Thailand is an incredible destination for taking TEFL courses abroad because of the friendly people, low cost of living, and famous sights that have made it one of the top tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. There is a large community of foreigners working in Thailand, which makes it an excellent country for living abroad for the first time. It doesn’t hurt that opportunities to teach English in Thailand are vast either. Taking TEFL courses in Thailand is a great way to make local connections and get your foot in the door so you can teach in Thailand once TEFL certified.
You will most likely be taking your TEFL courses in Thailand at an independent organization rather than a structured academic campus, although Chiang Mai University does offer TEFL programs. The location you choose should be mostly based on the type of environment you are looking for and what else you’d like to do while earning your TEFL certificate in Thailand.
Top locations for TEFL courses in Thailand are Bangkok, Chang Mai, and Phuket. Phuket is a great tourist destination on its own, and is swarming with tourists nearly year round, which provides easy access to Thailand’s most famous beaches but also to other foreigners, which can be seen as both good and bad. TEFL courses in Phuket are plenty and varied.
Chiang Mai is a little more laid back with a small town feel, though the city offers many opportunities to earn TEFL certification, teach English, or even volunteer in local communities or with wildlife.
Bangkok, the nation’s capital, offers a big-city environment with a range of things to do and see, from nightlife to the business district to shopping and floating markets. Though Bangkok is an incredibly popular tourist destination, the size of the city allows for an authentic experience of Thailand.
If you are looking for less touristy or well-known places, you should consider TEFL programs in Thailand in smaller towns or even villages, such as Krabi or Ayutthaya.
Courses & Programs
In order to teach in Thailand you will need to be a teacher, education professional, have a degree, or obtain a TEFL certificate, at minimum. You may also be required to complete a background check in your home country. However, you do not need previous experience to enroll in TEFL courses in Thailand.
TEFL programs in Thailand have become a popular way for travelers to stick around a little longer and live in Thailand sustainably. Since tourism is one of the main industries of Thailand, the Thai people are interested in learning English as a second language, and learning from native speakers is important to them. There are new language schools in Thailand popping up all the time as well as a consistent stream of people who want to speak English fluently.
You should plan for your TEFL certification in Thailand to take an average of four weeks, and up to six weeks depending on the structure of the TEFL program you choose. One of the most important things to ensure is that your TEFL program in Thailand offers at least 120 hours, because this is somewhat of a global standard for TEFL certification. While there may be quicker or less expensive options to do a weekend course or complete fewer hours, do your research and make sure it meets accreditation requirements and suits your goal best. You should also confirm that your course is approved by the Ministry of Education in Thailand.
There are also options to earn your TEFL certification online, while living in Thailand or abroad, which can offer a way to continue working in another field and maintaining a stable income until you are able to earn your TEFL certificate.
During your TEFL courses in Thailand, expect to learn about classroom management, teaching pronunciation, educational activities, phonetics and phonology, and English grammar. You will also learn about the local culture and the Thai language most often, which will be relevant once you start teaching in Thailand. Thai students tend to be shy and concerned about saving face, so this can make them timid to speak a new language in front of their peers. Your TEFL program in Thailand should also include time teaching real students, whether children or adults. Whether beginners or those focused on learning English vocabulary specific to their field, gaining experience in the classroom will ensure you are truly prepared to run your own classroom. Job placement services after certification is complete, is also a common benefit of TEFL programs in Thailand.
Salary & Costs
For a four-week TEFL certification course in Thailand (not including accommodation and flights), you can expect to pay between $1100 and $1500. There can be a wide range of inclusions in your program fees, so be sure to research what your TEFL program offers. Some items that could be included in TEFL program costs include meals, accommodation, excursions, cultural events, Thai language lessons, and courses on Thai culture.
Once you are a certified TEFL instructor and become an English teacher in Thailand, you can expect to make a little over $1,000 per month. Some teaching jobs in Thailand additionally offer free meals at your school, accommodation assistance, or a completion bonus at the end of your contract too. Depending on your lifestyle, $1,000 is usually plenty of money to live comfortably in Thailand, and is about double what local teachers make. The cost of living is low in Thailand so you can expect to pay about $1.75 for a latte, $7 for two movie tickets and a soda, and $18 for a three-course, five-star restaurant meal for two people.
The school year in Thailand runs from May to March, with some breaks and holidays throughout the year. Usually the hiring process for teaching jobs in Thailand occurs in April, but there are some positions open year-round.
Accommodation & Visas
There are a few different options for accommodation during your TEFL courses in Thailand, depending on the location and program provider you choose. Some classes offer the option to live with a Thai family in a homestay, which is a great way to learn more about the local culture. You can also choose to live in an independent apartment. Finally, some TEFL programs recommend students stay in a resort or hostel, where the provider has organized a lower monthly rate for their students.
You will need a visa to earn a TEFL certificate in Thailand, and then later to work in Thailand as a teacher, a work permit. There is a fair amount of paperwork that goes along with obtaining visas in Thailand, so be sure to confirm the level of visa support your TEFL program provider will supply you. Check out GoAbroad’s Thai Embassy and Consulate directory to find an embassy in your home country to assist you in meeting visa requirements.
Benefits & Challenges
- Thailand is a great choice for TEFL certification if you have not traveled to Asia before and are looking for an easygoing and friendly first experience.
- Teaching jobs in Thailand shouldn’t be too hard to find with a little dedication.
- While the level of income for teachers in Thailand is not as high as some of its neighbors, there is a focus on work-life balance and the amount of money you can make as a foreign teacher gives you enough to live comfortably in Thailand.
- Public schools in Thailand can be pretty large, with one class holding about 50 students, so classroom management is incredibly valuable.
- Once you are TEFL certified in Thailand, you should expect to start teaching without much ceremony or hand-holding. This can be a challenge for some people who want more guidance or want to spend time as a classroom assistant before being in charge on their own. This is why it is important to make the most of your in-classroom teaching time during your TEFL certification course - so you can hit the ground running!
- Teachers in Thailand tend to have a good amount of flexibility with lesson plans and classroom techniques, which can sometimes be difficult for new teachers who would benefit from structure but great for those with the confidence to run the show!