The Complete Requirements to Teach English in Thailand


If you are looking for an exciting and exotic place to teach English, Thailand is the place for you! It is an excellent opportunity for teachers looking to travel and experience a new culture. Moreover, it is a country known for its fantastic food, rich culture, and stunning beaches.

However, before packing your bags and heading off to the Land of Smiles, you should know a few things regarding the requirements and qualifications to teach English in Thailand. In this article, we will discuss the various eligibility criteria (in detail) required to teach English in Thailand.

So, let’s dive in!

Qualifications to be an English teacher in Thailand

  1. A 4 year degree in any field (bachelor’s or higher – but, not mandatory)
  2. A TEFL/TESOL certification (120 hours + teaching practice)
  3. A clean criminal record
  4. A health certificate
  5. A non-immigrant visa
  6. Age requirements: be at least 21 years old
  7. A work permit
  8. A teacher’s license (not mandatory)

The demand for English teachers in Thailand are high, and the Thai government actively encourages foreign ESL teachers to come and work in the country. Thailand has a lot to offer, from its bustling city life in Bangkok to its lush green mountains in Chiang Mai. Not to mention, the pay is excellent compared to other countries in Southeast Asia.

So if you’re looking for an adventure and want to help people learn a new language, check out all requirements to find your perfect teaching job in Thailand!

1. A bachelor’s degree in any field

To teach English in Thailand, you must have a bachelor’s degree in any field. Bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement set by the Thai government to obtain a work visa. This requirement is in place to ensure that those teaching English are qualified to do so.

Additionally, having a bachelor’s degree helps to show that you are committed to your career and have the necessary skills to be an effective teacher. There are many ways to teach English without a degree, including a few schools that offer exemptions for those who do not have a bachelor’s degree. These exemptions are typically given to teachers with significant work experience or who have completed a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) course. However, having a bachelor’s degree will give you a stronger foundation to build your career in teaching.

2. A TEFL/TESOL certification

If you are looking forward to teaching English in Thailand, then you will need to obtain a TEFL/TESOL certification. This certification is recognized by the Thai government and will allow you to work legally as an English teacher. The certification process involves completing a TEFL course covering teaching methodology, classroom management, and language acquisition.

With this certification, you can teach at any level, from elementary to university. However, different TEFL/TESOL courses are available, so it is essential to do your research to find the right one for you. ESL employers in Thailand will generally accept a TEFL course over 120 hours, which has some teaching practice hours to get real-life experience.

3. A clean criminal record

In order to obtain a work visa to teach English, you must submit a copy of your criminal record. This document must be obtained from your home country and must be less than three months old. This requirement is in place to ensure that those who are teaching English are of good character and can provide a safe and secure learning environment for their students.

While having a clean criminal record is not required for all jobs in Thailand, it is essential for those who wish to teach English. If you do not have a clean criminal record, you may still be able to teach in Thailand if you can obtain a waiver from the Ministry of Education.

4. A health certificate

Another requirement for those looking to teach English is a health certificate. This document must be obtained from a licensed medical doctor and should state that you are in good physical and mental health. The Thai government requires this document to ensure that those who are teaching English in Thailand are healthy and will not risk the students. The results of these tests must be submitted to the Thai Ministry of Education along with your application for a teaching license. Once your application has been approved, you will be issued a valid health certificate for one year.

5. A non-immigrant visa

To teach English in Thailand, applicants must obtain a non-immigrant visa from a Thai embassy or consulate. The most common type of visa for this purpose is the Non-Immigrant B Visa, which allows foreigners to engage in activities such as business, investment, education, and research.

To qualify for this visa, applicants must submit proof of employment from a Thai employer and other documents such as a passport, photographs, and a medical certificate. Once the application is approved, the applicant will be issued a visa valid for 90 days. After arriving in Thailand, the visa must be extended at a local immigration office. With a valid visa and extension, foreigners can stay for up to one year.

In order to apply for the visa, you will need to submit the following documents:

  • Your passport, which must be valid for at least six months
  • Two passport photographs
  • The application form, which you can get from the embassy or consulate
  • Your criminal record
  • Your health certificate
  • Your TEFL/TESOL certification

Reference: Thai E-Visa Official Website

6. Age requirements: be at least 21 years old

There is no strict age requirement to teach English, though most programs prefer teachers to be at least 21 years old. This is because many programs require a university degree, and most people finish their undergraduate studies once they are 21 or older. However, some programs accept teachers who are 18 years old as long as they have a high school diploma and TESOL certification. Generally, the minimum age requirement to teach in Thailand is 18.

7. A work permit

Once you have obtained your non-immigrant visa, you must apply for a work permit. The process for applying for a work permit can vary depending on your country of origin. Still, generally, you will need a job offer from a Thai employer and submit the necessary paperwork to the Thai embassy or consulate. Once your work permit is approved, you can start teaching in Thailand for up to one year. After that, you will need to renew your work permit to continue teaching.

8. A teacher’s license

The final requirement for teaching English in Thailand is a teacher’s license. The requirements for getting a license vary depending on the type of institution where the teacher intends to work. For example, schools that are part of the Ministry of Education usually require their teachers to have a teaching license from their home country. Those who still need to get a teaching license or degree may still be able to teach English in Thailand, but they may need help to get hired by reputable schools.

When to apply for a teaching job in Thailand?

