A Guide to Overseas Travel

How to Teach English in Thailand

Teach English in Thailand

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You may have fallen in love with Thailand, and you think teaching English might be the perfect opportunity for you to make money and live in Thailand – maybe you already love teaching English and want to know how you can do it in Thailand. Thailand is a beautiful country with fantastic food and a low cost of living, so it’s no wonder you would want to live and teach English there. Lucky for you, there are numerous ways to get employed.

How can you teach English in Thailand? To teach English in Thailand, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Be a native English speaker from an English-speaking country (the U.S., Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand)
  • Prove your fluency and have a bachelor’s degree

You should also consider getting a 120-hour TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA certificate. While it is possible to find a job without these certifications, it is much more difficult.

However, depending on what kind of teaching you want to do, what you need to do to become a teacher may be slightly different. You also need to consider where to apply, how to apply, and how to get the necessary visa or work permit. Read on for more details about teaching English in Thailand.

How Can You Teach English In Thailand?

While the requirements for teaching English in Thailand have already been touched on, there is some more information regarding them that you should know.

  • To teach legally in Thailand, you will need a degree. You will need to bring the original copy of your bachelor’s degree and the original transcripts, so do not forget those at home.
  • Many schools prefer that you have previous experience, but it is not always a requirement.
  • While there are some online resources to help you get a job in Thailand, your best bet is actually to look for a job once you are in Thailand.

Additional requirements will vary slightly depending on what kind of teaching you want to do.

Techniques for Teaching English

Teaching a foreign language can come as a challenge, even to an experienced teacher. This job requires patience, excellent communication skills, and hard work. The goal as a teacher is to allow the students to perceive things better, and a great way of doing this is by teaching them as if you were the student. There are several ways you can make teaching more effective that allow your students to learn more efficiently.

Have a Plan

Going into your first day without a plan is setting yourself up for failure. Having a plan is crucial to your success. Teachers who can create and present a well-thought-out lesson have success at keeping their students engaged, which can decrease any classroom discipline issues. Boredom is a primary cause of students acting out, so having the day’s plan laid out can help keep them on their best behavior.

Some tips to help with lesson planning include:

  • Keep all your plans organized and make notes as you are giving the lessons.
  • Write down what works, what didn’t work, and ways you can improve.  
  • Always have a backup plan if you feel like your students are not engaging in the work.

Watch Movies

A great way to have students learn English is by having them watch movies and hear the English language. You can switch between Thai subtitles on English movies and English subtitles on Thai movies. People learn better when they are doing something they enjoy, so having a fun movie day will be a great way to help them learn.

Make sure what you are watching is age-appropriate and will be able to keep your students engaged:

  • Children will enjoy cartoons; this would be an excellent time to introduce your favorite Disney movies.
  • Adults can also enjoy cartoons, but they may be more interested in Ted talks.

After you have watched the videos, review what they learned in English. It’s a good idea to discuss and review after every scene of a movie in English so that they can comprehend what they just watched.


Just like watching movies are a fun way to learn, listening to music is another fantastic way to keep your students engaged. Print out the lyrics to some songs and have them read the lyrics while listening. Watching some karaoke videos could be another fun and helpful way to teach. Printing out the lyrics to musicals can be a great way to combine movies and music for learning.

Use Technology

Today, technology is everywhere, and your students may enjoy having some screen time to help them learn. There are many language apps at our fingertips that can help make learning fun, such as:


You can also choose the traditional yet effective route of learning with flashcards. Have pictures of ordinary objects printed out with the English word written on the back. Seeing the word spelled out can also help your students understand how to write English.

You can split the students up with flashcards and have them quiz each other, or you can create games using the cards. 

Read Books

Reading books, especially ones that include lots of pictures, can help students recognize what is happening and put together the words that are being depicted. Show them a picture and have them guess what is happening in the scene and then read the pages.

Some ways to incorporate reading books into your English lessons include:

  • Have your students predict what is going to happen next.
  • Have them come up with alternate endings.
  • Have them create their own fictional story.
  • Assign your students books to read to help them expand their vocabulary.
Teach English in Thailand

What Kind of Teaching Can You Do in Thailand?

There are multiple options for teaching English in Thailand. Some may have more requirements for becoming a teacher and what you can expect from each position varies. You can become a teacher for public schools, private and international schools, universities, language schools, corporate training programs, and test preparation.

Teaching for Public Schools in Thailand

As a teacher for public schools in Thailand, you will be working full time. However, you might not be teaching for all those hours. In addition to your teaching requirements, you will need to:

  • Create lesson plans and exams
  • Grade papers
  • Keep office hours after school

You won’t have much guidance regarding the curriculum you need to create. This guide from 2008 gives you an idea of what you will receive. There is some general information about the skills your students will need to learn.  However, it doesn’t contain anything about how to teach it.

