Volunteer teaching in Thailand is a great option if you don’t have a degree or if you’d like to try teaching before signing a long-term contract. If you have prior teaching experience, it’s worth looking into work at international schools – known for offering great pay, hours and benefits. Securing a job at an international school is competitive, so you’ll usually need at least two years of teaching experience and a teaching qualification with in-class learning. If you’re an experienced TEFL teacher, you can also apply to work at a university, which offers a similar wage to public school work with fewer teaching hours.
Work Visa in advance / Convert Tourist Visa to Work Visa
Cost of Living
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What Kind of Teaching Jobs Are There In Thailand?
The most popular type of teaching jobs in Thailand are at private language schools, especially for brand new TEFL teachers. Working at a public school is also a popular option for many TEFL teachers. And international schools and universities are great choices of employment for experienced, qualified TEFL teachers, generally offering great pay and normal office hours.
At one time, it was easy to find work for even the briefest amount of time in Thailand. However, in recent years schools have expected TEFL teachers to commit to at least five months.
Teaching at private language schools in Thailand
The most popular type of work for first-time TEFL teachers in Thailand is at private language schools (also known as private language centres or academies). As the name suggests, these schools are privately run and operate outside of normal school hours. They’re generally attended by children on evenings and weekends, but there are a few schools that teach adults as well.
Finding a job
You can apply to language schools both online and in person. With just a quick look at our jobs board or another online TEFL jobs board, you’ll find plenty of open positions all over the country. Jobs in Bangkok tend to be the mostly highly sought after, closely followed by Chiang Mai and Phuket. Krabi town and Isaan region are another two alternative choices, respectively offering relaxing beach life and a taste of the countryside.
When to apply
Private language centres operate and hire year-round – so you don’t need to rush to get your job application in by a certain date!
Teaching hours & Class sizes
You’ll likely be offered between 18-25 hours of teaching work per week. Though with a little extra searching, you can usually find English teaching jobs in Thailand with more or less hours to suit you. Some TEFL teachers in Thailand choose to take on two jobs instead – whether that’s at two different language centres, or a language centre and a government school.
Class sizes are usually very small – in fact, you’ll rarely teach more than 15 students at a time and will sometimes teach one-to-one.
Salary & Bonuses
If you work part-time, you’ll usually earn an hourly wage rather than a fixed salary. The hourly rate for a TEFL teacher at a private institute is between $10-19.
If you work full-time, you could be offered an hourly rate or a fixed salary. In either case, you’ll likely earn between $900-1,250, but it’s worth weighing up the pros and cons of which type of contract will work best for you personally. For example, if you earn an hourly rate, your monthly salary may vary, which can make it more difficult to budget, but you’ll be paid fairly for every hour you work. On the other hand, if you opt for a fixed salary, you’ll be able to rely on the same salary every month, but you won’t get any extra pay for a particularly busy month of work.
Unlike government-run schools or international schools, private language centres don’t have holidays in-between term time. Some centres offer a generous amount of paid holiday days as well as national holidays, whereas others a few days of unpaid holiday. Always check your contract to see what you’re signing up to!
There are also some quieter times of year when you may expect to get less work – and therefore less pay, if you’re paid hourly. Expect less work in April (around Thai new year) and in October (around exams and school holidays).
- A high hourly rate, often adding up to more than a full-time public school salary
- Much smaller class sizes than government schools
- Potentially unpaid holidays and no long breaks between term times
- Unsociable hours and weekend work
- A changeable schedule
Teaching at government schools in Thailand
Working at a government school (also known as a public school) is another common choice for many TEFL teachers. It’s arguably more challenging than working at a language school in many ways but it offers plenty of perks too. You’ll usually be offered comfortable working hours and benefits, though you may also find that the working environment is slightly more chaotic than at a private language school.
Finding a job
Unlike some destinations, there is no government scheme for hiring English teachers at public schools. You can apply for jobs at a government school in the same way you would apply for any other teaching job, online or in person.
When to apply
The Thai school year starts in May and runs through until February. The best time of year to apply for work is in February and March, a few months before the school year begins.
Teaching hours & Class sizes
You’ll be working from Monday to Friday with no evening or weekend work. Though, your hours of work will vary depending on the school and what time English classes are. Some TEFL teachers report working as little as 15 hours a week, whereas other work as many as 40.
