Thailand has been a very popular destination for teaching English abroad for many years, and its' popularity is unlikely to fade in the foreseeable future. A large number of teaching positions can always be found in the bustling capital Bangkok, while other popular spots such as the northern city of Chiang Mai, the tropical island of Phuket, and the colorful resort of Pattaya also have a significant demand for foreign teachers. Whether you are a first time teacher looking for valuable classroom experience, or highly qualified and looking for a slower pace of life, Thailand could be the right choice for you.
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Although the country's famously laid-back lifestyle attracts large numbers of foreign teachers, the average salary is generally less attractive when compared to other countries in the region. Teachers without experience can expect to earn around $1,000 per month, which should be enough to cover general living expenses, but is unlikely to leave much in the way of savings. Teachers with a high level of qualifications and experience should fare a little better, with a potential salary of up to $1,500 per month. Unlike other Asian countries, including China, South Korea, and Japan, teaching positions rarely come with extra benefits such as paid airfare and housing.
Government run public schools offer a large number of teaching positions throughout the country, although they are restricted to native English speakers who possess a 4-year degree from their home country. A TEFL certification is not an official requirement; however, it may increase your chances of getting a good job and negotiating a higher salary. Working hours are typically a 40-hour school week from Monday to Friday, in a class that could number up to 50 students. Salaries range from $800 to $1,000 per month. Privately run language academies are another big employer of foreign teachers in Thailand. Pay rates are often higher than public schools but will depend on the location and your classroom experience. Working hours can vary greatly from around 18 to 25 per week, with classes often running during the evenings and at weekends. Class sizes will generally be no more than ten per session. The majority of private academies pay by the hour, with an hourly rate ranging from $8 to $20. Depending on your hours and pay rate, your monthly income could be anywhere from $600 to $2000.
A third and potentially lucrative option is a private international school. Competition for these positions can be fierce as salaries and extra benefits are often way above those offered by other employers. Working hours typically follow a standard school week from Monday to Friday, with salaries ranging from $2000 to $3000 per month. Most positions in international schools will require extensive teaching experience and qualifications.
The local cost of living does vary from one part of the country to another, with Bangkok averaging roughly 30% higher than elsewhere. If you choose to live and work in the capital you should look for a minimum salary of $1,000 to $1,300 in order to live comfortably. You can get by on a smaller figure elsewhere, although this will greatly depend on your lifestyle.