10 Steps for Teaching English in Thailand in 2020 [Complete] | Travel Freedom

teaching English in Thailand – A Complete Guide To start your TEFL journey

10 Steps for Teaching English in Thailand

So by now, you’ve probably read or heard about all those amazing stories about English teachers Teaching English in Thailand and living the dream life. Heck you may even wonder if these stories are true or not. Well i can definitely tell you, it’s all true and you are about to find out everything you need to know on how you can start your own Teaching Adventure As well and the 10 steps you need to follow.

But First a little introduction…



Maybe you already know this or maybe you don’t, in any case, ill just add it for the new English teachers among us. Teaching English abroad is also known as teaching English as a foreign language(TEFL) or Teaching English as a second language(Teaching ESL) and there are several more names for it, but these two are the most common ones.

ESL Teaching has already been a very popular job for decades, however since the rise of the internet and easily availability of knowledge and information, The popularity of Teaching ESL Abroad has increased even further, especially since the crash of the Financial market in 2008 and a lot of people and students weren’t able to find jobs, they started to look elsewhere, specifically abroad and teaching the English language.

The job opportunities were(Definitely still are) more lucrative and steadily available back then, but this is not the only reason for the rise of TEFL, The economic growth in many Asian countries also has a very big role in, with more language schools opening up each year and also the increasingly demand for more English teachers in public education, all of this combined makes this truly a Golden Age for Teaching ESL Abroad and you have definitely made the right decision to become a part of this golden Era.

You made The Right decision

Most folks think that Teaching ESL abroad is mostly for the younger generation or even just graduates, which is definitely not true. Of course, TEFL abroad it’s a great opportunity for fresh graduates who what little or not experience at all, but it doesn’t mean it’s just for that age group or any other age group for that matter.

Most countries However have a certain age limit for who they cannot provide a work visa for which can be around the 18/22 years old to 60 years old. In countries where you don’t need a bachelors degree to teach English, the Starting Age will usually be 18 and for countries where you do need a bachelors degree or higher it may be 22 years of age before they can provide you a work visa.

Different countries will have different requirements, that’s for sure, some might be more lenient while other may be strict, it will depend on your destination, which brings us back to your current question, How to teach English in Thailand? So lets Find out what it take for you to become an ESL Teacher in Thailand!

We walk you Through These 10 steps:

1. Be sure that you really want to become an English teacher

2. Do you meet all the requirements?

3. The Salary, Benefits and cost of living in Thailand

4. Are you willing to take the TEFL Certification?

5. Are you mentally prepared to Go Abroad?

6. Common Problems You may need to overcome

7. Choosing the right type of school

8. Choosing the right Teaching job

9. Preparing yourself for the interview

10. ESL Teaching Resources you need to know about


Teaching English in Thailand And the 10 steps to follow

10 Steps for Teaching English in Thailand in 2020

1. Be sure that you really want to become an English teacher

Being an ESL Teacher abroad is truly an incredible job and experience. Especially teaching English in Thailand is truly one of the most amazing countries to work in. With the salary you earn and the benefits(like non-shared free apartment, bonuses etc…) you receive, you can live an excellent quality of life there, Yes Life can definitely be great.

The Job pressure usually is quite relaxed as well, in fact most jobs can be quite easy as most schools will have there own lessons plans, teaching materials and curriculum. This leaves you just only with the teaching part and maybe little preparation beforehand. It’s one of the Main reasons why People choose to become ESL Teachers.

For People who choose to teach in Thailand, the second main reason will mostly be a low pressure life, as Thailand is a country in which their way of life is more slow paced and relaxing compared to western countries. However despite all these amazing Qualities which Makes ESL teaching a Incredible Job or career, you will still have a responsibility towards your students.

You will have a Responsibility

As a teacher, you will have a responsibility for your students. While most certainly you will not be expected to care for them alone during class, You will however be responsible for improving your students English to the best of your abilities and as such, help them move forward in their education.

While Most ESL teachers do this naturally anyway, Some teachers may see ESL teaching just as an adventure for themselves and may not even consider that they will be responsible for a group of students. Your responsibility towards your students Always comes first, the rest is secondary.

