Tieland to Thailand

Quit Your Job – Sell Your Stuff – Travel Abroad

..."We spent last year selling everything and paying off thousands in consumer debt, planning our wedding, and ultimately figuring a way out of the daily nine to five. Twelve months later here we are living a truly free and location-independent lifestyle, currently in Chiang Mai, Thailand"...

Requirements to Teach in Thailand

Requirements to Teach in Thailand

Looking to fund your overseas adventure in Thailand? Teaching English is one of the most popular and readily available means to finance life abroad in the Land of Smiles. Assuming you are ready for this challenge, you may be wondering, “What are the requirements to teach in Thailand?”

If you haven’t done any research yet, it may (or, it may not) come as a surprise to learn that requirements to teach in Thailand vary greatly depending on where you look. Some sources list a dozen or so conditions, such as proof of taking a Thai culture course, having a teaching license, adequate score in an English proficiency test, and criminal history (yikes! hopefully a lack thereof), while others say you’ll do just fine with a resume and a good looking picture. Well, which one is it!?

Based on my personal experience (individual school hiring criteria may vary) becoming a teacher in Chiang Mai in May 2013, there were four major requirements expected of me. Of course Thailand being Thailand, these requirements seemed to be more like guidelines, and you’ll see why each of them are often bent a little. The bottom line is that these are what I needed to land a teaching job.

Requirement #1: Bachelor’s Degree Diploma or Higher

A bachelor’s degree or higher is one of the most important requirements to teach in Thailand, or to work at all for that matter. Simply put, you must be able to provide evidence of a diploma. In my case, I provided a picture of my diploma and also offered the official copy of my transcript I had brought with me from the States. If I had provided them with an unofficial transcript, they would have accepted that instead.

Bending the Rule

Although we don’t encourage this behavior, in the opinion of some schools the bachelor’s degree does not have to be the conventional four-year (or more) degree. It can be earned from an online university or it can be purchased through a company that sells diplomas for a few hundred dollars.

The bottom line is that some schools only seem to want proof of a diploma, not proof of how you earned a diploma. Although it is up to the specific school or hiring agency to decide whether or not they will accept the online purchased diploma over a traditionally earned bachelor’s degree, we hear that it is unlawful to use a purchased diploma as proof of a bachelor’s degree in Thailand. I personally graduated from an accredited four-year university and would not feel comfortable cutting corners by utilizing a degree mill if that wasn’t the case.

Requirement #2: Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Certification

A TEFL certification is not an actual legal requirement to teach in Thailand, but many schools treat it as a qualifier. Earning a TEFL prepares you for the major differences you may face teaching a Western language to Asian students as well as suggests ways to go about teaching around these differences. It also provides teaching fundamentals for those who have no prior experience, such as how to create lesson plans and how to get students more engaged in a lesson. I personally found it very helpful because I had no prior teaching experience.

Bending the Rule

Possessing a TEFL is a lot of the time, is one of those unwritten requirements to teach in Thailand. However, it is common for some employers to accept prior teaching experience, training, or an English degree in lieu of a TEFL. For example, if you have several years experience teaching English in an Asian country, or if you have a degree specifically in English (or even better, Teaching English as a Foreign Language), your agency or school may waive their TEFL certification requirement.

Remember, although a TEFL is not legally one of the requirements to teach in Thailand, it may land you a more desirable teaching position, or tip the scales in your favor should your application or resume be competing with a few others.

If you are looking for one, we recommend SEE TEFL in Chiang Mai.

Requirement #3: Non-Immigrant Business “B” Visa

Among the requirements to teach in Thailand is possessing a B Visa. It is possible to obtain a B Visa before arriving in Thailand if you are sponsored by a hiring agency or school prior to going to Thailand, but most likely you will be going to Thailand on a tourist visa and later switching to a B Visa. Unfortunately, a tourist visa specifically says, “Employment prohibited.”

Bending the Rule

Who knows – maybe your employer will scoop you right up while you are still on a tourist visa, ask you to start teaching the following Monday, and shrug their shoulders and tell you to do a B Visa run in the near future. Or maybe you are taking classes at the university on an education “ED” visa, but you are teaching through a work co-op. The point is, you may be working even if you are not on a business visa. It happens, but it’s best (and required by law) to get a B visa and an official work permit, sorted by your prospective employer prior to starting your teaching position.

