Teach English in Thailand

a world of opportunities

Join a global community of over 200,000 TEFL teachers working throughout the world! Enrol me!

Kirsten Colquhoun
July 28, 2023

Contents

Why teach English
Where to teach
Visa requirements
Teaching experience
TEFL certification
Degree requirements
Non-native speakers
Local language
Start-up costs
Types of jobs
How to get a job
Salaries and benefits
Common benefits
Cost of living
Saving opportunities
Life and culture

Teach English in Thailand and live in a country known as the Land of Smiles? Count us in!

Teaching English in Thailand is the quintessential TEFL dream. With famously beautiful beaches, intriguing rainforests, delicious cuisine and glorious weather, Thailand has a lot to offer tourists – and even more for teachers who live there! 

What more could you want from a teaching destination?

But if you’re thinking this all sounds too good to be true, let’s look at the nitty-gritty of teaching English in Thailand to find out if it’s exactly what you are looking for.

Why teach English in Thailand?

Thailand is one of the original TEFL destinations. Historically a backpacker hangout, Thailand has become a centre for teaching English in Asia. Besides its obvious attractions, TEFL jobs are easy to come by in Thailand and salaries are generous by local standards. The working culture is relaxed and it’s easy to have a healthy work-life balance here.

There are infinitely more reasons you should teach in Thailand than you shouldn’t

  • The way of life. Famous for its friendly people and laidback lifestyle, Thailand offers a way of life that few places can. 
  • A good work-life balance. Teaching opportunities in Thailand are plentiful and the working conditions are favourable. Regardless of where you teach, you will be treated with respect by students and colleagues alike.
  • Travel opportunities. In your time off – which is plenty, considering Thailand has 19 national holidays – it’s super easy to jump on a bus, train, tuk-tuk, or even a plane and explore the ancient cities, beach towns or mountain retreats all around Thailand. If you want to go further afield, travelling across borders to surrounding Asian countries like Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China is a popular thing to do. 

Read more: Top beach destinations for TEFL teachers

Where to teach in Thailand

The bigger cities in Thailand definitely offer more teaching jobs than the smaller towns. Teaching conditions can vary dramatically depending on whether you are teaching in Bangkok or in a small, rural school. BangkokChiang Mai and Phuket are where you will find the best-paid jobs but your working hours may be more demanding.

Bangkok

Perfect for the full nomad experience

There are TEFL jobs for days in Bangkok! From experiencing culture in one of the thousands of temples in the city to dancing the night away in a swanky nightclub, to fine dining in 5* restaurants or eating streetside with the locals at midnight – there is something for every TEFL teacher in Thailand.

Be aware of location when choosing a teaching job in Bangkok. Bangkok is ginormous and the traffic can take commuting to the next level. Schools can be found all around the city but language centres are mostly in the Siam Square area of downtown BKK.

Living close to your school is possible but housing will cost you an arm and a leg in some areas, so it’s more likely if you are teaching in a more remote part of Bangkok. Finding a job near the Skytrain is always a good idea – but make sure your home is close to a Skytrain station!

Chiang Mai

A more tranquil alternative

Where Bangkok is bonkers, Chiang Mai is chilled. In the north, this city is known for its culture, jungle trekking and hill tribes. Chiang Mai is seriously relaxed so it suits teachers who prefer a more laid-back lifestyle. There are shopping malls and clubs and all that jazz, but the mountains or the jungle are a very quick motorbike ride away.

In Chiang Mai, you can teach in public schools, universities or language schools. Chiang Mai is also a popular destination for digital nomads.

Phuket

An island-hopping paradise 

Phuket is a tourist hotspot in Thailand. Popular because of its beaches and holiday vibes, but also because from here there is easy access to any number of tropical islands like Koh Samet and Koh Phangan. As a result of this, teaching jobs here are popular and not always easy to find.

Again, if you stick to the tourist areas your cost of living is likely to be higher than in other, quieter areas.

Do you need a visa to teach English in Thailand?

A visa is required to teach English in Thailand.

Historically, many TEFL teachers arrived in Thailand on tourist visas and found work. These visas are only valid for 30 days so every month TEFL teachers would need to cross a border to renew their visa, commonly known as a visa run. Strictly speaking, this is illegal so, as you can imagine, not an ideal situation.

