Teaching ESL in Thailand

Teaching ESL in Thailand

Teaching English in Thailand is a great way to gain valuable experience and hone teaching skills while enjoying beautiful beaches, bustling markets, and amazing cuisine.

Living and Teaching in Thailand
Thailand: At a Glance
Thailand: Living in Thailand
Thailand: Teaching ESL in Thailand
Thailand: Financial Snapshot


Peak ESL Hiring Season in Thailand
How to Find Jobs Teaching English in Thailand
Chain Schools in Thailand
Tips for ESL Teachers in Thailand
Teaching Requirements for ESL Teachers in Thailand
Embassy and Consulate Information for Thailand


Peak ESL Hiring Season in Thailand

Thailand's school year generally begins in May and ends in March, with a three-week semester break in mid-October. Hiring for most schools is done in February and March in preparation for the first semester, which starts in May, and in early August for the second semester, which begins in October, as well as for universities.

Public and Private School System

Public education is provided by the government from pre-school through high school. The private sector includes for-profit schools and fee paying non-profit schools often run by charitable organizations, the Catholic Church being one of the most prominent of these. 

Students of all ages in the public school system, and generally speaking in the private school system, are required to wear school uniforms. During the primary levels, students follow eight core subjects, including mathematics, science, Thai, and art, and then in high school are able to vary their subjects slightly with elective courses.

Deciphering the difference between public and private schools is often under debate. The biggest differences tend to be class sizes, cost, and accessibility.




Student/Teacher Ratio







many local schools

may need to
travel in rural areas

It is argued that private schools offer a better education and secure better quality teachers. However, many maintain that, as the government’s contribution to the Ministry of Education is very significant and focuses on teacher training, teachers in the public school system have a greater opportunity to receive ongoing training, and funds are available to do so. The private sector does tend to have a lower student-teacher ratio however, which is a definite advantage. Both systems have their strengths and weaknesses, and ESL teachers would need to determine in which environment they would be most effective.


Private Language Schools

Private language schools are a great place for new ESL teachers to find a teaching position. These schools conduct classes and hire throughout the calendar year.

In some cases, language schools open first thing in the morning to accommodate business people taking lessons prior to starting work, and then open again mid-afternoon until mid-to-late evening to accommodate lessons for children after they have completed their studies at school.

Universities and Colleges

Universities and colleges in Thailand fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of University Affairs in both public and private sectors. With greater government focus on education in recent years, Thai universities have begun to climb in ranking, and in 2006, three universities were designated as “excellent” in Academics and Research by the Commission on Higher Education.

ESL teachers desiring to teach in a Thai university will most often find that a BA (Masters preferred), TESOL certificate, and teaching experience are required.

While calendars vary between universities, a two-semester system generally begins in June and ends in May.

Private Tutoring

ESL teachers wishing to earn extra money often consider private tutoring. Some contracts specifically prohibit such activity, usually with conflict of interest as the primary reason. However, should it be permissible, ESL teachers can earn 250 - 1000 Baht/hour and sometimes more.


How to Find Jobs Teaching English in Thailand

Graduates of Oxford Seminars receive our Graduate Placement Service with exclusive access to established schools and recruiters around the world, including Thailand.

Searching the internet will also yield many resources for finding ESL teaching positions in Thailand, including:


Chain Schools in Thailand

  • ECC (Thailand) - is one of the largest private language and computer schools in Thailand with more than 50 branches throughout the country. Students at ECC cover all ages and ability levels, and have access to a wide variety of courses including general conversation and specialized test preparation. 
  • Inlinguahas branches worldwide and only uses native English instructors to teach their English classes. They offer many types of courses and languages at all levels through small classes or private tuition. Currently there are language centres in seven of Bangkok’s most populated areas. 

Additional ESL Resources to Help Teach English in Thailand

Below is a sampling of the many resources available to ESL teachers living abroad.