So if you truly want to become an English teacher abroad, then you must realize that you will have a responsibility and that you must accept that responsibility if you want to become a successful ESL Teacher. With that all being said, ESL Teaching really isn’t all that complicated and If you feel that you can do it, Then trust in yourself and your ability to help students to learn a foreign language.

Later on in the article you can check out some ESL resources that can definitely help you in your journey. 🙂

Now lets move on to the requirements.


2. Do you meet all the requirements?

Teaching is an incredibly specialized job. In a lot of cases there can be quite some strict requirements, even sometimes just for teaching English abroad. However luckily, for teaching English They are usually less strict than the other subject teachings which your colleagues at school will be doing. Which for them requires a specialized degree in the field.

Teaching ESL is quite a different field entirely though. Although it is definitely an important subject in the education of foreign students, it is still considered a valued addition rather than an important requirement for foreign students, but nevertheless The English language remains a key access point to every market around the world.

There are definitely certain requirements for becoming an ESL teacher and This is a topic that has probably been an issue long on your mind, what does it take to teach English in Thailand? Well lets find out!

What Do you need to teach ESL in Thailand?

Some of the major requirements for teaching ESL are:

  • A Bachelors degree or higher in any field
  • For some Universities A Masters degree in any field may be required
  • A TEFL Certificate
  • In Some cases Two years worth of teaching experience

These are the Major requirements for teaching English in Thailand, now some of you may wonder if it’s possible to become a teacher with a degree and we have done some research on that as well. It seems teaching without a degree can be possible, but would require the help of a school to put in a good word for you to the ministry of education.

Having joined some ESL conferences, doing your TEFL Course, better yet, doing your TEFL Course onsite and becoming a proper Certified teacher may help you in this process(Check Step 4 for this process).


3. The Salary, Benefits and Cost of living in Thailand

10 Steps for Teaching English in Thailand in 2020 - Salary, Benefits & Cost of living

Thailand is one of the cheapest countries to live in, The rent is extremely low, food is cheap but incredibly delicious and healthy. So although everything there is Super cheap, it doesn’t mean the quality is low either. In fact the quality is very high, including that of the schools and hospitals.

As a foreigner living in Thailand you can definitely live a life of great comfort, fun and adventure. You can travel or relax during your holidays, Go out and have some fun with your friends(Actually you can do this at anytime), Go sightseeing and visit some of the most beautiful places.

There is absolutely plenty to do and it’s super cheap to do it. With the salary you earn from your teaching job you can definitely live a very comfortable life style and you can do most of the things you want to do, So this leaves us with the next question. How much can you earn and what benefits are included in the job?

How Much can you earn? And what are the benefits?

Although Thailand is an incredibly attractive and also a great country to teach English to foreign students, a lot of prospecting teachers do wonder how much they are able to earn during their ESL adventure there. Well, here below is a list of the types of schools and how much you can earn.

Earning Potential

  • Public Schools – 25.000 to 35.000 baht per month. Although, the more experience you have, the more you can Earn.
  • Language learning centers – 23.000 to 40.000 baht per month. They usually pay by the hour but can pay monthly salaries as well. Most of the times, they also pay more than regular public Schools.
  • Private bilingual Schools – 35.000 to 70.000 baht per month. These types of schools usually also come with more benefits involved(more about this in a moment).
  • Private International Schools – 80.000 to 170.000 baht per month. These type of jobs are not the most easiest ones to get and not only do they pay more, they also usually include more benefits as well.
  • Teaching at a university – 30.000 to 60.000 baht per month. Although you may think that this is pretty low. You must realize that a university job for an English teacher usually is less than 20 hours per week, giving you a ton of free time to do whatever you want and you can live comfortably as well.
  • Private English lessons – 300 to 1000 baht Per hour. You can teach English privately to students and earn a good side income or after a while, even a good full time income for yourself.


  • Most schools will provide you with a non-shared free apartment or housing allowance.
  • Free health Insurance
  • In some cases longer holidays
  • Some top schools provide Paid holidays
  • some schools provide Free round trip tickets

These are the most common benefits when teaching English in Thailand and Although most of the salary earned wouldn’t probably be enough to pay off your student debts(if you have any), it is definitely enough to live comfortably, unless you are working for the top paying schools, in which case, then you can pay off your debts gradually.

