Frequently Asked Questions
What should I know about the teaching placement?
You’ll choose between a one semester (5 months) or two-semester (11 months) placement. Most placements are at the secondary level (grades 7-12). Sometimes there are openings at the kindergarten or primary level.
You may be assigned to teach students across multiple grades and it’s common to have students at different levels.
Some schools have a curriculum and textbook for you to follow, while others will ask you to create the curriculum. We’ll provide resources to help you out.
What is expected of me as an English teacher in Thailand?
You’ll develop lesson plans to help students improve their conversational English skills. Some schools will ask if you can teach an additional subject (usually math or science) as part of their English curriculum, so let us know if you’re open to that!
You can expect to be at your school 35-40 hours per week, Monday-Friday. Roughly 20 hours will be in the actual classroom teaching. The rest of your hours will be devoted to lesson planning, grading, faculty meetings, and school-related extracurricular activities.
How much will I earn?
You’ll earn at least 28,000 Thai Baht per month. As of August 2020, that’s about $900, which means you could earn as much as $9,600 when you add in the bonus for two-semester teachers! Remember, you don’t have to pay rent on this program.
If you can’t commit to two semesters, you won’t get the 20,000 baht bonus, but you’ll still earn a good salary in a country where you can enjoy a delicious bowl of noodles for under a dollar!
It’s possible to earn up to 33,000 baht per month, depending on your experience. If you have a teaching degree and/or several years of teaching experience, your school might be willing and able to pay a bit more.
Can I be placed with a friend?
Yes, we’ve been very successful at placing friends and couples together at the same school in Thailand. Please let us know about such requests upon applying.
What will my accommodation be like?
Rent-free housing is included in the program. Your school will provide a furnished studio apartment, school dorm, or shared house (shared with other teachers and you’d have a private bedroom). Most accommodations are within walking distance to school placements.
You’ll be responsible for utilities, although some schools provide a small stipend to help.
Accommodations don’t usually have a full kitchen—you will likely have a mini-fridge, rice cooker, and microwave only. Since local food is so delicious and cheap, most participants don’t mind.
Will I have internet access?
Most schools have internet and sometimes WiFi available, but internet may not be available in your accommodation. If it’s not, there are many internet cafes where you can find cheap or free WiFi.
Do I need a TEFL Certificate?
No, but getting certified is probably the right thing to do, especially if you don’t have any classroom teaching experience. We suggest a TEFL course with International TEFL Academy. Mention InterExchange and get $50 off!
Applicants with a TEFL certificate of at least 120 hours are eligible for a monthly salary of 30,000 THB.
Do I need a teaching degree?
You don’t need a teaching degree to participate. As long as you have a bachelor’s degree (in any subject), you meet the educational requirements of the program.
If you’ve never taught before or worked with students learning English, we encourage you to do some practice teaching and/or obtain a TEFL certificate beforehand. This will help you feel more confident in the classroom and gain an understanding of the challenges language-learners might face.
If you have a teaching degree, schools will appreciate this and you’re eligible to earn more than the minimum monthly salary on the program (33,000 baht instead of 28,000 baht).
When does the school year begin and end in Thailand?
From elementary to high school, the first semester commences mid-May and runs to the end of September. The second semester commences in early November and runs to mid-March of the following year. Specific start and end dates vary by school.
Will I have vacation time?
You’ll have weekends and holidays to travel. Just like teachers in the U.S. can’t take vacation whenever they want—they must adhere to the academic calendar—the same is true for teachers in Thailand.
There are several public holidays in Thailand, though, and two-semester teachers are usually able to take some time off during the semester break.
School holidays, vacations, and semester end dates vary by school and you should ask your coordinator about your school’s schedule.
How will I be supported?
We’re here to help you with your application, provide pre-departure support and guidance, and find the right school placement.
Upon arrival in Bangkok or Chiang Mai, you’ll attend a five-day orientation where you’ll meet dozens of other participants and our Thai partner. Orientation is a great way to settle into your new home, learn more about living and working in Thailand, and connect with fellow teachers.
Our Thai partner will be there throughout your program to help with any issues that might come up, and you’ll have a coordinator at your school to provide guidance. We also have alumni resources for you once you’ve returned home.
What will orientation be like?
Following your airport pickup, you’ll attend a five-day orientation at a hotel in Bangkok or Chiang Mai that includes activities and classes on TEFL theory, Thai language, and local culture. You’ll also have a chance to do some practice teaching!
This is a great chance to get to know the friendly staff of our Thai partner who are available for support throughout your program. They’ll discuss everyday concerns and provide travel advice for weekend excursions. You’ll also meet fellow teachers, who will be great resources for both teaching and exploring Thailand.
Orientation ends with a transfer onward to your teaching placement.
What is the application process?
Step 1: Complete the online application
This includes a personal statement and two signed letters of recommendation.
Step 2: Informational interview
We’ll contact you within 1-2 business days after receiving your application to set up an informational interview via video call to ensure the program is a good fit.
Step 3: Learn if you’ve been accepted within one week of your informational interview
Step 4: School matching process begins
This can take a few weeks. Once a school offers an employment invitation, we’ll send you the school profile (which will include details about your accommodation)
Step 5: Get your flight and apply for the visa
We’ll provide specific visa application instructions.
What type of visa do I need?
You’ll need a Non-Immigrant (Type B) Visa. After your school placement is confirmed, we’ll send you a visa letter along with visa application instructions. Your FBI or State Criminal Background check cannot be more than three months old at time of visa application, which occurs four to six weeks prior to program start-date.
What kind of criminal background check do I need?
For visa purposes you must obtain an FBI or State Criminal Background Check on official letterhead with a stamp or seal and signature. The check must clearly indicate that you have “no record” and cannot be more than three months old at time of visa application, which occurs four to six weeks prior to the program start-date.
If you reside in Arizona, Missouri, or California, an FBI Background Check is required; Thai Embassies won’t accept a State Criminal Background Check from these states.
Do I need to know Thai?
No, but it’s a good idea to work on your language skills before departure. Listening to language podcasts, Thai radio, watching films and talking to native speakers are all excellent ways to do this. You’ll learn some basic conversational Thai during orientation.
Are my flights and visa covered by the program fee?
No, please be prepared to pay the cost of your round-trip airfare and visa. The single-entry, non-immigrant (type B) visa costs $80 (as of August 2020).
What vaccinations should I obtain before traveling?
There are no compulsory vaccinations or inoculations required to enter Thailand, but you should be up-to-date on routine vaccines (measles-mumps-rubella, diphtheria-tetanus, chickenpox and polio). Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations are recommended by the Center for Disease Control. Please also consult your doctor.
Is it safe in Thailand?
Overall, crime is not a serious problem in Thailand, but you should take the same precautions you take at home and avoid unnecessary risks. If you intend to travel around Thailand, especially to remote border areas, you should do research to check for any trouble spots. In recent years there have been several instances of demonstrations by opposing political groups within Thailand, which are not aimed at foreigners. We strongly advise all participants to avoid any area of unrest and stay away from demonstrations/protests.