The demand for English teachers in Thailand is on the rise. The country is, perhaps, not as developed a market for teaching Jobs abroad experiences when compared to its other asian countries such as China or South Korea. But the trend to hire native English speakers for schools and institutions has seen an uptick in the last few years.
This is the right time to explore opportunities for teach English in Thailand. The competition is not yet fierce, the country offers a great living experience and salaries are attractive. You might even manage to beef up your nest egg as teaching English in Thailand is lucrative enough to improve your saving potential making it one of the best countries to teach English.
Opportunities to teach English in Thailand are available in the public schools, international schools, language institutions and universities.
The public schools are overseen by the Government. Most Thai parents send their children to public schools as education is free. Children of expatriates studying in these schools are charged fees. There are opportunities to work as an English teacher even in the public-school system. In fact, these schools are eager to have native English speakers to take the language class. In addition, there are schools run by the Government which follow an English program.
Students are taught all subjects in English. The curriculum is decided by the Government and this “English” education is not free unlike other Thai public schools. You may even apply to teach subjects other than English at these schools.
There are plenty of international schools in Bangkok. They include a wide range of schools from the very exclusive to the mid-level. The curriculum and facilities vary widely even in the international schools. Some international schools prefer teachers only from a few select English speaking countries. Others have a more cosmopolitan structure. Once again, you can discover other avenues to teach other subjects in English.
If you are looking for the most rewarding openings to teach English in Thailand, you should narrow your job search to international schools. Of course, the qualifications required to teach in international schools is higher.
Private language schools are big business in Thailand. There are plenty of opportunities. However, work conditions vary widely. For one, the smaller language school may have lower salary scales than what is offered by public schools or international schools. Second, the working hours are erratic.
Since these schools are open to professionals and adults, you are obliged to take early morning classes or late evening classes. It is only the bigger and well-established language schools that offer you full time teaching positions. The smaller schools prefer to hire teachers on a part time basis and will offer you hourly wages.
You need to do your homework well while applying for jobs in the language schools. Not all of them are professional. Also, with a number of schools burgeoning in recent years, the competition in the language school market is tough and many are unable to survive. But if you are not seeking a long-time career teaching English in Thailand, and are just looking to finance your ‘Thailand journey’, then these part time jobs may be worth exploring.
You can also opt for private tuitions, though schools do frown upon their teachers chasing students for one-to-one classes.
The internet is a good source to look for job opportunities in Thailand especially sites like Educating Abroad and our page search teaching jobs in Thailand.
However, you might be able to get more interview calls by being personally in Thailand. It may involve a financial investment, but Thai schools do prefer to hire teachers after meeting them personally.
If you’re serious about teaching English in Thailand, you may have to dig into your savings to finance your stay in the country for a couple of months.
The teaching year in Thailand has two semesters beginning in May and November. The academic year ends in May. You can start your application process as early as February or March. But opportunities are available throughout the year, though fewer than in the peak hiring season.
Even if you start your application process a bit late, the probability of getting a job teaching English in Thailand is reasonably high.
As per recent government and OBEC rules, you can apply for the post of an English teacher in Thailand if you have a 4-year Bachelor’s degree. Native English teachers (US, UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand) do not need to provide any proof of fluency in the English language.
Passport holders from other countries, defined as non-native English speakers, must have certification proving their English language skills. You need a TOEIC score of 600+ or an IELTS score of 5.5+.
But schools are often willing to overlook the government’s English fluency criteria, especially if you have prior teaching experience. To summarize, to explore opportunities for teaching English in Thailand you need the following:
The documentation process to work legally in Thailand as an English teacher is a long and cumbersome one. The bureaucracy in Thailand moves slowly and loves to deal in paperwork! You may soon feel that you are drowning in documents as the process grinds its way through several levels of bureaucrats. The positive aspect is that Thai schools will assist you all the way. They are used to dealing with bureaucracy and will help smoothen the process for you.
