First let me make one thing clear:
You do not have to be Thai to work in Thailand.
If you have qualifications or experience in the sort of business, commerce or industry that Thailand needs, there are literally hundreds of job opportunities.
The Thai newspapers carry huge classified sections on available positions:
The Employment Department of Thailand have their own website at
The is an excellent jobs section at ThaiVisa.com.
Let’s say a guy or gal comes to Thailand on holiday and meets a Thai partner. They want to come back to stay but can not afford to live in Thailand without working. What do they do?
Like many countries which do not have English as their native language there is an increasing demand for English Teachers.
- All the schools have had to add to their staff since the decision to teach English at elementary and even kindergarten level.
- The Universities often teach their subject in English, so a department is needed to improve the general English usage of both staff and students.
- There is a rapidly increasing number of private English Language schools and colleges.
- The advent of Internet and computers in general has created an increased awareness amongst Thais of the need to learn and understand ‘the language of the computer’.
“But, I’m not an English Teacher“, I hear you say.
There are broadly two routes you can take to teaching English in Thailand.
Top private language schools such as Stamford College usually recruit experienced and qualified teachers from countries like England, Australia and the USA, but there are probably just as many vacancies for less experienced teachers.
Having a TEFL certificate (Teaching English in a Foreign Language) helps, so you may consider taking a course back home first.
It is not impossible, however, to become a teacher without qualifications or experience. Probably it is more important that you enjoy teaching and can make your students happy.
So where do you start?
1. Experienced Teachers. Check out Ajarn.com and ECC Thai. Try The British Council in Thailand, with an informative WebSite.
2. Less experienced or no experience. Now what? Well, personally I don’t think writing letters is the way. You need to meet the school or college principal face to face. So on your next trip to Thailand check out the schools and colleges in the area you wish to stay. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Visas and Work Permits
If you get an official post at a major school or university your visa and work permit will be sorted out for you.
If you are coming to ‘take a look’, just turn up as a tourist and find out first. If you decide to take a job, then that’s the time to think about getting your passport sorted out.
Eventually you will need a non-immigrant visa and a work permit. You get the visa from a Thai Consulate outside Thailand and the work permit from the Labour Office, usually situated in the provincial capital, within easy distance of your place of work. To get both you need some kind of contract of employment or at the very least a letter from your prospective employers.
The way of doing things in Thailand is much easier going than in most countries in the west. If they like you and you like them you’ve probably got the job. Thais outside Bangkok can be a little shy of foreigners and also remember that the Thais are a proud and independent people. But perhaps more important, don’t be afraid to try. If you really want to work here, you’ve got to start somewhere, so something that I have known for a long time is this:
“If you try you may succeed, but if you just sit at home and think about it, you won’t“.