Teaching ESL in Thailand
35,119 Certified Grads since 1992

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 often in the private school system as well, 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 a challenge. 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 adult professionals 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 (Master's 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 500 - 1000 Baht/hour and sometimes more.

How to Find Jobs Teaching English in Thailand

Graduates of Oxford Seminars receive our Job 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

  • Shane English School  is one of the largest private language schools in Asia with hundreds of branches in Japan and Taiwan alone. In 2014 SES opened branches in Pattaya and  Sattahip, Thailand. They offer courses for young learners, teens and adults.
  • 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 a number 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.
  • Clothing and shoes for Western sizes are not always in abundance. Taking footwear may be prudent. Having clothing made to fit at a 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, the UK, 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
  • TESOL Certification (120 hrs preferred but not required)
  • Native English speaking ability
  • 20 hour Thai Culture Course (upon arrival) may be required

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 practice in many countries, including Thailand

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 Information for Thailand

Canadian Embassy 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

American Embassy 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

Australian Embassy 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 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)

New Zealand Embassy 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
Website: https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/countries-and-regions/asia/thailand/new-zealand-embassy/
Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday 08:30-11:30/13:00-14:30

Embassy Information Outside Thailand

Thailand Embassy Offices 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 Offices 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:

Cambodia ~ China ~ Hong Kong ~ India ~ Indonesia ~ Japan ~ Korea ~ Kyrgyzstan ~ Laos ~ Malaysia ~ Nepal ~ Taiwan ~ Thailand ~ Vietnam