The visa you need to work in Thailand is the Non-Immigrant B visa. In order to get this visa, you will need:

  • your original degree and university transcripts, as well as copies,
  • passport photos,
  • a valid passport,
  • a certified criminal background check,
  • an offer of employment from the Thai school,
  •  and a medical certificate from a Thai doctor (which your school will organise for you on arrival).

Your employer will help you deal with the paperwork related to your visa application as some documents may need to be in Thai.

Once you have a Non-Immigrant B visa, you will then apply for a work permit and then a teaching license. For the most part, your employer will sort out the red tape for your permit and teaching license when you are in the country. What you need to organise is the Non-Immigrant B visa, with the help of your school.

Do I need teaching experience to teach in Thailand?

No. Thailand is a great destination for new and inexperienced teachers. Because there is such a huge demand for TEFL teachers in Thailand, employers are more than happy to employ first-time teachers.

If you are aiming for a job at a university or international school then you would need a few years of experience, but the majority of teaching jobs in Thailand are suitable for new teachers.

If you don’t have any experience, you should seriously consider doing one of our Top-Up courses to give your CV an edge over other applicants. The TEFL Academy offers three Top-Up courses to choose from (which are included when you sign up for one of our courses!):

Do I need TEFL certification to teach in Thailand?

A TEFL qualification is not a legal requirement to teach in Thailand. However, if you do not have a degree in Teaching or Education (i.e. you are not a qualified teacher) or you don’t have any previous experience, employers will expect you to have a TEFL certification.

Your TEFL course should be at least 120 hours long – even better if it’s a Level 5 TEFL course. The TEFL Academy’s 120-hour Level 3 TEFL course is suitable for teachers who are looking for volunteer or more informal teaching positions. Our 168-hour Level 5 TEFL course is more suited to teachers applying for formal teaching positions.

Can I teach English in Thailand with no degree?

Yes, but it can be complicated.

A degree (in any field) is needed to get a Non-Immigrant B visa, and this is the easiest route to teaching English in Thailand. But if you can find an employer to sponsor you then you’ll be able to side-step that requirement.

For example, if you apply for a volunteer or an internship opportunity in Thailand, you can find out if further sponsorship is possible once your contract has ended.

Of course, there is the option of teaching English online, which can be done without a degree.

Can non-native English speakers teach English in Thailand?

Absolutely. Employers in Thailand seem to prefer native speakers from English-speaking countries, especially Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. But there are plenty of English teaching jobs for everyone.

If you are not a native speaker or you come from a country where English is not an official language you will need to prove your English proficiency with an IELTS score of 5.5 or above or a TOEIC score of 600+.

Do I need to speak Thai to teach English in Thailand?

Certainly not. The basis of teaching English as a foreign language is immersion learning. This means that speaking the first language of your students within the classroom is discouraged. The only language you need to speak to teach English as a foreign language is English.

On the other hand, speaking Thai will go a long in endearing yourself to the locals. Thais are famously friendly and are very enthusiastic about farang speaking Thai. If you venture off the beaten track, you might find you’ll need a few phrases to get by anyway.

How much capital do I need as startup costs?

As with moving to any country, there are expenses you can expect when you first move to Thailand. These are related to accommodation, travel, food and entertainment until your first paycheque arrives.

  • Accommodation: If accommodation is not provided by your employer or included in your salary, you’ll need the first month’s rent and a security deposit.
  • TEFL certification: A TEFL course can cost between $100 and $500, depending on the length and level of the course and the course provider.
  • Document fees: Any costs related to certifying and notarising your degree and TEFL certificate.
  • Flight ticket: Variable.
  • Visa application: The cost of getting a visa is subject to your home country.
  • A Non-immigrant B single-entry visa valid for three months costs approximately ฿2,000 ($60). A Non-immigrant B multiple entry visa valid for one year is approximately ฿5,000 ($150).
  • Living expenses: You will need one month’s worth of start-up capital of about ฿30,000 ($850) to live off until your first paycheque.

Types of teaching jobs in Thailand

There are a few different types of teaching positions for foreign teachers in Thailand. Public schools (or government schools) – primary schools and high schools – international schools, language schools, private tutoring and online teaching are all options for English teachers. 

Public schools

Teaching jobs in Thailand in public schools are probably the most common teaching jobs in Thailand. Students range from kindergarten to Grade 12.

These classes can be quite large (30 – 40 students, even more in some cases), but many positions offer a teaching assistant as well to help you with the lessons. You may be the only foreign teacher (and English speaker) in the school. 