Tips for ESL Teachers in Thailand

  • A smile goes a long way in the “Land of Smiles”!
  • Things move at a slower pace in Thailand than they do in the West. Learning to be patient and avoid being in a hurry will lessen stress.
  • The Thai are a gracious, non-confrontational people. Any conflict should be handled in a calm, private manner so as to “save face”. Avoid accusations or assigning blame where possible.
  • Foreigners should always carry official identification.
  • Always carry tissue and hand sanitizer because public washrooms rarely provide toilet paper or soap.
  • Keep in mind that wearing gold or yellow may suggest that you support the king and that wearing a red shirt may suggest strong political ties (anti-government).
  • As you will have to leave your footwear at the door of restaurants, choose an inexpensive pair so that good ones don’t get taken.
  • Because of the high humidity during hot season, clothing may take up to 24 hours to dry.
  • ‘Farang’ is the term for foreigners.
  • When purchasing a calling card, check to make sure that pay phones in the area are able to make international calls.
  • Clothing and shoes for Western sizes are not always in abundance. Taking footwear may be prudent. Having clothing made to fit at a very reasonable price is a great option once in Thailand.
  • Carrying a shawl or light jacket will be helpful in air-conditioned buildings or vehicles.


Teaching Requirements for ESL Teachers in Thailand

Historically, finding a teaching position in Thailand was relatively easy. In recent years, however, the government has focused its attention on this sector, dedicating a large financial portion to teacher training and creating a new trend of higher requirements for teachers of English from outside of Thailand. Generally speaking, a Bachelor’s Degree with the Oxford Seminars TESOL/TESL/TEFL certificate is required; however, there are some exceptions to this rule. Finding jobs without a degree is most easily done in person and with location flexibility.

ESL teachers interested in Thailand can apply for a few different visas, the most common one being the Non-Immigrant B Visa. 

The requirements and guidelines below are listed for ESL teacher applicants to Thailand who are citizens of Canada, United States, Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa. Citizens of other countries may be required to produce additional documentation. It is important to consult the consular services of the Thai embassy/consulate to confirm details of each application. 

Minimum Requirements to Apply for Teaching Positions in Thailand : 

  • BA (3 or 4 year) from a recognized university. If it's in Education or related field then you may be able to skip the Thai culture course
  • TESOL Certification (120 hrs preferred but not required)
  • 20 hour Thai Culture Course (upon arrival) is nearly always required
  • Native English speaking ability

Types of Applicable Visas : 

  • Non-Immigrant B Visa (Valid for ESL teachers to work legally)
  • O Visa (Spousal or Dependants Visa)
  • O-A  (One year visa issued for retirees over 50)
  • Working Holiday Visa (WHV) – for citizens of Australia/New Zealand ages 18-30; the purpose of the WHV is for touring and allows those using it to work in-country in order to cover the expenses of travel. As such, this visa may not be suitable for teaching English.

Important Visa Information :

  • One must apply for a visa from their country of citizenship or show proof of permanent residency in country from which they are applying
  • Visas will only be granted if there is sufficient time remaining on the applicant’s passport after end of stay in Thailand (one year preferred)
  • Leaving the country without a re-entry permit essentially cancels one’s visa
  • A “border hop” or “visa run” (leaving and re-entering the country of residence to renew/obtain a visa) is a common requirement in many countries

Standard Process for Obtaining Documentation to Work Legally in Thailand :

  • Applicant secures a contract with a legitimate school (who would work on behalf of applicant in following steps)
  • School applies for work permit on behalf of applicant
  • Applicant applies for Non-Immigrant B Visa (along with single entry permit) at embassy or consulate in home country (takes approximately 1-3 business days to process)
  • Once in Thailand, a 90-day stay permit is granted to process temporary work permit (through Department of Employment) and other essential documentation (school initiated/assisted)
  • Application for Extension of Stay Permit and Re-entry Permit are submitted to Immigration Bureau before departing for “border hop” (visa run – see details below)
  • Application for Extension of Work Permit is submitted at Department of Employment (school initiated/assisted)
  • Teaching Licence is issued by Ministry of Education once criteria met (school initiated/assisted)

Standard Required Documents for Visas :
(Important to check with Thai embassy/consulate as variations in requirements sometimes occur) 

  • A valid passport with approximately one year remaining after travel dates (This should be confirmed with local embassy/consulate)
  • Completed visa application
  • Passport photos
  • Original diploma/degree and transcripts 
  • Original TESOL certificate
  • Criminal Background Check 
  • Health certificate if entering Thailand from certain countries (check with embassy/consulate)


