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If you have a university degree, a well recognized TEFL certificate and you can present yourself in a professional manner, finding a TEFL job in Thailand is as close to a guaranteed certainty as you can get.
In places like Bangkok and the island of Phuket, there are far more TEFL jobs than there are teachers to fill them. All state schools are mandated to employ at least one native speaking English teacher, and a large number of schools just can’t find one, because the job market is so heavily weighted in the teacher’s favor.
Teachers in Thailand are accorded a tremendous amount of respect, traditionally coming in third, just behind the king and monks. However, this respect is not indelible, and your actions can easily erase it, if you are not careful to be culturally sensitive and behave in a decent manner.
Thailand is one of the most popular countries to work as an English teacher. Salaries are relatively low to start, but you can keep the cost of living very low as well and will not have trouble making ends meet, provided you keep a rein on your lifestyle.
Practically all school TEFL jobs in Thailand require a university degree in any subject and a well recognized TEFL certificate. TEFL International is the only certificate in the country which is approved by the Thai Ministry of Education. Teaching experience can aid you in procuring a higher paid position, but is not necessary.
These jobs will often help you with the difficult process of getting the correct visa and work permit, providing you are willing to commit for at least one school year. You will need to bring your original university diploma as well as official university transcripts with you for this.
Beginning salaries for jobs in schools are usually around 30,000 THB per month. It is a bit easier to get a job before the beginning of the school year in May, but jobs are always available year round. School jobs usually entail a 40 to 50 hour work week, but have numerous paid holidays.
TEF jobs at international schools can pay considerably more, but you will be expected to work longer hours. They are not as numerous and you often to need to have some previous teaching experience in addition to having a TEFL or similar certification and a degree to get one of these. Sometimes they will follow a western academic schedule.
TEFL jobs at language schools are plentiful and pay an hourly rate. Your schedule will be more plastic and subject to frequent change, and you will often have to travel to your appointments. The requirement for a university degree can be more flexible with these kinds of jobs, and in rare circumstances, a TEFL certificate is not even needed. But don’t expect to get help with obtaining a work permit, requiring you to do many tedious and expensive runs across the border to renew your tourist visa. This also means you will be working illegally, something that we do not endorse.
Most people begin their TEFL job search once they get to Thailand. A high value is placed on appearances in this country, often to the neglect of substance, so Thai employers will usually want to see you before offering you a position. Conditions in the work place will vary widely. Before accepting a position, make sure that you ask questions regarding salary or hourly pay rate, whether you’ll have to travel to your lessons and if you get compensated for this time and reimbursed for expenses, what kind of material resources the school has for lesson planning and teaching materials, what kind of administrative and collegial support you will have, whether the school assists with obtaining a work permit, etc. Also be sure that the contract you sign will accurately reflect these details. This will help to avoid any nasty surprises after you’ve already agreed to take the job.
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