Do I need a Teacher Certificate
to Teach in Thailand?

Leaving the legal requirements aside for a moment, a teacher certificate in TEFL/TESL trains you how to teach a foreign language from a practical perspective and is therefore probably the most useful investment you can make if you want a teaching jobs in Thailand.

Teaching in Thai Language schools exposes you to a variety of different teaching situations, from teaching large classes, one-on-one, young learners, teenagers or adult conversation. A teacher certificate gives you the tools to cope with this, providing a guide for structuring and planning effective lessons. More importantly it teaches you about Thai students and their culture and shows you how to maximize their learning by analyzing the differences between the two languages. Moreover, the underlying principles of any TEFL certificate can be applied to any teaching subject (Math, Science, Computing) if dealing with learners whose first language is not English.

Ministry of Education Requirements

Take a look at any Thailand job database and you’ll see that the minimum requirements are usually a TEFL teacher certificate and a bachelor’s degree. These documents are required by the Ministry Of Education to qualify you for a teaching license. Without a license you cannot get a Thai work permit or work visa, and teaching illegally in Thailand is unadvisable in today’s current climate.

Since the Military Coup in September 2006 the Thai government is clamping down hard on illegal teachers and those with fake qualifications. There are many stories of teachers working in schools with ‘Khao San Road’ degrees or fake teacher certificates. Despite the recent crackdown these can still be bought off the streets for around 1,000 baht, but school directors and a number of officials at the Ministry of Education are getting much better at spotting them. Recently the government carried out a series of background checks and brought charges against a number of teachers, whose pictures were paraded on the front of the Bangkok Post.

Providing you have a teacher certificate, if you don’t have a degree it is better to ‘come clean’ to a prospective language school and see if there is anything they can do with regard to your MOE application. It is also in their best interests to try and help if they really want to employ you.

You will come across teachers who are legally teaching in Thailand without a degree. The MOE does sometimes make exceptions, especially for the teaching of younger children in primary schools or in the rural areas where there is a drastic need for foreign teachers. Without a degree, the school and MOE will definitely need a TEFL certificate, and this must be supported by a high school diploma.

Thailand offers a wide range of choices (local or international course providers) when it comes to taking a TEFL certificate here. Which course you choose in order to obtain your teacher’s certificate very much depends on your finances and where you plan to work after your successful graduation.

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