Requirement #4: A Good Picture and a Good Attitude

An attractive picture goes a long way in Thailand. Unfortunately, this also means that some people are denied a teaching position simply because of the way they look. Workforce discrimination is commonplace in Thailand, and it’s not uncommon for a school to discriminate against you based on age, race, or sex. Or the fact you weren’t wearing a collared shirt in the picture you submitted with your resume.

The best thing to do is to look sharp in your picture. Have well-groomed hair, a pressed shirt (a tie if you are male), and of course, a smile. A smile goes a long way, as well as a positive attitude. Thailand is well-known for its mai bpen rai outlook, and if you are non-confrontational and have a good-humored, go with the flow type of demeanor, you will go far.

Bending the Rule

On a good note, sometimes the people responsible for hiring teachers look past the surface and understand that experience and enthusiasm are more important than a young, white face. On the down side, people with alcohol or drug problems, lackadaisical attitude towards teaching, or flat out aggression still manage to secure teaching positions because they look good in the resume photo.

Can You Meet these Requirements to Teach in Thailand?

Based on my experience becoming a teacher, the requirements to teach in Thailand may not be as farfetched or as extensive as some websites may make it to be. In my experience, I was hired by an agency by legitimately meeting the above four requirements to teach in Thailand. However, the best thing to do is contact a school or agency directly and ask for their policy. It’s well worth your time, seeing as “rules” vary between schools and districts, and in particular, because some of the requirements to teach in Thailand are rather pricey and time consuming. It’s the best way that you can prepare yourself before making the long flight to Thailand.

Fellow teachers, what has your experience been with the requirements to teach in Thailand? Are there any suggestions you’ve found to be useful? Here are some great questions and answers we’ve found on the topic from ajarn.com.

Disclaimer: This information is based on what we’ve witnessed and/or heard from other teachers since living in Thailand. Individuals should conduct their own thorough research into the Ministry of Education’s official requirements to teach in Thailand prior to applying for a position!


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Chris and Angela sold everything, paid off their debt, and left behind the nine-to-five lifestyle in the US. Today they live as full time expats in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Subscribe to their weekly Thailand Vlogs on Youtube! To see a full list of their blog posts all in one place check out the Archives. For more frequent updates follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

  • Terry says:

    I would like to add to the discussion even though it is two years late.

    I have been teaching in Thailand for about 10 years now. I have my Thai Teacher’s License and renewed it just last year. Having this for about 6 years now has helped beyond measure but they are hard to get now.

    The required culture course is in the ether world as it were and no one knows where to take it now. In addition, the time limits to get a license is still in effect. You get two, two year wavers but there is a catch. If you work at a job and you are on waver then move to another school and apply for a waver you are on your second one. The only way to get a full two years is to stay at one job for the two years.

    If you have to take the teachers test be warned; I have never heard of a foreigner passing it. I am sure some have but I have not heard of it.

    Also, the wages in the last two or three years have fallen below survival rate. I used to make 60k plus for many years and in the last three years nothing is paying more than 35,000 unless you are lucky to get 40k somewhere. Nearly all of my friends have left for Vietnam, Kazakhstan, S. Korea or even Myanmar. It just isn’t worth the pay to stay in Thailand anymore for a married family man.

    I won’t get into the corruption and how the schools have mastered pocketing the 30,000 government subsidy that is supposed to be added to the school budgeted salary to retain the teachers. Most schools will hold the money and not rehire the teacher the next year. When this happens the teacher is gone and the years worth of subsidy is pocketed. Yes, all schools still get this for each foreign teacher on payroll.

    All of your information is correct about bias and discrimination. Thais basically view us as a way to get extra money (ATM), a necessary evil they have to have, a marketing tool to get more students in the programs (more money) and they have no guilt or hesitation to let you go at a whim.

    My advice to any teacher planning on coming here is to go to Kazakhstan or elsewhere where the money is justified.

    July 29, 2015 at 10:23 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Your experience is just as valid today as it was when we first wrote this post. The disappearing culture course, hard to get license, and impossible-to-pass teacher test is all very interesting to read about and something Angela never dealt with. We’re sure you’ve seen a lot as a seasoned teacher and probably hard to stick around knowing what you know.

