The Ultimate Guide to Teaching English in Thailand
Often referred to as the "Land of Smiles," Thailand is a tropical paradise famous for its opulent Buddhist temples, turquoise waters, and delicious cuisine. For these reasons and more, it's up there as one of the most popular destinations for English teachers seeking a new culture to experience.
And thankfully, English is in pretty high demand in Thailand, offering native speakers the opportunity to work while soaking up the local culture. So, if you've been daydreaming about what it takes to move abroad, here's how to teach English in Thailand and experience life in this beautiful Southeast Asian nation.
SNAPSHOT OF TEACHING ENGLISH IN THAILAND
Avg. Salary: $900-$1,500+/month
Teaching Hours: 20-25 hours/week
Duration of contract: 6 or 12 months
Peak hiring season: February and June
School term: Early-May to late-September, and mid-October to late- March
Visa requirements: Non-Immigrant B Visa and Work Permit
Why Teach English in Thailand
Although Thailand is not considered one of the highest paying destinations for English teachers, it's popular for a few key reasons. First, you can’t beat its warm and tropical climate, friendly locals, and diverse expat scene.
Additionally, teaching English in Thailand puts you right in the heart of Southeast Asia, where surrounding countries like Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia provide affordable and exciting travel opportunities.
Read More: Is Teaching Abroad Alone Safe for Women?
TYPICAL REQUIREMENTS TO TEACH ENGLISH IN THAILAND
To teach English in Thailand, you must first confirm you meet these key requirements:
- Be a native English speaker from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, or the U.K.
- Have a Bachelor’s degree
A TEFL certificate is not always required to teach English in Thailand, but it is highly recommended. With a TEFL certificate, you not only arrive equipped with essential classroom management skills, but it’s a qualification that can earn you a higher salary.
Types of Teaching Jobs in Thailand
THAI GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS
Thai government schools or public schools are among the most common ways to teach English in Thailand. It offers a great stepping stone for those first arriving as the job requirements are usually less strict. Students at public schools are super friendly and motivated, and teachers enjoy having the 23 national holidays off. One thing that sets public schools apart is that the class sizes can be quite large, and resources may be lacking, especially in rural Thailand.
However, some public schools in Thailand participate in "The English Programme" (EP), a government-sponsored initiative that offers instruction by native English speakers in various subjects. One benefit of working with an EP school is that classes are typically smaller and have better resources, thanks to the additional funding and higher tuition fees.
PRIVATE LANGUAGE ACADEMIES
Private language academies are another option and typically operate outside regular school hours during evenings and weekends. Salaries offered at these academies are sometimes higher, although the workload may also be higher.
Many ESL teachers opt to arrive in Thailand on a tourist visa and apply to local academies in person. Private academies typically hire teachers on an ongoing basis and do not have any set application periods. While it's possible to find a teaching job at an academy before leaving home, it can be challenging.
Some of the most prestigious language academies are Inlingua, ECC Thailand, and Wall Street English. ESLBase.com also has an excellent list of language schools in Thailand that offer more options.
Qualified teachers armed with a teaching license and a degree in education can work at international schools or universities throughout Thailand. These teaching jobs offer the best salary and benefits but often include more responsibility than simply teaching English. Properly qualified teachers can find work leading an entire grade or teaching a different subject like math or science.
Two of the most well-known schools are the Council of British International Schools and The Federation of British International Schools in Asia. These networks of schools often post current openings online and are known to be reputable.
Where to Find ESL Jobs in Thailand
Now that we’ve covered the nitty-gritty details, here is where you can find Thailand teaching jobs.
CIEE TEACH ABROAD IN THAILAND
One fantastic way to teach English in Thailand is through the CIEE Teach Abroad Program. By partnering with the Overseas Ed Group (OEG), CIEE can offer placements in hundreds of public and private schools throughout central, eastern, or northeastern Thailand.
As compensation, CIEE Teach Abroad teachers receive 28,000-33,000 THB per month ($900-$1,000) plus housing. Those who sign up to teach for two semesters also earn a 20,000 THB ($600) contract completion bonus. There are two application deadlines, typically January 1st and June 1st.
Learn more about the CIEE Teach Abroad Program in Thailand.