International schools

Teaching jobs in international schools in Thailand are highly sought-after. These positions have high monthly salaries and often include accommodation in their packages. For these teaching jobs, you will need a degree, a good-quality TEFL certificate (like The TEFL Academy’s Level 5 TEFL certificate!) and years of experience. 

Because English is the medium of instruction in the majority of these schools, there is a further option to teach other subjects in English. Teachers have reported teaching swimming and knitting!

Language centres

There are a number of well-known language centres in Thailand. These centres offer English lessons to Young Learners after school or during holidays, or to adults during and after working hours. 

In a language centre, you are likely to work 25 to 35 hours a week and be paid an hourly rate. These hours may be in the mornings, afternoons or evenings, and on weekends. Class sizes are considerably smaller than in public schools. 

Bear in mind, language centres are a dime a dozen in Thailand. Do your due diligence when dealing with a prospective employer. Some language centres have reputations for long hours, low pay and few, if any, resources. Check out reviews online by former teachers of the school or, even better, try to make contact with a current teacher.

Universities and colleges

Teaching in a Thai university or college is more of an unknown, but it’s certainly a possibility if you have a teaching degree or teaching experience. There are both public and private universities in Thailand.

Classroom assistants

It is possible to find a teaching job as a classroom assistant, though it is not very common.

Private lessons

It’s very simple to find private students in Thailand, especially in the bigger cities. If you are working for a language centre you’re not allowed to give private lessons to students of that school but it’s easy enough to advertise your lessons online or through the community to find other students. 

Finding work through an agent

A common way to find a teaching job in Thailand is through an agent or recruiter. These agents have relationships with schools and so are aware of the different vacancies around the country. The difference between working with a school and signing with an agent is who your employer is.

There are definitely perks to finding work through an agent – notably, the relative ease of finding a suitable job and visa assistance. For example, if you don’t have a degree an agent may be able to have you classified as a classroom assistant which does not require the same requirements for a work permit as a teacher. 

But we need to be mindful of agents. The internet is brimming with stories of unscrupulous agents who take advantage of inexperienced teachers. Keep your eyes open for any red flags!

How to get a job teaching English in Thailand

The easiest and most straightforward way is to apply online through websites like

Interviews can be conducted online and you can have a signed contract before you’ve even packed your bags!

Some TEFL teachers find work once they are in the country already, either online or by pounding the pavements – but, let’s be honest, an internet cafe is much cooler than walking the streets of sweltering Bangkok!

Terms in Thailand run from May to October and October to March, so the peak hiring season for K-12 schools is February/March and September/October.

It’s acceptable to enter Thailand on a tourist visa and apply for a work visa when you have found a job. Unless you have a job before you leave your home country, you won’t be able to apply for a work visa. In other words, you need a job before you can get a work visa.

What is the average salary in Thailand?

It is possible to earn very high salaries in Thailand, but it is not common. Having said that, the average teaching salary allows you to live a comfortable lifestyle. Benefits on top of your salary are not the norm in Thailand.

  • Newly-qualified TEFL teachers can expect to earn around ฿30,000 ($870) a month. With experience, this can be between ฿35,000 ($1,000) and ฿50,000 ($1,450)
  • Universities can offer you around ฿60,000 ($1,750)฿75,000 ($2,100).
  • In a private school, you can earn upwards of ฿100,000 ($3,000). For these positions, you will need to be well-qualified and experienced. 
  • Language schools generally pay you hourly, from ฿250฿350 ($7.20 – $10) an hour.

While it’s not common for schools to arrange accommodation for their teachers, they often provide assistance and possibly even a housing allowance. If you have accepted a year contract, employers may reimburse you the cost of a return flight to your home country.

Common benefits for teaching in Thailand

Healthcare is usually provided by your employer if you are teaching in a government or private school, and the cost will be deducted from your salary. Language schools won’t provide healthcare but in general, healthcare is very affordable

Travel insurance is usually not included in your package so you will need to organise that yourself.

What is the cost of living in Thailand?

The cost of living in Thailand can be remarkably lower than in other countries, but it depends on your lifestyle. 

The cost of living depends largely on if you are living in a big city or a small town or rural area. Then again, salaries will reflect this difference as well.

Generally speaking, your cost of living in Thailand will be approximately ฿ 15,000฿ 25,000 ($435 – $750) a month.