      Thailand still draws teachers in but we have definitely seen groups of teachers move to greener pastures after working here for a while. We hope all is well with you since you’re sticking around!

      August 1, 2015 at 4:32 PM
  • ron says:

    hello Chris and angela! how are you? Ive been reading your blog and it is very helpful. Thank you so munch for your posts. I am teaching now here at kalasin province thailand. I was advised to take a teachers examination this month. I am wondering what is the examination all bout? thank you so much, :) -Ron

    July 7, 2015 at 11:04 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      The school Angela taught at in Chiang Mai province did not require her to take a teacher’s examination, so we don’t know! Each school has their own requirements so it could be anything: a test on grammar, or maybe crafting a lesson plan from scratch, or test on how to handle a certain situation.

      July 7, 2015 at 11:48 PM
    • Melody says:

      Hi Ron. Did you find out anything more about the teachers examination? Did you take it? What was it like in the end? Did you find out anything more about who is required to take it and who is not?

      July 29, 2015 at 4:43 PM
  • Remanel says:

    Always afraid of getting LOST …lol :)

    January 21, 2015 at 3:36 AM
  • remanel08@gmail.com says:

    Thanks a lot for your assistance..ur site is a great help..It’ll be my first time to work abroad so I’m quit nervous. I’m planning to visit Thailand around April, when do you think will be the best place for me to start? I’m thinking maybe Bangkok but ur suggestion will be a great help specially I’m travelling alone. Hope to meet you in the future :) :)

    January 21, 2015 at 3:26 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Bangkok is huge and offers many different types of neighborhoods. It’s relatively convenient regarding public transportation (at least the above and below ground metro – BTS and MRT) and often people speak English. However, it can be a bit pushy and simply overwhelming if you don’t like city life. There are other major towns in Thailand – Phuket, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Khon Kaen, and Udon Thani that offer a good selection of familiar Western food and products, as well as varying degrees of English for foreigners. Start searching about each of these cities depending on your lifestyle to see where’s the best place for you to start.

      January 21, 2015 at 9:11 AM
  • Remanel says:

    Hi Chris and Angela, I’m planning to try my luck in Thailand this coming April but I just want to get few suggestions, is it better to get a job before hand(apply online) or is it better to apply in person? Anyone knows if Echo English is a Legit agency? Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.

    January 16, 2015 at 8:53 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      We think its’s better applying in person and seeing what the facilities are like and meeting people rather than trying to secure something before coming here. Plus, it gives you time to get to know whatever town you are living in before making the mad dash off to work. Come over on a tourist visa and then once you have a job offer, get the proper paper work and apply for a business visa. Sorry, we haven’t heard of Echo English before!

      January 17, 2015 at 11:18 AM
  • Joven Pamintuan says:

    hi . Im joven Pamintuan. 21 years old . Im a certified board passer and my course is bachelor of secondary in education major in english . I am a call canter agent here in the philippines now and I dont have teaching experience. Im planning to go in thailand in february. Do you think I qualify to teach ? Thank you.

    December 26, 2014 at 2:47 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Hi Jovin. There are schools out there who are need teachers, and as long as you meet the basic requirements, will happily hire you. You are eligible to teach with your bachelor’s degree, but we would highly recommend earning a TEFL before teaching because you do not have past experience and it helps with teaching concepts and developing lesson plans and getting children engaged. February is near the end of the typical school year, but keep in mind that language schools hire year round.

      December 27, 2014 at 10:22 AM
    • Eric says:

      dont forget your toeic for non native english speakers

      June 17, 2015 at 3:01 AM
  • Kat says:

    This is a great article, very inspiring I must say. I was thinking of teaching in Asian countries for a while now, but you mentioned that one of the requirements is 4 year degree, well I have Bachelors degree from UK which is only 3 year degree, do you think they would accept that?
    And I was also looking up the TEFL courses and there seem to be quiet a few different ones.
    Would I be ok just to do the basic one?
    Any advice will be very much appreciated.

    August 1, 2014 at 9:27 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Glad you found this helpful! You have a bachelor’s degree, so that’s acceptable and meets the basic requirement to teach English in Thaiand. There are many TEFLs to choose from, but we personally recommend SEE TEFL. You can go for the basics, but if you would like to be best prepared, SEE TEFL does just that. Check out our other post, too: Do I Really Need a TEFL? Hope this helps!

