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BANGKOK 23 May 2019 05:39
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Ijustwannateach

Questions About Qualifications

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"I don't have a degree; can I teach in Thailand?"

"I have a B.A. in French and a TEFL. What kind of salary can I expect?"

"If I want to work for the Hoity Toity High School, what sort of paper do I have to have?"

"Can I get a work permit teaching English in a public school even though my degree is in accounting?"

"Are any private schools looking for someone with a background in swimming instruction?"

Feel like asking one of these questions or something similar? Ask it here!

This is the place for folks new to Thailand or new to teaching to post their degree qualifications, TEFL certifications, and experience to see what kind of jobs they should expect- OR, on the other hand, the place to ask what kinds of qualifications would be necessary for specific teaching jobs. Of course, I'd like the TEFL/teaching masters responding to be gentle and kind, considering that these are NEW folks. The focus should be on delivering information, not on slagging anyone for their stated qualifications (or lack thereof). Specifically, this is NOT the thread for judging people based on the presence or lack of a TEFL certificate or a degree.

Hope all posters here will find something useful to them!

I'll start it out- what kind of salary can a person with a SUBJECT degree (not English/TEFL and not a Ed. degree) hope to find in Bangkok teaching his subject (at Prathom or Matthayom)?

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Well, to answer my own question, in central Bangkok you can do pretty well- 45-50K or more, especially if you're willing to teach non-English subjects to Prathom in private schools or in EP programs. Math and science are especially in demand. Health and PE teachers are less often in demand, but the supply is also short. Even in the sticks fairly far out, you can make 40K, though really they should be paying you more for agreeing to live so far out. Don't think that you can ONLY teach English in Thailand; quite often it's the OTHER subjects that will pay the best! At the moment, there is no strictly enforced requirement for education degrees, as the MOE has apparently realized such a requirement is unrealistic given the conditions on the ground.

"Steven"

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Dear Ajarn "Steven",

Wondering if you could assess my relative value in the teaching market. I have no TESL certificate (although I have taken a course -- alas, complications set in), but I have an MA in the ever-useless discipline of sociology. I don't hope to land anything actually teaching sociology (been out of it too long), but what would my prospects be in the TEFL market?

Thanks.

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Hey, merlin! Thanks for asking. With a master's degree, you'll have a lot of the medium-range options open to you- especially university work, where you may even find a position teaching sociology (though TEFL or English is more likely). For university work, the Master's is more important than the TEFL. Unfortunately, the baseline salary for most universities is rather low, in the high 20s per month- on the other hand, class load is small and there are very long paid vacations, plus extra work is readily available for much better pay. If you have other sources of income, this can be an excellent way to get beer money plus a visa.

Having the master's degree will also overcome your not having TEFL in many elementary/high schools, though not all- most of the "upper crust" ones will want to see some experience in teaching, plus a TEFL if that's your subject. You shouldn't rule out teaching social studies (in English) in one of the more advanced EP programs, of which there are not too many- but the pay for the ones which exist is very generous compared to your average Thai school program (even into the 50s and 60s range).

If you do have a lot of teaching experience, you could theoretically apply even for the international schools here, though sometimes if you're applying locally it doesn't matter HOW good your qualifications are (they're kinda prejudiced against us locals) they still won't take you.

Naturally, the schools which will take ANYone will still be available, at the industry standard rate of 25-30K, usually without paid vacations or legitimate paperwork.

"Steven"

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Ok, ijustwannateach, I'll try my question in this thread. I'm not too used to forum boards yet.

My background - 46, living in Thailand for 6 years. Not working, but feel I need something to do.

Education - BA Law (1980). Law society finals (1981). All work experience in UK (19 yrs), in newspapers and magazines.

I have the chance to teach conversational English at a school 2 hours south of where I live. Having asked around town, I'm getting two schools of thought re qualifications.

1/. As long as I have a verifyable degree, I can teach conversational English. The school would contact my university direct, rather than relying on my documentation.

2/. The regulations changed recently ie over the past couple of months and I now need a recognised teaching qulification to work.

Requisite visa and work permit supplied by the school. I appreciate a qualification would be better for all concerned, but can anyone clarify the above situation?

