How to teach in Thailand as a US Citizen
Citizens of the United States of America are welcome to come to Thailand to teach English as a foreign language. American English is becoming increasingly popular in Thailand. Companies that deal with the US prefer to be educated in American English rather than British English, as do students who wish to go to American universities.
Some American owned international schools have preferences for US teachers. Mainly for their first-hand knowledge of American English but also the hard-working ethic of United States citizens.
Many Thai citizens grow up watching American movies and listening to American music. Some find the American accent familiar and easy to understand. Americans often speak slower and pronounce clearer than English speakers from the UK, Ireland and Australia, which is excellent for teaching ESL students.
Do US citizens need a TEFL certificate to teach English in Thailand?
Yes, all teachers holding passports from the United States of America must have TEFL certification to be hired by schools in Thailand. Even if you have a university qualification, you should get a TEFL certificate before applying for teaching positions.
US citizens teach English in Thailand after completing a four weeks training course in Thailand. There are TEFL courses in Thailand that you can take to assist you with everything from the visa process to finding you a job in a local Thai school when you complete the course.
Can US citizens teach British English in Thailand?
Yes, Americans can teach British English in Thailand no different than British English teachers can teach American English in Thailand.
The differences in both styles of English is not huge. A few differences in spelling, pronunciation and sometimes word choice. Most people already know the differences, and those that don’t could easily pick it up in less than an hour.
Do US citizens need a work visa to teach English in Thailand?
All US citizens planning to teach English in Thailand should apply for a non-Immigrant ‘B’ Visa from a Thai embassy before leaving for Thailand. This visa is for those going to Thailand for study, business or work, and you will have 90 days before this visa expires.
This must be done after you secure a teaching job or TEFL course in Thailand as you’ll need an invitation letter from a Thai company to send to the Thai embassy near you.
Once you begin working at a Thai school, they will assist you in obtaining a work permit, and they should also cover the cost!
Where are the Thai embassies in the USA?
Here are the four Thai embassies in the USA with links to their websites:
Do US citizens need a university degree to teach English as a foreign language in Thailand?
Yes, a degree is a requirement to work as an English teacher in Thailand. If you do not have a degree, you can volunteer as an English teacher in Thailand, but it will not be a paid position.
A degree is required to get your work permit, proving you are paying taxes to the Thai government. If you are working without doing this, you could face hefty fines or deportation.
This is why it is possible to teach English in Thailand voluntarily as you will not receive a salary.
Why do so many Americans teach English in Thailand?
Many Americans are drawn to the lifestyle in Thailand as it is very different to that in the USA. People who want a change in scenery, embrace a new culture, or a lower cost of living see Thailand as a fantastic opportunity.
Thai people are very welcoming. Thailand is known as the “land of smiles”, which many tourists and foreigners alike seem to find attractive. If it were the “land of angry faces”, nobody would come!
Thailand is a very safe country with plenty of jobs for ex-pats. It also has great nightlife and some of the most amazing natural beauty, and white sand beaches that go on forever.
Are American teachers in demand in Thailand?
Schools in Thailand are always hiring. With 70 million people inhabiting the country, you can expect that many would want to learn English. Government schools are teaching English as a requirement in most schools. Many parents send their children to private English language centres or hire private English tutors.
Many see English as an opportunity for better-paying jobs in Thailand (as it is very sought after by employers) and for jobs abroad where the salaries are higher than in Thailand.
English is an excellent tool for Thai citizens in jobs that trade internationally or who travel for work. So, you will encounter many adults wishing to improve their English, as well as children.
Is it easy for US citizens to find teaching jobs in Thailand?
American teachers can easily find teaching jobs in Thailand so long as they meet the requirements of having a degree and TEFL certification. There are many ways you can find employment in Thailand.
- Do a TEFL course in Thailand, and they will organise job interviews for you.
- If you have a TEFL certificate already, contact the school and ask them for assistance.
- Search the online TEFL job forums online.
- Facebook groups about teaching English in Thailand always have job postings (be careful as many can not be legitimate).
- Go to Thailand on a tourist visa, contact local schools and language centres and have in-person interviews. You will have an advantage over teachers applying from overseas.