      August 1, 2014 at 11:34 PM
  • Michael says:

    Good picture and good attitude are definitely the most important for any occupation. I have often met teachers working with tourist visas and this is normal until the employer provides documents to obtain the business visa and then a work permit. However it can be simpler and cheaper to bend the rules as pointed out and teach without the formal requirements. I am interested to see any changes and possible reduction in English teachers now visas and visa runs are scrutinized according to recent report on Thai forums. Do you think this might change current practices? I hope not because schools will then be more desperate for teachers than they currently are already, particularly in rural areas.

    July 13, 2014 at 7:42 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      With the tightening security behind repeated 30-day exempt stamps and/or tourist visas, there very well could be dip in English teachers. Let’s hope that schools rebuttal with more efficient paperwork for the proper non-immigrant B visa and work permit.

      July 14, 2014 at 10:09 PM
  • Avel Obli says:

    It’s kind of tricky then on the part of Filipinos to distinguish Thai from Pinoy, and if that’s the case, it’s going to be very tiring to explain every time Thais thought I was Thai, but it’s still fun somehow. :) :) :)

    April 28, 2014 at 1:41 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Thanks, baja2bangkok. We’ve worked with a guy before who’s half Japanese half Filipino and had the same issue. The phrase “Pom mai bpen kon Thai” means “I am not Thai” and is good to learn for sanity sake!

      April 30, 2014 at 8:33 PM
  • Avel Obli says:

    Thank you Chris and Angela! 
    I asked which specifically part of Thailand is the best for Filipinos (or non-native English speakers in general) because I don’t want to compete with Native-English speaking applicants. Hehehehe :) :) :)
    Kidding aside, I’ll plan carefully for this job hunting plan of mine in the Land of Smiles. Hope to you see two there someday :) Thanks.

    April 25, 2014 at 1:10 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Good luck!

      April 25, 2014 at 5:25 PM
    • baja2bangkok says:

      I hope you don’t mind if I weigh in here. I am Caucasian and have lived in Thailand as an exchange student and while doing research. I recently went on vacation there with a friend whose family is originally from Ilocos Norte – although she speaks hardly any Ilocano or Tagalog and speaks unaccented English – and no Thai, but everyone thought she was Thai. I would talk to people in Thai and they would reply to her in Thai.

      You would probably have to approach every situation with the understanding that they will think you are Thai. In Bangkok, they are pretty familiar with Filipinos and understand that they look very much like Thais. Other than that, I think most Thais will think it is kind of fun that you look like a Thai but are not.

      April 26, 2014 at 6:03 AM
  • Avel Obli says:

    Thank you for that quick response! I appreciate it so much.   Thank you also for enlightening me about TEFL and Visa requirements. If it’s not too much, I still have more questions :) which I forgot to include on my first post.
    1. Which part of Thailand is best for Filipinos (non-native English speakers) applying for a teaching job? Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket?
    2. How much is the starting salary for a non-native English speaking teacher without teaching experience?
    3. Hiring period of schools in Thailand? Best time to go to Thailand? School calendar?
    Thanks a lot :) :)

    April 25, 2014 at 12:31 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Oh wow, we have no idea where the best city to apply for Filipinos! We do, however, know a well groomed appearance and a nice smile go a long way :) Supposedly the salary (both for starting and experienced teachers) are around the same and haven’t changed for many many years. I made 28,000 baht per month, which is ok for Chiang Mai. It had nothing to do with teaching experience (all teachers made the same), it’s just what the school paid. Bangkok is higher, 35,000 – 40,000 baht per month since it’s more expensive to live in the city. Phuket is also more expensive place to live. The best time to apply for schools is at the end of April and beginning of May (NOW) since the school year starts around mid May. However, don’t rule out English language schools or tutoring, which is available all year round. Another great resource is ajarn.com. Check it out!

      April 25, 2014 at 12:46 PM
  • Avel Obli says:

    Hi, this article really is of big help. I have a few questions however. Many schools or teaching posts in Thailand require native-English speakers, and I wonder if I have a chance of landing a teaching job there. Below are my credentials (personal details :)), can you please help me assess if I’m qualified or more likely to get a teaching job in Thailand. I plan to go to the land of smiles last week of August this year.