The above is quoted from a post by "sua yai" on a couple of threads in the teacher's section- I'm replying to it here because that's what this thread is for!

I'll respond to your two points.

1. This is basically the truth. A verifiable bachelor's level degree is generally the minimum generally recognized qualification for TEFL teaching in Thailand. Of course, since this is Thailand, that means there are exceptions- there are schools which will hire you without one, and even sponsor you for a work permit and visa- but the *general* case is that you must have a normal 4 year degree.

The school *can* contact your university directly, if you have signed a release/request form for them to be allowed to access the information- they can't just demand your records. You should probably call your school and find out what sort of information would be necessary from you on a request form to allow your new would-be employer to request your records successfully. On the other hand, perhaps you should ask if they would accept a sealed transcript which you could request yourself? [incidentally, for a real work permit and visa these days the transcript is required along with the degree, so if you're low on these you might want to stock up while you're calling your uni].

2. This is technically true and has been for some time. One or two schools actually tried to enforce it a couple years back (by firing anyone without at least a B.ED, for example) and learned to their regret that the market for genuine B.EDs or M.Eds prices them WAY out of the range any TEFL-hiring school could ever afford. [gentle readers, if you DO have a B.Ed or M.Ed, I envy you!] That school is now back to hiring folks with genuine degrees who have the closest-to-ideal certs. and stats.

The Ministry has a sort of schizophrenic, bipolar attitude to this point- on PAPER, all of us are supposed to be B.Eds. but that wouldn't work even in our home countries, so they didn't enforce it. THEN they tried to say we should all get this "special cultural" course from a few recognized universities/institutions to the tune of 15 credit hours in education classes. I *do* know one fellow who's had to go this way for his school, but it's not the norm here either and I think they'll be giving up on that, too- demand is just too high and supply is too low.

Your qualifications seem way more than enough for any basic TEFL job, and I would even think you could get some kind of position doing high school social studies classes or perhaps even journalism (in English) at a Thai uni. The former would pay more money, and the latter would bring more opportunity.

There *is* journalism work available here in English, but it might not be what you're used to- the press is not exactly "free" after all- but it's a non-teaching job, if that's more attractive to you.

Good luck, however it works out! Let us know!

"Steven"

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Hey, merlin! Thanks for asking. With a master's degree, you'll have a lot of the medium-range options open to you- especially university work, where you may even find a position teaching sociology (though TEFL or English is more likely). For university work, the Master's is more important than the TEFL. Unfortunately, the baseline salary for most universities is rather low, in the high 20s per month- on the other hand, class load is small and there are very long paid vacations, plus extra work is readily available for much better pay. If you have other sources of income, this can be an excellent way to get beer money plus a visa.

Having the master's degree will also overcome your not having TEFL in many elementary/high schools, though not all- most of the "upper crust" ones will want to see some experience in teaching, plus a TEFL if that's your subject. You shouldn't rule out teaching social studies (in English) in one of the more advanced EP programs, of which there are not too many- but the pay for the ones which exist is very generous compared to your average Thai school program (even into the 50s and 60s range).

If you do have a lot of teaching experience, you could theoretically apply even for the international schools here, though sometimes if you're applying locally it doesn't matter HOW good your qualifications are (they're kinda prejudiced against us locals) they still won't take you.

Naturally, the schools which will take ANYone will still be available, at the industry standard rate of 25-30K, usually without paid vacations or legitimate paperwork.

"Steven"

IJWT,

This is exactly what I needed. You know my background basically...so a uni job, even with low pay, with low class load is exactly the hobby I'll be looking for.

Thanks.

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...

n central Bangkok you can do pretty well- 45-50K or more, especially if you're willing to teach non-English subjects to Prathom in private schools or in EP programs.  Math and science are especially in demand...

Sorry , I'm a newbie - What is "EP" ?

And while I'm at it I'd like to ask about my prospects for landing a teaching job in Thailand - I've got a BS in Electrical Engineering(from a top engineering school in the US), with three additional years of graduate studies in Nuclear Engineering and passage of Phd qualifiers - But I dropped out without a Masters or PhD. Your post was one of the few mentions I've seen of non-English teaching jobs; Do you think Teaching Science and Math sound like better options for me? I've also worked in IT for 6 years, have you heard of much demand for Software/Hardware teaching positions?

