Teaching in Thailand

Everything You Need to Know

If you have been toying with the idea of teaching English in Thailand, but you’ve no idea where to begin—or if it is indeed even the right move for you—then look no further. In this article we will cover absolutely everything that you need to know about teaching in Thailand.

We will explore the following: (Click to jump to section)

 

Is teaching English in Thailand the right move for you?

But before we get started, first you must determine if teaching really is for you. Now, it’s difficult to tell just by reading an article. The fact is, you will never truly know if teaching is for you unless you try it. But don’t panic! If you finish this article and are still thoroughly eager for an adventure, then the chances of you getting to Thailand and not enjoying teaching would be slim to none—most people who try it absolutely adore it!

The qualities that make great teachers

Great communication skills

Naturally, having the ability to communicate well with others is among the most important qualities required to become a great teacher. If you have always been good at making new friends and communicating with others, then you’re off to a good start.

Empathy

Empathy is having the innate ability to anticipate others’ feelings and to build strong connections with them. If you are good at reading a room and looking at them as a group of individuals, rather than an individual group, then you will experience greater success in this field.

Sense of humor

Having a sense of humour certainly isn’t a requirement, but it definitely goes a long way! Part of being a teacher is making the learning experience as fun as possible, both for the students, and for yourself. If you can laugh at yourself and not take things too seriously, then teaching in Thailand will prove to be one of the most joyous and pleasurable experiences of your life.

Organisation

Organisation is vital when it comes to teaching. You can’t just roll up to each lesson without a plan. Which means that you’ll need to make time in your schedule to plan each lesson, every week. You will certainly find plenty of time to do this throughout the day during free periods and on your break, so it might be worth utilising that time wisely so that you won’t have to bring your work home with you. Of course, just because you may not be particularly well organised now, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to learn how. So, don’t write teaching off just yet.

Adaptability

Are you a problem solver? How good at you at thinking on your feet? The fact is things don’t always go to plan in teaching. Writing a lesson plan is important, but you must always be prepared to adapt should things not work out the way you were anticipating (e.g., equipment fails, an activity takes too long, or your lesson plan didn’t quite fill the allotted time).

Passion

You need to want to teach and you need to be passionate about it too. When you really think about the great gift that you will be sharing with your students and what opportunities a proficiency in English will grant them, it becomes all the more worth it. With passion comes greater depth and enjoyment and thus, success.

Patience

Are you an especially patient person? If not, then you may wish to start practising now. Whilst teaching will always present you with new challenges and opportunities, you will certainly find an element of repetition (particularly when your students are making the same mistakes over and over). Teaching is about having the patience to endure, and the empathy to understand. Let’s see how quickly you pick up the complex Thai language!

So, how did you get on? Have you ticked off many of these? If so, then it looks like you’re an ideal candidate for teaching. If you’re still interested to explore teaching in Thailand further, then read on for the ultimate guide and let’s get you started!

What are the requirements for teaching in Thailand?

Now, we are going to outline the legal requirements set forth by the government to teach in Thailand. Some people that you may speak to might suggest certain loopholes or point out areas that are somewhat lax. For example: you can get away with teaching without a work permit in certain schools. Thus, you will be working illegally. This is not something we suggest or condone. However, it is certainly not unheard of.

To working legally in Thailand, you need to obtain a valid work permit to do so. If you are a degree holder, then you will be eligible to receive a Non-Immigrant “B”.  If you are not holding a degree and over the age of 20, then you will be eligible to receive a Non-Immigrant “O”.  Both Non-Immigrant visas (“B” or “O”) open a 90-day window for you to obtain a valid work permit from your employer to work legally in Thailand.

 

Thai schools certainly prefer experienced degree holding teachers to teach in their schools, so if you wish to do everything by the book, here’s what you’ll need:

Certified university degree and transcript from a 4-year college

A TOEIC score of 600+ or IELTS score of 5+ if you’re from a non-native speaking country

Non-Immigrant ‘B’ Visa

Supporting documentation

University degree & transcript

You will always be better off with the original copy of your university degree, as often, copies are not acceptable. This must be a bachelor level degree or higher—associates and diplomas do not meet the requirements. Fortunately, the discipline or subject of the degree is irrelevant, all that matters is that you graduated from a recognised university.

Your degree must also be written in English, so if you’re not from a native English language country then you will need your degree & transcript translated. There are plenty of reputable translation services available online.

Non-immigrant visa requirements

You will need either a non-immigrant B or O visa in order to obtain a work permit and teach in Thailand. You can visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, for more information regarding the various types of visa. You should apply for your visa at your consulate or embassy before arriving in Thailand to simplify the process.

