Teachers Resources

Teaching Jobs in Thailand International Schools - What You Need To Know

For experienced teachers with solid credentials, finding a high-calibre teaching job in Thailand is easier said than done. Connections and networking matter, and the local jobs market is saturated with TEFL-style English-teaching positions. Finding a reputable school that pays you anywhere near what you know you’re worth can be difficult.

Furthermore, many teachers find themselves working at schools where the administration is more interested in parading foreign teachers around for photo ops and weekend English camps than anything else. Factor in the overcrowded classrooms, confounding grading systems and a regrettable ‘everyone passes’ mentality that some Thai schools embrace, and it’s easy to understand why so many would-be teachers in Thailand feel that all their hard work doesn't really pay off.

Worthwhile teaching opportunities do exist, and most of them are of the international variety. These embrace international curriculum, encourage critical thinking and reward good, old-fashioned hard work and loyalty. They also pay more than the run-of-the-mill English-teaching jobs in Thailand.

At GES, we’re well aware of just how frustrating it can be for qualified teachers trying to find work in Thailand. Many of our new hires tell us first-hand what a relief it was to finally discover our school. With that in mind, we’re publishing this guide to everything you need to know about teaching jobs at international schools in Thailand.

How to Find Teaching Positions at International Schools in Thailand

In Thailand, the jobs market is saturated with English-teaching jobs. But these offer low pay, and they often come with gruelling working conditions. Long hours and low pay are par for the course. These aren’t the type of positions qualified teachers are interested in. They’re better suited for backpackers and gap-year students hoping to fund their travels.

Presumably, you’re looking for something more rewarding – a teaching position that actually leverages your skills and experience. These positions do exist, and you’ll find them at bona fide international schools where the typical backpacker need not apply.

If you’re a serious teacher looking to expand your career in Thailand, remember that HR departments at Thai international schools grow weary of sifting through applications to find genuinely qualified candidates. With this in mind, it’s important for qualified teachers to set themselves apart from the competition.

There are job boards and online job sites where international schools advertise openings. These can be useful for finding job openings for teachers, but they’re not as helpful when it comes to actually securing the position you’re applying for. The best approach is to apply directly. Compile a short list of genuine international schools where you’re interested in working and get in touch with their hiring managers.

We want to make it as easy as possible for qualified teachers to find job openings at our school. That’s why GES advertises international teaching positions directly on its website. Likewise, you can also enquire through our contact page to learn more about specific opportunities.

WHAT QUALIFICATIONS INTEREST INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS IN THAILAND?

Every school has its own policies in regards to required qualifications and experience, and some positions are more flexible than others. But it’s generally safe to say that anyone qualified to teach in their home country is also qualified to teach at an international school in Thailand.

Most genuine international schools require their teachers to be licensed – either in the country or abroad. In some cases, experience may be taken into account even if the teacher isn’t licensed.

You’ll also come across international schools that accept candidates with post-graduate degrees regardless of licensure. Others may hire teachers with expectation that they complete an online teacher-certification course during their first year or two. It all depends on the institution.

But it’s worth noting that GES is a bit different in this regard. We reward experience and teaching credentials with a higher salary. At the same time, we also have positions for teachers looking to gain experience.

Whether you’re new to teaching or a seasoned educator, we can help you find your niche in Thailand. GES is a great place to gain experience and develop your resume as a teacher at a respected international school in Thailand.

Most genuine international schools require their teachers to be licensed – either in the country or abroad. In some cases, experience may be taken into account even if the teacher isn’t licensed.

What about Visas and Work Permits for Teachers in Thailand?

Thailand’s famous for its bureaucracy, and the hoops that international-school teachers have to jump through can be daunting. The good news is that schools like GES will help you navigate this process.

We’ll cover the details below:

Thai Visas for International Teachers

In Thailand, visas are relegated into different categories. Foreigners seeking employment need a non-immigrant B visa. The ‘B’ stands for business, but it applies to any foreigner working in the Kingdom.

When an international school invites you to join the team, they’ll forward an invitation letter and supporting documents that you can submit to the nearest Thailand embassy or consulate. You’ll also need to fill out a visa application and present some of your own documents – a valid passport, visa photos, transcripts, etc. The school that’s hiring you will let you know what’s required.

Bear in mind that this takes place outside of the country. If you’re already in Thailand when you’re hired, you’ll need to leave the country to apply for the visa. So long as all the paperwork is in place, you can apply at any Thai embassy or consulate. Neighbouring countries including Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore are popular – but any country with a Thai embassy or consulate will do.

You’ll be issued a 90-day, single entry visa. This means you can enter Thailand one time on the visa, and once you’re in the country, you can stay for a maximum of 90 days.

Obviously, you and your employer want you to work longer than three months – but first things first. Next, the school will help you obtain a work permit and extend your visa to longer-term category.

