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How Much Money Can You Earn & Save Teaching English in Thailand?
What is the salary of an English teacher in Thailand? Learn how much you can make teaching English in Thailand and understand salary benefits, savings, cost of living and expenses.
Written By: Shay Ames | Updated: June 29, 2023
Written By: Shay Ames
Updated: June 29, 2023
What's left to be said about Thailand? As I'm interviewing an International TEFL Academy staff member Erika, she gazes out the window’s display of winter wonder-Chicago-land, and dazedly reminisces about her experience, not long ago, teaching in a warm, magical place called Thailand that is also one of the top job markets for teaching English abroad in Asia.
Asia is known as one of the most lucrative regions in the world & while Thailand is not the most developed economy in Asia, it is a nation on the move where many English teachers are able to make enough to save 30%-50% of their income after expenses.
World-class white sandy beaches with the most vibrant turquoise water; the friendliness of the locals and welcoming nature of the culture, the food, nightlife, and on and on – who can’t but blame Erika for not staying and teaching another 3+ years! She has graciously lent her experience and expertise in teaching English in Thailand to provide you with resources and tips for saving money as an English teacher in Thailand. Here are some of her top financial tips for those interested in teaching English in Thailand.
What is the Average English Teacher's Salary in Thailand?
Conservatively, a typical first-time English teacher in Thailand can expect to make 30,000 - 35,000 Thai Baht (approximately $850 - $1,000 USD) and many are able to make more. This means that most English teachers can realistically expect to save $150 - $250 USD a month and in many cases, teachers actually make enough to save up to $700 USD.
Salaries & living costs will vary on region and from school to school. Those with prior teaching experience can often make even more.
Read more: TEFL Thailand Country Profile
Salary, Benefits & Expenses When Teaching English in Thailand
Here's a brief financial summary for living and teaching English in Thailand:
|Hours, Salary & Expenses||English Teacher in Thailand Details|
|Salary||$850-$1,500 USD per month|
Optional After-School Teaching, Monday-Thursday
|$750 USD per month|
|Extra Private Tutoring||$20-$50 USD an hour|
|Start-up Costs||$1,000-$1,500 USD|
|Cost of Living||$500 - $800 USD per month|
|Savings Opportunity||$150-$700 USD per month|
Does $1,000 USD Seem Like a Low Monthly Salary for a first-time English teacher in Thailand?
$1,000 USD a month may not seem like a livable wage in major US cities like San Francisco, Boston or Chicago, but the key to remember is that the costs of basic goods & services in Thailand - including food, travel & rent - are typically a fraction of what you would expect to pay in the US or Western Europe.
"In Bangkok or Chiang Mai, you can eat a full delicious meal for the equivalent of $1-$2 USD and your rent will be a fraction of what it might be in any American city. If you are able to save $250 USD in Thailand, in terms of purchasing power, that's roughly equal to $1,000 in the US.'
- ITA Staff Member Erika
Erika's Top Tips for Saving Money while Teaching English in Thailand
Get TEFL Certified
If you want to give yourself the best chance to get a good job at a good school that will pay you a good salary, you need to possess professional-level teaching skills and possess a recognized qualification. Most English language schools in Thailand require an accredited TEFL certification to hire English teachers.
Job Search Guidance vs. Job Placement Programs
While you don't need to pay extra for a job in Thailand when you enroll in a high-quality TEFL course, you may opt to pay an additional program fee to a TEFL certification provider for a guaranteed job placement. There's nothing wrong with seeking the security of knowing that you will have a job waiting for you in Thailand when you complete your TEFL course.
However, when considering your options, remember that even many guaranteed placements (both fee-based programs and those that are "free") often come with strings attached and limitations when it comes to the jobs that will be available to you when you complete your certification. For example, some programs get paid by schools to recruit teachers and are under pressure to fill positions as quickly as possible, often at the expense of you, the teacher. Some programs may also pressure you to take a job with less-than-ideal working conditions or offer less-than-market value salaries and benefits. When Erika started as an English teacher in Thailand, for instance, she made a choice to purchase a program with a set job. It ended up costing her on the front end in addition to upwards of 40% of her salary during her first year compared with her peers doing the same job but who found it outside of the job placement program.
What to look for in a quality TEFL job placement program:
- Look for programs that take your preferences into account and provide options and flexibility when it comes to your choice of teaching jobs. You should never pay for a job or accept a job that you don't want.
- Ensure that you will at least receive a market-average salary, benefits, and working conditions.
- Quality programs will provide personalized support from experienced experts in areas like documents & visas, interview coaching, and resume development.
- Provide support and guidance throughout your placement to assist with any issues that arise with your teaching job.
