Reason one: Teaching is great. It takes a lot of energy and effort, but it’s a fun job and endless funny stories.
Reason two, teaching provides a paycheck that supports living on a tropical island. It might be the lowest paycheck of your life but it pays for going out to eat for every meal, rent, gas, etc. Then, just by being here, you get all the really good stuff for free. You’ll watch stunning sunsets, go to world class beaches, experience Thai festivals and markets, and generally experience an amazing culture.
For more details on the cost of living, check out the cost of living guide.
Full Time Teaching in Phuket
Phuket has tons of schools. There is no shortage of demand. If you can’t find work here, you’re not trying.
There are hundreds of Westerners teaching in Phuket. By Thai law every school must offer English lessons taught by a native English speaker. Some schools only offer their students a few classes a week but many have full English programs that teach English everyday. Schools with English programs have at least 10-15 Western teachers.
What kind of job you get depends mainly on two things:
- Do you have a teaching degree?
- What kind of jobs you apply for.
If you do not have a degree in teaching, you can still get a job teaching! However, you will need to get the 120 hour TESOL/TEFL Certification. You can take the course online or in Phuket.
Full Time Teaching- Pay
Once you are certified, you can start applying. You will find that most teaching positions pay 28,000-36,000 baht a month ($967-$1,125 USD). The highest paying positions pay up to 50,000/mo. Please realize that the difference is not connected to experience. Prior to anyone applying, the salary is largely already decided.
Pay difference does correlate with how hard the job will be. The best jobs for people with a degree that is not teaching (business degrees, Political science degree, etc) pay more but demand more. Teachers at high paying schools must grade more, lesson plan more, and usually have little free time throughout the day.
For a guide on key interview questions, click here.
If You Have a Teaching Degree…
The best paying jobs on the island are International schools that teach Western students and wealthy Thais. Those actually pay over 70,000 baht per month (2k-3k USD). However, if you do not have a teaching degree (most teachers here don’t), you will not be applying to International Schools. Instead, you will apply to Thai government schools or private schools.
If you have a teaching degree (you specifically went to school for teaching), you can apply for jobs that most people can’t. For instance, you can teach at an International School. These schools are full of Western kids and the schools pay twice as much. Salaries are 60,000 baht, or more, per month. If you have a strong background in teaching, you can apply to a more elite school school and earn more and likely be given accommodation and lots of other perks.
The Typical Teaching Job
Most government school teachers make 30,000-35,000. A few schools pay 40,000-50,000.
You can live on 30,000 baht, if you live cheaply. If you need/want more, you can figure out ways to get additional income:
- Most people supplement their teaching salary with an hourly wage from language school lessons. Language schools are discussed in more detail below.
- You can also get odd jobs translating:
- Product brochures
- Teaching at a business
- Teaching privately
If you are unhappy with your full time pay teaching, this is certainly a place where an English speaking teacher can work hard and get as much work as they can handle. Whatever you get paid, be appreciative of it because Thai teachers often make 10,000-15,000 per month. Even Phiipino teachers, who often speak English perfectly (no accent, you’d think they were from the U.S.) make 15,000-20,000 for full time work.
Very Important Teaching Details
Here are a few really important details that other blogs don’t always cover:
- If you were not previously a teacher, you will need to totally rewrite your resume into a “functional” resume. This type of resume is organized by skill, not by job. Google it!
- Regardless of how professional a job you were in, you cannot expect that experience to get you a job. You must relate all your experience to teaching.
In Thailand it is illegal for a school to hire teachers without degrees:
- Regardless, some do. You just need to drop off more applications and be willing to get turned down more.
- You can also work without a degree by doing lots of private and part time work as an English Consultant.
- You must still have a TESOL certification
Full time teaching jobs are not 20 hours a week. This is a myth:
- Full time jobs are 20 contact hours a week
- Almostallschoolsrequirefull time employees to work 7:45 – 3:45
- Low paying jobs (30,000/mo) often require less work. You’ll likely have time to read, surf the web, or even leave during your free time
- Higher paying jobs (40,000/mo+) require more work including things like submitting 20 lesson plans a week, notebook grading, and frequent formal tests.
Language schools are everywhere in Phuket and they are a big part of teaching here so it is important that you understand what a Language School is.
Language schools usually teach kids after school but they also teach adults. They are similar to a tutoring service but… Click to read more
More on Teaching…
For more on teaching, check out these guides: