The holy grail of TEFL destinations, Thailand will enthral and intrigue you with its ancient landmarks, endless idyllic beaches and super-friendly locals.
Brace yourself for a feast for the senses if you choose to TEFL in Thailand. From the lush, green rainforests of the north to the heavenly tropical islands in the south, you’ll be greeted with the tantalising smells of delicious street food, breath-taking views of the beach and the hustle and bustle of lively communities. As if that wasn’t enough to appeal to the adventurer in you, the so-called Land of Smiles also boasts a high demand for English teachers, a very low cost of living and a laid-back lifestyle that you certainly won’t struggle to settle into.
So where to begin? You’ll need at least 120 hours of internationally-recognised TEFL training with a recognised provider. In the past few years, competition for TEFL jobs in Thailand has risen as there as so many teachers attracted to the amazing lifestyle on offer.
If you aren’t ready for a full-time TEFL job in Thailand, but want a taster, you’re in luck! Our popular Thailand Internship departs multiple times a year and includes everything from your TEFL training to accommodation included. See if it’s for you here!
£600-£900 per month
Cost of living
TEFL certificate needed
120 hours +
Main job types
Private language schools & public schools
Not ready for a full-time TEFL job? Download our free TEFL Internships guide
As with many other TEFL destinations, the main TEFL jobs in Thailand are at private language schools and public schools. However, there are also positions available at universities and international schools for teachers with higher qualification levels and more experience.
If you, like many TEFL teachers in Thailand, find work at a private language academy, you can expect students from the ages of four all the way up to older adults. The academies tend to run outside of normal working hours to allow their students to attend classes around their own school or work commitments, so you can expect to work more in the afternoons, evenings and weekends. You’ll probably teach for anywhere between 18 and 25 hours each week and the rest of your working day will be taken up with planning lessons and fulfilling your duties as a teacher.
Private school classes are, generally, quite a lot smaller than public school classes and you’ll teach up to a maximum of 15 students in one lesson – sometimes as little as one. (For some tutoring on how to teach one-to-one lessons, check out our range of Level 5 TEFL Courses which have a dedicated module on just that).
Public schools (or government schools) operate at normal working hours, Monday to Friday and you’ll be working from 15-40 hours per week, depending on your school’s demand. Unlike private schools, you’ll have larger classes of around 55-60 students so the way you conduct lessons will differ. Don’t let this put you off though. Students are normally very keen to learn and you’ll be teaching mainly conversational English.
Teaching at a private academy, you’ll either be paid an hourly rate or a set salary per month, dependent on the school. This will usually come to around £700-£900 which may sound low but in relation to the low cost of living in Thailand, you’ll be able to live very comfortably (and maybe even save). If you’re paid in an hourly rate, your wage might vary each month which can make it difficult to budget but on the plus side, you’ll definitely get paid for every hour you work.
Public schools tend to pay a little less than private at around £600-£800 a month but again, due to Thailand being a cheap place to live, you’ll still be able to fund quite a comfortable lifestyle.
If you’ve got a bachelor’s degree (in any subject) and a TEFL certificate with a minimum of 120 hours, good news You’re eligible to teach English in Thailand. The degree is needed for visa purposes so if you want to try and find a TEFL job in Thailand without a degree, it’s possible but it would be illegitimate unless it’s voluntary (like our internship).
Native English speakers (from countries like the UK, Australia, the US, etc.) are preferred by many schools but if you’re fluent in English, you shouldn’t struggle to find work. We also always advise to complete as much TEFL training as you can – our Level 5 320 Hour Diploma in TEFL will make you a competitive candidate when applying for work against other teachers.
The good news is that private language schools hire all year round, so you can apply whenever you’re ready. The best place to look for work is predominantly online, where most employers post jobs, on TEFL jobs boards such as LoveTEFL Jobs. The application process is similar to most countries; you’ll start by sending an application to the employer, then you’ll have a Skype or phone interview and hopefully get a job offer at the end of it!
This also goes for public school work, although, there are some peak times to apply for teaching positions due to term times. The school year runs from May to February in Thailand and the best time to start applying is in February/March – a few months before the start of term.
Before you can apply for a working visa in Thailand, you’ll first need a job offer and then your employer should be able to help you through the application process. To teach in Thailand, you’ll need the Non-B Immigrant Visa which costs £50 for three months with single entry or £120 for 12 months with multiple entry.
To apply, you’ll need to complete the visa application form, a passport with at least 6 months of validity and two blank pages, your degree and TEFL certificate with copies of each, your certificate showing a clean criminal record and a letter of confirmation from your employer. Once you’ve got everything you need, you’ll then need to send it all off to your local Thai embassy and you’ll be given a three-month visa which you can extend to 12 months later on.
Alternatively, if you choose to apply for work face-to-face in Thailand, you’ll need to enter the country on a tourist visa and then leave for a day or so once you receive a job offer. This is just so that you can re-enter the country on a work visa once it’s been approved.
Thailand has a very low cost of living in comparison to most Western and English-speaking countries, so you’ll be able to live very comfortably on a teacher’s salary. You can, of course, treat yourself to more expensive meals or a weekend at a nice hotel if you fancy a little bit of luxury every once in a while but for the most part, your daily living costs will be cheap.
Street food is increadibly cheap at around 50p for a tray of pad Thai and eating at an inexpensive restaurant will cost you around £1.20-£2.30, whereas, a mid-range three-course meal will be slightly more at £10-£20. Water is 25p for a bottle and beer is about £1.70.
The cost of your accommodation will depend on the city/area you choose to live in. For example, if you want to live in a nice area in central Bangkok, a one-bedroom apartment will set you back at least £750. In Chiang Mai, a bedroom in a shared house might only cost you £100. So, you can choose between a luxury apartment or more disposable income – we know which one we’d go for!
If you’re lucky, you might even bag yourself a teaching contract that comes with free accommodation! Or, if you’re a savvy TEFLer, you could ask for a housing allowance and find yourself somewhere to live instead.
Public school teachers tend to get the best deal when it comes to school holidays. Summer break is usually two months and there’s a month-long holiday in October – and most schools will offer these as paid (hurray). So, if you choose to find work at a public school, you’ll certainly have plenty of time to travel around Thailand and even the rest of Southeast Asia.
Private language academies won’t generally offer as many holidays as government schools but it does vary from school to school. Some more generous employers will offer a good amount of paid holidays but others may only offer a few days of unpaid holidays, so make sure you read through your contract before signing anything.
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