Other details about teaching English in Thailand public schools include:

  • If you got your bachelor’s degree in something other than education, having previous English teaching experience or getting your TEFL certification will help with this.
  • You are likely to have large classes working for public schools.  The average class size for a public school is 45 students.
  • As for vacation time, you will have March to May off and a three-week break during October.
  • In terms of payment, expect to make anywhere from 25K to 40K THB a month. You will earn more teaching in the bigger cities. However, if you choose to teach in the countryside, the cost of living is extremely low, so you will save plenty of money. 

Teaching for Private and International Schools in Thailand

Both private and international schools in Thailand charge students to attend (unlike public schools). Therefore, your classes will be smaller, and you will get paid more.  You can expect to have somewhere between 12 and 28 students.

While this may sound like one of the best teaching opportunities for those wanting to live in Thailand, there is a catch: you need to be a certified teacher. International and private schools in Thailand follow a Western curriculum, so it will be significantly harder to obtain one of these positions if you are not already a teacher and do not have teaching experience.

For these positions, you generally need to meet the following requirements:

  • Be a native English speaker
  • Have a degree and a TEFL, TESOL, and CELTA certificate
  • Have prior teaching experience

If you do meet these requirements, expect teaching to be like it is in America. You will get more support regarding the curriculum than you would with teaching for a public school.

In terms of payments, expect to make about 80K to 170K TBH a month working for international schools and 60K to 80K TBH a month for private schools. This salary is more than adequate, considering you can live in Thailand comfortably for about 19K THB a month. 

As a teacher for a private or international school, you also get perks like:

  • Contract bonuses
  • Plenty of vacation dates
  • Occasional airfare to and from Thailand

Teaching for Universities in Thailand

A master’s degree is required to teach at the university level. It is also preferred that you have a bachelor’s in English.

If you teach for a university, you will only be able to teach part-time. That means that you will only be able to earn 30K to 60K THB a month. However, you can teach at two schools part-time to make up the hours. As a university teacher, you get paid vacation for a few months out of the year. You also get compensated for working overtime (on average, 1-1.5K TBH an hour).

When teaching English for universities in Thailand, you can expect the following:

  • Classes will be large at about 50 students a course.
  • You will have to come up with lesson plans.
  • You may be asked to teach faculty and have extra sessions outside of the class.
  • Be prepared to have to find your texts because those may or may not be provided to you.

Teaching for Language Schools in Thailand

Language school teaching jobs are the easiest teaching jobs to get in Thailand. You do not need previous experience, and schools don’t typically care about you having a TEFL certificate. Having both will make it more likely that you get a job, but it’s not necessary. Additionally, there are loads of language schools throughout the country!

Even though it is relatively easy to get this position, you need to consider the work hours:

  • You will need to work early mornings before the workday starts for the businesspeople at the school.
  • You will have to work again in the afternoon and evening for kids and adults.
  • You will also have to work on weekends.
  • You will need to come up with lesson plans and activities for your students.
  • You will not get much support regarding how to structure the curriculum.

The class sizes are small, and you will typically have 4 to 10 students. You can choose to work part-time or full-time. Payment for a full-time teacher ranges from 30K to 40K THB per month. For part-time language schoolteachers, expect to get paid about 350 to 500 THB per hour. Even though the pay is not great, the job is relatively easy.

Becoming a Corporate Teacher in Thailand

When teaching English for a corporate training program in Thailand, you get to teach from a company’s office while you give lessons to the staff.

You will be teaching large classes packed with many employees. However, you need to be a teacher with experience because the program is expensive. You will need to teach people outside of business hours, so you will likely be working early mornings or late at night.

Payment for corporate teachers is typically between 45K and 60K THB a month. You will also likely be compensated for the travel expenses to get to the company.

Test Preparation

When teaching English test preparation in Thailand, you will have more requirements than a typical English-teaching position. You will need to know about different English tests, such as:

  • The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
  • The International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • The Test of English for International Communications (TOEIC)
  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE). For the GRE, you will need to prove that you finished at least in the 95th percentile.

You can teach either group or private classes that take place on weekdays, nights, and weekends. However, the obligations at night and during the weekends are minimal. You will also have to design, develop, and teach the course curriculum. The typical hourly wage is 600 THB.

Where to Find an English Teaching Job in Thailand

While there are online agencies to get jobs teaching in Thailand, you need to be in Thailand to secure interviews. You are competing against many other people who are already in Thailand that want the same job. Recruiters are not going to wait for you to get there.

Additionally, many agencies will place you in remote places. This means you could be the only foreigner in your town. This could not only get lonely but could also take you away from the conveniences and entertainment you are used to. So, unless you want to rough it in a remote village or town, look for work in-person.

If this is the route you plan to take, it could take a week to a month to get a job, so be prepared financially for that before heading to Thailand.

If you want to find a job online and don’t want to apply in-person, you have a couple of options. The best one is Ajarn.com because it has the most listings, is specific to Thailand, and the oldest website of its kind in Thailand.

You can also check the following:

How to Apply to Teach English in Thailand

The best way to apply for English-teaching jobs is, once again, in person by taking copies of your resume and submitting it to multiple schools. With this method, you can sometimes secure a position immediately. Or you can apply online on the websites mentioned above.