To work legally in Thailand, you have to follow a three-step process.
The basic teacher wage for new teachers in Thailand is usually around 25,000 - 30,000 Baht per month which is usually within a language centre, For teachers who are experienced and able to find opportunities in an International school you could see wages as much as 100,000 baht.
Yes, Non native English speakers or NNES are can apply to teach in Thailand. You have to prove that you can communicate in English with a TOEIC score of 600+ or an IELTS score of 5.5+.
Working in a Thai school can be disconcerting initially. First, if you’re working in a government school, you may be the only expat teacher. This may lead to a slower cultural and professional adjustment. Second, Thai schools and students have a very different concept of discipline. School meetings rarely start on time.
Thailand is known as the ‘Land of Smiles’, so you may expect to make friends quickly and instantly. However, people are wary of foreigners. But once you do make friends, you are considered to be a part of their family!
Salaries at public-schools range between $800-1000. If you have a full-time job, language academies will pay you slightly lower than public schools. Your salary could be anything between $700-$1000 based upon on your expertise & certification.
However, most language academies prefer to hire part time teachers on an hourly wage ranging from $10-30 per hour. Bilingual schools with an English program have high pay scales ranging from $1000-2000 per month.
International schools are the most lucrative in terms of salaries and benefits. The average pay for international school teachers is around $2000-4000.
The benefits offered vary depending on the institution. Language schools may offer return airfare with a one-year contract. The work load here is generally heavier than the public schools. The mainstream schools normally have a 40-hour work week from Monday to Friday.
Additional benefits may include housing allowance and paid vacation time. Some schools offer an end-of-the-contract bonus. If the school is willing to extend your contract once it expires, you can expect a pay rise.
Health insurance is a legal requirement in Thailand and your employer is expected to pay a certain percentage of your health insurance. Most schools have a cafeteria where teachers have free lunch facilities. However, it is not mandatory and if you do not like the fare, you are allowed to bring food or go outside campus to eat outside.
The international schools are generous! Their employment contracts normally include free housing, paid vacation, round trip tickets and health insurance. Of course, getting a job in an international school with such fabulous benefits would require several years of teaching experience.
One of the questions we get asked the most especially from those in their native country who are considering embarking on their first international teaching assignment is “If I teach English in Thailand can i survive, is it financially rewarding? Is there any saving potential?” But because its so difficult to answer as everyone is different, i usually say “If you cannot add to your nest egg, will you have enough money to have a good life and realise your dream of exploring the country?”
Daily life in Thailand is not very expensive. In addition, your house rent may be subsidised by your school. Eating out is very cheap.
Thailand is famous for its street food, and you can have a great meal at surprisingly affordable prices. Bangkok is at least 30 percent more expensive than other Thai cities. However, it is also the most exciting place to live in.
While you are pursuing your dreams of teaching English in Thailand, you may have a rather delicate decision to make. Should you choose hip & happening Bangkok and have a blast? Or should you go to a more sedate Thai city and save some money? It could be a difficult call!!
Since one of the most delicious aspects of living in Thailand is the chance to explore and savour its fabulous cuisine, let us first look at how much eating out in Thailand is going to cost you.
A meal for two people in an inexpensive restaurant will cost you around $1.5-2. If you are checking out the street carts, this can come down to $1 for a meal consisting of a plate of pad thai.
A meal with a starter and a dessert in a mid-range restaurant will cost you roughly $20. You will also have to buy bottled water as the tap water is unsafe to drink.
A bottle of water (300-ml) is priced at $0.30. A can of domestic beer or a cappuccino will cost you $2.
What about if you decide that, along with teaching English in Thailand, you also want to pick up some Thai cooking? With Thai ingredients easily available, you could learn to whip up local delicacies in your own kitchen.
If your employment contract does not include a housing allowance, expect your rent to take up about 24 percent of your monthly outflow.