Accommodation

  • A simple apartment: ฿3,500 ($100 USD)
  • A luxury apartment: anywhere up to ฿15,000 ($450)

Utilities 

  • Water, electricity, heating, garbage: ฿ 1,000 ($30)

Groceries

  • Monthly shop:  ฿5,000 – ฿6,000 ($170 – $200)
  • A meal at an inexpensive restaurant: ฿100 ($3
  • Street food: ฿30 – ฿50 ($1 – $1.50)

Internet and phone

  • Internet, unlimited: ฿600 ($15)
  • Phone: ฿350 ฿700 ($10$20) a month

Transport

  • Monthly pass: ฿ 1,000 ($30)
  • One-way ticket: ฿30 ($0.80)

Entertainment

  • Gym, cinema, clubbing: ฿ 2,500 ($70)

Is it possible to save as a TEFL teacher in Thailand?

Saving in Thailand is entirely dependent on your living habits. It is easy to save money if you live like a local. On the other hand, you can easily spend your entire monthly salary on som tam and Full Moon Parties if that’s how you roll.

What is it like living and working in Thailand?

The low cost of living, coupled with the relaxed lifestyle, is one of the main attractions of living and teaching in Thailand. While you cannot compare your salary directly to those of, say, Japan or China, your baht can go a long way in Thailand. 

Living in Thailand, you’ll be introduced to the concept of sanuk. This is the sense of humour and fun which Thais bring into everyday life. In Thailand, you can’t be too serious about life, so keep calm and smile!

Thailand has a traditional culture but they are fairly relaxed with foreigners. Where possible, be mindful of social practices, especially when it relates to religions. Important cultural practices to remember include:

  • No pointing
  • Don’t touch a person’s head
  • Leave your shoes at the door
  • Don’t throw money on the floor
  • Be respectful of any Buddha image

In the classroom, you might be asked to remove your shoes – so make sure your socks don’t have holes in them! Teachers should dress conservatively, not raise their voices, and have fun with their students!

It might seem like there is a lot to keep in mind but don’t worry, Thais are very understanding.

Teaching English in Thailand really is everything it’s cracked up to be. Thai culture is open and welcoming to foreigners, students are engaged and enthusiastic, and the lifestyle is what dreams are made of. 

If you are just starting on your teaching journey, Thailand is a great place to start – but you might find you never want to leave!

Contents

Teach English in Thailand and live in a country known as the Land of Smiles? Count us in!

Teaching English in Thailand is the quintessential TEFL dream. With famously beautiful beaches, intriguing rainforests, delicious cuisine and glorious weather, Thailand has a lot to offer tourists – and even more for teachers who live there! 

What more could you want from a teaching destination?

But if you’re thinking this all sounds too good to be true, let’s look at the nitty-gritty of teaching English in Thailand to find out if it’s exactly what you are looking for.

Why teach English in Thailand?

Thailand is one of the original TEFL destinations. Historically a backpacker hangout, Thailand has become a centre for teaching English in Asia. Besides its obvious attractions, TEFL jobs are easy to come by in Thailand and salaries are generous by local standards. The working culture is relaxed and it’s easy to have a healthy work-life balance here.

There are infinitely more reasons you should teach in Thailand than you shouldn’t

  • The way of life. Famous for its friendly people and laidback lifestyle, Thailand offers a way of life that few places can. 
  • A good work-life balance. Teaching opportunities in Thailand are plentiful and the working conditions are favourable. Regardless of where you teach, you will be treated with respect by students and colleagues alike.
  • Travel opportunities. In your time off – which is plenty, considering Thailand has 19 national holidays – it’s super easy to jump on a bus, train, tuk-tuk, or even a plane and explore the ancient cities, beach towns or mountain retreats all around Thailand. If you want to go further afield, travelling across borders to surrounding Asian countries like Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China is a popular thing to do. 

Read more: Top beach destinations for TEFL teachers

Where to teach in Thailand

The bigger cities in Thailand definitely offer more teaching jobs than the smaller towns. Teaching conditions can vary dramatically depending on whether you are teaching in Bangkok or in a small, rural school. BangkokChiang Mai and Phuket are where you will find the best-paid jobs but your working hours may be more demanding.