...

Unfortunately, the baseline salary for most universities is rather low, in the high 20s per month- on the other hand, class load is small and there are very long paid vacations, plus extra work is readily available for much better pay...

(My bold in the preceding quote) - what kind of extra work(is it legal or just "permitted") and how much pay are you talking about?

Thanks. :o

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ijustwannateach - firstly, thanks for all the info which I'll digest. Secondly, reckon I've got this "thread" thing sorted out now after speaking to some friends.

Newspapers are fun - I met the MD at The Bangkok Post some eight years ago, at the offices, informally, with a view to employment. Appreciate that the concept of free press here is slightly different to the UK.

I'm sure I'll have follow up questions and will get back to you.

Please get the other posts cleared up/deleted. They are in the wrong place.

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...

n central Bangkok you can do pretty well- 45-50K or more, especially if you're willing to teach non-English subjects to Prathom in private schools or in EP programs.  Math and science are especially in demand...

Sorry , I'm a newbie - What is "EP" ?

And while I'm at it I'd like to ask about my prospects for landing a teaching job in Thailand - I've got a BS in Electrical Engineering(from a top engineering school in the US), with three additional years of graduate studies in Nuclear Engineering and passage of Phd qualifiers - But I dropped out without a Masters or PhD. Your post was one of the few mentions I've seen of non-English teaching jobs; Do you think Teaching Science and Math sound like better options for me? I've also worked in IT for 6 years, have you heard of much demand for Software/Hardware teaching positions?

...

Unfortunately, the baseline salary for most universities is rather low, in the high 20s per month- on the other hand, class load is small and there are very long paid vacations, plus extra work is readily available for much better pay...

(My bold in the preceding quote) - what kind of extra work(is it legal or just "permitted") and how much pay are you talking about?

Thanks. :o

Dear Phormio,

Good questions! An "EP" (stands for "English Program") is a special class or section within a school- sometimes public, sometimes private- in which all subjects are conducted almost entirely or entirely in English. These types of schools will need English-speaking (typically but not always native speakers) teachers of English, science, math, health, social studies, computer science, and even physical education- haven't heard about any arts or music teachers in EP yet, but I'm sure they're out there. Because the subjects are more specialized and require more training/coursework, supply is limited and so salaries are higher, though not yet at the princely levels of the "true international schools." It seems like these have sprung up like mushrooms around Bangkok the last few years- be careful, though, because the administrations of some are more than a trifle incompetent or dodgy- try to ask around or interview current teachers at the schools when you apply.

Your resume would make you a dream candidate for these positions, or even perhaps some of the less snooty "international" schools (though if you've never taught before, better to start at the EP schools!)

There are a number of positions in IT teaching in these EP programs; you should be fine!

With your experience, you may even be able to land a good IT position in one of the foreign companies based here- check out the Bangkok Post!

At the unis, the extra work is probably best legally described as "gray area." The uni knows about it, and often even provides it- "Ajarn, can you help Somchai proofread his dissertation? Can you teach an extra Master level class on Saturday?"- but often it is paid "under the table" (or rather, "in the envelope") by the students themselves, being private work, and is possibly technically illegal. However, it is considered sort of a teacher's perogative in Thailand to do this kind of outside work, and rarely questioned (as if the government would have time to investigate every little proofreading gig you do). No one wants to do paperwork for that kind of thing- but of course I would never advise anyone to do anything possibly illegal, like GOing AHEAD AND DOing THE PRIVATE JOBS. As far as the amounts concerned, it's usually in the 1000B/hr neighborhood from what I hear. Availability would probably depend on what days YOU wanted to be available.

"Steven"

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1. Well if you want a teachers licence and thus WP a degree on it's own might be enough, on the other hand it is getting more and more like what person 2. is telling you, so you may need a TEFL on top of your degree!

I'll clean up the other threads!

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Hey, merlin! Thanks for asking. With a master's degree, you'll have a lot of the medium-range options open to you- especially university work, where you may even find a position teaching sociology (though TEFL or English is more likely). For university work, the Master's is more important than the TEFL. Unfortunately, the baseline salary for most universities is rather low, in the high 20s per month- on the other hand, class load is small and there are very long paid vacations, plus extra work is readily available for much better pay. If you have other sources of income, this can be an excellent way to get beer money plus a visa.