An apartment in the city centre, usually one bed will rent for $400-450. If you live outside the CBD, rent for a similar sized apartment will be approximately $270.
Utilities including electricity, water, cooling, heating and garbage collection will add another $75 to your expenses. Communication costs – internet, mobile – will be around $22-25.
Thailand has a great public transport system. From the famous tuk tuks to motorcycle taxis known as songthaew, from regular buses to skytrains, from taxis to train, you can hop onto any mode of transportation to get around the city or country. Bangkok even has a subway system.
Tuk Tuks are surprisingly expensive, especially if you are not very good at bargaining. The drivers may charge you as much as $5 for a trip. The songthaew charges are between $0.60 to $3.00, depending on the distance.
Bus trips are very economical. There are long distance buses from Bangkok to other tourist destinations like Pattaya and Phuket. You can travel within Bangkok in a bus with tickets priced at an affordable $0.20
Living in Thailand is not very expensive. If you plan well, teaching English in Thailand will not only allow you to have an exciting time in the country, but will also let you save some money for the future.
Bangkok’s infamous night life, the constant buzz, the alleys filled with food carts, the innumerable bars and clubs can make weekends in Thailand a fun filled adventure. But If you do teach English in Thailand it can a whole new learning experience for you. There is so much more to this country than Bangkok and famous beaches like Phuket and Pattaya.
Use a long weekend (here is a tip: Thai schools have plenty of long weekends!) and explore the rural side of Thailand. Life is quiet in the agriculture communities. The green paddy fields are interspersed with some spectacular landscapes. From silent woods to cascading waterfalls, from deep caves to soaring cliffs, rural Thailand is mesmerizing.
Thailand has very strong connections with Buddhism. The gleaming Buddhist temples are of course well known to tourists. You must visit them when you if teach English in Thailand.
But as a resident in the country for at least six months, you could perhaps explore a bit more into the fascinating philosophy that governs life in Thailand. One option could be to visit the monasteries and meditation retreats. They offer courses in meditation to even non-Thai speakers.
Of course, meditation or nang samadhi, as the Thais call it, is not for everybody. But there are courses of varying duration and levels. You could choose a shorter course initially and then move on to a higher level if it interests you.
Any discussion on Thailand is incomplete without a focus on its cuisine! Thai food is popular the world over. Perhaps, you could sign up for a cooking class while teaching English in Thailand.
After your return home, you may be overcome with nostalgia for this beautiful country. The best way to combat it would be to put the cookery skills you learn in Thailand to good use. Whip up a steaming plate of Gaeng Daeng and let the delicious flavors take you back to your days in Thailand!
Explore the alleys and side streets of this old city. Chiang Mai is known as one of the cultural centers of Thailand. Explore the old temples. Shop for the lovely handicrafts made by local artisans. Enjoy the lovely food, including the Japanese and Burmese restaurants in the area.
The white expanse of the beaches, the soaring karsts and the quiet forests of Railay are perfect for a weekend adventure. Explore the area on foot, dive into the azure sea, climb up the forbidding limestone cliffs – and watch your weekend pass by in a flash!
If you are somebody who likes to be away from the maddening crowd, you may be disinclined to visit Phuket.
Do not make that mistake. For all its ‘touristy’ avatar, Phuket is worth a visit. There is of course the lure of being on vacation in a tropical paradise. But you could also explore Phuket’s mangrove forests. Or spend a day conversing with the massive residents of the elephant rescue sanctuary.
Do you like the adrenaline rush provided by life in a busy, vibrant city? Welcome to Bangkok!
Are you looking for spiritual rejuvenation? Visit the calm monasteries that keep Thailand rooted to its spiritual past. Is the sun & the sea a part of your weekend plan? Head for the azure seas of Phuket.
Need to spice up your culinary adventures? Moo ping, gai tod, satay – there’s really nothing more to be said here!
Good quality of life, great country, wonderful people and decent saving potential – if the opportunity presents itself to teach English in Thailand, be gone!!!