Thailand is a popular destination for ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers due to its climate, low cost of living, and proximity to other countries within Asia. If you are considering teaching English in Thailand, you will need to ensure you meet the following qualifications.
How to Teach English in Thailand: Requirements
To teach English in Thailand, you will need a TEFL certificate and a bachelor's degree. Native English proficiency is also expected to find TEFL jobs in Thailand. The average salary range for an English teacher in Thailand is between about $850 - $3000 USD per month.
How to Become an English Teacher in Thailand
Now let's look at the following teaching English in Thailand requirements in detail:
Hold a TEFL certification
Possess a bachelor's degree (or higher) in any field/major
Be a native-English speaker or fluent in English and speak at a native level
Own a valid passport and an approved non-immigrant B visa
Have a clean criminal background check
Consider other factors such as age, prior teaching experience and a health check
1. Hold a TEFL Certification
A TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) certification is required to teach English in Thailand. Getting TEFL certified will provide you with the relevant training and qualifications you need to get hired by a reputable school in Thailand and should leave you feeling confident in your abilities to provide ESL lessons to your students.
Which TEFL course is right for me?
Most job interviews in Thailand are conducted on the ground, in person. Therefore it is common for students to take ITA's 4-Week TEFL Course in Hua Hin, Thailand, or the 4-Week TEFL Course in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Taking this course means you are already in Thailand and can begin interviewing during your TEFL training, or immediately at course completion. Another popular option is our 170-Hour Online TEFL Course which you can take online from home. This course is part-time, so you can still work and save some extra money in anticipation of your departure to Thailand.
2. Possess a Bachelor's Degree (or Higher) in Any Field/Major
Can you teach English in Thailand without a degree?
A bachelor's degree is required to teach English in Thailand. Your bachelor's degree does not need to be in education, it can be in any field (i.e.: Marketing, Psychology, Arts, etc). Any four-year diploma or degree from an accredited university will satisfy this requirement.
3. Be a Native-English Speaker or Fluent in English and Speak at a Native Level
Native-English speakers from the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa are highly preferred but not required. If you are a qualified non-native English speaker, you will also be considered for ESL teaching jobs in Thailand. This means you must be fluent in English and speak at a native level.
4. Own a Valid Passport and An Approved Non-Immigrant B Visa
TEFL teachers applying for jobs in Thailand should expect to have the following documents available:
- Bachelor’s degree
- Valid passport
- Passport photos
- Visa application form
- College/university transcripts
- TEFL Certification
- A clean background check (see below)
- International resume/CV and cover letter
- A copy of your flight confirmation/reservation
- A copy of a recent bank statement
- An original letter of acceptance from your Thai employer
- A copy of the Thai school's license or business registration
Visa Requirements for Teaching English in Thailand
To teach English in Thailand, you will need a Non-Immigrant B Visa. There are two situations that can play out here based on your job search:
- If you secure employment in advance prior to leaving home, you will apply for the visa in your home country and then process your work permit in Thailand.
- If you plan to find a job on the ground in Thailand, you will enter Thailand on a tourist visa. In this case, you will convert your tourist visa to a Non-Immigrant B Visa either at the local immigration office in Thailand or by visiting a neighboring country.
Your Non-Immigrant B Visa will have the same expiration as your work visa, which is typically the length of your teaching contract.
Additional Reading: For a full list of required visa documents as well as a more in-depth explanation of the visa process, please read: What Type of Visa Can I Use to Teach English in Thailand?
5. Have a Clean Criminal Background Check
A clean criminal background check must be provided to obtain the Non-Immigrant B Visa. This can be a federal background check or a local police check you can obtain from your state of residency before your departure.
6. Consider Other Factors: Age, Prior Teaching Experience and Health Check
In some countries, a teacher's age can play a factor in the hiring process. In certain teaching markets, especially in Asia where it is common to teach English to young learners, schools will typically look for younger teachers (21-35), and abide by certain age restrictions for hiring and qualifying for work visa sponsorship.
Thailand is one of many countries in Asia that maintains an official retirement age of 55-60. Because of this, schools will not sponsor work visas for teachers nearing or at this age range due to retirement rules.
Additional Reading: Will I Face Age Restrictions Teaching English Abroad in Asia?
Prior Teaching Experience
While prior teaching experience can help you stand out on your resume, you do not need it to teach English in Thailand. Your TEFL certification training will provide you with the relevant qualifications you need to get hired by a school in Thailand.
Any reputable TEFL certification course should include a mandatory practicum component to help gain firsthand experience practice teaching with real non-native English speakers. This will prepare you for the classroom and leave you feeling confident in your ability to deliver well-structured ESL lessons to your students. This live practice teaching can count as teaching experience and should be highlighted on your resume.
Medical Check – once in Thailand, you will have to visit a Thai hospital for a physical check and a syphilis check. It is inexpensive and only conducted once you have found a position and are applying for a work permit.
Now that you know the teaching in Thailand requirements go on to have the time of your life in this beautiful country!