Knowing the best time to apply for the job is essential for those interested in teaching English in Thailand. The best time to begin searching for a teaching job in Thailand in February or March, as most schools hire during this time. However, it is still possible to find work mid-semester, around October and November.

University positions are usually posted in early August. The competition for jobs can be intense, so putting your best foot forward is essential when applying.

Be sure to have your documentation in order, and take the time to write a strong cover letter and resume. With a little effort, you’ll be on your way to landing a great teaching job in Thailand.

Keep in mind that the hiring process can take some time, so it is essential to be patient and persistent. With a little bit of guidance and planning, you will be on your way to teaching English in Thailand in no time!

Tips to improve the chance of getting a teaching job in Thailand

There are a few key things that you can do to increase your chances of getting a teaching job:

  1. It is essential to get your TEFL certification. TEFL certification will show potential employers that you are serious about teaching and that you have the skills necessary to be a good teacher.
  2. Having some experience teaching English as a second language is helpful. However, even if you only have a few weeks of experience, this can make you a more attractive candidate.
  3. It is essential to be flexible.

Most teaching jobs involve working with children, so being able to adjust your approach depending on the age group can be very helpful.

How long can a foreigner teach in Thailand?

The length of time a foreigner can teach in Thailand depends on what type of visa the teacher enters the country. For example, those who come on a tourist visa can only teach for up to three months before they must leave the country and reapply for another visa. However, those who come on a business visa or work permit can teach for up to one year before renewing their visa.

The process of renewing a visa is relatively simple and can be done either through the local Thai consulate or by hiring an experienced visa agent.

As a foreigner, you can teach English in Thailand for up to 20 hours a week on a non-immigrant business visa. This visa must be renewed annually, and the renewal process requires a criminal background check and proof of employment at an accredited institution.

Alternatively, some foreign teachers can secure positions at international schools, which allows them to teach on an education visa with no restrictions on the number of hours per week. However, these positions often require higher qualifications and salary expectations.

Ultimately, the length of time a foreigner can teach in Thailand depends on their work arrangement and visa status. Therefore, it’s essential to consider all options before making decisions about teaching in Thailand.

Travel in Thailand as a teacher

Teaching English in Thailand is an incredible experience that will allow you to travel and learn. And it is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and learn more about the Thai language and people. So not only will you have the chance to live in a beautiful and exotic country, but you’ll also be able to visit some of the most stunning places in the world.

Thailand is renowned for its beaches, and as an English teacher, you’ll have the opportunity to travel to some of the most beautiful spots in the country. With its clear turquoise waters and white sand beaches, Phuket is a popular destination for tourists worldwide. Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city, is another incredible place to visit. Bangkok is unique and fascinating with its ancient temples, bustling markets, and friendly people.

And, as an English teacher, you’ll have the chance to visit these places while also helping locals to improve their English skills. So whether you’re looking for adventure or want to relax on a tropical beach, Thailand is the perfect destination. Some of the important cities in Thailand are Phuket, Krabi, Hat Yai, Surat Thani, Chiang Mai, and Chiang Rai.

Thailand’s culture, language, and tradition

Teaching English is an excellent way to learn about the local Thai culture and the Thai language. The Thai people are known for their hospitality, and teaching English here provides an excellent opportunity to interact with the locals and learn about their customs and traditions. The official language of Thailand is Thai, but English is also widely spoken. While Thailand is a relatively young country, it has a rich tradition of culture and history.

One of the most important aspects of Thai tradition is the concept of hierarchy. In Thai society, people are expected to show respect for those who are older or more senior than them. This respect is shown in many ways, from how people address each other to how they dress and behave in public. Therefore, when visiting Thailand, it is important to dress respectfully and be mindful of local customs.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How to apply for a teaching job in Thailand?

To apply as a teacher in Thailand, obtain relevant qualifications like a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate. Then, research and apply to schools or teaching programs, using websites like Ajarn or Teach Away. Networking and local job fairs can also be beneficial. Ensure you have required documents for the visa and work permit. Attend interviews and negotiate your contract. An insider tip would be to familiarize yourself with basic Thai language and customs. This demonstrates respect and eagerness to integrate, making you a more attractive candidate to potential employers.

Do I need to know the Thai language to teach in Thailand?

While it is not necessary to know Thai in order to teach English, it will undoubtedly make the experience more enjoyable if you know Thai. Thai students are typically very keen to interact with their foreign teachers, and conversing in their native language will help create a more relaxed and interactive classroom environment.

In addition, knowing Thai will enable you to understand better the culture and way of life in Thailand, which can be very helpful when teaching Thai students about Western culture. Ultimately, whether or not you decide to learn Thai will come down to personal preference. However, it is worth considering if you are looking to get the most out of your teaching experience in Thailand.

Is there any dress code for teachers to be followed?

There is no dress code specifically for teachers in Thailand. However, dress codes are generally more conservative in Thailand than in other countries. This is especially true for women, who are expected to dress modestly in public. Therefore, while there is no specific dress code for teachers, it is advisable to dress modestly and professionally when teaching in Thailand. This will help to ensure that your students and colleagues respect you.


If you meet all the requirements and are interested in teaching English in Thailand, now is a great time to apply. The demand for English teachers is high, and schools always look for qualified instructors. With a population of over 69 million, Thailand is a great place to live and work as an English teacher.

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This article was originally published in Nov-2022 and was last updated in Jul-2023.

Author: Kate Gosnell

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