Class sizes are normally on the large size – most TEFL teachers have 55-60 students in each class. This is one of the biggest challenges of working at a government school, and you’ll quickly develop great classroom management skills!
Salary & Bonuses
The monthly salary for a full-time TEFL teacher at a government school is between $750-1,000.
One of the best benefits of working at a government school is the long holidays between term times. In most cases, these holidays are paid, but you’ll need to check your contract carefully to make sure.
There’s usually a month-long holiday in October and a two-month break over summer. That’s plenty of time to explore Thailand, visit other countries in Southeast Asia or simply put your feet up!
- Long holidays between term times
- A Monday to Friday working week with no evening work and weekends off
- A regular weekly schedule
- Large class sizes – there can be up to 60 students in a class
- Fewer resources than at a private language school
Other types of teaching work in Thailand
Am I eligible to teach in Thailand?
To teach in Thailand, you need a degree and a TEFL certificate. You don’t necessarily need to be a native-level English speaker to secure teaching work, but you do need a strong command of the English language – including reading and writing. And you may still find that native speakers are preferred by schools. Without a degree, you can still find volunteer teaching jobs in Thailand – but any paid teaching work would be carried out illegally without a work permit.
How can I get a visa?
To legally work as a TEFL teacher, you must obtain the Non-B Immigrant Visa. You’ll need to have been offered a job already to apply for this, and your employer should help guide you through the application process.
If you decide to search for a job on the ground in Thailand, you’ll probably have to enter on a tourist visa, leave the country once you’ve been offered a job, and then re-enter Thailand on your new work visa. If you’re applying for jobs from overseas, you’ll need to send your visa application to your local Thai embassy. In either instance, you can expect to receive a three-month working visa. You’ll then have to apply for a work permit and a visa extension once you enter the country.
For the visa application, you’ll need a visa application form, a passport with at least six months of validity and two blank pages, photocopies of your qualifications (such as your degree and TEFL certificate), a copy of a recent criminal record clearance certificate (issued by your home country), and a letter of acceptance from your school. Keep in mind, you may be asked to show your original certificates and documents – so make sure to pack those!
A single-entry three-month working visa costs just under $65 and a multiple-entry one-year working visa costs about $150. In some cases, your employer will also cover the cost of the visa.
Where can I teach English in Thailand?
The most popular place to teach in Thailand has to be Bangkok. The capital city is full of impressive shopping centres, regular lively festivals, delicious street food, and plenty of TEFL teachers! Another popular location to teach English is Chiang Mai, located in the north of Thailand. The city is much smaller than Bangkok, offering a more slow-paced lifestyle and lots of outdoor activities, such as trekking, water-rafting, and visiting unique temples and tribes. If you’d prefer a more upbeat lifestyle, Phuket is the perfect island to enjoy beaches and nightlife. Other islands you can find teaching work on are Phi Phi and Samui. And if you’d prefer to sample life in a village, try Udon, Korat or Khon Kaen.
What are the challenges of teaching English in Thailand?
Life in Thailand can be blissfully relaxing, but that can come with its downsides. The super relaxed lifestyle sometimes appears at work too, with lessons often starting and ending late, and deadlines shifting and extending.
Thai students are also known for their energy and enthusiasm – but that energy isn’t always directed at learning. So, your first few lessons may feel a little more like crowd control than teaching. Though, you certainly won’t find working in Thailand boring!
Cost of living in Thailand
When it comes to day-to-day costs, most things in Thailand are incredibly cheap in comparison to the Western world. Though there are certainly opportunities for more luxurious activities if you fancy them!
A meal at an inexpensive restaurant tends to cost between $1.50-3. And a range of cheap, tasty street food can be found at a talaat yen (night market). Whereas a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant costs between $13-25. A bottle of water costs around 30¢, a coffee is about $2 and a local beer costs around $2.
Thailand is one of the most popular places to visit in Asia, receiving well over 30 million visitors every year. When you picture yourself living in Thailand, you may think of the buzzing street life, towering skyscrapers and manic tuk tuks of Bangkok. Or you might dream of spending your nights in a beach hut and your days in flip flops on a heavenly Thai island. But no matter where you decide to hang your hat in Thailand, you can guarantee to be surrounded by locals with a sunny outlook on life, delicious home-made cuisine and fascinating culture.
