Jobs for American Expats in Thailand
The “Land of Smiles” draws people in with it friendly residents, a welcoming spirit and year-round pleasant weather. Many people dream of retiring to Thailand, while others pack up and go sooner, finding work when they arrive in the country. While there is work for those who want to live in Thailand long term, it is typically concentrated in very few fields. Finding the right job for American expats in Thailand is a matter of knowing which industries hire expatriates and understanding how to search for these jobs.
Foreigners Working in Thailand
Not all jobs are open to foreigners in Thailand. Some job listings will state that they are for “Thai nationals only“. This usually is an indication that the company will not be able to sponsor a foreigner for a work visa. Employers may also list jobs for certain ages and genders. It is not unusual to see jobs posted for “men only,” or for “women under 25.” This is completely legal in Thailand, so it pays to be aware of this.
Searching for jobs for Americans in Thailand can be a challenge. The easiest and most effective way to find a job is to secure one before you arrive in the country. That way you can hit the ground running and start working immediately upon arrival. If this is not possible, stay for a few months in the country on a scouting trip. This way you can get a feel for what jobs are available and secure one while you’re still in the country.
Teaching English in Thailand
One of the most common jobs for expats in Thailand is teaching English to native Thai speakers. These jobs are plentiful because Thailand has a large population of residents who need to speak English in order to work in the professional arena. Thailand also has a number of international schools in which students are taught entirely in English.
Obtaining Teaching Jobs in Thailand
Some of the most basic requirements for teaching English in Thailand are that you hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in any subject, a work permit and visa and TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification. Thailand’s major cities (Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai) all offer a comprehensive TEFL certification course for anyone interested in teaching English in the country. You do not need to be able to speak Thai to teach in Thailand. Many programs prefer that their teachers do not speak the language, creating a more immersive experience for the student.
There is high demand for skilled computer scientists in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city. With a growing economy, many Thai companies are hiring foreigners from the UK, USA and Australia to work as programmers, cyber security specialists and web developers. Many of these jobs can be performed remotely, so expats can enjoy flexible schedules while still earning a decent salary in Thailand. Getting a job in the technology sector is easy. Simply search the online classifieds for open positions and apply. When you are accepted for the position, your company will sponsor you for a work permit and visa. With this visa you can work for the length and terms of the visa and enjoy the same benefits as any other Thai worker.
Hospitality and Tourism
Tourism is booming in Thailand, and many foreign nationals can find work in high end hotels and resorts. While the majority of these jobs are seasonal, there is year-round work available. Other expats work as dive instructors, vacation photographers and tour guides. Others find work in restaurants and in bars as managers. Finding a job in the hospital industry is simple. You can start before you arrive in Thailand by searching for listings with national chain hotels. There are also websites available that offer listings of seasonal jobs. After you have been accepted for a job, you can get a sponsor from your employer for a work visa.
Some American expats work on tour boats and yachts in the area. If you have experience as a skipper or cook, you can find work assisting boat captains with their passengers. In many cases, this type of work will include your lodging, which makes it a great value for someone who is new to Thailand.
If you have a skill in a specialty area like instrumental music, art or dance, you can find work providing these services to school-aged children. Parents often seek out activities for their children, and many hire private instructors to teach a variety of creative subjects. You can also work as a private tutor, helping students prepare for college entrance exams and general school testing. There are many international schools of the children of expats that hire foreign nationals to work with their students. While teaching is one of the most popular expat jobs in Thailand, private tutoring can be extremely lucrative. Some of the most popular online tutoring sites pay up to $25 USD an hour, which is a high salary compared to the cost of living in Thailand.
Many foreigners to Thailand choose to work remotely, earning their income in their home currency and spending it in Thailand. There are almost unlimited possibilities when it comes to working online, from freelance writing to editing, web design, virtual administrative work and photography. Cities like Chiang Mai are a hub for people who work remotely as freelancers, and you will definitely find a community of like-minded expats here. As with any job in the region, make sure you have the proper work permits you need to earn an income while residing in Thailand.
Sites like Upwork are full of expats who have relocated to Thailand and are working online full-time.
There are many jobs for foreigners in Thailand. While the most popular job is teaching English, you can also find work in hotels, on yachts, in online customer service and in international schools. Finding the right job has never been easier for Americans who want to enjoy the sun, surf and smiles in Thailand. Start your search here.
Jobs for American Expats in Thailand