Bangkok

Perfect for the full nomad experience

There are TEFL jobs for days in Bangkok! From experiencing culture in one of the thousands of temples in the city to dancing the night away in a swanky nightclub, to fine dining in 5* restaurants or eating streetside with the locals at midnight – there is something for every TEFL teacher in Thailand.

Be aware of location when choosing a teaching job in Bangkok. Bangkok is ginormous and the traffic can take commuting to the next level. Schools can be found all around the city but language centres are mostly in the Siam Square area of downtown BKK.

Living close to your school is possible but housing will cost you an arm and a leg in some areas, so it’s more likely if you are teaching in a more remote part of Bangkok. Finding a job near the Skytrain is always a good idea – but make sure your home is close to a Skytrain station!

Chiang Mai

A more tranquil alternative

Where Bangkok is bonkers, Chiang Mai is chilled. In the north, this city is known for its culture, jungle trekking and hill tribes. Chiang Mai is seriously relaxed so it suits teachers who prefer a more laid-back lifestyle. There are shopping malls and clubs and all that jazz, but the mountains or the jungle are a very quick motorbike ride away.

In Chiang Mai, you can teach in public schools, universities or language schools. Chiang Mai is also a popular destination for digital nomads.

Phuket

An island-hopping paradise 

Phuket is a tourist hotspot in Thailand. Popular because of its beaches and holiday vibes, but also because from here there is easy access to any number of tropical islands like Koh Samet and Koh Phangan. As a result of this, teaching jobs here are popular and not always easy to find.

Again, if you stick to the tourist areas your cost of living is likely to be higher than in other, quieter areas.

Do you need a visa to teach English in Thailand?

A visa is required to teach English in Thailand.

Historically, many TEFL teachers arrived in Thailand on tourist visas and found work. These visas are only valid for 30 days so every month TEFL teachers would need to cross a border to renew their visa, commonly known as a visa run. Strictly speaking, this is illegal so, as you can imagine, not an ideal situation.

The visa you need to work in Thailand is the Non-Immigrant B visa. In order to get this visa, you will need:

  • your original degree and university transcripts, as well as copies,
  • passport photos,
  • a valid passport,
  • a certified criminal background check,
  • an offer of employment from the Thai school,
  •  and a medical certificate from a Thai doctor (which your school will organise for you on arrival).

Your employer will help you deal with the paperwork related to your visa application as some documents may need to be in Thai.

Once you have a Non-Immigrant B visa, you will then apply for a work permit and then a teaching license. For the most part, your employer will sort out the red tape for your permit and teaching license when you are in the country. What you need to organise is the Non-Immigrant B visa, with the help of your school.

Do I need teaching experience to teach in Thailand?

No. Thailand is a great destination for new and inexperienced teachers. Because there is such a huge demand for TEFL teachers in Thailand, employers are more than happy to employ first-time teachers.

If you are aiming for a job at a university or international school then you would need a few years of experience, but the majority of teaching jobs in Thailand are suitable for new teachers.

If you don’t have any experience, you should seriously consider doing one of our Top-Up courses to give your CV an edge over other applicants. The TEFL Academy offers three Top-Up courses to choose from (which are included when you sign up for one of our courses!):

Do I need TEFL certification to teach in Thailand?

A TEFL qualification is not a legal requirement to teach in Thailand. However, if you do not have a degree in Teaching or Education (i.e. you are not a qualified teacher) or you don’t have any previous experience, employers will expect you to have a TEFL certification.

Your TEFL course should be at least 120 hours long – even better if it’s a Level 5 TEFL course. The TEFL Academy’s 120-hour Level 3 TEFL course is suitable for teachers who are looking for volunteer or more informal teaching positions. Our 168-hour Level 5 TEFL course is more suited to teachers applying for formal teaching positions.

Can I teach English in Thailand with no degree?

Yes, but it can be complicated.

A degree (in any field) is needed to get a Non-Immigrant B visa, and this is the easiest route to teaching English in Thailand. But if you can find an employer to sponsor you then you’ll be able to side-step that requirement.

For example, if you apply for a volunteer or an internship opportunity in Thailand, you can find out if further sponsorship is possible once your contract has ended.

Of course, there is the option of teaching English online, which can be done without a degree.

Can non-native English speakers teach English in Thailand?

Absolutely. Employers in Thailand seem to prefer native speakers from English-speaking countries, especially Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. But there are plenty of English teaching jobs for everyone.

