How to Teach English in Thailand With No Degree


High demand for English speakers in the Thai tourist industry means a strong demand for English teachers at every level, from teaching young children to teaching business English to executives. Teachers with all levels of qualifications can find work. While most of the big chain schools do require a bachelor's degree, it is possible to find work without a college degree.

Things You'll Need

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • English language fluency (You do not need to be a native English speaker.)
  • A passport
  • TESOL, TESL or TELF certificate (see below)

Get a Teaching Certificate

  • There are several certificates that qualify English speakers for higher-quality teaching jobs. These certificates include:
    • TESOL - Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
    • TESL - Teaching English as a Second Language
    • TEFL - Teaching English as a Foreign Language
    While not exactly interchangeable, any of these certificates qualifies you to teach English abroad. You may take these classes in the United States, many countries abroad, including Thailand, or online. You need a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for these certificates.

  • Before beginning the application and interview process, there are certain steps you can take to improve your chances of success. First, bring business clothing along. Men need shirts with collars, a tie and trousers. Thai women dress conservatively, so ladies need business clothes that are feminine and not too revealing. Wear shoes, not sandals. There are many applicants for each job, so you must make a good presentation.

    Put together a resume and introductory letter. Emphasize any training or teaching experience.

    Obtain letters of recommendation or references from previous employers, teachers or coworkers. Tell them this is for a teaching position, and ask them not to date the letters and to include proper contact information including an email address.

    Put this information on a CD so you can make numerous copies easily in Thailand. Include your high school diploma and TESOL or TEFL certificate on the CD.

  • Once you're prepared, the next step is to make yourself known and available to prospective employers. Get a mobile phone and a SIM card, so prospective employers can contact you, and switch the language options to English. Buy a prepaid phone card to put minutes on the phone.

    Head for an Internet cafe with your CD and add your phone number to your resume. Print up numerous copies---20 is a good start---of your resume.

    Look for jobs on, an Internet job board where many job openings are listed. Check every morning and send off your resume promptly

    During an interview, act like a teacher. Speak clearly and distinctly. Show that you can command attention in a classroom situation. First impressions count.

    Do not accept your first job offer too quickly. Schools vary widely. Some are reputable, some are sleazy. Speak to teachers at the school.

Tips & Warnings

  • Most schools will not help you apply for a work permit without a year-long contract. To apply, you need to have a multi-entry non-immigrant B visa. You must apply for this visa from outside Thailand. Most teachers work without a permit. This is very common. Every 30 days, expats make a brief trip to a nearby border for a new 30-day visa. There are even scheduled bus trips for the numerous expats who make this run regularly, and it takes less than a day roundtrip.


  • Photo Credit Tevaprapas
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