Ajarn Street

A qualifications conundrum

Can you help out and offer some advice to this teacher?

Hi everyone,

I have been in Thailand for many years and I used to teach without a degree. Over the years I worked in a variety of schools and universities. Then, about a decade ago, I started working for companies instead. Many companies will employ you without a degree if they like the rest of your profile. 

However, I went back into education a few years ago but found things a lot more regulated now, so I decided to explore my options to get a degree. I found several respectable universities - i.e. not online paper-mills - in the US, the UK and the rest of Europe, offering the option of either applying for a postgraduate degree after finishing your bachelor's, or alternatively by providing proof that you have had several years worth of relevant experience. 

I chose the second option and after nearly two years of intensive studying (I was initially taken aback by the intensity - had hoped it might have been more relaxed) I now find myself about to finish a postgraduate degree in education

So I wanted to find out whether anything else was needed, since I heard this degree will need to be validated in-country before it will be recognised. 

I contacted Kurusapha, as that was where one person directed me to. No help. Looooots of phone calls and emails later, both in Thai and English, and I have finally been told yesterday that it will be extremely difficult to have it recognised.

The problems are these:

1. I have no bachelor's degree (the biggest problem)

2. I have a secondary/high school degree, but where I am from, they do not hand out transcripts for these. No transcript for my secondary degree is apparently also a problem.

3. I may be asked to show that I have worked before, which is no problem, but I wonder whether providing this information may result in people/me retroactively being punished for employing me with incorrect documentation.

Finally then, my questions.

As I have taught every level/age, from 3 to 60+, in Thailand, I am comfortable with just about any level. However, I have come to realise that these different levels and formats (kindergarten / primary / secondary / uni / international / language) have apparently different requirements for the people they (can) hire. 

So, for someone with (soon) a postgraduate degree in Education and slightly over 20 years of teaching experience, does anyone have a clear picture of where I am allowed to teach, or alternatively, can anyone point me in the right direction to find out on my own? 

I find it difficult to believe that there are potentially other teachers, experienced and (finally, like me) trying to do things right, but unable to get a job, despite the fact that several decent schools are willing to hire me. 

To be clear, I have gone on interviews, done demos and schools were happy, but discouraged because of unclear directions from the people like Kurusapha, meaning they simply did not know how to proceed.

Many thanks for any help and advice you can offer.


Hey everyone.
I need advice on getting an English teaching job in Thailand for African Non-NES.
My country (Namibia) has English ads it’s official language and it is the medium of instruction for all schools. So I basically speak English at native level even though Namibia is not on the list of Native English Speaking countries.
Also, I have a masters degree. Some recruiter told me to notarize my bachelor degree. Isn’t my highest qualification the most relevant? Feels weird that it’s almost “not recognized” or doesn’t count for anything. Or does it?
I would also appreciate any tips regarding the visa and moving process.
Lastly, do you think it’s a good idea to just get a tourist visa, and apply for a job there instead? Then convert that to non-B and eventually work permit.

Please, any advice and relevant information will be appreciated.
(I have some teaching and tutoring experience, if you’re wondering)

By Jay, Namibia (11th September 2023)

Quite a confusing post, there seems to be a bit of mixing around of terminology; no-one has a 'degree' from secondary school, and it seems like they have completed a post-graduate certificate in education, not a degree. If they had a degree, they'd, you know, have a degree.

Because of this it's hard to offer advice, as I'm not sure what stage they are at exactly. One route may be to get a Master's degree from a US university, many places only ask for the highest level degree, and Master's can be easy to be accepted into. Then they could do the Teach Now course from Moreland University which would lead to a US teacher license. Another couple of years study, but a very attractive end result.

I'd encourage them to check whether the institutions they are signing up to are accredited. Lots of places will offer courses but unless they are externally moderated and accredited, then the certification they offer can be at best compromised and at worst worthless.

By Charlie, Thailand (12th June 2022)

I'm just surprised you were able to do a postgraduate degree without having an undergraduate degree (BA). False promises or flouting the rules from that school?

By John B, Bangkok (11th June 2022)

TCT (Kurusupa) will not understand the lack of an official bachelors. Some masters get the TCT licence and some don't. Best bet is get a job at a reputable EP or mid tier international school that will do the TCT licence paperwork for you, as it's a nightmare to do alone.

By Mr J, Thailand (11th June 2022)

There is a reason a bachelor's is required. PGCE just a few specific courses related or somewhat related to teaching and or education. Any decent college or university you'll have had half dozen writing courses, maybe a literature course, humanities...

Do a bachelor's at Ram or Saint Babbits but don't add up the time and costs and assess against salary because you'll probably committ suicide.

I've heard that schools upcountry can be more flexible as well as TCT. Get out of Bangkok.

Talk to Ram, St Babbits maybe some PGCE credits can transfer as elective.

If you can get a BA Edu at StB that will qualify you straight out for license. You only then need to sit for the stupid exams lol

By Jim Beam, The Big Smoke (11th June 2022)

You can actually enroll on a PGCEi without a bachelor's if you can show you have had teaching experience and you have references to show why the course would benefit you. The PGCEi will get you a work permit at a language school. If you are from the UK it is seen as a level 7 qualification regardless of not having the undergraduate or QTS. If you look for EAL roles in the UK you will interviewed and hired off your experience and PGCEi. Some of these roles pay 30,000 GBP and upwards. Best of luck.

By Crillock, Thailand (11th June 2022)

It can't be a postgrad if you never graduated with a bachelor's in the first instance. The grad school really shouldn't have allowed him to enroll. Instant red flag. He seems a very intelligent guy from his writing; however, that probably wasn't the best move to make.

By Bob, Thailand (11th June 2022)

"Your 20 years experience doesn’t count if it’s unqualified and you have no degree"
I very much doubt that is true in the eyes of a potential employer who's willing to jump through a few hoops.

By Steve, Thailand (11th June 2022)

Your 20 years experience doesn’t count if it’s unqualified and you have no degree. Times have indeed changed and you aren’t stepping back into a real school without a BA. You could work for a language school and teach unqualified there. However, they prefer young energetic teachers who will do a sing and a dance only to burn out after about one year, then the next Western backpacker comes along.

By Teacher A, Bangkok (11th June 2022)

Is this a PGCEi? If so he would be able to get a work permit at a language school and could then possibly add a school as a second place of work but again it's a grey area in regards to whether the school would understand his request and would be willing to do it for him.

By Crill, Thailand (11th June 2022)

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