So You Want to Teach in Thailand

So, I have been asked on numerous occasions by listeners and visitors to the page for advice on acquiring a job as a teacher in Thailand, so I have finally decided to add a page to the blog for all you “would be” teachers out there.  I remember beginning the journey myself many years ago, and how frustrating it was at the lack of congruent or helpful information available so I will do my best to make this as informative as possible.

I first arrived in Thailand on a 60-day tourist visa many years ago and quickly proceeded to visit various schools that I knew could be hiring to offer myself for potential interviews.  Then the school where I found potential employment provided me with the adequate documentation to exit the country to obtain a 3-month non-immigrant B visa.  I flew to a neighboring country, where I visited a Thai embassy and obtained a non-immigrant B visa.  With the visa in hand, I return to Thailand in 2 days and the school had just under 3 months to get my work permit and Thai teacher’s license before I was eventually allowed an extension of stay based on my employment with that school.  This was the avenue I originally took to get a foothold in the education industry in Thailand, and I know that many others have taken the same route in seeking employment within the kingdom.  Over the years, I have moved up the educational ladder by seeking professional graduate educational qualifications and through experience I have finally gained employment as a respected professional educator.  However, if your just starting in the game then there are several types of schools you might consider depending on your amount of professional qualifications in education and experience.

Types of schools

English Language Institutes or Language Tutor Schools

The most common type of employment first sought after/attained by many foreigners seeking to live in the Land O’ Smiles is without a doubt the Language school.  These are private businesses that usually provide a tiered course structure in which a non-native English speaker (obviously normally a Thai citizen, but not always) may learn English for 2-3 hours a day, 2-3 times a week.  Classes usually run from beginner to advanced levels, with mixed age groups and with most institutes offering some sort of certification for completion of a their highest tier/level of the course work they offer.

The teachers or tutors that work at language institutes are an extremely mixed bag professionally and language institutes do not always require a formal educational qualification to be employed.  Technically, they will say you need at least a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate of some sort to work, but I know for a fact that this often is not the case with some of their teachers.  Language schools will often take anyone they can get, so the quality of the educational experience will vary greatly from school to school and teacher to teacher.  I have friends that have done the leg work and spent years attaining professional educational qualification that would consider it a grievous insult to be lumped into the same category as a Language teacher, but I feel they provide a good service for your everyday citizen that may not have benefited from English language exposure in school.

The job itself consists of sitting with a group of 10 or so adult students a few hours a week completing various types of games/activities to help the students improve their English speaking skills.  The down side to being a language school tutor is that the pay is often quite low and the hours long and tedious.  Also, Language schools are busy in the evenings and weekends so your down time is going to be when everyone else is at work.  Furthermore, I have heard that some language schools are not so adept/able to provide work permits to their teachers.  ***IMPORTANT***  I think I should stop here and say that YOU the would be teacher and as a non-Thai citizen may NOT work within Thailand and receive an income of any kind without a valid work permit.  If your Thai employer drags the process out or tries to convince you otherwise then run away quickly.  There have been many cases of immigration doing a raid on a “school” and carting all the non-work permitted teachers off to jail.  The immigration officials will not punish the employers and you will be put in jail and/or deported for working illegally.  Just be forewarned that it can and does happen here to unsuspecting would be teachers. So in summary:

Language Institutes

  • At least a Bachelors degree and/or TEFL certification
  • Salary 20-25,000 baht a month
  • Expect to work evenings and weekends
  • Not a salary job…you get paid for hours you work
  • No paid vacation time
  • May or may not provide legal work permits
  • may not provide health insurance

Private Thai schools with English Programs

(Check back for later for more)

Bilingual Schools

(Check back for later for more)

International School

(Check back for later for more)

One response to “So You Want to Teach in Thailand

  1. So You Want to Teach in Thailand | The “Tom in Thailand” Podcast I was suggested this website by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem. You’re amazing! Thanks! your article about So You Want to Teach in Thailand | The “Tom in Thailand” Podcast Best Regards Nick Cassetta

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