BEST THAILAND ESL JOB BOARDS
If you hope to find a teaching job independently, many online job boards share current openings. One of the best ESL job boards in Thailand is considered Ajarn, an online forum that has been around since 1999.
Other noteworthy job boards that list current openings are: Teaching Jobs in Thailand Facebook group, Teaching in Thailand, and JobsDB by Seek. Be sure to properly research and vet each online job listing before sending any personal information.
Frequently Asked Questions
You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers.
What are the BEST PLACES TO TEACH ENGLISH IN THAILAND?Click to Open
Thailand boasts a vast array of landscapes and cultural experiences, which means that your life can look drastically different depending on where you decide to teach English in Thailand!
However, where you can teach depends a lot on your qualifications and experience. Many new teachers can only secure a job in the suburbs and lesser-known regions of the country, where competition is low. Positions in popular destinations like the center of Bangkok are highly competitive and are often reserved for teachers with more experience.
Here is a summary of some of the top destinations for ESL teachers in Thailand:
Bangkok is a bustling metropolis brimming with traditional charm and modern convenience that offers the most diverse job opportunities. Additionally, many English teachers dream of working in Bangkok, which means higher competition and the need for a stronger application.
Chiang Mai is nestled in northern Thailand near the country's incredible mountains. It has long been a popular spot for expats because of the delicious street food scene and less chaotic atmosphere. As a mid-size city, Chiang Mai has excellent teaching opportunities, but because it's one of Thailand's most popular places to teach English, many teachers end up at schools on the outskirts of the city.
Chiang Rai is the last major city in the far north and provides teachers with a small-city lifestyle. It's particularly well-known for its locale near the beautiful Wat Rong Khun, the White Temple. Chiang Rai has many public school openings and limited international school and university positions.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO TEACH ENGLISH IN THAILAND?Click to Open
The best way to learn what life is like in a new country is to experience it first hand or through the personal experiences of fellow expats. Here are some helpful blog posts by CIEE participants and other English teachers who have lived and worked in Thailand.
A Day in the Life: Teaching English in Thailand by Amanda H.
Thailand Packing Essentials by Kaylee S.
The Four Stages of Culture Shock by Kaylee S.
Thailand Apartment Tour by Claudia M.
WHICH TEFL CERTIFICATE IS BEST FOR TEACHING IN THAILAND?Click to Open
Thailand is one of the few teach abroad destinations where it’s not always required to have a TEFL certificate. However, with an accredited TEFL certification on your resume, it can significantly improve your chances of being hired and ensure you’re paid a higher salary.
Not to mention, a thorough TEFL course provides the necessary foundation all ESL teachers need to lead a classroom successfully.
CIEE TEFL’S 150-HOUR TEFL CERTIFICATION
CIEE TEFL is one of the best TEFL providers for teaching abroad in Thailand. CIEE is an internationally recognized and trusted brand with a proven track record of helping graduates successfully secure jobs in Thailand and abroad.
CIEE TEFL's 150-hour certification is entirely online, so trainees can get certified at home on their own schedule. The course runs for only three months and checks all the boxes for what hiring schools in Thailand are looking for:
- 130 hours of ACCET accredited coursework
- 20 hour TEFL practicum
- Individual feedback from highly qualified TEFL tutors
- Comprehensive job search assistance
HOW MUCH CAN YOU EARN TEACHING IN THAILAND?Click to Open
How much you can earn as an English teacher in Thailand depends on your qualifications. For example, TEFL certified teachers can earn up to 33,000 THB per month ($1,000) compared to their non-TEFL certified counterparts, who typically receive about 28,000 THB per month ($900).
Teachers with a degree in education and a teaching license can earn as much as 85,000 THB or more per month ($2,500+) at Thai international schools.
COST OF LIVING IN THAILAND
Without including rent, many English teachers find their monthly expenses to average between 15,000-25,000 THB per month ($450-$750) depending on your lifestyle and where you live.
Teachers who go through CIEE to Teach in Thailand enjoy the benefit of free housing. If your teaching job does not include accommodation, rent in Bangkok typically ranges between 10,000-15,000+ THB ($300-$450) per month or about 5,000-10,000 THB ($150-$300) in other parts of the country.
For more information on the cost of living in Thailand, Numbeo is a fantastic resource that sheds more light on the day-to-day expenses.