So how can you navigate the various job opportunities? If you choose to get TEFL certified with International TEFL Academy (ITA), as a student & graduate you'll receive comprehensive and lifetime assistance with your job search which will provide you with the resources and guidance you need to apply for top jobs and gain employment teaching English in Thailand. This means that you get to choose the best job for yourself. ITA's resources include detailed information about visas; resume/cover letter assistance; guidance for getting your criminal background check; contact information for hundreds of schools in Thailand; access to top ESL job boards; and referrals to top recruiters.
ITA's Guaranteed Job Placement Programs
For those willing to invest extra for additional levels of support and guarantee of a high-quality English teaching job in Thailand, ITA offers our Guaranteed Job Placement Programs for Teaching English in Asia.
Not sure how our Guaranteed Job Placement Program differs from our alumni Job Search Guidance? Learn more here.
Note: Our lifetime Job Search Guidance is only available to ITA alumni who take their TEFL course through International TEFL Academy. Our Guaranteed Job Placement Programs in Thailand are available to both ITA alumni and those who received their TEFL certification from an outside TEFL provider.
Some Schools Offer Free Housing to English Teachers
Some English language schools in Thailand, especially in areas that do not get the same attention, can offer free housing. Typically, prices are cheaper outside of major tourist or city centers - so you can do well for yourself to find something outside of the bustling chaos of a place like Bangkok for example.
Housing is usually pretty cheap in Thailand by US standards. In fact, it’s about 60% cheaper. That said, if you don’t get your housing for free, it will still remain affordable & you will still be able to live comfortably and save extra money for extra travel & other pursuits.
Share Your Apartment with a Roommate
Even though it’s not popular for English teachers in Thailand to have roommates since rent is cheap, you save even more by sharing the cost of living space.
Give Private Lessons
Now Erika is cool and super pro, so she was in demand as an English teacher. Beyond working for a school, she also privately tutored students as a way to help more people in the local community and save extra money for more weekenders around Thailand and in the region. A typical first-year ITA TEFL certified teacher can earn up to $25 - $50 USD or about 1,000 – 3,000 Baht per hour tutoring English. Experienced teachers like Erika can make up to double that.
In addition, with the newer trend of teaching English online, you can be tutoring English learners anywhere from anywhere, provided you have an internet connection. Add tutoring as a great way to give back and make more money!
Take on Extra Hours at Your School
Many schools offer an option to teach an after-school hour Monday – Thursday. It is a creative session and fun hour with your students (that parents pay extra to have their child attend), which can net you around an extra 6,000 Baht ($175 USD) per month.
Seek out Teaching Jobs that Include Paid Vacation
How about this inside baseball from an industry professional: inquire with employer prospects about paid vacation. English teachers in Thailand generally get two breaks, one for 4 weeks and another for up to 8 weeks! Some employers will pay you over those breaks and even more, those same schools can often offer summer camps or work hours over said breaks. So, you can earn double pay for working over breaks, which you're already getting paid for!
Join ITA's Community of English teachers in Thailand
Stay tuned to the ITA Alumni Thailand Facebook page to get tips on the local market for private students. Also, be sure to meet and network with the local community of English teachers. Not only will you make new friends and get invaluable advice, but you may also be able to pick up private students from other teachers who may be leaving or moving away.
Erika's Favorite Additional Resources:
- Refer to the ITA Country Chart, which will give you the monthly average salaries, start-up costs, and the cost of living for English teachers in more than 50 countries worldwide, including Thailand. These numbers are typically conservative figures and in fact, you can make more with your TEFL certification if that is a priority to your goal of living overseas.
- Looking for firsthand accounts from people teaching English in Asia? Visit our Alumni Stories to access hundreds of interviews, articles & videos from ITA graduates teaching English in Thailand and throughout Asia.
- XE Currency Converter: An excellent site where you can see up-to-date currency conversions & keep an eye on how many Thai Baht equal a US dollar. (At the time of this article it’s about 37 Thai Baht to $1 USD.)
- Numbeo: This handy website provides a breakdown of living costs and provides comparisons of costs for basic goods & services in Thailand compared to the US.
The Big Takeaway: Do your research & use these tips to make the most of your experience teaching English in Thailand. What else is there to say about Thailand? Go and find out!
- 6-step plan for teaching English in Thailand
- Requirements for teaching in Thailand
- TEFL Certification Courses in Hua Hin, Thailand
- Top countries to make the most money teaching English abroad
A senior Admissions Advisor with International TEFL Academy, Shay Ames has more than 12 years of high-level professional experience working in the fields of teaching English abroad & TEFL certification. In addition to personally helping more than 1,000 ITA students achieve their goals of teaching overseas, Shay has published numerous articles on the topics of teaching English abroad & TEFL certification. He also works extensively to build partnerships between International TEFL Academy and major institutions throughout international education.
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