Work Permits for International Teachers in Thailand

A work permit is required for all foreigners employed in Thailand. A reputable school like GES will assist with the application process. In practical terms, the work permit provides grounds to extend your visa. Your school will help you apply for it during that 90-day period that your initial visa covers. The work permit will be valid for at least a year (possibly two), and then your visa will be extended to match the life of the work permit.

As your contract is extended, the work permit and visa can also be extended together. But each is dependent upon the other. The visa allows you to apply for the work permit, and the work permit allows you to extend the visa. For this reason, it’s likely that you won’t have a work permit for the first one to three months that you’re employed. But you should receive it within that timeframe.

Teaching Contracts at Thailand’s International Schools

Contracts for Thai international schools are similar to any employment contract. They’re generally ‘at will’, which means either party can terminate the contract at any time. They’ll also outline a monthly pay scale, start and stop dates, bonus structures (where applicable) and other relevant benefits.

Different schools have different policies. Here’s what the GES teacher contract covers:

  • Employment period
  • Compensation schedule
  • Number of personal days and sick days
  • Bonus structure
  • Housing allowance and availability of on-campus housing

Do note that not all schools supply housing assistance. At GES, we provide teachers with a housing stipend in addition to their salary. In lieu of this, we can also offer on-campus housing for the teacher and their immediate family. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as eliminating your morning commute and waking up within steps of where you work!

If your contract is terminated for any reason, the school will notify the Department of Labour. Your work permit will be cancelled, and you’ll be given seven days to vacate the country. This is short notice, but you can easily hop over to a neighbouring country and return on a tourist visa if you need time to set your affairs in order.

HOW MUCH DO TEACHERS EARN AT INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS IN THAILAND?

In Thailand, salaries are reckoned and paid by the month. Teachers pay varies considerably from one school to the next. But a few schools – including GES – are eager to reward loyalty with annual bonuses and substantial yearly raises.

Teachers at GES receive a base salary of THB 25,000, with several add-ons depending on qualifications and experience. There’s also a generous bonus structure in place along with a range of additional perks and benefits.

The following chart will give you an idea of how our pay scale operates:

First YearSecond YearThird YearFourth YearFifth Year
Base SalaryTHB 25,000THB 25,000THB 25,000THB 25,000THB 25,000
Bachelor's in EducationTHB 6,000THB 6,000THB 6,000THB 6,000THB 6,000
Teaching LicenseTHB 10,000THB 10,000THB 10,000THB 10,000THB 10,000
Experience at GESTHB 0THB 6,000THB 10,000THB 13,000THB 16,000
Annual BonusTHB 0THB 47,000THB 102,000THB 162,000THB 171,000
Monthly TotalTHB 41,000THB 51,700THB 61,200THB 70,200THB 74,100

As you can see, our payment schedule scales rapidly for teachers who’ve spent time with the school. Teachers with a BA in education and a teacher’s license can expect to make 41,000 baht per month in their first year. But in the following year, they’ll receive nearly 25 per cent more due to their annual raise and bonus. This trend continues year after year.

We should also note that GES is one of relatively few international schools that also employs teachers who don’t have a teaching license or degree in education. That makes GES a great place to gain experience teaching at a respected international school before pursuing further education.

Good international schools also pay out in fringe benefits. Some (like GES) offer free housing or a monthly stipend. Generous paid holidays, visa support, health insurance and even airfare reimbursement are also available.

For expat families living in Thailand, there is another important benefit to consider. Teacher’s children often qualify for free tuition. That’s an enormously important consideration in a country where an international education can cost hundreds of thousands of baht per student per year.

The Differences between Regular Schools and International Schools in Thailand

As with anywhere else in the world, Thailand has a broad spectrum of schools that students can attend. When it comes to government schools, you’ll find everything from small primary schools in the countryside to well-respected, university-prep high schools in major cities. All follow a curriculum mandated by the Thailand’s Ministry of Education. The only foreign teachers these schools are hiring will be English teachers – and that’s only if they have the budget. Many don’t.

Next are Thai private schools. It costs significantly more money to attend these schools, and the students typically come from middle-class families. They still follow domestic curriculum, and graduates are likely bound for universities in Thailand. Most foreigners working at these schools teach English, though it’s increasingly common for some of the top private schools to adopt international tracks where all subjects are taught in English. Foreign teachers may lead other classes in this case.

Finally, international schools use global curriculum. You’ll find a robust mix of Thai and foreign students in these classrooms. Students are taught to international standards, which means they’re likely to pursue higher education abroad rather than in Thailand. Teachers are often required to be licensed or otherwise qualified, and the pay and benefits are significantly higher.

If you’re interested in teaching at an international school in Thailand, GES is a great place to work. We foster a rich and dynamic learning environment that benefits everyone involved, and we strive to find teachers of character who can set an example for students.

If you believe you would be a good fit for our international school, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can reach us by filling out the contact form on our website, or by sending an email to info@gesthailand.com.

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