Requirements for teaching in Thailand
Sep 30, 2014 Teacher Training 2496 Views
Qualifications for TEFL jobs, teaching English in Thailand
Teaching English is a popular way to live and work in Thailand, and many are employed here, legally or otherwise, in TEFL jobs. In 2014 the criteria have become more strictly enforced and not everyone qualifies to come and simply teach.
Like most countries, the ministry of education in Thailand maintains specific minimum qualifications to license teachers, Thai or otherwise, before they can step into a classroom. Afterall, they are fussy about who they allow to teach the future generations.
Thais need to have completed a degree and a one-year teaching diploma to qualify for teaching licenses, however provision is made for temporary licences for those undergoing internships or to fulfill demand in certain situation.
For foreigners the temporary licence is a common solution to the demand for ESL teachers, so that anyone with a degree can become an English teacher. But there is a catch; this is a temporary licence that lasts up to four years.
Here is the official list from the Khurusapa website (paraphrased)
Must be over 21
Must have a degree (in any subject)
Must have criminal background check
Must have completed 1 year of teaching experience
Must have a one-year recognised diploma in teaching if your degree is not in education.
Must have completed a Culture and Ethics test
Temporary licences are given out if you satisfy the first 3 points, and these are good for 2 years, usually extended for another 2 years.
So, clearly you need a degree at the very minimum otherwise you can’t get a teachers’ licence which means no work permit which means working illegally. Until recently many teachers were in this position (and it’s argued that having a degree doesn’t necessarily guarantee you’ll be a good teacher). Typically these people would work without a work permit and undertake other means to get a visa to stay in the country. Lately they have clamped down on that.
After your four years on a temporary licence is up you need to study towards the diploma, of which several online options are offered including one from New Era University through UniTEFL. However, an alternative to this is to sit the MoE’s Professional Knowledge tests (4) which are periodically offered and reckoned to be bizarre and difficult to answer. Also, this certificate is of no value outside of Thailand so the diploma through a university is recommended. The Culture and Ethics tests was waivered in 2014 due to an overhaul of the testing process.
As a new teacher to Thailand the main item on your checklist is a degree. Without it you will still likely find work in a language centre, seeing as there is now a shortage of teachers but you must be willing to work illegally and put up with visa restrictions. One popular means is to sign up for one-year part-time Thai language course that comes with an ed visa. They’ve become stricter in 2014 but it still works for many. There’s rumour they might relax the degree stipulation to meet demand.
One qualification that is not needed is a TEFL certificate, this is because the ministry of education are unable to verify the varying TEFL certifications, so they leave that up to recruiters. Most of them insist on seeing a full in-class 120 hour TEFL course, especially if you have no prior experience. The online TEFLs generally get ignored unless the school is desperate, in which case it’s probably not a very well paid job.