Teach English in Thailand

Salaries

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Kirsten Colquhoun
March 1, 2024

Table Of Content

Other benefits available
Where teachers earn the most
Thailand cost of living
Saving as a TEFL teacher
How to start teaching

It can be argued that Thailand is the original TEFL destination. Backpackers have been coming to Thailand for decades, and the demands of English language education have led to the formation of a giant TEFL industry. 

These days, teaching English in Thailand is no longer only for backpackers or slackpackers. It’s serious business. Well, as serious as business can be in Thailand, the Land of Smiles.

In Thailand, you can find teaching jobs in public schools, private and international schools, language schools, universities, summer camps, private tutoring and online.

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 offer you around ฿60,000 ($1,750)฿75,000 ($2,100).

In a private school, you can earn upwards of ฿100,000 ($3,000), with the average starting salary being around ฿60,000 ($1,600).  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.

For private lessons you can charge from ฿300 – ฿500 an hour, even up to ฿1,000 ($30) an hour if you have lots of experience. 

In addition to salary, what other benefits may be available?

Benefits are not the norm for teaching jobs in Thailand, with the exception of holiday. Holidays are plentiful in Thailand and paid. Health insurance is another common benefit.

Teachers in public schools usually have a teaching assistant. But this is expected, as class sizes can be more than 40 in some cases. You might be the only foreign teacher in the school. Schools usually offer assistance in finding accommodation but not in any financial form. 

Private schools have smaller classes, but also a teaching assistant. Afterschool lessons may be offered for extra pay. 

International school jobs are highly sought-after. Class sizes are smaller and there is the possibility to teach other subjects in English. These positions offer generous salaries and often include accommodation or a housing allowance, which is rare in Thailand.

Universities offer fewer working hours than other teaching jobs.  

Private language centres are plentiful in the big cities in Thailand. Teachers at private language centres teach Young Learners and adults. Classes are held throughout the day and into the evening. Teachers are paid an hourly rate. Language centres function throughout the year; any leave taken is unpaid. 

Teaching online or privately offers no employee benefits. The lure of online teaching or private students is that you can set your own hours and rate and teach as much or as little as you want.

Where in Thailand do teachers earn the most?

Bangkok and Chiang Mai are the two cities which offer the most teaching jobs, and the jobs with the highest salaries. Private international schools offer the highest salaries no matter where they are.

On the whole salaries don’t vary that much from city to city but where your city of choice makes a difference is in the cost of living.

How much is the cost of living in Thailand

As always, the cost of living is dependent on your lifestyle. If you live in a big city, it’s easier to spend more money than if you’re in a rural area. 

Generally speaking, your cost of living in Thailand will be approximately ฿ 20,000฿ 30,000 ($550 – $880) a month.

The most expensive cities in Thailand (as of 2023, according to numbeo.com) are:

  • Bangkok
  • Phuket
  • Pattaya
  • Chiang Mai

Accommodation is generally your biggest expense, since it usually isn’t covered by your employer like in some other countries. A one-bedroom apartment in Bangkok costs about ฿12,000 ($330). Further from the city centre, budget for around ฿5,000 ($135). In smaller towns and rural areas, this can go as low as ฿3,000 ($80). 

Food is dirt-cheap if you avoid the Western-style restaurants and eat at local spots. Street food is quick, convenient, cheap – and delicious! A tasty Pad Thai costs around ฿30 (less than $1), while a nice meal in a local restaurant shouldn’t cost more than ฿100 – ฿200 a person.

Partying it up in Bangkok can be pricey, especially if you enjoy clubbing and cocktails. A cocktail in a club in Bangkok can set you back as much as ฿500!

Is it possible to save in Thailand as a teacher?

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.

If you consider that accommodation usually takes the biggest wad out of your wallet every month, and accommodation in Thailand can be as little as 10% of your monthly salary, you can get an idea of the saving potential for teachers in Thailand.

Our top tips for how to save money in Thailand:

  • Choose your apartment carefully. Traffic in Thailand – especially Bangkok and Chiang Mai – can be horrific. Saving a few hundred baht on accommodation is pointless if you’ll be spending extra money on commuting. Not to mention the wasted time. Finding an apartment in walkable distance to your school or a short taxi ride away or near a public transport system like the BTS, is a must.
  • Eat like a local. There is not much need to cook in Thailand, so don’t worry too much about the cost of groceries. It’s entirely possible to eat out or on-the-go every day, and it’s surprisingly cost-effective. You’ll find food markets, street vendors and food courts around every corner.
  • Don’t forget to haggle. Not in a supermarket! But at any market or informal shopping area you are expected to haggle on the price – always with a smile on your face.
  • Travel in low season. Thailand is a popular tourist destination for visitors from all over the world. High season is November to February and accommodation and travel prices skyrocket in that time. Rather take your holiday between May and September and enjoy lower prices.
  • Take a metered taxi. Buses, motorbike taxis and the skytrain (in Bangkok) are all affordable options for travelling around cities in Thailand. But when you opt for a taxi, be sure to take a metered taxi. Taxi’s which offer flat rates are generally more expensive. 

Even on the lowest salary, it’s quite easy to save a portion of your earnings each month if you are smart with your living costs.

How to start teaching English in Thailand

Visiting Thailand is probably on your bucket list already, so why not take it to the next level and teach there?!

Sign up for a TEFL course today and soon you could be catching some rays on Koh Chang or shopping up a storm at Chatuchak Market. 