How much does it cost to live?

If you are living in one of the smaller provinces like Chiang Mai, then you can easily live of 25.000 to 35.000 baht per month. If you are living in big Cities like Bangkok and it also depends on which district you are staying, then a salary of 30.000 to 45.000 should be more than enough.

4. Are you willing to take the TEFL Certification?

For those who do not know what the TEFL Certification is, it’s a specialized English teaching course which focuses on teaching English to foreign students, this includes both for teaching Teaching ESL Abroad and Teaching ESL Online. Nearly every school will have it as a main requirement for becoming a teacher at their school.

A TEFL Course is full with incredibly useful information, knowledge, ESL resources and educational classroom tools for teaching English to foreign students. Prospecting teachers will learn a Wealth of knowledge from the previous ESL Experts that came before them, including common issues and how to tackle them immediately.

This is why so many schools value teachers who have done their TEFL Course so much more. They have become real certified teachers and posses the necessary knowledge and skills to teach ESL in class. So if you want to teach ESL Abroad, then doing a TEFL course is a must. Now the question here is, are you willing to do a TEFL Certification course?

Are you willing to become a certified teacher?

This is an important step in your ESL journey, it’s also one of your main keys for become a knowledgeable teacher, A TEFL Course is one of the Main ESL resources which can help prospecting ESL teachers world wide for performing well in class.

One of the most top TEFL Provider is SEETEFL and their courses are actually held in Thailand as well and you can finish it within 4 weeks, Plus they can also help you find a job super easily after finishing their course! Another great TEFL Course provider is LetsTEFL. Their online courses are also 4 weeks short and can also help their trainees find a teaching job abroad.

For more amazing course providers, click here to Check them out!

After finishing your Course and Becoming a real TEFL Certified teacher, A whole new world will open up for you. You can probably be hired by almost any school out there, although finding the proper school for yourself might be tricky at first(Unless you let one of the TEFL Providers help you). Eventually you will find a school that will seem almost like the perfect fit for yourself.

5. Are you mentally prepared to Go Abroad?

10 Steps for Teaching English in Thailand in 2020 - travel abroad

Going Abroad brings naturally amazing adventures and unforgettable memories that you will treasure for a life time. Traveling to far away countries, exploring new places, meeting new people and making incredible new life long friends. It’s the all in one package of becoming an ESL Teacher abroad.

It’s just natural benefits of teaching English in countries such as Thailand and truly is an incredible life experience you will never forget. The Local people in Thailand are also Super friendly and extremely helpful too. As a foreigner there, you will feel welcomed and quickly at home.

However, as amazing as all these things are, Not everyone may feel comfortable to leave the safety of home to head off into the unknown. In Fact a lot of folks out there are mentally trapped in their own comfort zone, which can make change and growth very Difficult. So this is an important question you should ask yourself, Are you Mentally prepared to start a new adventure abroad?

Heading off into the unknown

Heading off to a new country and to live(And work) there for a certain amount of time can be very exciting for a lot of folks out there, which in my own personal opinion it is. However This may also seem quite scary for some of you out there and that’s okay, there is no need to beat yourself over it, just take it one step at a time.

The Most important thing here is that you mentally prepare yourself for the journey, especially if you have never been on a life long adventure before in your life. Family you might not see in a long time and may miss, the same goes for your friends. This may actually be the hardest part of most of you out there, However, Once you are actually at your destination, started your adventure, started teaching, you will actually feel quite at home very soon.

Think about, you are just living one life now. Wouldn’t you want to make the most of it? So that by the end of your life’s journey you can actually say Wow! That was quite a ride i had, i enjoyed every moment of it, The good, the bad and the ugly, it’s all part of the package as well and you will become the stronger for it.


6. Common Problems You may need to overcome

Where ever you go in the world, every place will have it’s own cultural differences and this will be experienced or viewed differently by each person. Nobody is the same, while some may like the cultural differences, others may not like it so much.

And Thailand is a country full of a rich history and culture, which dates back to thousands of years ago and has evolved many times since then(We will talk more about Thai culture later in the article). As a new arrival there you may have to adapt to a different life style, although most foreigners who venture there find it quite relaxing.

