Recently, I’ve begun to meet many Americans who’ve moved to Thailand to teach. Most said they moved to Thailand as, in the current terrible economy in the US, teaching positions are difficult to come by and they couldn’t find a job. Many US school districts are laying people off, hiring teachers through Teach for America so they can pay lower salaries, or just not hiring new teachers as it’s not in the budget.
In Thailand there’s a teacher shortage of qualified native English speakers. An American teacher moving to Thailand can expect to walk into a job within a week of arriving and often with better conditions than in the US. If you’re an American teacher, or have a university degree and would like to try teaching, here’s what to expect if you move to Thailand to teach.
What Qualifications Does an American Teacher Need? – If you’re moving to Thailand because of the failing US economy and want to try teaching, here’s what you’ll need.If you’re a teacher who is qualified to teach in the US, you are already qualified to teach in Thailand. Just bring your original university degree and original teacher certification documents from the US, and that’s all you need to be able to get a job and a work permit.
If you have a university degree but are not a qualified teacher or don’t have teaching experience, I recommend you take a 6-week TEFL course in Thailand before job hunting. Although not always required by the Thai Labor Department, a TEFL course will give you experience in teaching and qualify you for the better jobs. A full 6-week course costs around $1,300, but you’ll walk into a teaching job in Thailand as soon as you’ve finished it.
How Easy Is It For an American Teacher To Get a Job in Thailand? – While teachers in the US can’t find a job as the economy is so bad, in Thailand you’ll get at least five job offers within a week of arriving. Most Thai schools are desperate for native English speakers, particularly qualified teachers and particularly women (most western teachers in Thailand are men), so once you start making calls or sending out resumes, you will be employed by the end of the week, and should have your pick of good jobs to choose from.
What Types of Jobs Are Available for an American Teacher in Thailand? – Coming from a country where a big percentage of the workforce is unemployed or can’t find a job, you’ll think you’ve landed in paradise when you start job hunting in Thailand. An American teacher in Thailand can expect to find jobs everywhere from kindergartens, elementary schools, junior and high schools.
There are also teaching jobs available in language schools, universities and in corporation – all who need qualified American teachers to teach English to adults. To supplement your income once you get established, you can also take on private students who pay an average of 500 baht per hour ($17) to learn English.
What Salaries and Benefits Can An American Teacher Expect in Thailand? – Of course, in Thailand, salaries and benefits aren’t as high as in the US but, compared to the low cost of living, they are good. A qualified American teacher (ie, someone with a university degree) should expect at least 50-55,000 baht a month ($1,6,940-$1,864), plus a housing allowance of 3,000 baht ($105), health insurance, free lunch and at least 6-8 weeks paid vacation.
This salary may not seem a lot, but when you take into consideration how cheap it is to live in Thailand (around 30% of the US) and how low the tax rate is (7-10%), it’s a good deal.On 50-55,000 baht a month a teacher who isn’t going out every night drinking can expect to be able to save at least 10,000 baht a month ($338) or more. Plus, you’ll have a nice apartment with gym and swimming pool, travel everywhere in taxis or on the skytrain, eat meals out 2-3 times a day, go out a couple of nights a week, have cable TV, internet and a cell phone, and be able to do some traveling within Thailand or to Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia etc.
With teaching jobs in America few and far between during this bad economy, why not take a year or two and spend it teaching in Thailand? Not only will you be guaranteed a job and a salary, you’ll also learn about another culture, meet new people, visit new places and have fun. Thais are some of the world’s nicest people and teaching in Thailand is a marvelous experience. So, rather than stay in the US on unemployment or desperately looking for a job, any job, move to Thailand and get a job teaching. You’ll love it.