The more cynical people would say that having a pulse is all that is required to become an English teacher in Thailand. Although that’s not too far from the truth in some circumstances, the reality is that you will need to get some sort of teaching qualification like a TEFL certificate. Don’t worry though because a TEFL course isn’t that difficult and can be quite cheap if you do it online. More about that later, first lets look at the reality of teaching in Thailand and what’s needed.
The first thing you have to realize is that there are many different types of English teaching jobs in Thailand. You can find jobs all over the country and not just in Bangkok. Like anywhere else there are good jobs and bad jobs. There are well paid jobs and badly paid jobs. You can find more information on the different types of teaching jobs elsewhere on this site.
So basically the more qualified you are the better English teaching job you can get. Lets start at the very bottom though. If you can speak English and you’re not a native speaker (European, Asian, South American) and you have absolutely no qualifications, you will still be able to find a teaching job. Even if your English is not that great, you’ll still be able to find work, although if will be at a really bad school with really poor pay.
If you get yourself a TEFL or TESOL certificate (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) then you will be able to find a much better job even if you’re not a native speaker. If you are a native speaker (English, Australian, American etc) then you have a definite advantage. For the majority of decent teaching jobs in Thailand a TEFL or TESOL certificate is the bare minimum.
Now, if you have a bachelors degree as well as a teaching certificate then you will have access to the very top jobs in universities and and private schools. Although lots of jobs say they require you to have a degree they may still accept you even if you don’t or they will make ‘arrangements’ so that your lack of degree isn’t a problem.
There are many rules and regulations in Thailand but there are lots of ways to get around them. It’s definitely a case of ‘who you know’ rather than ‘what you know’. And in these cases it’s about ‘who your school knows’. This may seem strange if you have never been to Thailand but the reality is that corruption is rife!
To summarize. If you have got a TESOL/TEFL and you are a good English speaker/native speaker then you can get work in most places. If you have a real bachelors degree to go along with it then you can apply for just about every teaching job available. As you pick up teaching experience along the way even more doors will start to open for you.