Probably one of my most frequently asked questions is how I became an English teacher in Chiang Mai. What did I do to get there? Which qualifications did I need? And how did I land a job? These questions, my friend, will be answered right here.
3 Different Types of Schools
So before we dive into everything else, we need to talk about the system. Like in all of Thailand, there are 3 different types of schools in Chiang Mai; there are public, private and international schools.
Public schools are the cheapest schools for students to attend to and so they are accessible to the public. These schools are low-budget and do not have the financial means to hire a foreign teacher. There are public schools that will be hiring volunteers, but not paid teachers.
Private schools are a lot more expensive than public schools. This is partly because they provide English classes and thus hire foreign teachers.
International schools are the best schools in the country and these schools are not Thai. Lots of the kids that attend these schools are also international students.
There are big differences between international and private schools; international schools offer a higher salary and have a different educational system. More importantly, international schools hire only teachers with a degree in teaching, which lots of us (including myself) don’t have. I have only taught in private schools and I will explain exactly how to do so.
Now, let’s look at the qualifications you need to legally teach in a private school. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how much experience you have or how good of a teacher you are, the government needs these documents to provide you with a legal work permit. Working without the government’s legal permission, on a tourist visa, for example, is legally prohibited.
A Bachelor’s Degree in anything is needed for the government’s legal permission. This degree does not have to be in education. From psychology to physics, anything is allowed as long as you have an official diploma.
A TEFL Certificate is the next important step. Just do a quick Google search, there are numerous ways to get one. I got mine in SeeTEFL Chiang Mai, but you can also get one in other countries, or online.
Do I need to be a native speaker? Some schools will be only looking for native speakers, but not all of them. I am not considered a native speaker and I have taught in Sarasas Witaed and The Prince Royal College, without any issues.
Being a native speaker is not measured by how good your English is, but by which country you are a passport holder of. Passport holders that are considered to be native speakers are often from the USA, Canada, Brittain, Australia, New Zealand and sometimes South Africa.
If your passport is not from any of those countries, you might have to complete a TOEIC test to prove your English is of sufficient level. Don’t rush yourself and get one though, your school will inform you if this is required, prepare the needed documents and often provide you with a discount.
How to Get the Job
Once you have all of your documents sorted, it is time to find yourself a job. A lot of people get confused because they are looking online and seem to be unsuccessful. This is because Thailand is not a country that handles a lot of things online. The best thing to do is to take initiative and to walk into schools with your resume ready to go. Sometimes you’ll get hired the same day.
To be an English teacher in Chiang Mai is honestly not that difficult, but it can be helpful to know what to do and how to behave. To help you out with this, I’ll soon publish another article with the best tips on getting the job. So stay tuned and see you soon!