Anyone who has spent time in Bangkok, Thailand knows most westerners teaching here are men. That’s because many western men move to Thailand looking for a Thai wife or girlfriend, and teaching English is one of the few jobs foreigners are allowed to do. Western female teachers, however, are few and far between in Bangkok or anywhere else in Thailand. Consequently they tend to be in high demand by Thai schools, particularly for teaching kindergarten or Prathom grades 1-6 (primary school).
If you are a female teacher thinking about teaching English in Bangkok, as a former English teacher myself and one who still lives in the Land of Smiles, I have to say do it, you’ll love it.
If money is a concern and you’re not sure what salary a female teacher can expect to be paid in Bangkok, all I can say is I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. That’s because, in many cases, western female teachers are often able to demand higher salaries than their male counterparts, and that’s down to their scarcity.
Typical salaries for a western female teacher in Bangkok
Kindergarten – Female kindergarten teachers are in high demand in Bangkok, as schools often prefer them to teach small children, as do Thai parents as well. Not that some western men don’t make excellent kindergarten teachers, but it is local preference for western women to be offered the job.
Kindergartens in Bangkok also often tend to be attached to bilingual or mid-range international schools, and that means a school that has more money to spend on foreign teachers than would a government school. In my 10 years of living in Bangkok, at least half of my female friends have ended up teaching in Thai kindergartens and that was usually because of the higher salaries being offered.
Where a typical average teaching salary in Bangkok for a western teacher is 35,000 to 40,000 baht (currently $1,130 to $1,290) a month, salaries for a female western teacher at a kindergarten in a bilingual or mid-range international school average 53,000 baht to 60,000 baht ($1,710 to $1,935).
As the cost of living in Bangkok is less than a third of most American cities, as you can imagine that kind of money gives you a lot of spending power.
Prathom teaching jobs at Thai schools – While western women aren’t always paid more money than their male counterparts when it comes to teaching in a typical Thai school at the Prathom level, some are. They will, however, be more likely to be hired for jobs teaching Prathom grades 1-6 (primary school, ages 6 through 11) as, again, female teachers for younger children is often what Thai schools prefer. Plus, being female, if the school really wants you it is sometimes possible to hold out for a higher salary.
Expect to be paid between 35,000 to 48,000 baht ($1,130 to $1,550) depending on if you work for a government school or a private school and, in some cases, being female you may be able to squeeze another 2,000 baht to 3,000 baht a month ($65 to $97) out of a school eager to hire you.
Mathayom teaching jobs at Thai schools – While male teachers might be more in demand for teaching Mathayom students in Thailand, that’s students ages 12 to 18, that isn’t always the case and, sometimes, female teachers are paid more money.
At my second teaching job in Thailand, I was offered 3,500 baht a month ($112) more than any of the other teachers, all of whom were men, simply because the school had had two men in the position before me and neither had worked out.
Being female was definitely to my advantage in that situation and earned me an extra 3,500 baht a month salary for the two years I worked there.
Business teaching – Just about the only teaching category where being a woman in Thailand isn’t always an advantage is if you want to teach business English.
That being said, some language schools and companies will still give you preferential hiring treatment, just because you’re a bit of a novelty and, if you do have an extensive business background, you could end up doing well.
All in all, being a female teacher in Thailand definitely has many advantages – higher salaries, more job offers and quite a lot of respect. I loved every aspect of it, and I’m betting you will as well.