search of a TEFL job, make sure you’re properly qualified first otherwise all you’ll be doing is having a nice beach holiday on the sandy shores of Phuket.
The best way to land a verified English teaching job in Thailand is to join our Paid TEFL job in Thailand programme. No degree? No problem! If you’re a native English speaker without a degree then sign up for our Paid TEFL Internship in Thailand programme.
Thai English language schools don’t care whether you speak Thai or not; it’s not going to help you get a job. Why? Unlike other countries, Thailand believes in the idea of immersion therefore there should only be English used in the classroom. In the ideal world, your Thai English students should already have knowledge of the English language because prior to learning English with you, they would have already been learning the language with their Thai teachers for a number of years.
Unlike other Asian countries looking for native English teachers, it’s usually easy or easier to find an ESL teaching position in Thailand from home – this of course saves you quite a bit of money and time. There are a number of ESL jobs boards that cater to jobs specifically in Thailand such as Ajarn. All it takes is a simple Google search for ESL teaching jobs in Thailand and you’ll be inundated with opportunities.
The school year in Thailand begins at the beginning of May and ends in March the following year. There are typically holidays in October and in April, not including a number of local National holidays as well. The majority of the hiring for ESL teachers in Thailand happens prior to the beginning of each term, however, a lot of schools advertise throughout the year as either teachers leave or they recruit new students and need to fill the demand. The majority of English language schools and teacher recruitment agencies in Thailand only allow new teachers to sign a 6 month contract with the possibility of extending later once you’ve proved your abilities. So, if you’re looking for a short-term teaching position without the worry of having to hand in your notice, Thailand could be the option for you.
It’s possible that you could get a government school job that’s from Monday to Friday. The great thing about teaching in a Thai government school is that you’ve got very few obligations in the evenings or weekends whereas in a private English school in Thailand, you’ll need to be more flexible and you could end up working split shifts and on Saturdays.
In contrast, however, a private language school in Thailand has its pluses including higher wages, mainly due to the majority of the students being private business clients. Many of the private English schools in Thailand are also run by native English speaking expats and therefore you’ll be more likely working with a group of expatriates as opposed to working under a director who has little or no English language skills.
Many ESL teachers wanting to teach in Thailand often go through an organised programme or agency when applying for an ESL position mainly because they’re likely to take care of all your various visa and work permit papers for you. Like many Asian countries, there’s a lot of bureaucracy and red tape – in other words there are many papers to be signed and sent from office to office to be stamped. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to obtain a Non-B Immigrant visa and then after obtaining this, it’s necessary to switch over to a Thai work permit. It’s better to let those in the know to do all this work for you so you don’t waste your time running around in circles. It usually costs a little bit extra to hire the help of an expert, however, it’s worth it as it’s going to save you a lot of stress and it’ll give you more time to enjoy your Thai teaching experience and of course travel around Southeast Asia.
Perhaps at face value the salary for an English teacher in Thailand seems low. Most ESL teachers in Thailand will get an average starting salary of approximately 30,000 Thai Baht every month (up to 39,000 Baht with the INTESOL Paid TEFL Job in Thailand programme!), which is approximately $1,000USD or £640, however, this is more than enough to live on in Thailand and have fun, especially if you’re living and working outside of the capital, Bangkok. Things are super cheap in Thailand and despite the lower salary; life in Thailand is relatively inexpensive.
Cheap meal for one: £1
Mid-range meal for 2: £11
A pint of local beer: £1.05
A regular coffee: £1.10
0.33l Bottle of water: £0.20
1-Way ticket on local transport: £0.30
1-Bedroom inner city apartment: £260
1-Bedroom apartment out of city centre: £140
Taxi starting tariff: £0.60
Thai people are some of the kindest people in the world and they’re very proud of their heritage and culture, with good reason. Once you become immersed in the everyday Thai way of life, you’ll be so fascinated that you’ll want to stick around even more to learn everything there’s to know, not to mention all the delicious Thai cuisine you’ll get to eat.