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Qualifications and Training

Thailand - Qualifications and Training

There are very few specialist qualifications that are in demand in Thailand. One of the main options for English speakers is teaching, as there are opportunities which come up on a regular basis, but these are generally treated as temporary positions and many work on a contract for one year, rarely staying longer in the job. Teaching jobs for TEFL teachers are available all over the country and there are a number of organisations that can arrange interviews and positions for applicants. The teaching positions are not limited to teaching children and there are many opportunities to work with adult learners.

However, it is no longer the case that anyone can find work in this field. Over the last few years the criteria has changed. Before, an English speaker could find work as a teacher even with no experience and few qualifications. Now, a native English speaker should have at least a bachelor’s degree even if they have no separate teaching qualification. Preference is given to those who have some teaching experience and who have a TEFL qualification as a minimum. It should be noted that schools that hire staff prefer younger teachers and those who are, or who appear to be, older than 40 will find it difficult to find this type of work anyway.

The change in this industry is also reflected in remuneration. Teaching positions used to be very poorly paid as there was no requirement for qualifications. Now there are teaching positions with much better pay for those who have experience and qualifications, but those who are still working with no qualifications can only command fairly low salaries because of this. They are also limited to the type of school that they can work in and most in this situation will be in small rural schools that are receiving little funding.

Another area of need is for the highest qualifications for Diving Instructors. The PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor is not yet held by enough Thai nationals to meet the demand for training. For this reason there may be opportunities in this area for some expats who have both the qualification and the experience. However, this work is often short-term and seasonal. A work permit would only be given to those who have the highest level of qualification in this field.

The main opportunities are going to be for those who are transferred to a Thai office from their existing company. There is still the need to convince the Immigration department that a Thai person could not do the job but if you are highly qualified and hold a senior position then you have a good chance of being issued with the permit. This is common for those who work in the oil and gas industries. It is also the case that if a person only needs to work in the country for a short period of time, perhaps for a specific project, they have a better chance of being issued with a work permit. Again, the company involved would need to show that the expat is the best person for the job.

There is no requirement to have qualifications converted in Thailand as all qualifications are checked before a work permit is issued. If the qualifications are considered to be inadequate then the permit will not be issued. The company that has offered you a job must be able to prove that your skills and qualifications cannot be found in Thailand and that a Thai person could not do the job that you are going to do.

A person would not be permitted to move to Thailand to retrain for local qualifications. Study visas are issued in certain circumstances, but would not be allowed for example, for a foreign electrician to obtain local qualifications in order to obtain a work permit. A foreign national is not permitted to take work that a local person could do. An example of this would be nursing. If a Thai person can be trained in Thailand as a nurse then there is no reason why an expat would be given a work permit in order to do this work instead. This is one of the ways in which the Thai government has managed to keep levels of unemployment at a minimum.

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