Can You Teach English in Thailand and Elsewhere Without Certification?

teaching kids in thailand

Can You Teach English in Thailand and Elsewhere Without Certification?

If you’d love to teach English in Thailand or elsewhere overseas but don’t have basic teaching certification, can you?

When you consider hundreds of thousands of native English speakers currently teach English in Thailand and in other countries and a large number not only don’t have certification but, in some cases, don’t even have a university degree either, yes, you can teach English overseas without certification. Should you, however, is a different story.

Should you teach English in Thailand or elsewhere overseas without certification? – While some unscrupulous English teaching agencies will tell you “Any native English speaker can teach English. You don’t need certification”, that’s not remotely true. Let’s face it, you’re hardly likely to say “Anyone can be an engineer without any training or experience”, are you?

So why would you presume being an English teacher in Thailand or elsewhere overseas is any different just because you speak English?

Being able to stand in front of a classroom of students, of any age, and teach them how to read, write and speak English, as well as correctly answer any questions they might have, is not something “just anyone” can do. Not without at least some basic training in EFL teaching methods, in classroom management and in paperwork and lesson plan preparation.

It is also detrimental to your students’ ability to learn.

Cheating your students – While, yes, it is possible to teach English overseas without any certification, and many people do, it’s simply not something I would recommend and largely because of the people who want to learn.

Not having basic teaching skills for a teaching job in Thailand¬†or elsewhere,¬†having no idea what you’re doing, and being paid decent sums of money to do it is incredibly unfair to your students, many of whom are paying amounts they can barely afford with the hope it will give them better career opportunities. Get at least a basic TEFL or CELTA certification and you will suddenly realize how little you actually knew before. With just a few weeks training, and a university degree, you can learn the basics of how to teach English overseas then learn the rest by experience.

Teaching without certification is unfair to you – I’ve met people in Thailand who have been sent by unscrupulous western ‘teaching agencies’ to teach children in rural areas simply because they were native English speakers. Thrust in at the deep end with no support, no idea what to teach, few teaching resources and nobody to ask, they lasted only a few weeks before they gave up and went home.

Do you really want to stand in front of a classroom of 50 smiling children with absolutely no idea how to teach or what to teach them? It’s not something I would want to do. Teaching with certification and experience is challenging enough. Without it? Confidence destroying, I’d say.

Why you should get TEFL or CELTA certification – There are thousands of schools all over the world that offer TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) training courses, and each course can be completed in just a few weeks and for not very much money.

You can even move to the country you want to live in and take your TEFL or CELTA certification there if you want to, before you start looking for a teaching job.

A TEFL or CELTA certification course usually takes 4-6 weeks to complete. During it, you will learn various EFL teaching methods, how to find teaching resources and materials, how to prepare a good lesson plan and how to follow it, and what to do when the lesson you have planned isn’t working out the way you thought it would.

Most importantly, you will have to participate in several teaching practices before you can pass the course, meaning you will teach real students and an examiner will watch you teach, grade you on your teaching skills and give suggestions for how you can improve.

All of this is invaluable when it comes to teaching English overseas in the real world.

Don’t short change your students and don’t short change yourself by trying to teach English without any training or certification. It’s a recipe for disaster, particularly when getting appropriate certification will only take a few weeks of your life and cost around $1,000. Your job opportunities will improve markedly as well.