    1. I’m 25 years old and from the Philippines (Same skin color of Thais).
    2. Bachelor’s degree in Office Administration major in Medical Transcription (4 years)
    3. Master of Arts in English Language Teaching (more than 36 units completed / 2 years)
    4. 18 Units of Education (Teaching) incorporated in the master’s program.
    5. No teaching experience / three years work experience as an office staff.

    My questions:

    1. Do I need a TEFL, TESOL, any cert? Most of our courses in our Master of Arts in English deal with Teaching English as a Second Language like Approaches in Teaching English as Second Language, Test Preparation and Evaluation, Curriculum Development and the like.
    2. Will Thai grant me a working visa despite my bachelor’s degree not English Education?
    3. Any advice please.
    Thank you! :) :)

    April 25, 2014 at 9:16 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Hi Avel! You’re in luck! We just put a post about whether or not you need a TEFL to teach in Thailand. But it sounds like with your MA in English Language Teaching goes above and beyond what a TEFL provides, so include that on your resume!. And don’t worry – your BS/BA doesn’t have to be in English to be a teacher. Only a handful of the most prestigious schools require a degree in (specifically) education. A bachelor’s degree in anything will qualify you for a work permit.

      April 25, 2014 at 11:03 AM
  • Terrie says:

    Hi, can you tell me if there is an age limit to teaching in Thailand? In Brunei, you must be 54 or under when you are first employed. I’m 49 and am worried that my 14 and 15 year olds won’t hurry up and leave home in time! Just kidding not really pushing them out…yet 😛

    April 14, 2014 at 3:55 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Haha. We’ve read a few forums saying it’s 60, and you are eligible for a retirement visa at 50. HOWEVER, if you look younger and have good energy, there’s no reason not to still teach. The year before I started teaching, there was a man who was still teaching at my school and he was in his late seventies!

      April 14, 2014 at 5:12 PM
  • Ruvimbo Janet Tuwe (Machuma) says:

    Thank you so much for such an insightful article. I am very keen to move from where I am based now (South Africa)and would like to just get into a whole new field. Teaching the English language has always interested me as I am a serious lover of words. I just wanted to find out what the chances would be for someone like me (apologies for any offense my candour might cause, I am a black African,specifically Zimbabwean) to be taken seriously and actually be gainfully employed.

    April 3, 2014 at 8:07 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      You will get mixed reactions from hiring agencies or schools being a black African. While you may stumble upon schools who are open to hiring anyone, be equally prepared to be turned away because of your dark skin. The private school Angela worked at in Chiang Mai does not hire black teachers, but we met a 30-something year old black teacher from NY that taught in a public school in Isaan (NE part of the country) for a few years.

      There are schools out there that greatly need an English teacher, but have few people applying for a position. They are more inclined to accept teachers with no prior experience, no degree, no TEFL, darker skin, etc. These are usually farther from town where fewer teachers are willing to travel to. Keep in mind these areas will also have less English speaking locals and English written signs and you may be one of the few farang in town.

      Timing is important. Schools start in mid May and the second semester may start in September or October. There is a better chance of securing a job within a few weeks of the semester starting. Don’t rule out teaching at an International school or an English language school, too. Also private tutoring through companies like AUA are great because you can have a flexible schedule (more or less students) and can start anytime in the year. We hope this helps!

      April 5, 2014 at 12:10 PM
      • Kerry Miles says:

        Schools may hire you on the basis that they are desperate and are in great need of teachers, however the government in order to issue you with a working visa requires you to hold any 4 year degree, and working without one can send you to jail.
        My partner and I recently ended our want to relocate from South Africa I hold a teaching degree, diplomas and TEFL, my partner holds only TEFL we had been offered a job as couple through EF, a fantastic organized and helpful teaching company, however when they sent for a visa for my partner due to lack of his accreditionals he was denied. It’s very disappointing as jobs advertised state no degree, but at end of the day it’s the government who have the actual say.

        April 5, 2014 at 12:55 PM
        • Chris and Angela says:

          We think you made the right decision. We would never recommend trying to game the system. One can assure that if they are caught, the school or agency that told them to bend the rules will not end up taking the fall with them.