Embassy and Consulate Information for Thailand

Canadian Embassy and Consular Offices in Thailand

Embassy of Canada in Thailand
15th Floor, Abdulrahim Place
990 Rama IV Road
Bangrak, Bangkok 10500
City: Bangkok
Phone: +66 (0) 2646-4300
Fax: +66 (0) 2646-4336
Email: bngkk@international.gc.ca
Website: http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/thailand-thailande/index.aspx?lang=eng
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 09:00 -12:00

Canadian Consulate, Chiang Mai
151 Super Highway
Tambon Tahsala
Amphur Muang
Chiang Mai 50000
City: Chiang Mai
Phone: +66 (0) 5385-0147 or +66 (0) 5324-2292
Fax: +66 (0) 5385-0332
Email: cancon@loxinfo.co.th
Website: http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/thailand-thailande/offices-bureaux/consul_chiang-ma.aspx?lang=eng
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 09:00-12:00

American Embassy and Consular Offices in Thailand

Embassy of the United States in Thailand
120 - 122 Wireless Road and 95 Wireless Road
Bangkok 10330
City: Bangkok
Phone: +66- (2) 205 4000
Email: support-thailand@ustraveldocs.com
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 07:00-16:00

United States Consulate, Chiang Mai
387 Wichayanond Road
Chiang Mai 50300
City: Chiang Mai
Phone: (66-53) 107-777
Fax: (66-53) 234-472
Email: acschn@state.gov
Website: https://th.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulate/chiang-mai/


Australian Embassy and Consular Offices in Thailand 

Australian Embassy in Thailand
181 Wireless Road Lumphini, Pathumwan
Bangkok 10120
City: Bangkok
Phone: +66 (2) 344 6300
Fax: +66 (2) 344 6593
Email: austembassy.bangkok@dfat.gov.au
Website: http://www.thailand.embassy.gov.au/bkok/home.html
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 08:30-16:30

British Embassy and Consular Offices in Thailand

British Embassy in Thailand
14 Wireless Road
Lumpini, Pathumwan
Bangkok 10330
City: Bangkok
Phone: +66 (0) 2 305 8333
Fax: +66 (0) 2 255 9278
Email: Info.Bangkok@fco.gov.uk
Website: https://www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations/british-embassy-bangkok  
Hours of Operation: Monday – Thursday 08:00-16:30; Friday 08:00-13:00 (Local time)


Irish Embassy and Consular Offices in Thailand

Honourary Consulate of Ireland in Thailand
4208 Wireless Road
12th Floor, Unit 1201
Lumphini, Pathumwan
Bangkok 10330
City: Bangkok
Phone: +66.2.016 1360
Fax: +66 2 675 3933
Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday 09:30-12:30

Honourary Consulate of Ireland, Phuket
5/51 Fisherman’s Way
Moo 5, Visit Road, Rawai
Phuket, Phuket 83130 
City: Phuket
Phone: +66 76 381 052
Fax: +66 76 381 051
Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday 09:00-12:00

New Zealand 's Embassy and Consular Offices in Thailand

Embassy of New Zealand in Thailand
M Thai Tower, 14th Floor
All Seasons Place
87 Wireless Road
Pathumwan, Lumpini
Bangkok 10330
City : Bangkok
Phone : +66 (2) 254 2530
Fax: +66 2 253 9045
Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday 08:30-11:30/13:00-14:30


Embassy and Consulate Information Outside Thailand

Thailand Embassy in Canada

Embassy of Thailand in Ottawa
180 Island Park Drive, Ottawa, ON K1Y 0A2
City: Ottawa
Phone: 1 (613) 722-4444
Fax: 1 (613) 722-6624
General Enquiriescontact@thaiembassy.ca
Consular Enquiries (Visa & Passport)consular@thaiembassy.ca
Hours of Operation:  Monday to Friday 09:00 - 12:00/ 13:00 - 17:00
Visa and Passport Enquries: Monday to Friday 09:00 - 11:30/ 13:30 - 15:00 

Thailand Embassy in the United States

Embassy of Thailand in Washington, DC
1024 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Suite 401
Washington D.C 20007 - 3681
City: Washington, DC
Phone: 202 944 3600
Fax: 202 944 3611
Website: http://www.thaiembdc.org
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 09:00-12:30, 14:00-17:00


Other East Asia / Southeast Asia Countries:

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