Pro tip: Look presentable. Thai people pay great attention to appearance.

Business Cards

Business cards are commonly exchanged in Thailand, so it is beneficial to have some made up so that you can hand them out to people you’ve come in contact with. A suitable Thai business card is of high quality and should have English on one side and Thai on the other.

You can put your academic title on the card as well as any degrees, especially if they are from an internationally acknowledged university.

You can also read our guide on teaching in Thailand without a degree here.

What is the Best Way to Get a TEFL Certificate?

A TEFL stands for the acronym, Teaching English as a Foreign Language. When it comes to getting a TEFL, you can either get one in your country, online, or in Thailand.

However, the most convenient way to get your TEFL certificate is in Thailand. Not only will it help you get to know the culture, the Thai education system, and the methods of teaching, but it will also be cheaper. The best TEFL certification places in Thailand will help you obtain your visa or work permit and help you find a job, which can ease some of your stress.

Some of the best TEFL courses in Thailand are:

How to Get a Visa or Work Permit?

As stated, you can get your visa or work permit by getting your TEFL in Thailand, but if you don’t get your TEFL in Thailand, you won’t be able to apply for a visa or work permit until you secure it a position. Once you have a job, the school you work for will help you apply for the necessary documents. 

The steps involved in getting a visa or work permit for Thailand include:

  • You will need to get a Non-B Immigrant Visa and then change that into a work permit once you get a position.
  • Make sure your passport is valid for six months after you get to Thailand. Additionally, get passport photos for the applications. You can either get these in your home country or Thailand.
  • Bring your original bachelor’s degree and transcripts.
  • You will also need to bring a certified criminal background check.
  • When applying for your visa, you need to include a letter from your employer with your job offer.
  • Once you obtain the visa, your employers will handle the rest of the paperwork and application.
  • Once all is complete, you need to get a physical exam to obtain a medical certificate from a Thai doctor to get your work permit.
  • Then, you will need to go to the Immigration Department to extend the visa for 12 months.
  • Afterward, you need to go to the Tax Department to get your tax card.
  • Lastly, you need to get your teaching license. 

If you decide to accept a teaching job illegally or without getting the proper visas or permits, you could get kicked out of the country or fined.

Are There Options for Teaching English Online in Thailand?

For those who want the flexibility to set their hours and work from home, there are also options to teach English online in Thailand. You can check various Thai job posting sites and agencies to see if any positions are available. One resource you can use is Learn4Good.

Aside from that, if you don’t care to teach English online in Thailand explicitly, but still want to live in Thailand, you can also teach English online and live in Thailand doing it. The good thing about teaching English online is that you can do it from anywhere!

Some of the best applications to use to teach English online are:

Understanding Local Culture

When making a move to live and teach in Thailand, you want to make sure you understand the local culture so that you don’t offend anyone. Understanding their culture will allow you to make a great first impression on your potential employers.

Some things to keep in mind are:

  • The typical Thai expression is a welcoming smile.
  • Clothing in the business context is Western. Men wear suits and ties and women wear skirts and blouses. Women should avoid skirts that are too short and shirts that are too low cut. Wearing loafers or other easy to remove shoes is beneficial as you will need to remove your shoes when entering many buildings.
  • Thai people are respectful of other people’s space, and touching is typically uncommon.
  • Touching someone’s head is viewed as taboo, so make sure you don’t pat your student’s heads as a “good job” gesture.
  • Avoid passing things with your left hand, so when you hand in a resume, hand it to the person with your right hand.
  • Do not point at people or things.
  • You should show respect to your elders by dropping your gaze after making eye contact.
  • When greeting someone of an equal or superior social status to you, the traditional Thai greeting is “wai.” This consists of touching your hands to a prayer position and bringing them to your chest or head and then following with a small bow or nod.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Are there volunteering opportunities for teaching English?

A. If you do not have a TEFL certificate and do not want to get one, you can volunteer in Thailand instead. The two most reputable programs are IVHQ and Volunteering Solutions.

Q. Do you need to know Thai to teach English?

A. No, Thai schools prefer that you don’t speak Thai. They want their students to immerse themselves in the English language altogether. Having no other choice but to speak English with a teacher that does not speak a word of Thai is the best way to do that.

By the time the students get to you, they will have had years of experience with studying the language through Thai teachers. Your job is to give the students the ability to practice and improve upon the English they already know.

Q. When does the majority of hiring take place?

A. The majority of hiring typically occurs one month before each term, but you can still find places hiring all year-round.

Q. How long are most teaching contracts?

A. Most teaching contracts in Thailand are only six months long, so if you are looking for a way to dip your toes into teaching English, Thailand is an excellent place for a more short-term experience.

Wrapping Up

Now you know how to teach English in Thailand! You have many options available to you, including teaching English online. Your best bet is to get your TEFL in Thailand so that you have more choice on where you will teach and get help with processing your visa or work permit.

 As long as you meet the requirements and are determined, you can get a job teaching English! Just make sure to have enough money to support yourself for a month or two while looking for a job.

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