          April 5, 2014 at 3:25 PM
  • kevin says:

    Hi there interesting reads…I’ve been teaching for 10 years in bilingual schools in spain and have tefl a 4 yr degree and sate certified teaching…I’m 40 and want to jump on a plane and come Thailand to find a job. I’ve done the usual…agencies sending off cv´s. What are my chances of getting a job just by going to the schools in person? thanks kev

    November 5, 2013 at 2:10 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      You meet all the basic requirements of becoming a teacher in Thailand (TEFL, 4 year degree) and even then some (10 years teaching experience), so you have an excellent chance at securing a teaching job.

      Going to schools in person may be difficult if you do not speak Thai due to the communication barrier. In my personal experience, going through a hiring agency (which finds you the job AND takes care of all the legal paperwork for visa and work permit) is a life saver. You can try to your luck working with an agency while still in the UK or after coming to Thailand.

      November 5, 2013 at 9:02 AM
  • Amanda says:

    I was interested in that you said to smile in the official photograph. When I was doing my masters research in Thailand about 25 years ago, I was firmly informed that I was not to smile. The resulting picture makes me laugh now, because it is so hard to suppress a smile in the “Land of Smiles.”

    Also, I currently work for a University system in the US (not teaching) and their community college system has a certification program for TESL (21 credits). As an employee I can take these classes for free if space is available. I am looking at a two-year time frame minimum before I can make my move to Thailand, so it will be perfect. It may not be necessary with my experience in teaching Laotian refugees back in the day and “plain language” curriculum development, but I will be in my mid 50’s when I make my move, so I figure I had better make myself bullet-proof. I will spend a couple of days in Bangkok making myself “suay maak” for insurance.

    BTW, if a person can truly handle more culture shock or if they have lived in Thailand before, it may be easier to get work in a smaller regional city. Probably even less pay, but perhaps more in a relative sense because the cost of living is even lower. However, if you have never LIVED in an Asian country before (as opposed to even a long-term visit), you could be unpleasantly surprised at how hard it is. Oh, and forget about being able to afford AC. But other than that, it could be a really rewarding experience.

    Finally, I cannot even begin to tell you how much respect the title of “ajaan” (teacher) carries. If you are a teacher, especially a good one whose students thrive, you will be accorded a tremendous amount of admiration and respect.

    I love following your progress. It sounds like you are having a fun and rewarding experiece – Cheers to you!

    October 29, 2013 at 7:30 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Excellent point about culture shock! It’s easier to get settled into expat life in one of the bigger cities (Bangkok, Chiang Mai) than compared to a smaller town if you’ve never lived in Thailand before. There are a lot of things to get used to, and it can be much harder if you are teaching in the boonies!

      IF you have the time to do the TESL course, that’s great. I like your thinking about being as best prepared as you can be and even getting dolled up in Bangkok. Good luck with everything!

      October 29, 2013 at 1:17 PM
  • David White says:

    I’ve just stumbled upon your blog and found the articles very interesting, especially this one.
    Will definitely share it with my friends who’s been really interested in coming to work in Thailand.
    Thanks so much for the great tips, kudos!

    October 22, 2013 at 10:23 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      You’re welcome! There are a lot of teaching experiences on the web, but sometimes they forget to include what it took to get that position in the first place. Thanks for following and sharing the info with your friend.

      October 22, 2013 at 11:28 PM
  • LA-Trader says:

    I had thought about teaching over in TL, but don’t think it will be something I will follow through with. I am happy that I can do something different to earn an income in TL rather than just teach or survive on a pension. The age factor, the looks factor, the paperwork, etc. . . . all for ?? . . . about $1,200 USD per month while working very hard full-time? . . . no thanks. I think I prefer trading currencies much better. Also, as more and more people flood into CM, and other desirable cities of TL, the demand imbalance will begin to fade and the salaries will, I think, begin to become less . . . simply too many people applying for the same type of work. This will take a while, but it will happen. I hope this does not come off sounding like a negative post reply. I just read your last 2 posts: Impressions of Chiang Mai and Teaching Requirements . . . they are both excellent – as all of your posts have been. You have a beautiful and informative site.

    October 19, 2013 at 10:25 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      No worries at all! We definitely see where you are coming from!