If you are not a native speaker or you come from a country where English is not an official language you will need to prove your English proficiency with an IELTS score of 5.5 or above or a TOEIC score of 600+.

Do I need to speak Thai to teach English in Thailand?

Certainly not. The basis of teaching English as a foreign language is immersion learning. This means that speaking the first language of your students within the classroom is discouraged. The only language you need to speak to teach English as a foreign language is English.

On the other hand, speaking Thai will go a long in endearing yourself to the locals. Thais are famously friendly and are very enthusiastic about farang speaking Thai. If you venture off the beaten track, you might find you’ll need a few phrases to get by anyway.

How much capital do I need as startup costs?

As with moving to any country, there are expenses you can expect when you first move to Thailand. These are related to accommodation, travel, food and entertainment until your first paycheque arrives.

  • Accommodation: If accommodation is not provided by your employer or included in your salary, you’ll need the first month’s rent and a security deposit.
  • TEFL certification: A TEFL course can cost between $100 and $500, depending on the length and level of the course and the course provider.
  • Document fees: Any costs related to certifying and notarising your degree and TEFL certificate.
  • Flight ticket: Variable.
  • Visa application: The cost of getting a visa is subject to your home country.
  • A Non-immigrant B single-entry visa valid for three months costs approximately ฿2,000 ($60). A Non-immigrant B multiple entry visa valid for one year is approximately ฿5,000 ($150).
  • Living expenses: You will need one month’s worth of start-up capital of about ฿30,000 ($850) to live off until your first paycheque.

Types of teaching jobs in Thailand

There are a few different types of teaching positions for foreign teachers in Thailand. Public schools (or government schools) – primary schools and high schools – international schools, language schools, private tutoring and online teaching are all options for English teachers. 

Public schools

Teaching jobs in Thailand in public schools are probably the most common teaching jobs in Thailand. Students range from kindergarten to Grade 12.

These classes can be quite large (30 – 40 students, even more in some cases), but many positions offer a teaching assistant as well to help you with the lessons. You may be the only foreign teacher (and English speaker) in the school. 

International schools

Teaching jobs in international schools in Thailand are highly sought-after. These positions have high monthly salaries and often include accommodation in their packages. For these teaching jobs, you will need a degree, a good-quality TEFL certificate (like The TEFL Academy’s Level 5 TEFL certificate!) and years of experience. 

Because English is the medium of instruction in the majority of these schools, there is a further option to teach other subjects in English. Teachers have reported teaching swimming and knitting!

Language centres

There are a number of well-known language centres in Thailand. These centres offer English lessons to Young Learners after school or during holidays, or to adults during and after working hours. 

In a language centre, you are likely to work 25 to 35 hours a week and be paid an hourly rate. These hours may be in the mornings, afternoons or evenings, and on weekends. Class sizes are considerably smaller than in public schools. 

Bear in mind, language centres are a dime a dozen in Thailand. Do your due diligence when dealing with a prospective employer. Some language centres have reputations for long hours, low pay and few, if any, resources. Check out reviews online by former teachers of the school or, even better, try to make contact with a current teacher.

Universities and colleges

Teaching in a Thai university or college is more of an unknown, but it’s certainly a possibility if you have a teaching degree or teaching experience. There are both public and private universities in Thailand.

Classroom assistants

It is possible to find a teaching job as a classroom assistant, though it is not very common.

Private lessons

It’s very simple to find private students in Thailand, especially in the bigger cities. If you are working for a language centre you’re not allowed to give private lessons to students of that school but it’s easy enough to advertise your lessons online or through the community to find other students. 

Finding work through an agent

A common way to find a teaching job in Thailand is through an agent or recruiter. These agents have relationships with schools and so are aware of the different vacancies around the country. The difference between working with a school and signing with an agent is who your employer is.

There are definitely perks to finding work through an agent – notably, the relative ease of finding a suitable job and visa assistance. For example, if you don’t have a degree an agent may be able to have you classified as a classroom assistant which does not require the same requirements for a work permit as a teacher. 

But we need to be mindful of agents. The internet is brimming with stories of unscrupulous agents who take advantage of inexperienced teachers. Keep your eyes open for any red flags!

How to get a job teaching English in Thailand

The easiest and most straightforward way is to apply online through websites like

Interviews can be conducted online and you can have a signed contract before you’ve even packed your bags!

