Thailand, AKA the “Land of Smiles,” is a dream destination for TEFL teachers.
From the thousands of miles of coastline – home to some of the sandiest, whitest beaches in the world — to the bustling rows of delicious street food in the Big Mango (Bangkok), it’s hard to find a better spot to get your TEFL certificate.
If you’re looking for insight on the best TEFL courses in Thailand, this guide is designed to help you choose the program that is best suited to help you land your ESL dream job in East/Southeast Asia or beyond.
The Best TEFL Courses in Thailand
best online option
TEFL Hero 120hr Online Course
Made with love by ESL Authority
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SEE TEFL Teacher Training
ITTT Online, Classroom, CELTA, Trinity Courses
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Teach Away 100, 120, or 150hr Online TEFL
Best CELTA & DELTA
International House Training
You’ve likely already seen the ocean of TEFL courses in Thailand advertised on the internet.
Here, we will weed out the sub-par from the truly exceptional — leaving you with the shortlist of the 5 premier TEFL courses for anyone looking to teach in Thailand.
TEFL Hero – Best Online Option
TELF Hero is one of the new kids on the block when it comes to TEFL, but their online course is perfect for anyone looking to teach in Thailand, abroad, or online.
Created and supported by current and former ESL teachers, TEFL Hero is a great online option if you’re looking for a curriculum-rich course that’s flexible and won’t break the bank.
Starting at $99, the TEFL Hero course is an incredible deal – it has 11 modules to help prepare you for everything from classroom management to grammar and offers unlimited tutor support where you can ask current teachers anything about the lessons and how they apply them in their classrooms.
Even better is that TEFL Hero students get lifetime access to the course – this means you are always able to revisit material, reference teaching aides, and ask questions. Couple this with the ability to access this course via phone, computer, and tablet and it’s a hard package to beat.
TEFL Hero Online TEFL Course Pros:
- Much more flexible than in-person Thai TEFL courses.
- Full tutor support via experienced ESL teachers
- Comprehensive curriculum that is available anytime and on any device.
TEFL Hero Online TEFL Course Cons:
- No in-person classroom training.
- Course does not offer the “deep dive” into life in Thailand on the ground that immersive, in-person courses do.
SEE TEFL – Best Overall (and for Teaching in Thailand)
SEE TEFL’s course in Chiang Mai is an intensive, 4-week affair in the world-famous northern Thai city surrounded by captivating jungle mountains.
For attendees who book their placement 6 weeks in advance, the all-inclusive course costs $1,395.
At the end of the training, students get 6 hours of supervised instruction inside various local schools in the Chiang Mai area. These opportunities to dive into teaching in a real-life classroom are the most enlightening aspects of any TEFL course because they provide insights and experiences that simply cannot be replicated in a PowerPoint presentation or a video in a class — regardless of how talented the instructor is.
The training groups are small (strict limit of 20 per class). The course is fully licensed, approved, and endorsed (respectively) by the Thai Ministry of Education, Training Qualifications UK (TQUK), and the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS).
One of the biggest perks of SEE TEFL is the flexibility in choosing your program dates. After registering a date, SEE TEFL students can put their class on hold if any logistical or other issues pop up. The COVID-19 pandemic has set the world of international travel into flux, so this is a definite benefit given the uncertain times.
SEE TEFL Pros:
- Recognized by several accrediting bodies, including valuable Thai Ministry of Education endorsement.
- Includes hands-on training in a real Thai classroom.
- Flexible enrollment dates with no unexpected fees.
- Volunteering option (including placement) available to program graduates.
SEE TEFL Cons:
- Cost of accommodation not included in price.
- Somewhat limited cultural awareness training (1 day).
ITTT – Most Options
International TEFL and TESOL Training (ITTT) is arguably the best-known name in TEFL training worldwide, and for good reason: its classes are high-quality, its curricula are well-refined, and any employer who has experience looking at resumes will instantly recognize ITTT certification on your application.
ITTT currently boasts an impressive 4.8/5 star rating on TrustPilot from previous students. The total cost of the course is $1,690. A $600 deposit must be paid at the time of registration, with the remaining $1,090 due upon arrival.
Newcomers to Thailand who explore the country from top to bottom will inevitably discover the vast cultural and geographic differences between regions of the country — from the island archipelagos in the south to the dense mountain jungle in the north to the rice-growing plains of the East (Isaan).
For its Thai courses, ITTT offers courses in Bangkok (a sprawling metropolis), Phuket (the infamous beach resort city in the south), Chiang Mai (the ancient city in the northern mountains), or Ban Phe (on the eastern coast in the Gulf of Thailand).
The range of destinations for its in-person training, accordingly, is the standout benefit of ITTT’s Thai TEFL programming.
ITTT TEFL Pros:
- Worldwide name recognition.
- Lifelong job assistance and access to ITTT’s vast global network of affiliated schools (including inside Thailand).
- 4 unique TEFL training locations throughout Thailand to choose from.
- 2/3 of the payment can be made upon arrival in Thailand.
ITTT TEFL Cons:
- More expensive than other options.
- No employment guarantee.
International TEFL Academy (ITA) – Most Reputable
The International TEFL Academy (ITA) has locations worldwide and is accredited through the Training Qualifications UK Centre (TQUK). Perhaps one of the most well-known TEFL providers to date, ITA offers in-the-classroom training and is well-reviewed by former students who are now happy teachers in Thailand.
