Frequently Asked Questions for Overseas Teachers
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What types of teaching jobs are available in Thailand?
English language teachers who teach in language schools and teachers of all subjects in private international schools are the most common teaching jobs available. Less common are teaching jobs in government schools, although some government schools will have native English speaking teachers for teaching English language classes and sometimes will have jobs available in other subjects in the government schools that have English language curriculums. Many teachers are able to augment their income by arranging private tutoring lessons aside from their normal jobs.
What qualifications are required to teach in Thailand?
A university degree and a TEFL, TESOL, CELTA or equivalent ESL certificate are generally accepted for teaching at English language schools and institutes. Teaching jobs at international schools and at the university level require teaching certificates and/or teaching licenses in addition to a degree, experience is often required, although not always essential. Advanced degrees such as an MBA and previous experience will almost always be given priority for the best teaching positions. Some schools may require a criminal background check; acquiring one before you apply for a teaching position can be beneficial. Native English language speakers are a requirement of most schools, fluent English speakers with no discernible accent may be considered.
Although some schools or language institutes may hire teachers without degrees; OverseasEnglishTeacher.com does not accept applicants without degrees.
How much money can I expect to make and what kind of lifestyle can I expect on a teacher’s salary?
Salaries vary considerably depending on what type of school you’re teaching at and what level of experience you have. International schools and universities normally pay very well and afford a very comfortable lifestyle for those who are qualified for those types of teaching positions. Language schools and institutes pay less, but normally enough to live comfortably as long as you’re somewhat careful with your spending habits.
Although Thailand is not quite as affordable as it once was, it’s still a very inexpensive place to live, especially by Western standards and compared to many other Asian countries. Basic accommodations can be had for around 3,000 THB per month; a few thousand Baht more per month can usually get you a larger and more comfortable apartment or condo with air conditioning. Accommodations upcountry and more remote locations cost much less. Delicious food can be bought for as little as 35-50 THB per meal at food carts, food courts, and food stalls. Public transportation is relatively reliable and inexpensive. However, finding accommodation near your place of work can save you money and time spent commuting to and from work, especially in Bangkok.
Well-qualified teachers who obtain jobs in the better international schools should be able to save money and live a very comfortable lifestyle in Thailand. You won’t get rich nor will you normally be able to save much money teaching at language schools, but you should be able to live fairly comfortably and hopefully gain the valuable experience needed for career advancement and a better paying job in the near future.
Do I need to come to Thailand to look for a job?
You can, but it’s not always necessary. OverseasEnglishTeacher.com is here to help you with your job search and place qualified applicants into the best jobs available before you come to Thailand. Some schools may require personal interviews, but many jobs are secured before you come.
What types of visa and work permits are necessary and how do I obtain them?
To work legally in Thailand and most other countries, you will need a visa that allows you to work along with a work permit. In Thailand you will need a Non-Immigrant Type B visa, which is available at the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. You will need a letter of employment from the school or language institute that hires you along with other pertinent documents and photographs. It is best to contact the embassy or consulate where you will apply for your visa, because not all embassies and consulates will require the same paperwork.
Tourist visas obtained before you come can be changed to a Non-Immigrant Type B Visa, although the process can sometimes be complicated. Most people find it easier to travel to a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in a neighboring country such as Malaysia, Laos, or Cambodia to obtain their Type B visa.
After you obtain your Type B visa, your employer is responsible for obtaining your work permit and should complete any paperwork necessary to obtain the permit. Although we cannot obtain your visas and work permits for you, we can offer advice and answer any questions you might have. Sometimes the process can seem complicated and intimidating, but is actually very straightforward as long as you have the proper documentation.
Beware of schools that offer employment without a work permit. Although some people do teach in Thailand without a work permit, it is illegal and can lead to serious repercussions with the Thai Immigration Police. It is not recommended to accept a job without obtaining the proper visa and work permit. More information regarding visas and work permits can be obtained from the Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs website or from the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate Website of the country of your residence.
I’ve never been to Thailand before, what can I expect?
Thailand is a diverse country with mountainous regions in the north, its bustling capital city of Bangkok in the central region, and its world class islands and beaches in the south. Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles” for the engaging smiles of the warm and friendly people that the country has become famous for. Many people have come to Thailand to teach and work, and have stayed on to make Thailand their adopted home.
The weather is a warm, tropical climate with three distinctive seasons. Although the weather is almost always warm, November through February is the “cool” season with normally very little rain and cooler temperatures in most parts of the country. March through May is the “hot” season; April is usually the hottest month of the year. The “rainy” season is from June through October in many regions of Thailand when you can expect rain almost daily. The rains are normally just a brief and heavy thundershower with the skies often becoming sunny after rains, but not always.
Bangkok is a huge, dynamic, and congested city. Named the #1 city for tourism by Travel & Leisure Magazine for the year 2010, life in Bangkok is never dull. From its vibrant and varied nightlife, world class restaurants, shopping, and entertainment venues to its Grand Palaces, temples, and cultural attractions, Bangkok has something for just about everyone. Most of the teaching opportunities exist in the capital.
For those that prefer a more relaxed or laid back lifestyle, the upcountry regions in the north and northeast offer many opportunities for teachers. One of the most preferred areas for expats and tourists is the area in and around Chiang Mai. Named the #2 city in the world for tourism by Travel & Leisure, Chiang Mai offers a contrasting lifestyle compared to Bangkok; although, there is no shortage of entertainment, dining, and outdoor activities.
The southern regions of Thailand bordered by the Gulf of Thailand to the east and the Andaman Sea to the west also offer opportunities for the overseas teacher. Some of the most beautiful beaches and islands in the world can be found here. Thailand’s largest island, Phuket is located off the west coast of Southern Thailand and the island of Koh Samui is located in the gulf. Both islands have large expat populations and world class tourist infrastructures that afford some opportunities for those that prefer to live and work in an island or beach setting.
Many other regions of Thailand offer teaching opportunities. For those of you that have never been to Thailand or those that and would like to learn more about the country, a good source for information is the Tourism of Authority of Thailand website.