As an English teacher there you may have to get accustomed to unusual treatment that you may not even experience in your own home country and some of them might be quite frustrating as well. 

Common problems that may surface

Some of the most common issues might be:

  • Possible Language barriers and unable to communicate with your colleagues properly
  • Being put on display as a foreign face at the school – While this may not necessarily be an issue, for some of you out there it might eventually become a little annoying to be showed off by the school and students often enough. But this is actually quite normal in most Asian countries.
  • School cancellations – This is also quite common in most Asian countries, A lot of the times you will not receive a message *on time* that there is a day off at school or a holiday or even a school event and there are no classes that day…
  • Students having a fear of speaking English – While you learn how to deal with this issue and the issues below in the TEFL course, i still must note, that fear is one of the most common issues among students that prevents them from speaking English. So it will also be your job to help them move past it.
  • Lack of practice among students – The Students level of English may not improve as fast as you would like. This is mostly due to lack of practice. You can help them by letting them work together in groups and practice with each other.
  • Lack of motivation – The students at that point may not see any valid reason why they should learn English and they have a lot of other subjects and studies on their minds as well. It is recommended to make your class as fun and active as possible and that way, unknowingly make the students like learning English.

These are the most common issues you may encounter during your teaching adventure in Thailand and it doesn’t just count exclusively for this country, but many other Asian countries as well. I must also note that these situations are all improving, so although you may still encounter them, they will probably become less common by each passing year.

7. Choosing the right type of school

There are several types of schools you can work. From Private training centers to government schools which include: kindergartens, Primary schools, Middle Schools, High schools, colleges and universities. In some cases it may also depend on the degree you have, because as you know by now, for some universities they require their English teachers to posses a Masters Degree and preferably in education.

Now of course, this only goes for some of the universities. If you posses a bachelors degree in any field, then you should be alright for any other school out there in Thailand, next to that, you also need a TEFL Certificate in your possession.

In any case, choosing the right type of school is important, especially as a starting teacher, because you will most likely lack a lot of relevant ESL Teaching Experience. So if you do lack experience, our recommendation is to either start out at a kindergarten or training center. These are the most common types of schools for most starting ESL teacher.

Making the right choice

Making choices can sometimes be hard, especially if you are quite new on the topic. However if you think about it, teaching students at primary schools or higher usually takes more effort and might be a little more difficult for the Starting ESL Teacher.

This is why we recommend you(If you have never taught before) to start at either a Kindergarten or a private training center, Which is usually more relaxed and easier than regular government funded school. The hours and salary are usually also little better and you get the opportunity grow in experience.

So this is why we recommend these two types of schools for the new teachers among us. Naturally, you are free to choose whichever type of school you would like to teach, but it’s best to have a little more teaching experience when you want to teach older students, In any case, Everything is Possible(Including Teaching ESL Online)!

8. Choosing the right Teaching job

Choosing the Right teaching job usually is not such an easy task. Going through countless of jobs and Going through countless of interviews you are probably going to have a pretty tough time figuring out the *perfect* job for yourself, but it’s all but of the journey nevertheless.

Yes, it may become tiresome at some point. But it’s a process almost every teacher goes through, because lets be honest here, you don’t just want to find a job that pays well enough, No, you also want to find a school you can trust. It’s not just the schools who should be worried about finding reliable teachers, it’s the other way around as well, teachers should be able to trust schools just as much the schools should be able to trust their teachers, it works both ways.

However, finding the right school can be a lot simpler if you got the proper support on your side, with the right help you can know more easily whether a school can be trusted or not.

Finding The right teaching job together with the right Help

Once you have decided on the type of school you would like to work for, then the next step will be to think about your preferences as well. Where you would like to work? In which city? do you want to live a more luxurious life or a rural one? There are many places where you could work at.

So it’s important to think about choosing the right teaching job which fits most(or all) of your needs, if you need some Help finding a job and you have done SEETEFL’s certification course, then they can definitely help you further for finding a suitable position for yourself.

