Thailand TEFL Guide
Why Teach English in Thailand?
The weather is nice and warm (to hot!), the beaches are beautiful, the people are famous for the friendliness and the “Thai Smile”. All of that means that living and working in Thailand can be a joyful experience beyond that of just about any other TEFL destination. The culture and temples of Thailand are exotic and truly exciting to experience first hand. See the photo above? That’s not an artist’s fantasy! You’ll never grow tired of it. Buddhist temples are around every corner and almost everyone of them will have a surprise for you. Thai food is known worldwide and is delicious and can be very hot. Be careful and ask.
Thailand is located in southeast Asia and borders Malaysia to the south, Cambodia and Laos to the East and Myanmar to the west, all great places to visit and easy to reach from almost anywhere in Thailand.
The weather in Thailand can be quite variable depending on where you are, but generally for cental and southern Thailand there are only two seasons: Hot season and rainy season, which is not quite as hot. The north of the country can be cool at night in the winter and in the higher altitudes. Weather can change quickly and rainy season can feature very heavy downpours that can last from just a few minutes to several hours. Plan on getting wet, everyone does, no big deal as the rain is usually luke warm.
Wages and the cost of living
Wages for most EFL teachers will vary from about 25,000 baht (pronounced like bought) to 50,000 or more. Public schools tend to pay poorly but might well be your first employer. Nicer private schools and better language schools can get you closer to the higher end of that scale. The Thai baht can move around a bit depending on the current political situation, but somewhere between 30-32 baht to the US dollar is typical. Use the foreign exchange page HERE to calculate the rate today.
Schools do not tend to pay for accommodation, air fare or other nice benefits that are common in Korea, China or the Middle East.
While wages are modest, you can live well on the local economy though you’ll have difficulty saving more than $100-200 a month.
Some typical prices are:
Local beer: $1 – $2
Foreign beer: $2-$3
A liter of milk: $1.25 to $1.70
Lunch at a street stall: $1-3
Lunch at a local restaurant- $2.50 and up.
Rent for a small apartment- $250-550 (quality and Western amenities affect price)
Public bus or songthaew – $.50 and up
These prices vary greatly when comparing rural areas to the larger urban areas. Bangkok and Phuket can be expensive, but then wages tend to be higher. Chang Rai or other not-so-urban areas will pay less, but housing and food are much less expensive.
Demand for Teachers
Very high everywhere. Urban or rural, teachers are needed.
Employers will prefer a one-year contract and may not offer working papers if you seek a shorter agreement. Please note: Prices change without notice and and we can not guarantee you a price on this page will remain the same when you arrive there.
While demand is high, expectations about the professionalism of teachers is also high. Dress professionally and in Bangkok especially that will mean a tie and a long-sleeve shirt for the guys and something equivalent for the ladies. Yes, you may well arrive soaked in sweat, but so does everyone else. Show up dressed like you are on vacation and teacher shortage or not, you’ll not likely be offered a job. Cover your tattoos, leave your piercings at home, wear deodorant (Thais pay a lot of attention to personal hygiene and smells). Ideally be prepared to do a short demonstration lesson of 10-15 minutes length. Any simple grammar or functions lesson would be fine, but they want to know if you know a bit about EFL teaching methods and if you are friendly and know that it is the students who are supposed to be speaking, not you.
Thailand tends to hire only from face-to-face interviews. You will often read on the internet that you can line up a job there before arrival and while it may be possible, it is quite unusual and might well lead you into a TEFL job scam. Be careful!
Preferred Teacher Qualifications
Most schools will want a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate of at least 100 hours. Online TEFL certifications are okay at most schools but a few will want an in-classroom course. Areas away from Phuket, Bangkok and Chiang Mai, will tend to be less demanding about your qualifications and will often help you get around Ministry of Education requirements as they just can’t get enough teachers. A degree often is not required in non-urban areas.
Learn more about Teaching English in Thailand.
Thailand TEFL Guide