Share →

tefl_no_degree.jpgDo you need a degree to teach English legally in Thailand?

This is one of the most asked questions about teaching English and Thailand, and the answer is a definite maybe.

If you’ve done any research on this, you’ve probably read that there are some that claim that a degree is required and there are others that say that they’ve been working legally for years without one. Who can you believe?

There’s no nationwide policy in Thailand which dictates that foreign English teachers need to hold a bachelor’s degree in order to be granted a teacher’s license, non-immigrant B visa or work permit. Each area of Thailand has its own immigration and labor office, and a degree might be required at one but not the other. This, like many other things in Thailand, is not consistent.

There simply aren’t enough native English teachers with university degrees to go around. If you don’t have a degree, the school you are applying to can submit a request to the Thai Ministry of Education (MoE) for a waiver. Organizations with favorable reputations will often find it easier to navigate through the system, especially if there is a need.

What you don’t want to do is get a job with a fake degree or lie about having a one. The odds are on your side that you won’t get caught, but this just isn’t smart. Immigration police have raided schools in the past and a handful of teachers using fake degrees have gone to Thai prison for lying about their qualifications.

Another popular misconception is that a life experience degree from one of the online degree mills will be accepted by the MoE. Thailand has many loopholes, but this is not one of them. Degrees may be checked at any time and if you are caught with one of these life experience degrees, you could be out of work.

So, where does this leave us? Is it possible to work in Thailand legally without a university degree? Yes. Is it easier to find work with one? Yes. Should you use a fake degree? No. Will you be caught with one? It’s unlikely, but possible.

Rules change, and nothing is ever set in stone. If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments below.

3 Responses to Teaching in Thailand without a degree. Is it possible?

  1. Samantha says:

    I am a third year at a university but this semester I am not in school because I am working and getting my TEFL certificate. My plans are to move to Thailand with my mother around June in hopes of a job. I am not fluent in Thai but I know a lot about my culture since I am half. Do you think my chances of getting a stable teaching job in Chiang Mai are still good even though I don’t have a Bachelors degree? Thanks!

    • TeachTEFLThailand says:

      Hi Samantha,
      Are you entering to Thailand as a dependent with a non-immigrant “O” visa? If so, that will give you plenty of time to look for work, and you will be able to legally work with this type of visa (with a work permit).
      Bring a transcript of your completed course work. Jobs are available everywhere, and it’s best to go to each school in person. If you have trouble finding a job because of your lack of a degree, you can try working at a private language school. Private language schools/centers often hire teachers as “language trainers” (ผู้สอน) as opposed to “teachers” (ครุ) which can make it easier to get a work permit. It could be a viable way to get your foot in the door.
      Be persistent, polite and be sure to have everything in order before you leave.
      Good luck!

  2. ruben says:

    I have my 120 hour tefl certificate and 2 weeks from now I will have my Associates degree. What are the chances of me being able to land a teaching job in Thailand?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *