Every year, many westerners come to Thailand to teach EFL (English as a Foreign Language). Replete with stories from other westerners (known as ‘farangs’ in Thailand), who tell them the streets are paved with gold, they find out when they get here English jobs in Thailand are usually quite low salary and, to have the lifestyle they dream of, is very unlikely. In fact, it is possible to make money teaching English in Thailand but it does take some work. If you want to teach EFL in Thailand, but aren’t willing to make a pittance for doing it, follow these tips and you’ll soon find you have the lifestyle of your dreams.
Don’t Take the First Teaching Job That’s Offered – Making money teaching English in Thailand often boils down to the job you take. Many teachers get here, worry about making money, and leap on the first low-paying job they find. If you’re living in Bangkok, you need a minimum of 50,000 baht a month to have any kind of decent lifestyle and 70,000 is better. So, don’t take the first 35,000 baht job a school offers you. There are many jobs in Thailand paying a lot more. You just need to spend some time looking for them.
Make Sure Your Main Job Pays at Least 45,000 Baht – In order to make money teaching EFL in Thailand, you should have a goal of your main job paying at least 45,000 baht a month salary. By western standards, this is still low as it’s only around $1,300 a month but, in Thailand, 45,000 baht is four times what the average Thai makes, which means you’re on your way to a nice lifestyle – but you’re not there yet!
Work a Part-Time Job Teaching Corporate English – Even though, technically, working a part-time teaching job in Thailand is illegal (you’re only allowed to work at the place your work permit is for), just about every teacher in Thailand does it, and the government turns a blind eye to it. After all, if they didn’t, 90% of places in Thailand that need a foreign English teacher wouldn’t be able to get one. Taking a part-time job teaching corporate English is the best way to make quick and decent money. Most corporate jobs pay at least 600 baht per hour so, even a job only working two evenings a week for two hours at a time will give you an extra 10,000 baht ($300) a month. So, now your salary is at 55,000, and that’s heading towards excellent. If you teach another corporate job, you’ve added an extra 20,000 baht a month and, now, you have a high salary in Thailand.
Work a Weekend Job at a Language School – Many English teachers in Thailand work weekend jobs at Thai language schools teaching English. For me, having worked all week, I can’t imagine working all weekend too but many of the male teachers do it. Plus, with language schools like the one through Chulalongkorn University, paying upwards of 30,000 baht just for two days work, with one main job at 45,000 plus a weekend job, your salary is now in the realms of the gods for most English teachers in Thailand.
Teach Some Private English Classes – The perfect way to make money in Thailand teaching English is to teach some private students. The going rate per hour is 500-800 baht (unqualified teachers will charge less but, if you’re qualified, you shouldn’t) and with half of Thailand wanting to learn English, you’ll discover very quickly you’re soon turning students away. Just three private students twice a week will give you an extra 18,000 baht ($540) a month, and that’s if you charge the minimum 500 baht per hour only.
Remember, when you come to teach English in Thailand, there are many opportunities to make money and many English teachers have extremely nice lifestyles in Thailand. Sure, you might have to work a few extra hours here and there but Thailand is such a relaxed place anyway, it really won’t kill you.