For many decades, Thailand has been one of the most popular TEFL destinations in the world, offering plenty of work for EFL teachers, a warm climate, great food, and a low cost of living.
Thailand is one of few countries that has never been colonised, and despite the fact it’s now one of the most visited countries in the world it has still maintained its own rich culture and heritage. The infamous tourist hub of Khao San road in Bangkok boasts a party atmosphere and is a great place to meet people who’ve travelled to the country from all over the world in search of an exciting adventure. But if you’re searching for a more authentic Thai experience away from the typical tourist haunts it’s not hard to find it – incredible cuisine, gorgeous natural wonders, and stunning Buddhist temples are always right around the corner.
The Thai people are renowned for being friendly (Thailand isn’t called “The Land of Smiles” for nothing), so for those teaching in more rural parts of the country, where 40% of the population lives, you can expect to be warmly welcomed by locals. You can find teaching jobs across the width and breadth of the country – from metropolitan areas to small villages.
Due to stagnated wages and an increase in the cost of living over recent years, a teacher’s salary doesn’t go as far as it used to but EFL teachers are still able to enjoy a good standard of living. Due to the demand for teachers and the number of entry-level opportunities it’s the ideal country to begin your TEFL journey.
- Popular locations for TEFL jobs in Thailand: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Korat
- Average salary for EFL teachers in Thailand: 25,000 THB – 35,000 THB (£664 – £930) per month
- TEFL qualification requirements: At least a 120-hour TEFL qualification from an accredited provider.
- Prerequisite university degree: A BA degree is a visa requirement.
- Term times: The school year in Thailand begins in mid-May and runs until early October. Students return for a second semester at the end of October until late February/early March.
- Currency: Thai Baht (THB)
- Language: Thai
- Age restrictions:
- Previous teaching experience: Not essential, there are many opportunities to TEFL in Thailand for newly-qualified EFL teachers. Teachers with more experience can expect to earn more in Thailand.
- Accommodation: £220 – £400 per month
- Utilities: £28 – £50 per month
- Health insurance: 3% of your income, deducted from your salary. Your employer also pays 3%.
- Monthly transport pass: £25
- Basic dinner out for two: £13
- Cappuccino in expat area: £2.19
- A beer in a pub: £1.93
- 1 litre of milk: £1.26
- 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £0.83
The cost of living in Thailand very much depends on where in the country you’re living and working. Unsurprisingly, Bangkok is the most expensive place to live, but salaries for TEFL jobs in the city should reflect that.
General living costs in Thailand have increased over the last decade but teaching salaries have remained the same, so while living costs are still quite low it isn’t as cheap for teachers as it once was. That being said, teachers can still enjoy a good quality of life in Thailand but don’t expect to save much. Eating local food is inexpensive but Western imports and restaurants will set you back – as will a night out due to the relatively expensive price of alcohol.
Finding a Job
TEFL jobs can be found throughout the country and at all times of the year (although, for public schools, peak recruitment times are in the months before the terms begin). Most work in Thailand involves teaching children, either in government schools or bilingual and international schools. Private schools offer more lucrative salaries than government schools and teachers are able to supplement their salaries by tutoring.
A 120-hour TEFL qualification is required by most employers. Since teaching classes of up to 50 students is common in Thailand, a course that covers teaching large classes (as our 120+ hour courses do) is incredibly useful.
There’s a huge demand for EFL teachers in Thailand and you can find plenty of positions listed online. All TEFL Org students get lifetime access to our exclusive TEFL Jobs Centre where you can find TEFL jobs all over the world.
Ajarn is a popular site focused specifically on TEFL in Thailand where you can find a range of positions across the country. You can also find many TEFL jobs in Thailand listed on other jobs boards such as TEFL.com, Dave’s ESL Café, and ESL base.
Student Stories from Thailand
James was feeling dissatisfied in his office job and in November 2016 decided it was time to pursue his dream of living and working abroad. He signed up for our 120-hour TEFL course and soon landed a job in North East Thailand, in Sakon Nakhon.
I have been teaching in Thailand now for nearly 4 months and have just renewed my contract to stay at this school for the rest of the year. This has been one of the most amazing, exciting and fun experiences of my life. This qualification means that I can travel the world, not just taking what I can from a country but actually giving something back. Working as TEFL teacher has allowed me to really make an impact to student’s lives and enhance mine.
Lydia and Emlyn found a job in Thailand with Media Kids Academy after completing their 150-hour TEFL course. They were worried that being in their early 30’s they’d left it too late to teach abroad – they thought it was something for recent graduates – but they soon realised that’s not the case and TEFL is for all ages!
Teaching can be a challenge, but it’s nothing compared to my previous stressful career – and ultimately the plus points completely overshadow any hard days. You have to be prepared to go with the flow, realising you won’t always know what’s going on. Teaching in another culture means you don’t always get answers to questions straight away, or are understood at all for that matter. But the last five months have proved that everything works itself out in the end. I’m so glad we bit the bullet, I would totally recommend it to anyone who is thinking about it. What’s the worst that could happen??!!