Note: You will need sponsorship when applying for a visa, typically from an employer, in order to complete the transaction. If you are joining us for one of our TEFL training courses, simply contact us for more information on which visa is best suited for you, and what the best course of action is.

Native English Speaker (NES) Status or Fluency in English

In order to teach legally in Thailand, you will either need to be from a native English-speaking country (I.e., UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand), or be able to prove your fluency in English. Being a B1 level speaker (CEF guidelines) is acceptable. Thus, you may need to provide proof of this to employers.

Supporting documentation

Other important documents required will include medical certificates, criminal background checks, and the university transcripts as previously mentioned. More information may be required of you, but that generally depends on the calibre of the school and position that you are applying for.

Is TEFL Certification an Essentiality for teaching in Thailand?

Legally speaking, a TEFL certification is not a requirement to teach as a volunteer. However, it is a required document to obtain a work permit in teaching, but this varies between labour departments.  It is important to note almost every single school in Thailand will require one in absence of any teaching experience, or a degree in education. That, and learning TEFL is the perfect way to acclimatise to the culture, the climate, and the classroom.

What does the average teacher earn in Thailand?

You may not be blown away by the earnings for teaching in Thailand, however, it is important to look at it comparatively to the cost of living. Certainly, you likely wouldn’t be able to survive on Thailand’s teaching wages back in your home country, but in Thailand you can live comfortably and still have money left over at the end of each month.

The average wage for teaching English in Thailand is 35,000 THB (approx. US$1,100). This is certainly enough to live comfortably, but perhaps not quite enough to “live like a King,” as many people believe they can. If you wish to live a more luxurious life in Thailand, you will either need to pick up a second job (e.g., teaching private lessons of a weekend), or land yourself a position in an international school, or teaching at a corporate level.

If you have no experience teaching at all, or you don’t have a qualification in teaching, it will be unlikely that you can secure a position in an international school. However, don’t let that put you off. Again, the average salary for a teacher is more than enough to live well and enjoy yourself.

For more information on the reality of Teaching in Thailand click here.

Public & private schools

30 – 40,000 THB / month
  • This will be your bread & butter as a brand-new teacher in Thailand. You can easily find yourself a comfortable position in a public or private school and earn yourself a comfortable living. You will typically need a bachelor’s degree, TEFL certification, and native English speaker status to apply.

International Schools

60 – 115,000 THB / month
  • Again, the international schools are a step up and subsequently require more experience and greater qualifications in order to secure a position (i.e., QTS / PGCE). If you are qualified to teach in your home country, you will be qualified to work in an international school.

Language Centres and Private Tutoring

300-500 THB / hr
  • This will be your bread & butter as a brand-new teacher in Thailand. You can easily find yourself a comfortable position in a public or private school and earn yourself a comfortable living. You will typically need a bachelor’s degree, TEFL certification, and native English speaker status to apply.

Additional teacher benefits in Thailand

There are other benefits that can be offered to teachers depending on the position that they secure. Note that some of these aren’t guaranteed, so don’t get too excited or expect them as standard.

Housing allowance

It is important to note that most government & private positions will not offer this bonus, so you will more than likely have to find your own accommodation. However, some schools may provide you with an apartment or housing allowance to help with your accommodation costs. Some schools may even provide accommodation; however, these are typically basic single room apartments on or near campus. If you want something bigger then you may need to pay extra.

Food

Every school in Thailand will offer free cafeteria food for lunch. This is typically Thai food with basic rice and noodle dishes. You are of course, welcome to bring your own lunch and to leave the school grounds during your break. However, if you wish to save as much money as you can, they we would advise that you take full advantage of a delicious free lunch at every opportunity!

Health insurance

All full-time teachers in Thailand receive basic subsidised health insurance, which is a wonderful little bonus. The government will pay 3% of your earnings into the pot, whilst you add another 3% yourself.

Cash bonuses

You are likely to receive end-of-contract bonuses in order to encourage teachers to see out the duration of their contract. Should you decide to stay on and renew your contract, you will likely experience a pay rise as well.

NOTE:  Regarding accommodation in Thailand, if you would like any advice or assistance with finding yourself a suitable home, then we will be happy to help. Everyone who takes part in our amazing TEFL experience will always receive the best aftercare from our friendly team in order to ensure that you are set up comfortably and ready to start living your best life as a teacher in Thailand!

How much money will I be able to save, teaching in Thailand?

Ultimately, this will depend on three factors: how much you are earning, whether you have any debts or bills to pay back home, and how able you are to live within your means. Assuming that you are more or less debt-free, and you are earning 35,000 THB/month, you should be able to save between 5 & 10% of your salary each month.