      Actually, the salaries in Chiang Mai aren’t even $1,200…more around the $1,000 mark because of exactly what you mentioned about the same type of workers flooding the market. At the end of the day it is all about what you are happy doing with your life and you seem to have yours right where you want it which is refreshing to hear! Thanks for the kind words as always. It is encouraging to know that we are providing information that residents of Chiang Mai and future residents find helpful. Take care!

      October 19, 2013 at 10:37 PM
  • agnesstramp says:

    The requirements to teach in Thailand are very similar to China, but to be honest everyone can go here and teach. You just need to look pretty or handsome :)

    October 19, 2013 at 5:10 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Kind of funny how that works, isn’t it? What is the round about average salary in China from your experience? We have heard mixed reviews, but we think it all comes down to what you make of it!

      October 19, 2013 at 5:40 PM
    • rogerlucr says:

      I’m screwed!

      October 19, 2013 at 9:13 PM
      • Chris and Angela says:

        Why do you say that? Let us know if you need any help. You can always message us through our Facebook page or the contact page. Don’t give up :)

        October 19, 2013 at 9:23 PM
  • Kerri says:

    Hi I am currently a grade 4 teacher in south Africa, I have attented 4years of varsity, for BE.d Foundation phase, I have received my credits for all subjects, however I am short one semester subject of Afrikaans. I am wanting to arrive in Bankok complete a TEFL in April next year. What are my chances of getting a job with teaching experience and a 4 year Education study even though I am still short one subject

    October 15, 2013 at 10:57 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      What schools want too see is evidence of a diploma. If you can show a diploma with four years of study even though you are short one subject, then you’ve held up your end of the deal. But without a diploma the chances of finding a job will be less. We’re not saying the chance is a zero because there may be a school or agency out there that may still accept your four year transcript. Unfortunately, this requires contacting agencies or schools and asking them directly about their policy and what they will accept. But technically, you require a diploma. Other than your big move to Bangkok next April, is there any reason why you wouldn’t complete that last subject and get a diploma, since you have all the other credits?

      October 15, 2013 at 11:22 PM
  • chuck says:

    I am still working on my BA but it seems like there are people that just get a diploma mill degree online. There is nothing illegal or fraudulent about paying for a degree that does not have legit certifications. I read it is when someone buys a fake doctorate degree from ucla and uses it to obtain employment that it becomes fraud. You read stories about the US government cracking down on the diploma mills yet there are supposedly a high percentage of government workers with unaccredited degrees that have used the degrees for promotions so, it seems many employers have no interest in doing checks on these degrees. I’m wondering though if employers in thailand go through much effort to verify academic credentials for regular low paying teacher positions or it is all just a show thing the government put in place since thailand is so overly concerned with how it is perceived?

    October 12, 2013 at 6:44 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      From doing a little digging around online we have seen that there are a number of degree mills that are flat out banned or flagged by the Ministry of Education and the list continues to grow. We have never seen the list, so we cannot confirm that it actually exists. At the end of the day I guess it depends on each school or personal situation. Of course it is better to be legit (and that is what we suggest), but it is obvious that many people decide that it is worth the risk to use a degree without any real certifications. It is so hard to be sure of any of the rules when they are constantly sidestepped. To be completely honest we think the need for teachers far surpasses the amount of truly qualified individuals willing to teach long term in Thailand, especially in it’s more remote and less coveted areas. Many of the schools are like revolving doors. People come to Thailand for a long vacation, sign 1 year contracts and when they realize it is not for them they quit mid semester leaving schools in situations where they desperately need to fill the vacant positions rather quickly.

      October 12, 2013 at 7:06 PM
  • KT says:

    From my experience working in a different profession, no diploma was required in obtaining my Non B and WP.

    I’d also advise against starting work without the correct paperwork. What happens if someone from a government dept coming knocking and you are at your place of employment without the necessary documentation? You will be sent packing after a few days/weeks at immigration detention.

