As I’ve been living in Thailand a long time, I often get asked by farang 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 farang teachers in Thailand who a) are not qualified teachers and b) make very low salaries themselves. That’s why they refuse to believe salaries at a Bangkok international school are as high as they are.
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 75,000 baht typically (around $1,775 to $2,420). 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 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 and he started out with a salary of 120,000 ($3,870) plus a 25,000 baht ($810) monthly housing allowance, plus his belongings shipped from his home country etc etc. All told, he was paid 145,000 baht a month ($4,680) in actual salary plus 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.
Salaries for Overseas Hires
Salaries for overseas hires at international schools 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 be paid 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.