If you are happy to live like a local, and can be disciplined during the week, then you can save a lot of money. This will enable you to enjoy your weekends and be regularly social, attending various evets, nights out, or weekend breaks on the various tropical islands in Thailand. Naturally, you won’t be able to afford to go crazy every weekend. However, if you are prepared to catch local transport and eat locally, then you will be more than comfortable financially.

The main question is, how much money do you really need to save? You should always have money set aside for emergencies. But other than that, you should endeavour to enjoy this experience and make the most of every opportunity presented to you.

The visa and work permit process

We won’t lie to you; the visa and work permit process can be incredibly stressful and confusing. Fortunately, if you are choosing us for your TEFL certification, then we will gladly guide you through the process. However, for the sake of being thorough, here is everything you will need for the teacher visa application process: 

Non-Immigrant B or O visa

A work permit

A teacher’s licence or teaching certificate

Clean police record 

Non-Immigrant visas

Non-Immigrant visas are not official “working visas”, though they are the first step in obtaining a legal working status. Here’s everything you’ll need:

the original passport with at least 6 months’ validity and two blank pages, copies of various pages of the passport,

a passport photo

certified criminal background check

various documents from your employer

visa application fee

the original copy of one’s bachelor’s degree for Non-B or Diploma for Non-O

Work Permit

A work permit is the document that will allow you to legally work in Thailand. However, you will find that in most cases, you will be asked to work without one, whilst the work permit process is sorted out. Some people often end up having worked for months without one. Here’s everything you’ll need:

your passport with the valid Non-Immigration visa

3 passport photos

certified criminal background check

a valid medical certificate issued from a Thai doctor

evidence of previous teaching experience (if you have it)

Non-Immigrant visas

Non-Immigrant visas are not official “working visas”, though they are the first step in obtaining a legal working status. Here’s everything you’ll need:

your passport with valid Non-Immigration visa

passport photos

your valid work permit

the original copy of one’s bachelor’s degree award

university transcripts

a certified criminal background check

Please don’t be put off by the red tape. Yes, the visa and work permit process can be a nightmare, however if you rely on the school or TEFL company that you are working with, they should be able to guide you through the process easily. Just make sure that you have absolutely everything that you need before going ahead and applying. Take your time, do your research, and never be afraid to ask questions. You’ll be just fine.

Where are the best places to live & teach in Thailand?

It’s a good question, and one that depends on your preferences and personal lifestyle goals. Some people love the hustle & bustle of Bangkok (where there will certainly be much more opportunity for teaching), whereas others prefer a more laid-back coastal/island lifestyle.

At Entrust TEFL, we have three main training locations: Chiang Mai, Pattaya, and Krabi. Of course, you’ll be under no obligation to stay and teach in any of these locations as we place teachers nationwide, however, we believe that these are certainly among the top three places to live & teach in Thailand.

Things-to-do-in-Chiang-Mai-Featured-Image

Why Chiang Mai?

Many people favour Chiang Mai for the weather. Being in the north of Thailand, and at a higher altitude, the weather is much more pleasant throughout the year. Some Westerner’s living in Thailand, especially down South, often find the summer to be unbearably hot, at times. But aside from the weather, Chiang Mai is simply a stunning city in a beautiful mountainous landscape with a thriving expat community. You’ll never find yourself absent things to do of an evening, that’s for sure.

TEFL COURSE PATTAYA with Entrust TEFL

Why Pattaya?

If you are all about the beach, and love the party lifestyle, then Pattaya is a great place to be. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand due to its colourful nightlife, and the gorgeous beaches that grace the coast. That said, there is a tender side to Pattaya as well, with plenty of beautiful scenery and relaxing daytrips at your disposal.

krabi

Why Krabi?

If you like the idea of living in what is often regarded as the Southern Island’s main hub, then Krabi it is! It’s the perfect location from which to explore Southern Thailand and to spend your weekends island hopping between the many glorious tropical escapes.

Of course, there are many places to live and teach in Thailand. Shop around and see what opportunities are available and then go from there.

Conclusion

Ultimately, if it’s an adventure that you’re after, then teaching in Thailand will almost certainly be the perfect opportunity for you. You will have the opportunity to leave your home behind and throw yourself into an entirely alien culture. One that is rich and beautiful and will teach you much about yourself. You will have the opportunity to make new friends from all over the world—friends that you will keep for life. You will create memories that you will cherish forever, and it will give you plenty of time for soul-searching so that you can decide what the next chapter of your life will contain. Who knows! You might love teaching in Thailand so much, that you continue your travels across the world.

If you’re excited and would like to know more about our TEFL programs and how they can benefit you, then please feel free to contact us today, and schedule an appointment, at your convenience.

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