    October 12, 2013 at 11:53 AM
    • Chris says:

      Totally agree. We highly recommend that you have a proper degree and a TEFL. Anything less and you could possibly be taking a big risk. Talking with one’s school or hiring company thoroughly is advised prior to accepting work. It is the responsibility of each individual to make the decision that they feel is best for them. Preferably the legal one…

      October 12, 2013 at 3:19 PM
  • traveler19491 says:

    I was cautioned by my TEFL school about the age discrimination thing (I’m 64), and was advised to avoid just emailing my resume, but to make a point of visiting the school in person. Unfortunately, here in Thailand, looks count for everything, and the Thai thinking seems to be that if you look the part, you much be the real deal. So an unqualified person who shows up dressed like a professional will often beat out a PhD wearing jeans and a T. My experience with the Bachelor’s Degree is that it’s necessary in order to secure a work permit. There’s seldom any verification of the legitimacy of the degree…again, appearances. My degree was purchased on line and, so far, has been perfectly acceptable to everyone. Same with the TEFL, you need some kind of certification in order to acquire a work permit. The work permit is becoming more essential, especially in Chiang Mai. I was informed by a Thai teacher, who happens to hold a PhD in education, that the Ministry of Labor is cracking down on schools that employ foreign teachers who don’t hold the required documentation, and the school is assessed a heavy fine, so schools are becoming more strict about requiring the proper paperwork. If you plan to be serious about teaching, and genuinely want to help the Thai students, I suggest a lot of research before deciding on a TEFL school. You can shell out a lot of money for a two week school, or about the same for a five or six week school, the difference being the level and quality of instruction. I opted for a longer course with more classroom experience in front of Thai students. For me, it’s made a big difference, as I had little formal teaching experience in the past.

    October 12, 2013 at 11:40 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Thanks again for the valuable insight. We agree that a legit TEFL course that allows you time in front of Thai students is a smart move to make (especially for newbie teachers). It prepares your on a small level for the challenges that you will come to face as a full time teacher in Thailand. The discrimination is definitely unfortunate, but “this is Thailand” as the saying goes. We feel the benefits of living in this country far outweigh the negative aspects in the end. Thanks again!

      October 12, 2013 at 6:08 PM
  • Trish says:

    A Diploma in NZ is usually a 2 yr qualification. Would a Diploma in Aromatherapy or say Reflexology along with a TEFL qualification be suffice to teach?

    October 12, 2013 at 7:41 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      If the diploma is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree (and not an associate’s degree as it would typically be in the US for two years of study), then yes that would work. As for what the focus is on, some schools require the degree to be in teaching or English studies, but most schools don’t seem to care what you went to college for.

      October 12, 2013 at 7:50 AM
      • Trish says:

        Thanks for all that. No a Diploma is definitely not up there with a Degree.

        October 12, 2013 at 9:25 AM
  • Adrian Fleur says:

    Great article, and thanks for talking about agencies a bit – not a lot of info out there on them. I’d never heard of them before I came to Thailand, but they made my life so much easier when I first arrived, sorting out my visa and giving me advice. And not enough people mention the “prettiness” discrimination – that was another shocker when I first arrived too!

    October 12, 2013 at 6:36 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      You’re right – many people go directly to a Thai school without even considering applying through a teacher hiring agency. It’s difficult though because many agency do not advertise online in English. The best chance to learn about them is either through word of mouth or simply walking around town and finding their offices.

      The sheer bluntness of the “prettiness” factor shocked us, too. But, it’s better to know how to play by Thailand’s rules before you buy the ticket to fly here!

      October 12, 2013 at 8:20 AM
  • rogerlucr says:

    I taught English in Korea for a year based only on a BS degree. It was a great experience overall. But because I am now much older I will get my TEFL to increase my chances and because it is probably very helpful. The thing I would caution anyone is to be in country first before committing. The differences in types of schools, schedules, ages of students etc can only be determined by seeing it first hand. The major difference I see in these two countries is that for S. Korea they will provide housing, salary (about $1500), and R/T airfare. I haven’t looked into North Korea however!

    October 12, 2013 at 5:15 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Although people get by without a TEFL, it certainly helps your chances in securing a job and helps you be a better teacher in the classroom. We agree, it’s better to come to Thailand first and then look for a job, just in case a job prospect something falls through and visas don’t work out, etc.

      While we don’t know of anyone personally who has had round trip airfare paid for, we have heard that accommodations are paid for with a reduced salary in Thailand. It can definitely be a deal breaker for some if the school or agency isn’t willing to get you into the country first.

      October 12, 2013 at 8:01 AM

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