Thailand is also a gateway to the rest of Southeast Asia, with cheap and frequent flights from Bangkok to Laos, Cambodia, China, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Vietnam. It’s definitely one of the most convenient places to live if travelling is your priority!
Showing respect plays an important part in Thai culture. This manifests itself in a number of ways – from taking off your shoes when entering someone’s home (or even some shops and guesthouses) to not raising your voice or losing your cool in public. Greetings are also key, with the wai (a kind of bow) being a tricky skill to achieve for many newbies. And Thai people are known for being extremely smiley – so even if you don’t understand what’s going on at first, it helps to smile!
Thai food includes plenty of curries and noodle dishes. Many classic meals have a combination of flavours and textures, from sweet and spicy sauces to soft and crunchy ingredients. You can expect lots of food to be relatively spicy, but there are plenty of mild dishes too. And there are always condiments on offer to flavour your food to your taste, including chilli, ginger and peanuts.
Some of the country’s most famous dishes include pad thai (egg stir-fried noodles), massaman curry (a flavoursome yellow curry usually served with chicken), and tom yam goong (spicy sour soup).
Thailand also has a number of must-try desserts and drinks. Khaoniao mamuang (mango sticky rice) is a popular dessert made with coconut milk, fresh sliced mango and glutinous rice. Kluay kaek (fried bananas) are another favourite, especially for those with a sweet tooth and the former for those with slightly milder taste.
If you’re a caffeine lover, Thailand has a couple of unique caffeinated beverages worth trying too. Oliang is sweet iced Thai coffee, made by filtering coffee through a cloth bag – referred to as a ‘coffee sock’ but don’t let that put you off! The drink is sweet and milky, using corn, soya beans and sesame seeds for flavour, and condensed milk or evaporated milk for sweetness. Cha yen (Thai tea) is another sweet iced beverage but with slightly tangier ingredients, such as cardamom, star anise and tamarind.
Accommodation in Thailand
The cost of accommodation in Thailand is hugely varied, depending on where you live and how you choose to live. In Chiang Mai, a room in a shared apartment could cost as little as $150 per month. Whereas, a luxurious one-bedroom apartment in the centre of Bangkok could cost upwards of $950.
Some jobs in Thailand for foreigners come with free accommodation as part of the contract. This is a great option if you’re nervous about house hunting or want a stress-free move. However, you can almost always get better bang for your buck if you opt for a housing allowance instead and find your own place.
Weather in Thailand
The majority of Thailand has three seasons: mild, hot and rainy. The mild season runs from November to February with a comfortable average temperature of 27°C in Bangkok. The hot season starts in March and ends in May. Temperatures reach 35°C in Bangkok during these months and rainfall increases across the country. The rainy season is from May to October and is just as it sounds, with monsoons across the country. The weather can be quite unpredictable during the rainy months with sudden downpours at any hour!
From November to February, Bangkok is mild and dry with little rain and longer hours of sunshine. However, there are still highs of over 32°C during the midday heat, so it’s certainly not cold! From March to May, Bangkok is hot and humid with an increase in rainfall. April is the hottest month with average highs of 35°C, and May is the rainiest month with about 180mm of rainfall. May to October is the rainy season – rainfall peaks in September with an average of 220mm of rain.
Located in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is surrounded by lush forest and jungle. The city has the same three seasons as Bangkok with slightly more variation. The rainy season brings very high rainfall, heat and humidity, with highs of up to 34°C and the potential for flooding. The mild season is warmer than Bangkok, averaging at 22°C. And the hot season is also slightly hotter than Bangkok, often reaching 35°C or 36°C daily from March to April.
The largest island in Thailand, Phuket is located on the southern peninsula of the country. Although the province has three seasons, the temperature is much less varied than in Chiang Mai and Bangkok. However, there is more rainfall and humidity during the rainy season. Throughout the year, temperatures drop to a low of 23°C and reach highs of 34°C. The coolest month is January, the hottest month is March, and the rainiest month is September, averaging at 400mm of rain.
Please note: The information in this guide is accurate as of the time of writing. However, the laws and requirements to teach abroad can often change. Make sure to check the latest advice from the local authority of the country you plan to work in.