How to teach English in Thailand? – An overview.

Thailand is one of the best tourist destinations, and after this Covid situation it will be very popular again. The country has many beautiful islands, tropical forests, mountains, and one of the best cuisines. The Thais are truly kind and their Buddhist culture is just amazing fascinating. Why don’t you stay and live here permanently?

I am a TESOL teacher living in the south of Thailand. I want to share a great opportunity for anyone who is interested in moving to Thailand after this winter (or when it is possible again to travel) and start living your dream life (as an English teacher) in Thailand. Relocating is never easy, leaving behind family, friends and your home country, but in these difficult times moving could be the right thing to do.

How to teach English in Thailand? In this blog I will inform you how to teach in the ‘Land of smiles’ as an English teacher, which is possible for a lot of native English speakers even when you don’t have any teaching experience whatsoever.


No degree? No problem.

If you got a TEFL/TESOL certificate but no degree, no problem, you can enroll in a bachelor degree program in Bangkok and teach English online.

As anywhere else in the world, teachers need a degree to teach in private and government schools, but you could teach online without a degree if you are a native English speaker. It is illegal to work without a work permit, but some language centers are desperately looking for teachers, so there’s an option.

I know many native English speakers who teach online with no problems whatsoever. They earn enough to pay for their education, and at the end of the day they earn an international accredited bachelor degree in TESOL. You can read my post about the BA TESOL program in Bangkok.

If you have a degree but would like to get your TEFL in Thailand, you can check out this great opportunity in Chiang Mai, which is the most popular place in the North of Thailand, where you can learn to teach EFL on-site and get a paid job placement. They provide you with a visa and work permit as well. The answer to the title of this blog, How to teach English in Thailand? , is found here: you can read about this professional TEFL course here.

Disclosure: some of the links are affiliate links, when you purchase anything using my links I get a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your trust and support.

Education visa.

An Education visa is supported by the college or university. You’ll need to apply for the ED visa in your home country at the Thai embassy. For more details about the ED visa I suggest asking your college for the documents.

The ED visa allows you to stay for 6 months in Thailand, after which you can extend for another 6 months. You’ll have to notify your residence every 90-days. For more information, you can check it out here.

NON-B visa.

If you would like to teach in a school you need a degree. With the non-immigrant B visa (non-B visa) you are allowed to work. When you got hired by a school then you need to apply at the Thai embassy in your country before traveling. Your passport needs to be valid for at least another 6 months and all the correct documentation in Thai from your employer need to be submitted.

In addition, you need to get a work permit as well. Your employer should go to the local Labor Office with you. With this document you are legally allowed to teach in Thailand, but only in the school where you got hired. Lots of foreign teachers teach in a tutorial school in the evenings and weekends as well. This isn’t a problem, but according to the law, you only can work where your work permit allows you to work.


Supporting documentation.

  • Medical documents. Most likely you’ll need to obtain a medical certificate before entering Thailand.
  • Criminal background check. For South-Africans it is necessary to submit this document. For other native speakers and Europeans this is not necessary. Other nationalities should ask the immigration or embassy carefully whether it is necessary or not. This document is easily obtained at the police station in Thailand.
  • Original degree with transcripts. You’ll need to be prepared to show your original degree (in any field) with the transcripts at the immigration office and educational office when applying for your visa (and extension) and work permit.

Getting a TEFL course online before moving.

The course which I support is one of the best online. TEFL UK is the fastest growing TEFL provider and more than 93% of the reviewers recommend TEFL UK.

My code offers a 10% discount on all the TEFL UK courses. I get a small commission if you use my link and discount code.

This is a good deal, with no extra or hidden costs for you. It is 10 % discount. The discount code is: 1B4F6F97

When you enter the discount code on the first page of the TEFL UK checkout process, the discount confirmation will be confirmed instantly. There are different courses you can choose from. You can read my post about TEFL UK here.


Disclosure: I support these tefl courses and you can get discount through my affiliate links. I get some cash when you purchase any course through my links, but at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support.


MyTefl teach and travel have a huge discount via my link and promo code: LIVETESOL. If you book any course you get 35 % discount. They support this website and therefore you can enjoy a big discount. I get a small commission but at no extra cost to you. In fact, you will get 35 % discount!

Before you move to Thailand.

Non-native English speakers need to provide proof of fluency in the English language. In Thailand non-native English speakers need to do a TOEIC test. I am from The Netherlands so I had to do this fluency test as well. My score was 935 which is in the highest range of proficiency (C2).

What is a TOEIC? And how to apply? You can read all about it here. You can practice online, there’s a few sites that offer TOEIC exercises.

Another thing that you need to read about is the Thai culture. You need to know what you can’t do in Thai culture which is quite different from ours. Also, it is important to know how to interact with the Thai teachers, they give each other a “wai”, which is the gracious greeting performed with both hands together in front of your face.

Speaking a few words Thai will make your life much easier in and outside the school. Saying hello and things like ordering food is necessary, but more importantly, speaking a few phrases in Thai in the classroom will make the kids understand you easily at first. Saying hello – Sawadee Krab/Ka – will show you why they call Thailand ‘the Land of Smiles’.

Another tip is to make sure you have your return trip covered. In case, you got to fly home unexpectedly, you have enough cash to pay for the ticket which might be more expensive when booking last minute.

Teaching English is amazing.

There are great schools and wonderful places around Thailand to live and teach. You just need to get informed about the culture and you’ll be alright. When you have learned techniques how to control the class using activities and lots of visuals, you will have an amazing experience teaching EFL in Thailand.

How to teach English in Thailand? English Learning and Teaching (ELT) techniques have developed over the last decades. Second language acquisition does only work when certain conditions are met. I wrote a blog about Stephen Krashen’s theory of SLA.

I will write more about the science of TESOL here on in future posts.

4 thoughts on “How to teach English in Thailand? – An overview.”

  1. I’ve never been to Thailand but I would love to visit one day. It seems to be a straightforward process to become a teacher there. So, with the ED visa is one allowed to work in Thailand, even if it is only for 6 months? It is indeed called the Land of the Smiles. I did not remember it at first but I have been told that before. Is life expensive there and are salaries good?

    I’ve heard about the TEFL course, this discount sounds great! Is there a time limit on the discount? 

  2. Hi Christine. Thanks for your interest in my post and in teaching English in Thailand. With the ED visa you aren’t allowed to work, but teachers are teaching online, which is a great solution. You can study and get an income online to pay for your stay. When you have a degree, you have to apply for a business visa (non-B) which allows you to work as a teacher.
    The TEFL UK courses will give you a 10% discount with my code. When you sign up and pay for the course of your choice the discount will be shown, so before you confirm the payment, you can see the 10% discount. There’s no time limit. Life isn’t expensive in most places, so the salaries are sufficient. The starting rate is 30,000 Baht, but an experienced teacher can get between 32-40,000 B. Thank you.

  3. Wow! This is actually a thing? I didn’t know that people could be an actual instructor in Thailand like this. I love that you have been so thorough and concise with all this information. You have really outlined all the details necessary for somebody who is considering it, in the sense that would be me. Thank you so much for all the information you provided, I have saved a website for future reference

    1. Thank you for your comment. If you have any questions about teaching and learning English in Thailand or in general, let me know and I’d be happy to help you out.

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