The school year in Thailand is not on the same timeline as Western schools, so some start dates are better to arrive than others. We have start dates every month, so you’re welcome to choose ANY time to come to Thailand, and we can place you, but there are some things to consider when choosing a start date. Keep in mind the Thai school year is as follows:
First Semester: May – September
Second Semester: November – March
Break: some of March and all of April
The best times to arrive are at the beginning of either semester, so either April/May (beginning of school year) or September/October (beginning of 2nd semester). Those will be our biggest arrival times! All of the courses throughout the year are based in Hua Hin, about 3 hours south of Bangkok, with the exception to get trained in Chiang Mai for a few dates in April, September, and October!
The TESOL course is an option for most of the start dates, but keep in mind it’s a 3-week class. That means teachers won’t be done with training (orientation plus the course) until 1 month after they arrive in Thailand.
If you opt to take the TESOL course on this date, you’ll graduate at the end of March and then you’ll have 3-4 weeks off to explore Southeast Asia before school starts in May. This date is perfect if you want a little break in between the course and when you start working.
This course is the ideal spring start date! Teachers do their training for the month of April and then immediately go off to start their teaching contracts as the school year begins the first week of May. Some teachers will arrive in Thailand a couple of weeks before the course starts to get some travel bucket list items checked off their lists.
This is the *best time to arrive of the entire year, as it’s the beginning of the school year so you’ll start school on Day 1 with your students. Arriving now also means you’re more likely to get a placement that aligns with your preferences, due to the demand being the highest it will be all year.
PRO TIP: The Thai New Year celebration, Songkran, is April 13 – April 15, 2020. The entire country shuts down for a nationwide water fight, so grab a super soaker and get involved in the festivities!
TESOL training available in Hua Hin or Chiang Mai
This is the best spring start date for Placement Only teachers – they will do a week of orientation activities and then start working at the beginning of the school year. Contracts for this start date will go through the month of September, with the option to extend another semester. Teachers taking the TESOL course will begin working a month into the semester.
Since the school year starts at the beginning of May, placement only teachers will have a 4-month contract and teachers taking the TESOL course will have a 3-month contract. This is the best spring start date for teachers who are looking for a shorter contract.
These two dates are specifically for qualified teachers who want to teach abroad, but don’t want to give up their positions at their schools at home. These dates align with most Western schools and allow teachers to work and travel abroad during their summer break. Teachers arrive for a one-week cultural orientation in Hua Hin, and then work at a Thai school for a 6 week contract. No TESOL course is available for the summer program.
Teachers not taking the TESOL course will have a 2-month contract, while those taking the course have the option to work for 1 month or to use that time to travel. This is one of the shortest contract options available!
The semester ends at the end of September, so teachers on this date will have some time off before they start working. However, there is only a one-month break between semesters, as the second semester begins in November.
Chiang Mai training location only
The Thai semester starts at the beginning of November so if you can arrive to Thailand on ANY start date this fall, this would be the best choice if you want to do the TESOL course.
These will be our biggest start dates of the year, as completion of the TESOL certification lines up perfectly with the beginning of the Thai semester – so this is when demand is HIGHEST in the fall for hiring teachers. Those who need to be certified will take the TESOL course until the end of October, and then begin your contract from November until March.
This start date will be full, so we recommend applying well ahead of time if it’s your intended choice. These dates could fill up early, so it’s important to apply early.
The same information applies from the September 21 start date, but this date is based in Hua Hin. There is more room available in Hua Hin than in Chiang Mai, however, it still usually fills. Applying early is highly recommended!
Chiang Mai training location only
The Thai semester starts at the beginning of November, so this date has teachers starting just after the semester begins.
PRO TIP: The Thai lantern festival, Loi Krathong, is celebrated on November 1st, 2020. It’s a really great time to be in Thailand!
This date in Hua Hin is the best option for those who have their TEFL/TESOL certification already or their teaching license and want to do the “Placement Only” program. You will have a one-week orientation, and then begin your placement at the beginning of the Thai semester as well. Your contract will end in March, with the option to stay longer if you want.
If you want to take the TESOL on this date, school starts at the beginning of November, but arriving a few weeks into the semester is no problem at all. Many schools actually prefer to get started before hiring their foreign teacher, since the first few weeks of school can be hectic. Demand is still VERY high during November.
This start date is perfect for those looking to teach abroad, but aren’t ready to commit to a full semester. The semester is over in March so for those who are already TESOL certified, it’s a 4-month contract and for those taking the course, it’s only a 3-month contract!
This start date is great for those who want something short term. You’ll start your Thai adventure with a New Years’ party on the beach during orientation.
The semester is over in March so for those who are already TESOL certified, it’s a 3-month contract and for those taking the TESOL course, it’s only a 2-month contract!