The New Frontier of Teaching in Thailand
The opportunity to teach is the opportunity to inspire, to awaken students to their true potential, and to shape the future from its very foundation.
These opportunities are abundant in Thailand, from the world-class private schools and universities of its major cities to the local learning centers of its burgeoning countryside. Looking to tomorrow, Thailand opens its arms to teachers from across the globe and presents them with opportunities to make a difference in the minds and lives of its youths.
This article looks at Thai education as a growth industry, specific opportunities for educators, and requirements to teach in Thailand.
The New Frontier of Teaching in Thailand
- The growing need for teachers in Thailand
- What teaching careers are available in Thailand?
- Schools & universities
- Government programs
- Tutoring centers
- Volunteer programs
- Teaching requirements in Thailand
- Visas and work permits
- Teaching licenses
- Training programs
The growing need for teachers in Thailand
Thailand’s social and economic growth in recent decades has come with a growth in the need for schooling and teachers. The World Bank overview for the Kingdom notes it moved “from a low-income to an upper middle-income country in less than a generation,” which has led to new schools across the nation and fueled a desire for ever-higher quality education.
The 2017 Education in Thailand report outlines an official effort to improve education in Thailand by 2039, including major programs to acquire more teachers through both training and hiring from abroad.
Most recently in 2020, a budget of THB50 billion was approved by the Thai Cabinet for the employment of foreign teachers for 8,000 schools in remote areas by 2022, with the Ministry of Education empowered to establish government-to-government collaborations to bring in thousands of educators.
Thailand’s economic ascendancy and supportive policy make it an exciting time to pursue education careers in the country.
What teaching careers are available in Thailand?
Schools & universities
The most direct approach to teaching in Thailand is, of course, finding placement in one of its many schools or universities. General job search platforms such as jobsDB.com, Careerjet.co.th, and jobtopgun.com provide an easy way to look through open positions from around the country with hundreds regularly advertised. Websites geared specifically to education in Thailand also exist, including Ajarn.com, teachingthailand.com, and schooljob.in.th.
Most institutions maintain an online presence, such as a website or social media where they can be contacted or job listings are posted. The International Schools Database provides a handy way to look for schools based on location and is one way to find placement beyond Bangkok. For lecturers and professors, the website Study Thailand provides a strong introductory list of universities in the Kingdom, with some including direct links to their recruitment pages.
It’s important to apply when schools are actually in recruitment mode, which can change depending on their academic calendar. Thai schools have two terms: from early May to late September and mid-October to February, with summer break during March and April. The best time to apply is about one to two months before the school year begins or during the mid-year break.
Prospective educators can also look into state-sponsored programs that will find them a placement in Thailand.
Thailand’s Ministry of Education and Global Affairs Canada, for example, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for language and vocational teachers to be sought from Canada for 300 sub district-level schools across Thailand starting May 2021.
Since 2018, the Thai-UK Higher Education Partnerships Project has facilitated ties between Thai and British tertiary education institutions, creating opportunities for exchanges that include instructors.
The U.S. Department of State offers the English Language Fellow Program in which U.S. TESOL professionals are assigned full-time positions at universities and schools abroad, including those in Thailand.
Even more opportunities arise when looking beyond schools or universities. Tutoring and language centers are a common entry point and most have branches in other provinces that can lead to the wider education scene in Thailand.
Wall Street English operates branches in Rayong, Khon Kaen, and Chiang Mai, offering a variety of careers in education that include language coaching.
The British Council operates outside of Bangkok in Chiang Mai but also engages in partner programs with schools and universities that “deliver English tuition to over 4,000 students at partner institutions across the country.” Similarly, Alliance Française Bangkok and Goethe-Institut Thailand are great state-run programs for teaching French- and German-language courses in the country.
Providing classes since 1952, AUA Language Center has locations in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Pathom, Rayong, Udon Thani, and Songkhla.
Volunteer programs are a wonderful way to begin a career in teaching in Thailand. Taking educators to the more remote locations of the Thai map, most programs connect teachers with schools and communities in need.
The Friends for Asia project supplies English teachers to both Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Volunteers work at schools as well as children’s homes and Buddhist temples.
In the southern province of Songkhla, Volunteer Teaching Thailand by IVCA supports its teachers to not only educate children on the English language but on “peace, environmental preservation, good deeds, happiness, and giving.”
Through the Teach Thailand Corps, newly graduated members of the teaching profession have been found placements in Thai provinces including Phayao, Lampang, and Phrae. The program also promises to support their transition to a full-time teaching career in Thailand.
Teaching requirements in Thailand
Visas & work permits
Ensuring the best start to a career teaching in Thailand, arriving educators must enter the country with a Category “B” non-immigrant visa, which allows for both a longer stay and for a work permit to be requested.
Volunteer teachers can carry out their assignment with a Category “O” visa. For an in-depth breakdown on qualifying for visas & work permits as well as recent changes, consult your country’s Thai embassy and consulate.
Teaching licenses are issued by the Teachers’ Council of Thailand (TCT) and are required for a position in most types of educational institutes.
Credentials include having a degree in education or equivalent, a teaching license from another country, a graduate diploma in education, or professional certification recognized by the Council. An official detailing of requirements is available here.
The Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification is well recognized by the TCT, making it worthwhile to look into a training course leading directly to accreditation. Goabroad.com has collected a list of seven TEFL course providers aimed at teachers looking to be licensed for Thailand.
Another program that’s often referred to interchangeably with TEFL is the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification. There is a complementary demand for TESOL, which is generally seen as appropriate for teaching non-native English speakers residing in an English speaking country. These skills do apply to Thais who intend to further their education or work abroad.
A bright future for tomorrow’s minds
Whether it be at a pre-school, university, language center, or as part of a volunteer program, being able to inspire, awaken, and shape the generation of tomorrow is an opportunity worth pursuing.
With significant resources dedicated to Thailand’s Ministries of Education and Higher Education in 2022 and a plethora of bilateral programs to choose from, foreign educators can find plenty of opportunities in the new frontier of teaching in Thailand.