A TEFL course from The TEFL Academy is exactly what you need to stand out from the crowd and land your dream teaching job in Thailand.

Table Of Content

It can be argued that Thailand is the original TEFL destination. Backpackers have been coming to Thailand for decades, and the demands of English language education have led to the formation of a giant TEFL industry. 

These days, teaching English in Thailand is no longer only for backpackers or slackpackers. It’s serious business. Well, as serious as business can be in Thailand, the Land of Smiles.

In Thailand, you can find teaching jobs in public schools, private and international schools, language schools, universities, summer camps, private tutoring and online.

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 offer you around ฿60,000 ($1,750)฿75,000 ($2,100).

In a private school, you can earn upwards of ฿100,000 ($3,000), with the average starting salary being around ฿60,000 ($1,600).  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.

For private lessons you can charge from ฿300 – ฿500 an hour, even up to ฿1,000 ($30) an hour if you have lots of experience. 

In addition to salary, what other benefits may be available?

Benefits are not the norm for teaching jobs in Thailand, with the exception of holiday. Holidays are plentiful in Thailand and paid. Health insurance is another common benefit.

Teachers in public schools usually have a teaching assistant. But this is expected, as class sizes can be more than 40 in some cases. You might be the only foreign teacher in the school. Schools usually offer assistance in finding accommodation but not in any financial form. 

Private schools have smaller classes, but also a teaching assistant. Afterschool lessons may be offered for extra pay. 

International school jobs are highly sought-after. Class sizes are smaller and there is the possibility to teach other subjects in English. These positions offer generous salaries and often include accommodation or a housing allowance, which is rare in Thailand.

Universities offer fewer working hours than other teaching jobs.  

Private language centres are plentiful in the big cities in Thailand. Teachers at private language centres teach Young Learners and adults. Classes are held throughout the day and into the evening. Teachers are paid an hourly rate. Language centres function throughout the year; any leave taken is unpaid. 

Teaching online or privately offers no employee benefits. The lure of online teaching or private students is that you can set your own hours and rate and teach as much or as little as you want.

Where in Thailand do teachers earn the most?

Bangkok and Chiang Mai are the two cities which offer the most teaching jobs, and the jobs with the highest salaries. Private international schools offer the highest salaries no matter where they are.

On the whole salaries don’t vary that much from city to city but where your city of choice makes a difference is in the cost of living.

How much is the cost of living in Thailand

As always, the cost of living is dependent on your lifestyle. If you live in a big city, it’s easier to spend more money than if you’re in a rural area. 

Generally speaking, your cost of living in Thailand will be approximately ฿ 20,000฿ 30,000 ($550 – $880) a month.

The most expensive cities in Thailand (as of 2023, according to numbeo.com) are:

  • Bangkok
  • Phuket
  • Pattaya
  • Chiang Mai

Accommodation is generally your biggest expense, since it usually isn’t covered by your employer like in some other countries. A one-bedroom apartment in Bangkok costs about ฿12,000 ($330). Further from the city centre, budget for around ฿5,000 ($135). In smaller towns and rural areas, this can go as low as ฿3,000 ($80). 

Food is dirt-cheap if you avoid the Western-style restaurants and eat at local spots. Street food is quick, convenient, cheap – and delicious! A tasty Pad Thai costs around ฿30 (less than $1), while a nice meal in a local restaurant shouldn’t cost more than ฿100 – ฿200 a person.

Partying it up in Bangkok can be pricey, especially if you enjoy clubbing and cocktails. A cocktail in a club in Bangkok can set you back as much as ฿500!

Is it possible to save in Thailand as a teacher?

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.

If you consider that accommodation usually takes the biggest wad out of your wallet every month, and accommodation in Thailand can be as little as 10% of your monthly salary, you can get an idea of the saving potential for teachers in Thailand.

Our top tips for how to save money in Thailand:

  • Choose your apartment carefully. Traffic in Thailand – especially Bangkok and Chiang Mai – can be horrific. Saving a few hundred baht on accommodation is pointless if you’ll be spending extra money on commuting. Not to mention the wasted time. Finding an apartment in walkable distance to your school or a short taxi ride away or near a public transport system like the BTS, is a must.
  • Eat like a local. There is not much need to cook in Thailand, so don’t worry too much about the cost of groceries. It’s entirely possible to eat out or on-the-go every day, and it’s surprisingly cost-effective. You’ll find food markets, street vendors and food courts around every corner.
  • Don’t forget to haggle. Not in a supermarket! But at any market or informal shopping area you are expected to haggle on the price – always with a smile on your face.
  • Travel in low season. Thailand is a popular tourist destination for visitors from all over the world. High season is November to February and accommodation and travel prices skyrocket in that time. Rather take your holiday between May and September and enjoy lower prices.
  • Take a metered taxi. Buses, motorbike taxis and the skytrain (in Bangkok) are all affordable options for travelling around cities in Thailand. But when you opt for a taxi, be sure to take a metered taxi. Taxi’s which offer flat rates are generally more expensive. 

Even on the lowest salary, it’s quite easy to save a portion of your earnings each month if you are smart with your living costs.

How to start teaching English in Thailand

Visiting Thailand is probably on your bucket list already, so why not take it to the next level and teach there?!

Sign up for a TEFL course today and soon you could be catching some rays on Koh Chang or shopping up a storm at Chatuchak Market. 

A TEFL course from The TEFL Academy is exactly what you need to stand out from the crowd and land your dream teaching job in Thailand.

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