They are connected to a ton of schools all across Thailand, with almost any type of school. So if you want the support and guidance of a proper TEFL Training center, then this company is definitely the place to be where you can get it and they will help you in every step of your journey.

Click here to learn more about SEETEFL and all the incredible resources they offer


9. Preparing yourself for the interview

10 Steps for Teaching English in Thailand in 2020 - Preparing for interview

Now we come into one of the most important topics in this entire article, Which is preparing yourself for the interview. This can be one of the most nerve breaking part of the entire ESL job process. what should you do and what shouldn’t you do? How to increase your success to get hired?

Of course, you will want to prepare for the interview as much as you possibly could to increase your chances of getting hired. The job interview could either be short and the school will want to hire you as fast as possible or the job interview could be quite extensive and long, maybe in part because the school had a bad experience with a past teacher…

In any case, it’s best to prepare for the most extensive scenario, therefore you will be fully prepared to answer any question that comes flying at you.

What should and shouldn’t you do?

The unending struggle of all job applicants is wondering what they should and shouldn’t do during a job interview, the make it or break details that decide whether or not you will get that so desired job. It can be truly a nerve breaking moment for most of you out there. So how about we start with the things you *shouldn’t* do shall we?

The things you shouldn’t do:

  • Obviously don’t arrive too late
  • However, don’t arrive too early either and wait nervously, just 5 or 10 minutes before the interview starts is okay
  • This may seem obvious to most people, but a lot forget to do it, which is don’t forget to Smile!
  • Don’t leave your cellphone on
  • Don’t use negative body language, example: dont sit lazy, sit up straight
  • Don’t speak monotonous
  • Don’t Eat unless it’s an interview during lunch or dinner
  • Don’t dress too casual or too fancy, in fact, it’s better to dress according to the job environment.
  • Don’t act too nervous.
  • No angry tones even if your interviews may send out aggressive tones as they might use these to test how you handle under stress or pressure.
  • Don’t answer to quickly, Listen carefully before answering.

That was it for most of the things you shouldn’t do. Keep these things in mind and you should be quite out of the hot zone. Now lets move on to the things you *should* do.

The Things you Should do:

  • Keep a straight posture and appear confident
  • Try to remain calm even when you feel nervous, Just breath in and breath out
  • Be on time, but not too early either, just 5 or 10 minutes beforehand should be alright
  • Use your body language, it also helps to remove tension and stress from your body
  • Tell them a little about yourself, but not too much, as too much information can also be used against you
  • Learn more about the job that you want to get hired for
  • Ask them questions, this will let them know that you know something about the job plus it will be your chance to be on the offense and keep some of the stress off from you
  • Last but definitely not the least, Keep a beautiful smile on your face

That was it for the things you *should* be doing, by following these guidelines you should be well on your way for getting hired much faster for any job interview! It’s always better to be prepared for an extensive interview, that way you can limit any unwanted surprises.

10. ESL Teaching Resources you need to know about

Here you can check out some ESL resources to assist you during your ESL teaching adventure.

Some ESL Resources:

  • UsingEnglish – You can find here a ton of useful and free resources for Teaching English!
  • ESLGold – Excellent ESL Teaching resources for most Business English.
  • MesEnglish – Excellent English teaching resources for mostly teaching younger students.
  • And of course Lets not forget YouTube! Check out an example video here below.

These were just some of the ESL Resources you could find online, There is much more amazing stuff out there, check them out!

About Thai Culture

95% of the population in Thailand is Buddhist and Thai People are very proud of their culture, You can see it where ever you go. A lot of folks are dressed in traditional robes, they regularly visit their ancient temples and pray. In fact, you can find a Buddhist temple in every corner of the land.

And as mentioned earlier before in the article, the people live a much more slow paced life. while you may be used to a very quick paced way of life and perhaps more stressful. People in Thailand are quite the opposite. You can notice their Buddhist beliefs in almost every aspect of their life.

They have a more relaxed mindset and take their time in many areas they are occupied with, of course when it comes to restaurants, bus rides etc… They will move according to a reasonable time frame, not in slow-motion…..