With 6-week advance enrollment, the 4-week course, 120-hour course on location in Chiang Mai costs $895.
ITA has earned a 9.3/10-star rating on goverseas.com, a highly regarded site for everything TEFL and foreign travel.
Per the company’s documents, International TEFL Academy’s courses are taught by university-level instructors to small class sizes and are very accessible to students throughout the course. They also provide students with a support counselor to talk to before beginning the program.
Students generally offer very little negative feedback about their International TEFL Academy experience. The only complaint seems to be that the course schedule, including assignments, could be organized into an easier format to read.
International TEFL Academy Pros:
- Small class size (10-20).
- Significantly less expensive than competing courses ($895).
- 6 hours of live, supervised teaching practice in a Thai classroom.
- Established track record (30,000+-strong alumni network).
International TEFL Academy Cons:
- Less-than-ideal course structure.
- Limited post-course support from ITA (with no job guarantee).
International House (IH) – Best CELTA and DELTA
Understandably, there is tons of confusion when it comes to differentiating between the alphabet soup of ESL-related acronyms such as TEFL, TESOL, CELTA, and DELTA.
While these certifications are often interchangeable in the eyes of hiring managers, the CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is widely recognized within the ESL community as being one of the most prestigious TEFL qualifications that a teacher can achieve. CELTA courses are rigorous and are all strictly regulated by Cambridge University.
After attaining a CELTA and teaching for several years, there are other higher qualifications you can earn such as the DELTA (Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).
If you plan on making teaching ESL your career and are looking for upward mobility in the future, we strongly recommend that you choose CELTA when deciding on your TEFL course in Thailand.
However, the price tag of $1,600, means you will certainly pay for the elite certification that you receive in the International House 120-hour TEFL course. A standout feature of the IH course is its location flexibility; you can choose from an in-person class hosted in Koh Samui (a stunning island in the south of Thailand), Bangkok or Chiang Mai.
The course includes 6 hours of teaching practice and 6 hours of teaching observation for a total of 12 hours of valuable, practical experience to get you fully prepared to excel in your future teaching position. The rest of the curriculum is truly expert-level, as it is developed by credentialed professionals and accredited by Cambridge.
International House (IH) TEFL Course Pros:
- Preferred forms of TEFL certification among employers (CELTA/DELTA).
- 12 hours of actual teaching practice included.
- Curriculum includes a portfolio for later use in your job search.
- Greatest long-term payoff in terms of opening doors throughout your career.
International House (IH) TEFL Course Cons:
- Challenging curriculum that requires greater time/mental energy investment than other Thailand TEFL courses.
- More expensive than rival Thailand TEFL courses.
Do Teachers Need TEFL Certification to Find Work in Thailand?
One of the most common questions that incoming foreign teachers to Thailand ask is: Do I need TEFL certification to get a job?
The answer, as is often the case in life, is: it depends.
First, let’s briefly review the requirements to teach English in Thailand. These can vary depending on the institution, but to qualify for the required “non-b” visa and work permit, you will need the following:
- 4-year university degree.
- Native speaking status (hold a passport from a native English-speaking country such as UK, Ireland, South Africa, USA, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand).
- Passport valid for at least 6 months.
As you can see, TEFL certification is not a legal requirement to teach in Thailand and you can easily find employment without one.
However, many employers will look favorably upon TEFL certification during the hiring process.
What to Consider When Purchasing a TEFL Course
4 must-ask questions are below that you should consider when shopping around for the right TEFL course.
Online vs In-Person?
Online TEFL courses are increasingly popular, but that does not necessarily mean they are superior.
If maximum convenience, time-efficiency, and location-independence are your primary concerns, then a self-paced online TEFL course might be right for you.
However, in-person classes offer several benefits that their online counterparts cannot, including building stronger relationships, developing an in-country network, exploring nearby attractions during training, and learning about the local culture “on the ground.”
Observation or Not?
The deciding factor for many teachers when selecting their ideal TEFL course is whether it includes in-class observation. In these sessions, the student-teacher (you) prepare and execute a lesson in a real classroom for actual Thai students.
A seasoned professional will observe your class, taking notes and offering practical feedback at the end that you can immediately use to improve your teaching outcomes.
In addition to learning valuable new teaching tips and techniques, many teachers also experience an enormous confidence boost after these observations.
For some considering a TEFL course, assistance finding employment after graduation is a priority.
Accessing the professional network of your chosen TEFL course can, indeed, aid in connecting you to a school of your dreams.
The truth is, though, that in Thailand ESL jobs are plenty. Unless you are targeting a specific niche (such as international schools), you don’t necessarily need job assistance to get where you want to be.
In the age of the internet with so many choices out there, reputation is everything.
Never invest in a TEFL course before doing your due diligence by researching what previous students have to say about it – optimally, from a large smattering of sources to get as much of an objective analysis as possible.
Final Thoughts on Finding the Right TEFL Course in Thailand
Ultimately, your decision regarding the ideal TEFL course in Thailand to suit your needs should include an amalgamation of the following factors:
- Preference regarding online/in-person training
- Class size (if applicable)
- Type of TEFL certification.
- Physical location (if applicable)
- Legitimacy (accreditations and endorsements from ESL-industry institutions)
- Reviews from previous students on TrustPilot, Google Reviews, Reddit, ESL Authority, or other review services/forums