Having the master's degree will also overcome your not having TEFL in many elementary/high schools, though not all- most of the "upper crust" ones will want to see some experience in teaching, plus a TEFL if that's your subject. You shouldn't rule out teaching social studies (in English) in one of the more advanced EP programs, of which there are not too many- but the pay for the ones which exist is very generous compared to your average Thai school program (even into the 50s and 60s range).

If you do have a lot of teaching experience, you could theoretically apply even for the international schools here, though sometimes if you're applying locally it doesn't matter HOW good your qualifications are (they're kinda prejudiced against us locals) they still won't take you.

Naturally, the schools which will take ANYone will still be available, at the industry standard rate of 25-30K, usually without paid vacations or legitimate paperwork.

"Steven"

Thanks for the info, Steven. It's much appreciated. Just how likely might a university job be --whether in TEFL of social studies? I would have thought the competition rather stiff.

Although I know some of the basics to TEFL, I have no practical experience. I do have six years of teaching sociology at the university level, but obviously that's totally different from the creativity and plain hard work required for teaching TEFL.

The low salary of a university doesn't bother me at all, since I'd rather have less work to do. Alas, I'm lazy by nature.

You mentioned the possibility of teaching social studies in an EP at a private high school (if I understood correctly). Just how possible is this? Since I am wary of only teaching TEFL (don't think I have the energy or personality for it frankly), I would be much more interested in going the social studies route. Any other info on this would be appreciated and richly remunerated from my end -- a couple of rounds of beer for starters.

cheers,

Merlin

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Hey, merlin! Well, such universities as hire farang teachers are usually pretty desperate for staff *because* the salaries are so low- in fact, they really depend on folks who can either economize or who have other income- to wit, the semi-retired. If you start looking around, I'm sure you won't have any trouble. The only thing might be troublesome is location- initially you might have to work a bit out of the downtown area. If you don't want to live in Bangkok, then there are plenty of country town unis which constantly need foreign TEFLers.

The jobs for social studies teacher in EP programs will be a bit harder to get, and when you get them they'll be harder work (because you have to get results, unlike in the unis)- but the salary may be almost doubled for that. It'll take you longer to find these positions, though ('cause the people who have them don't usually have as high a turnover as TEFLers) but if you keep your eyes open you'll probably fall into something before long!

Cheers, and glad to help out.

"Steven"

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Just thought I'd toss in my two cent's worth on teaching in universities....

If you have a Bachelor's only, you are less likely to get a contract, but larger universities usually have hourly PT @ 300+ per hour- except at Chiang Mai University, where, last I heard, they were still paying 250....

The reason for the Master's need is that most contract teachers will also be teaching graduate students.

Office politics in university offices is much more in your face than in any lower-level school I've seen. Part-timers can mostly stay clear, but it's not that easy as a contract teacher. Seriously give consideration to this. I've seen even the best get chewed-up in this scene. At the larger universities like cmu, many of the farang teachers have been there for 20 years as part-timers. If you can stear clear of the politics, an Academic Life can be pretty mellow...

Pay is still 17,500 salary plus 8,000 baht housing allowance at all Govt universities for an 'Ajarn Piset'. There are some contract positions for farangs in other faculties teaching IT/computer, or in Agriculture, Medicine, etc., but these contracts are rare, and staff turnover even rarer. I have a couple of friends at cmu who've been working there for 20 years, and longer, teaching IT-related courses.

If you want to teach something other than English, try the private universities, like Websters, and colleges which offer an English curriculum. The best International schools only hire real teachers with direct experience, from what I've seen.

The best time to apply for a govt university job is right after Songkran. You must apply in person from my experience, and some universities, like Chula, will give you a test to check your English editing skills, and you will have to give a teaching demo in front of a real class.

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^Excellent and detailed reply, Ajarn. I should mention that the higher paid work is the "grey area" work and usually involves proofreading and upper level (masters or phd student) classes. Simply doing extra classes overtime is unfortunately at the under-market rates Ajarn mentions. Real part time hourly work in Bangkok should pay at least 400 an hour.

"Steven"

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