As have been living in Thailand for more than 15 years, I often get asked by western teachers wanting to come to Thailand what type of salary they can expect at a Bangkok, Thailand international school?
First, before I go any further, let me just say ignore what you read on Thailand forums about this issue, as the comments will usually be from western teachers in Thailand who a) are not qualified teachers and b) make low salaries themselves.
These two reasons are why they often refuse to believe salaries at a Bangkok international school are as high as they are. They are not qualified for them, and they have never been offered them.
Local hires and overseas hires at Bangkok international schools — different salaries
The first thing you should know is there are two types of hiring situations for Bangkok international schools – what are called “local hires” and ‘overseas hires”. If you are what the international school calls a “local hire”, that means you were interviewed and hired from within Thailand.
Because of this you will usually be paid less than a teacher hired from overseas. That’s primarily due to international schools being wary about hiring local western teachers because of the low-quality of many, and the fact that they are not always qualified teachers.
Overseas hires, who are usually highly-qualified teachers, on the other hand can expect to be paid a high salary and be given a truly excellent package.
You also need to know there are at least two categories of ‘international school’ in Bangkok.
The true international schools run to British, American or Australian educational standards, or those mid-tier international schools that are Thai-run and owned, or Malaysian, Indian etc.
While they do often offer a much better quality of education than a typical Thai school, they are not always a true international school.
Salaries at Bangkok, Thailand International Schools
So, what kinds of salaries are teachers at Bangkok international schools generally paid?
Mid-Tier International Schools
The average salary at one of these schools, (and it doesn’t matter if you are local or overseas hire as they pay pretty much the same and do hire most of their staff locally), is between 55,000 and 80,000 baht typically (around $1,775 to $2,580). A good salary in Bangkok where the average English teacher (often unqualified, of course) is paid between 30,000 and 45,000 baht.
Top-Tier International School
These are the schools like International School Bangkok (ISB), Shrewsbury International School, Harrow International School and Bangkok Patana School (BPS).
Salaries for Local Hires
Starting salary for a ‘local hire’ at many such schools is at least 120,000 baht per month ($3,870). With that you will usually get a ‘package’ that includes a housing allowance, a return-flight home, all your belongings shipped from home etc.
One of my friends was a ‘local’ hire at one of the top international schools in Bangkok. His starting salary was 120,000 ($3,870) plus a 25,000 baht ($810) monthly housing allowance, plus his belongings shipped from his home country etc. All told, he was paid 145,000 baht a month ($4,680) in actual salary, plus a number of perks.
Considering the cost of living in Thailand is about one third or less the cost of America, as you can imagine that sets you up for a very nice standard of living in Bangkok.
Salaries for Overseas Hires
Salaries for overseas hires at international schools in Bangkok are usually higher — 150,000 to 18,000 baht ($4,848 to $5,860) per month plus all the perks is the norm. A headmaster or other high-level administrator would, of course, be paid even more.
Another close friend works at one of the top tier schools and is paid 165,000 baht per month. Needless to say, she is never hurting for money.
In other words, if you are a qualified teacher from a western country, and are hired while outside Thailand, you can expect a high salary. Compared to the cost of living, you can expect a salary far higher than you would receive in your own country.
Now watch the video below — Life at International School Bangkok (ISB), so you can see just why these schools pay such high salaries. They really do provide a superb education for their students, and so are willing to pay highly-qualified teachers so they can give them that.