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Do I Need a TEFL to Teach English in Thailand?
Short Answer: Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
120-Hour TEFL courses are the standard.
Do a 120 hour TEFL (TESOL & CELTA are equivalent) certification course. Just do it and you’ll NEVER have to worry about whether or not you’re TEFL qualifies you to teach English in Thailand, Japan, Spain, Saudi Arabia, etc.
Do NOT waste your time with anything other than a 120-hour certification. I don’t care what anybody else says. Even if you are one of the FEW who somehow manage to get a job in Thailand without a 120-hour TEFL, which rarely happens, this is what will probably happen:
- Less Desirable Jobs. If you get a job, it will be a less desirable one. Employers and fellow employees are likely to treat you with less respect.
- Insufficient Training. You will be improperly trained, and it will show. 120 hours is the PERFECT amount of time to get properly trained.
- Unenjoyable. Insufficient training will cause you to have a lot of problems and make the experience unenjoyable.
- You vs. Others. By default, they will choose someone with a 120-hour TEFL over someone with a 60 or 100-hour TEFL (all else being remotely equal).
- Teach Abroad Bug. When you catch the teaching English abroad bug, you’ll want to continue on to places like Japan, France, Brazil, etc. Well, those places are even less likely to accept anything less than a 120-hour TEFL.
TEFL, TESOL or CELTA?
As long as it’s 120 hours, all three are equivalent. FYI, CELTA courses are always 120 hours.
Each certification has its supporters and detractors, but the bottom line is that there is no difference. All are equally accepted by employers worldwide. Pick the course that feels most comfortable to YOU! Ask yourself this, “Are they trying to ‘sell me’ or are they trying to take care of ME?”
As someone who has sifted through over 10,000+ resumes, held thousands of interviews, and hired hundreds of people, I do NOT care which certificate course you took.
Online TEFL vs. In-class TEFL Abroad vs. Hybrid TEFL
If it’s 120 hours, any of the 3 are acceptable for English teaching jobs in Thailand.
Pros – 1. do on your time 2. do at your pace 3. ability to review the material 4. cheaper 5. faster 6. more convenient
Cons – 1. no Q&A 2. no teaching practice 3. no job assistance (usually) 4. no network building 5. no transition abroad help
In-Class TEFL in Thailand
Pros – 1. Full Q&A 2. teaching practice 3. job assistance (check with your school) 4. network building 5. transition abroad help (check with your school) 6. can adjust to life in Thailand without the pressure of working
Cons – 1. more expensive than a hybrid or online TEFL 2. time consuming (4 weeks long, 9-5, Mon-Fri) 3. requires you to have living expenses for 1.5 months vs. 2 weeks for a Hybrid TEFL or In-class TEFL in your home country.
In-Class TEFL – Home Country
This is a TEFL course you take in your hometown.
Pros – 1. can continue working & go to class 2. some network building 3. Full Q&A 4. save on living expenses compared with a TEFL Thailand.
Cons – 1. Usually insufficient training 2. no teaching practice 3. little to no job assistance 4. little to no transition abroad help 5. expensive
Hybrid TEFL Course in Thailand
Hybrid TEFL courses are part online and part in-class. It offers the best of both worlds.
Pros – 1. do on your time 2. do at your pace 3. ability to review the material 4. cheaper 5. faster 6. more convenient 7. can work & study online 8. network building 9. Full Q&A 10. teaching practice 11. job assistance (check with your school) 12. transition abroad help (check with your school) 13. can adjust to life in Thailand without the pressure of working 14. save on living expenses compared with a 4 week TEFL certification course in Thailand.
Cons – None. Unless you don’t value you time and money and you enjoy sitting in a classroom from 9-5, Monday through Friday for 4 weeks.
Can I Teach English in Thailand Without a TEFL?
Theoretically, yes. But, theoretically you can do surgery without being a doctor. That doesn’t make it a good idea. Would you hire someone to do surgery who didn’t have the training? I hope not!
In any case, it has happened in the past.
