Is there a demand for English teachers in Thailand?

Demand for good teachers has always been high. In fact I would say I the demand for experienced, qualified teachers has never been greater. Qualified teachers are never out of work in Thailand. 

However (and it's a big however) Thailand is certainly not the paradise it once was for unqualified teachers (those that lack a degree, a TEFL certificate, teaching experience, etc) I get a large number of e-mails from teachers without degrees and/or TEFL certificates and frankly they often struggle to find decent teaching work here.

There could of course be numerous reasons for this - perhaps they perform poorly at interviews or perhaps they just haven't looked in the right places - but things have tightened up a lot over the past few years for unqualified teachers in Thailand. 

As always, many employers can exploit loopholes and manage to get their unqualified teachers legal. Much will depend on how organized and 'savvy' your employer is and how much they are prepared to go to bat for their teachers.


Is it a wise idea to get a TEFL certificate before I start looking for work?

The TEFL certificate is not currently a legal requirement in Thailand. However, many employers still want to see one. If two teachers go for a job interview; both have degrees and one has the TEFL certificate as well - guess who the job will probably go to. Having a TEFL certificate can do you no harm at all.

Ian adds "having a TEFL cert will make you more employable to majority of employers. True it's not necessary but having one will open more doors for you.

If you are thinking of taking a TEFL course in Thailand, we have a monthly TEFL course news blog with all the latest special deals and promotions from Thailand's major course providers - many of these deals are exclusive to ajarn readers!


What are Thais like to teach?

Be under no illusion - Thais can be a lot of fun to teach, and other times they can be painful.
Many of them (particularly male teenagers) have zero motivation. You will have to take the rough with the smooth. The Thais expect a teacher to be a mixture of an educator and an entertainer. An old teaching colleague, who had taught in several Asian countries, once remarked "a teacher in Thailand needs to be a combination of a dancer and a game show host. If you don't have the kind of personality that lights up a room the moment you walk in, you might find yourself struggling here"

I've spent much of my teaching career here in the corporate training room. Even managers and high-flying executives can start switching off if they're not having enough 'fun'. Thailand is very much a 'let's all have fun' society.  


What's a decent salary in Bangkok? What about in rural areas?

You should be aiming to earn between 40-50,000 baht a month if you are working in the capital. This will give you a fairly comfortable standard of living. There are of course people who survive on a lot less in Bangkok (25-30K a month) but I really don't know how they do it. 

If you are earning 25,000 a month in the capital, then you are seriously going without. In rural areas however, teachers say you can live like a king on 25,000. It totally depends on the individual and their spending habits of course.

Take a look at our 'cost of living' feature, where numerous teachers describe how much they earn and what they spend it on. You'll find it interesting to compare lifestyles.


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