TEFL Training in Thailand
A Variety of Options for TEFL Certificate-Seekers
Women wearing traditional Akha tribal dress in Thailand, north of Chaing Dao.
Thailand, one of Asia’s most inviting destinations, has an array of teacher training programs of the same standard as those offered elsewhere in the world. And not only are courses in Thailand inexpensive, they make it easy to find a job (in Thailand or elsewhere in Asia) after training.
Most of the courses meet for about 120 hours and take from four to six weeks to complete. All combine theory and practice—the typical course requires trainees to do six hours of practice teaching. However, the various programs, differ in their approaches, schedules, and costs.
ECC (www.eccthai.com), established in 1988, offers four programs, the best known of which is the CELTA ($1,400). Internationally recognized, the CELTA is offered in over 130 centers worldwide. ECC also does a 2-week introduction to Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). This relatively inexpensive course is recognized by the Thai Ministry of Education. Finally, ECC has short courses in Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL) and Teaching Business English. These specialized subjects are designed for those who already have some classroom experience.
Text-and-Talk Academy (www.tefl-teach-thai.com) compares its TEFL course to ECC’s CELTA. The very successful TEFL for Target Learner Groups Course has been offered since 1991. Trainees learn about the specific problems that Thais have when studying English, and in this respect is more flexible than the standardized CELTA. Text-and-Talk’s course is offered in four Thai cities: Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, and Chiang Mai. Students who successfully complete the program are awarded a numbered certificate by the Thai Ministry of Education (certificates are numbered because many English teachers in Bangkok forge their credentials).
Spencer International’s (www.TEFL1.com) teacher training curriculum is accredited by Chichester College in the U.K. Their TEFL and TEYL courses, held in Bangkok and Phnom Penh, Cambodia, are unique in that trainees can discuss ideas online—guided by a tutor. “CyberClass” participation is an integral part of the programs because courses meet only on Saturdays. The TEFL1 certificate ($490) is Spencer International’s centerpiece program.
Asia’s largest TESOL course provider is TEFL International (www.teflinternational.com). Classes are held in Ban Phe and Phuket, locations that appeal to those who want to escape from the pollution and congestion of Bangkok. English teachers are in great demand in Thailand, and teacher-training programs offer job placement assistance. Some trainees in fact manage to secure teaching jobs before they complete their TEFL certificates.
A bachelor’s degree and a TEFL qualification will enable you to get a job at a Thai university. Language institutes hire anyone with either a degree or a certificate. Versatile instructors who are willing to teach children can pick and choose from a number of possibilities. An EFL teacher in Bangkok can easily make the equivalent of about $1,000 a month—in Thailand, not a paltry wage.
Although Thailand is the Asian destination of choice for TEFL certificate-seekers, many trainees seek employment in other countries after graduation. Teaching posts in Korea, Japan, and Taiwan are more lucrative than those in Thailand. Some schools in neighboring Vietnam and Cambodia pay in American dollars, so many teachers prefer to work in those countries.
Wherever you decide to teach, earning a TEFL certificate is worthwhile. Having one will make it easier to travel the world, and you will be able to help people everywhere improve their lives.