To all those who are on the fence about where to teach this year, have you ever considered the possibility to teach English in Thailand? This location is a popular choice for ESL teachers for its sandy beaches, rich culture and delicious food. There is a strong demand for English teachers, and hundreds of positions are available for qualified candidates each hiring season.
What You Need to Do to Teach in Thailand
If your interest is piqued, the first step is to arm yourself with the right qualifications. A minimum of a completed bachelor’s degree from a recognized university in a major English-speaking country (i.e., the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia or South Africa) combined with a TESOL certification of at least 100 hours is required to teach in most schools in Thailand. So, graduates of the Oxford Seminars 100-hour TESOL/TESL/TEFL Certification Course will have a competitive edge when looking for teaching jobs here!
What Thai Jobs Look Like
Most ESL teachers applying for jobs will find positions in government-run or private Thai schools teaching either kindergarten, primary, junior high or high school students. The positions working with kindergarten through elementary-aged students are particularly common. You can also sometimes find positions teaching other school subjects, such as Math or Science, in English at Thai schools.
The semesters in Thai schools run from May-September and October-March, so the majority of teachers will find placements beginning in the months of May and October/November. Usually, you will need to begin the application process 1-3 months before you plan to start teaching – though it is best to be on the early side! Your contract will typically be for one semester (4-6 months) or a whole school year, making Thailand a great match for teachers looking for short-term as well as long-term positions.
Many schools in Thailand use recruiting agencies to find suitable teachers. One of the benefits of working with a recruiting agency is that they have access to positions at a large number of schools, usually in different cities. They also have a tendency to start the interview and application process earlier than when working directly with a school, which can help you avoid rushing to finalize everything too close to your departure date.
Recruiters will often hold an orientation after arrival to prepare teachers for Thai culture (ideally, lessening the effects of culture shock) and to generally help newcomers to get settled. Even when working directly with a school, as they are used to receiving teachers from overseas, assistance and guidance are most often provided in initially getting set up in the country.
The Logistics of Teaching in Thailand
ESL teachers in Thailand typically need to pay for their own flight and housing. However, most schools will help you find a suitable (and affordable) apartment. Some schools or recruiters may even provide you with a housing allowance to put toward rent. When the school assists you in securing an apartment, you will often be able to find accommodations quite close to the school, making for an easy commute. A bachelor apartment consisting of a single room with a bathroom, air conditioner, and basic furniture such as a bed, wardrobe, and chair, is the typical type of housing for ESL teachers in Thailand. (Bonus financial tip: Save a little on utilities by turning on and off the air conditioner as needed!)
The Bottom Line for ESL Teachers in Thailand
On the topic of money, an ESL teacher in Thailand will usually begin at a salary of around 30,000 Thai Baht for approximately 25 teaching hours per week. With positions in the public/private school system, teachers usually work Monday-Friday from morning until about 4:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon, leaving plenty of time during evenings and weekends to enjoy the wonderful scenery and sites the country has to offer. Although you will need to make the initial investment of flight and startup costs, general living expenses are actually quite low. In other words, it is entirely possible to break even after a few months and even save up a little to bring home or use to travel to nearby destinations on school breaks or after completing a contract.
The Oxford Seminars’ Job Placement Service works with a number of schools and the aforementioned recruiters in Thailand to help graduates find rewarding placements in this tropical nation. Ready to start your adventure? Visit our website to enroll, or attend a free information session near you to learn more and make your dreams of teaching abroad a reality!
Written by Jennifer St-Jean