Published 3rd December 2019
It’s easy to fall in love with the idea of Thailand: gorgeous scenery, mouthwatering food, fascinating culture, friendly locals – what’s not to love? Add the fact that the country is overflowing with TEFL jobs and it’s no surprise that it’s one of the top TEFL destinations in the world (not to mention tourist destinations). But while teaching English in Thailand might seem like the dream, is it actually a viable job opportunity? In other words, yes, all the beaches and shopping and partying are great, but if you teach there are you able to survive on your salary? And let’s be real, we don’t want to just survive, we want to live our best lives. Is this possible in Thailand? Let’s have a look at everything you need to know about the average teaching salary in Thailand.
The average salary for teaching in Thailand
In Thailand you can teach at government schools, private schools or language schools. At government schools – where you can teach any age from kindergarten to high school – you can expect to earn THB 30 000 – 35 000 ($1 000 – $1 100) a month. This is an entry-level salary for teaching approximately 20 to 25 hours a week. On top of the teaching you may be expected to participate in parent-teacher meetings, staff meetings and cultural events. The longer you teach at one school, the more your salary may increase.
The teaching situation at a private or international school will be similar but the pay will be slightly higher – approximately THB 40 000 – 45 000 ($1 100 – $1 200) a month.
Language schools are a very different scenario. At a language school you are likely to work about 30 hours a week but be required to be at work for 40 hours a week. This is for staff meetings, lesson preparation and marking. You won’t have the paid school holidays that school teachers have, but you should have two weeks of paid leave a year. On top of that you can expect to earn THB 40 000 – 60 000 ($1 100 – $2 000) a month.
The cost of living in Thailand
While these salaries may seem very low in comparison to salaries where you live, you need to understand that the cost of living in Thailand can be really low, but it can also be quite high. It all depends on your lifestyle. If you’re happy with a basic Thai-style apartment, you are looking at monthly rent of THB 3 500, which is about 10% of your salary. If you prefer a more modern apartment or house in a central location, you could pay as much as THB 15 000 a month.
The same goes for food. If you’re happy eating street food or at Thai restaurants – which you should be, because the food is outrageously good – you can expect to pay between THB 30 and THB 50 a meal. This would be even cheaper if you shop at supermarkets and cook for yourself. But if you like eating at foreign or upmarket restaurants, you could easily spend a few hundred baht on a meal. Having a couple of beers or glasses of wine is going to make your bill add up quickly too.
Contract benefits in Thailand
Thailand unfortunately doesn’t offer the same contract benefits as other countries like South Korea. The majority of teachers find jobs when they are already in Thailand, so flights are usually not offered with the job contract. Your contract may offer you accommodation or a housing allowance, plus your school will organize and pay for your work visa.
There are so many reasons to visit Thailand, and even more reasons to teach English as a Foreign Language there. You’re not going to make enough money to pay off your student debt but you will most certainly be able to live comfortably and have the experience of a lifetime.