You will hear stories of people who found work teaching English in Thailand without a degree and TEFL certificate. So it is possible. However, it’s not probable. Those who have taught English in Thailand without a TEFL are usually special cases; they had a connection in Thailand, they happened to be in the right place at the right time, they were super-charismatic, etc.
Why Should I Get a TEFL to Teach English in Thailand?
There is a lot of debate as to what the actual law is in Thailand.
Regardless of what the ‘law’ is, we’re going off of how it works in reality.
If you’re somehow lucky to find a job without a TEFL in Thailand, then you are highly unlikely to get a Work Permit & Extension of Stay (what people refer to as a Work Visa) in Thailand without a TEFL certificate.
In fact, you are more likely to get a Work Permit & Extension of Stay if you have a TEFL certificate and no degree than if you have a degree without a TEFL certificate in Thailand.
Yes, we know that upsets a lot of people, but it’s reality.
I’ve sifted through 10,000+ resumes over the years. The fact of the matter is, I’d much sooner hire someone with no degree and a TEFL, than someone with a degree and no TEFL. Your degree in Biology, Psychology, and even English has nothing to do with the skills needed to be an English teacher in Thailand.
Without a Work Permit & Extension of Stay you will have to constantly jump the border to extend your Tourist Visa. This is increasingly becoming more and more difficult and an absolute pain….Oh, and expensive.
Working without a TEFL in Thailand opens you up to potentially unscrupulous employers who will exploit your lack of legal status, withhold paychecks, make you work horrible hours, etc., because they know you can’t report them to anyone. Whatever the cost of a TEFL in Thailand is, it’s worth the peace of mind.
Knowing English qualifies you to teach English in Thailand, but it does NOT mean you can teach it. Knowing English and teaching English in Thailand are two different things. You need to have the TEFL theory which will guide your English teaching practice. The theories of TEFL are the future of teaching; turning boring lectures into fun, engaging, interactive lessons that are all about doing!
TEFL Special Skills Training
Most importantly, you need TEFL skills training and testing. Teaching English in Thailand is a “doing” job and you need to be able to perform certain skills, such as routines for appropriately getting your English students into pairs and how to develop a lesson plan. It’s not rocket science, but there are specific skills that you need to be taught and need to practice.
A 120-hour TEFL certificate course in Thailand is always required by the better teaching English jobs in Thailand. Most companies will not look at your resume without it.
Should I Take a TEFL Course in Thailand?
Technically, it doesn’t matter a heck of a lot where you get your TEFL from. With that said, we recommend either a hybrid TEFL course (with teaching practice in Thailand) or a 4 week in-class TEFL course in Thailand.
English Teaching Jobs in Thailand Job Assistance
Companies, at least the legitimate ones, have relationships with the schools, agencies, tutoring centers, universities, etc., and they seek out their TEFL in Thailand graduates. Additionally, they’ll help you avoid the bad and dishonest companies. Without a TEFL course in Thailand assisting you, you will find it more difficult to find a job teaching English in Thailand.
BONUS TIP: Ask any potential TEFL courses what their SPECIFIC assistance will be. If they can’t tell you the process. Then assume that you won’t be getting much assistance.
Let’s face it, moving to a new country can be a nervous time for some people. It’s normal. The fact is, there is no reason to be worried about teaching English in Thailand with a TEFL. It’s safe and the market it very well-developed and improving all the time. However, with a TEFL course in Thailand, you can use their experience, expertise, & services to help you get adjusted quick & easy.
A TEFL certificate course in Thailand can help you with anything and everything you could ever need. If it’s your first time in a foreign country, you definitely want the assistance. From getting picked up at the airport, to getting a month-long accommodation sorted out, to buying a SIM card, to getting your laptop repaired, it’s a lot easier to have a local assist you.
Even if you have been to a country before, traveling to it and living in it are two DIFFERENT things. Find a TEFL course in Thailand that goes the extra mile. Getting a TEFL certified in Thailand is much more than JUST taking a course & getting a piece of paper.
BONUS TIP: Ask the TEFL provider how they will assist you in transitioning.
Or just ask us by filling in the form below