teaching english in vietnam

Vietnam is emerging as a hot spot in the TEFL world and many people are looking to teach English in Vietnam. Jobs are plentiful and the low cost of living paired with the competitive pay starts to make it very appealing to expats who want to enjoy high living standards while saving good sums of money.

I’m going to answer the common questions about how to teach English in Vietnam to give you the run down on how everything works in this country.

Are there many English teaching jobs in Vietnam? Will I find a job? How do I start to find a teaching job?

Jobs are plentiful. If you have any doubts, just get rid of them. English teachers are in high demand in Vietnam. It is so easy to teach English in Vietnam. You can get a job in the country or you can apply online before you’re in the country (apply online if you have the TEFL or CELTA certificate).

What are the requirements to teach English in Vietnam? Am I qualified to be an English teacher?

In Vietnam, the only true requirements are being able to speak English, dress proper and show up. This may change but for the time being Vietnam is a great place to dip your toes in teaching. Trust me, you don’t need a degree, a certificate and English doesn’t have to be your mother tongue. Online it may say on some of the websites of the bigger teaching institutes that they require “TEFL, 2 years teaching experience, bachelors degree”. It’s rubbish. In person if you make a good interview and demonstrate that you can teach English in Vietnam you’ve got the job.

Do I need the TEFL or CELTA to teach English in Vietnam? A degree?

You don’t need them. However, if you do have one or the other it may make life easier. This certificate paired with a degree will allow you to snag a high paid job online which saves you from the heart ache of job hunting in ridiculous Vietnamese heat. You can ask for higher pay, around $18-$20 and up to $45 for private tutors. Without the certificate you can expect $15-$17 an hour (also not bad if you just want to try it out). You can take a quick course online for the certificate, costs around $100. You can also take the course in Vietnam. Many places offer free board with the course fee and a guaranteed job after. Definitely don’t need to pay the high fees back home where courses are up to $1500!

Do I need a work permit to teach English in Vietnam? 

Don’t need them, although this is controversial. Okay so we did our research and in the Vietnamese law it says that if you are performing a service that cannot be met by Vietnamese labor, you can work without a permit for 3 months. This service is English teaching in this case. Other people claim that you will be deported or charged a $1000 fee but there is no hard evidence of this actually happening (just gossip on the web). The holiday visa can be applied for online through 3rd party sites. You can of course get a work permit which should be arranged with your teaching center, usually around a 6 month permit. You are more likely to have a work permit arranged for you if you have the certificates. Don’t hold me to this, use your own best judgement.

How do I find an English teaching job in Vietnam?

Essentially like you would with any other job – good resume, sharp appearance, and a professional headshot to include on the top of your resume and to email with applications. Most schools organise their teachers with a center so applying directly with all the centers in person or online is in your favour.

teaching english in vietnam

Which cities should I look for English teaching jobs in?

I recommend looking in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Nha Trang or Danang.

Ho Chi Minh City – loud, crazy, hot all year round, kind people, huge expat community to get amongst, population of 10 million with maybe 20 million motorbikes

Hanoi – also loud and crazy, seasons with cold winter and hot summer, huge expat community, big population, people aren’t as friendly but still nice

Nha Trang – beach resort hot spot, large population of 3 million, moderate to hot, friendly people, expat community

Danang – interesting city, very modern Vietnamese style and architecture, slower vibe, liveable, moderate, empty nice beaches

How long do I need to commit to teach English in Vietnam?

Most schools will request a 4-6 month commitment because they want you to teach half a school year. However, just be honest. If you can only commit to 2 but have the wish or intention to teach for longer that sounds pretty good and they will take you. There’s always the option of being a substitute teacher. A center will have many substitute hours for you so if you don’t mind zipping around on your motorbike that’s a great option for 1-2 months.

What sort of working hours am I looking at for a teaching job in Vietnam?

After all that, you won’t have many hours. It may be alarming at first because 40 hour work weeks are standard to us. You will at most get 18 hours a week. I’m just being realistic. That’s quite a few even. Teaching English as a foreign language in Vietnam is draining. It will even feel like overtime! Expect 10-18 hours a week. If you want more, pick up a second job with another center/school or with private tutoring/English club (which pay higher).

What’s the pay for an English teacher in Vietnamese?

Expect $15-$20 for teaching public schools or small classes at the learning centers. To be exact $15-$17 without a certificate. $17-$20 with a certificate – TEFL or CELTA. Private tutoring and English Clubs $17-$45 an hour.

How do I get around in Vietnam? 

Motorbike or bicycle. You need two wheels. (You don’t need a motorbike license). If you plan it well and your apartment isn’t so far from your school you can walk. Most expats buy a motorbike for around $200-$300 USD and sell it back on FB groups and expat blogs when they are about to leave. If you are intimidated by driving, there are busses you need a local to help you with that one and my favourite Grabbike. Rides on grabbike are $0.50 to $1.50 and in the big cities like HCMC or Hanoi the drivers are plentiful.

What’s the cost of living and quality of life as an English teacher in Vietnam?

For expats rent is $200 to $300 a month for a private bedroom in a very nice furnished apartment. If you share with your partner or friend, $150 each. Local food is very very cheap if you enjoy street food and cooking like the locals buying rice, Noodles, rice paper, vegetables and fruit. Maximum living costs $500 a month including rent, bills, food, eating out, entertainment and transport. That leaves you with $700-$1000 for your savings. You can live to comfortable western standards in Vietnam.