Some TEFL teachers find work once they are in the country already, either online or by pounding the pavements – but, let’s be honest, an internet cafe is much cooler than walking the streets of sweltering Bangkok!

Terms in Thailand run from May to October and October to March, so the peak hiring season for K-12 schools is February/March and September/October.

It’s acceptable to enter Thailand on a tourist visa and apply for a work visa when you have found a job. Unless you have a job before you leave your home country, you won’t be able to apply for a work visa. In other words, you need a job before you can get a work visa.

What is the average salary in Thailand?

It is possible to earn very high salaries in Thailand, but it is not common. Having said that, the average teaching salary allows you to live a comfortable lifestyle. Benefits on top of your salary are not the norm in Thailand.

  • Newly-qualified TEFL teachers can expect to earn around ฿30,000 ($870) a month. With experience, this can be between ฿35,000 ($1,000) and ฿50,000 ($1,450)
  • Universities can offer you around ฿60,000 ($1,750)฿75,000 ($2,100).
  • In a private school, you can earn upwards of ฿100,000 ($3,000). For these positions, you will need to be well-qualified and experienced. 
  • Language schools generally pay you hourly, from ฿250฿350 ($7.20 – $10) an hour.

While it’s not common for schools to arrange accommodation for their teachers, they often provide assistance and possibly even a housing allowance. If you have accepted a year contract, employers may reimburse you the cost of a return flight to your home country.

Common benefits for teaching in Thailand

Healthcare is usually provided by your employer if you are teaching in a government or private school, and the cost will be deducted from your salary. Language schools won’t provide healthcare but in general, healthcare is very affordable

Travel insurance is usually not included in your package so you will need to organise that yourself.

What is the cost of living in Thailand?

The cost of living in Thailand can be remarkably lower than in other countries, but it depends on your lifestyle. 

The cost of living depends largely on if you are living in a big city or a small town or rural area. Then again, salaries will reflect this difference as well.

Generally speaking, your cost of living in Thailand will be approximately ฿ 15,000฿ 25,000 ($435 – $750) a month.

Accommodation

  • A simple apartment: ฿3,500 ($100 USD)
  • A luxury apartment: anywhere up to ฿15,000 ($450)

Utilities 

  • Water, electricity, heating, garbage: ฿ 1,000 ($30)

Groceries

  • Monthly shop:  ฿5,000 – ฿6,000 ($170 – $200)
  • A meal at an inexpensive restaurant: ฿100 ($3
  • Street food: ฿30 – ฿50 ($1 – $1.50)

Internet and phone

  • Internet, unlimited: ฿600 ($15)
  • Phone: ฿350 ฿700 ($10$20) a month

Transport

  • Monthly pass: ฿ 1,000 ($30)
  • One-way ticket: ฿30 ($0.80)

Entertainment

  • Gym, cinema, clubbing: ฿ 2,500 ($70)

Is it possible to save as a TEFL teacher in Thailand?

Saving in Thailand is entirely dependent on your living habits. It is easy to save money if you live like a local. On the other hand, you can easily spend your entire monthly salary on som tam and Full Moon Parties if that’s how you roll.

What is it like living and working in Thailand?

The low cost of living, coupled with the relaxed lifestyle, is one of the main attractions of living and teaching in Thailand. While you cannot compare your salary directly to those of, say, Japan or China, your baht can go a long way in Thailand. 

Living in Thailand, you’ll be introduced to the concept of sanuk. This is the sense of humour and fun which Thais bring into everyday life. In Thailand, you can’t be too serious about life, so keep calm and smile!

Thailand has a traditional culture but they are fairly relaxed with foreigners. Where possible, be mindful of social practices, especially when it relates to religions. Important cultural practices to remember include:

  • No pointing
  • Don’t touch a person’s head
  • Leave your shoes at the door
  • Don’t throw money on the floor
  • Be respectful of any Buddha image

In the classroom, you might be asked to remove your shoes – so make sure your socks don’t have holes in them! Teachers should dress conservatively, not raise their voices, and have fun with their students!

It might seem like there is a lot to keep in mind but don’t worry, Thais are very understanding.

Teaching English in Thailand really is everything it’s cracked up to be. Thai culture is open and welcoming to foreigners, students are engaged and enthusiastic, and the lifestyle is what dreams are made of. 

If you are just starting on your teaching journey, Thailand is a great place to start – but you might find you never want to leave!

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