10 Steps for Teaching English in Thailand in 2020 - Thai culture

Thai Culture and education

You may sometimes find yourself in a situation where there is a meeting or even that is scheduled for 9 am, but eventually starts at 10 am instead. Running late? Most Thai people wont think anything of it, because their slogan is We start on Thai time.. Yeah Thai time… Take it easy… Remember that carefully and don’t be too surprised when this happens.

You may find yourself getting frustrated with these cultural differences(if they happen) in the beginning, but you will usually get over them pretty quickly. You will come from the west, where life is more fast paced and travel all the way to the South East, to Thailand.

And it’s in this country where you will experience a more relaxed lifestyle. Most Foreigners actually enjoy it and i believe you will too, just keep an open mind and enjoy everything that Thailand has to offer you. 🙂

Get Started And Take Action

Teaching English in Thailand is truly an incredible opportunity. If you are in a position to start an amazing new adventure for yourself right now, Then i definitely recommend you to take it with both hands. You’re life will be changed in many ways, even though if you cant see it right now. Adventures will change a person.

And to Start an ESL adventure is truly one of the best decision you could have ever made. There are so many amazing places that awaits your visit, People and students who you will interact with and make difference in their lives, so many incredible new friends you will make. It’s all part of the adventure.

So if you want to become an ESL teacher in 2020, then you better get started right away. Because once time has passed, it cannot be returned to you and for now, Time is probably our most precious asset..

Getting Started

Well? What are you waiting for? Get started by getting your TEFL Course with either SEETEFL or other  TEFL course providers by clicking Here. Once you have got your Certificate, You can ask SEETEFL or another company to help you get a job for yourself or you can try and find a job on your own as well..

In any case, You will be well on your way to on becoming a full time ESL teacher in Thailand. Take action today, Think about which type of school you would like to work for and then find the proper teaching job for yourself.

If you have any doubts or fears about going abroad, let go of them. Once you have started your ESL journey, you will feel at home quite soon. Once you’re there, you will be asking yourself, Geez what was all that fuss about? It’s actually great fun here! And it definitely is, You Can do it too.

Happy Teaching!

Got a Question or Comment? Then feel absolutely free to comment away here below into the Comment Section!

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8 thoughts on “teaching English in Thailand – A Complete Guide To start your TEFL journey”

  1. Wow. Thanks a lot for sharing with us this amazing 10 steps for teaching english in Thailand.  My sister is an English teacher in Romania and she has been thinking of leaving this country for a long time. It is very difficult to leave your birthplace and start your life from scratch. She has a lot of family support and I hope she will succeed. I will share this article with her because I think you have taken the 10 best steps to be an English teacher in Thailand and or in other countries too. It will certainly motivate her and help her to make the perfect choice. Last year I was with my sister in Thailand and I want to say I met some very friendly and generous people here. Thanks again for this. Wish you all the best! 

    • Hi Nimrod,

      Glad to hear that this article was helpful, Feel free to pass it along to your sister and anyone else who might be interested.

      Thanks for dropping by and I wish you well!


  2. Of course, teaching English as a foreign language is very lucrative and I believe that that stems from the huge number of demand from foreign countries. Now, i have to say, I find the tips shared above to be very useful because if it is strictly followed, it can ultimately lead to the desired result. I can relate to the point about being mentally prepared to leave their comfort zone. However, I still believe it’ll all lead up to an amazing adventure.

    Thanks for sharing

  3. I have always seen the TEFL, but honestly your review made me dig deeper in to the Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), but I think I seriously need to prepare my mid and family members for this long journey like you highlighted; there is a lot of mindset work to prepare for the good, bad, and the ugly

    • Well I’m not sure there is an Ugly part to TEFL… but still, there is definitely some preparing to do!

      And Yes it’s also possible to even take your family with you, a lot of schools would gladly help you out.

      All the best and Good luck!


  4. The article you have made is a very important one and I love reading it! There are many people who want to teach English abroad these days and this article is very useful for me and others out there.The first thing that should come first is whether you are mentally ready to go abroad because you are not mentally ready and if you do not want to, it will never be possible for yourself to be ready.And you need to follow the habits and strategies of staying away from your family.I’m going to be mentally ready and I want to collect a TEFL appreciation letter and how many days can I take to complete the TEFL course and if you have any good TEFL training based online, let me know.


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