Guide to teaching English in Vietnam
With a welcoming culture, tropical climate, and affordable cost of living, Vietnam is rapidly gaining popularity among expats.
Stretching up the South China Sea coast and bordering three other countries, Vietnam is a hub for backpackers, travellers, and ESL teachers. As the interest in learning English grows among Vietnamese citizens, so do the opportunities for teachers looking for a meaningful experience teaching English abroad.
If you are interested in teaching English in Vietnam – we’ve got you covered! Keep reading to learn more about the various types of teaching jobs, average salaries and benefits, and how to get a job as an ESL teacher in Vietnam!
Types of teaching jobs in Vietnam
There are three main English teaching options for teachers in Vietnam, which vary in requirements, benefits, and workloads. Regardless of the type of English teaching job in Vietnam you're interested in, it is required, or at least highly recommended, that you're TEFL certified.
Vietnam’s cities are full of language schools. The ability to find work within large cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Min City, thanks to the sheer number, is remarkably achievable. For the best (and highest paying) jobs, you’ll need a TEFL or CELTA certification, but certain jobs only require you to be a native English speaker.
The main benefits of language schools are their reliability, support, and professional development. These schools usually offer workshops, training, and support for new teachers. Another great advantage is that they typically provide the most comprehensive benefits packages among English teaching employers.
The downside of working in a language school is the fixed contract terms that may require you to work weekends, limiting your opportunity to travel.
International schools offer the most lucrative TEFL jobs in Vietnam. These schools are typically located in big cities, providing a fun environment with lots to do.
A position in an international school often requires a few years of teaching experience. However, it also offers ongoing career development opportunities and perks like airfare reimbursement and a housing allowance. You'll typically be teaching to a diverse group, including both expats and Vietnamese students. These schools tend to be located in residential suburbs, which means you may not be as centrally located, but the cost of living will likely also be lower.
Teaching private English lessons in Vietnam, especially in the big cities, is pretty straightforward. The main advantage is that your teaching schedule can be more flexible, and you can charge more per hour than working in language schools.
Teaching private English classes can be unpredictable, and hard to make a full-time income. Many teachers arrange private English tutoring to supplement their school salary. Private tutoring also involves navigating appropriate work permits and arranging visas on your own.
Private lessons generally range from $10-$16 USD per hour, depending on experience. That said, if you're an experienced teacher with highly regarded teaching certifications, you may be able to charge much more than that.
Teachers often use the following resources to market themselves:
Average salary and benefits for teaching English in Vietnam
The average teacher's salary in Vietnam is around $1,000 USD a month. However, with some experience, you can make $1,200-$2,000 depending on the school and your qualifications. You can usually make $1,200-$1,800 at a private language center, or a little over $2,000 at a public school. Usually, those making higher amounts are native speakers with a bachelor's degree, a TEFL certificate, and previous teaching experience.
Depending on your employer, you may also receive a benefits package as part of your compensation. These often include airfare reimbursement, housing allowances, contract completion allowances, relocation packages, overtime pay, and reimbursement of visas and work permit expenses.
Read more: How Much Money Can You Save Teaching Abroad?
Cost of living in Vietnam
Due to the affordable cost of living, teachers often can save up to a third of their income when following cost-saving habits like cooking at home. Here is a list of common expenses and their average cost in Vietnam:
- Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: $2.17
- Bus pass: $8.66/month
- Movie ticket: $3.90
- Housing (one bedroom apartment in city center): $367.28/month
Where and how to find housing in Vietnam
Many expats in Vietnam live in shared housing, which helps keep costs as low as possible. However, single apartments are also available and affordable.
It's common for available properties to be posted on various Facebook groups in addition to more traditional classifieds. As with the majority of teaching job opportunities, the highest concentration of rental properties will be located in Hanoi or Ho Chi Min City.
Here are a few resources to get started with your housing search in Vietnam:
Where to teach English in Vietnam
There are many great cities in Vietnam to teach English. Interested in big city living? Head to the teeming southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City or the northern capital of Hanoi and enjoy the fast-paced lifestyle. Want a more relaxed environment near the beach? Consider the surrounding paradise of places like Da Nang, Vung Tau, or Nha Trang.
How to get a job teaching English in Vietnam
The best way to find a job in Vietnam teaching English is to take a trip to search in person, which can be intimidating for those with less travel experience. Fortunately, online resources are also available to apply and interview for jobs virtually.
Where to find jobs
Third-party providers, such as the ones below, help place teachers with open positions in Vietnam, and some even offer TEFL training and certification.
Job boards, like the one right here at Go Overseas, are another great way to find open ESL teaching jobs in Vietnam, especially if you already have your English teaching certification.
When to apply
Due to the significant demand for English teachers, language institutes have a year-round hiring cycle. That said, international schools have a much shorter hiring window. These jobs come available during the summer months of June through to August.
Common qualifications to teach in Vietnam
To gain a work visa to teach English in Vietnam, an applicant must be a native English speaker with a bachelor's degree. A criminal background check is also required. A TEFL certificate or work experience is not mandatory to receive a visa but may be needed to qualify for more competitive jobs. The more qualifications and experience you have, the more you can expect to make.
Work visas in Vietnam
Unlike other countries, it's permitted to arrive in Vietnam on a three-month tourist visa to search for a job. Once you've been hired and signed a contract, the employer usually helps with the necessary paperwork (and potentially pays the visa expense). Visa costs depend on the type and the length of your stay. Ensure you have an original copy of your university degree, teaching certificate, and other essential documents before you apply.
Classroom culture in Vietnam
It is imperative to research and understand the cultural nuances you will experience in the classroom while teaching abroad. There can be vast differences in the way students and teachers interact, so ESL teachers should be respectful and understanding while adapting to a new classroom environment.
In Vietnam, there is significant importance placed on respecting elders, so students will treat their teachers with professionalism and likely won't joke around with them. Additionally, students will wait to be called on before speaking.
Here are a few additional tips to know before teaching English in Vietnam:
- Dress is business casual
- Try to cover tattoos
- Students will likely call you teacher
Ready to find your dream teaching program in Vietnam?
Start researching and comparing teaching programs here at Go Overseas, in the Teaching Programs in Vietnam section below.
Want to read more? Get started with these articles:
Teaching Programs in Vietnam
View the latest teaching job postings on our job board.
What qualifications do I need to teach English in Vietnam?
To teach English in Vietnam you need to have a bachelor's degree, be a native English speaker, and pass a criminal background check. A teaching certificate (like TEFL or CELTA) is helpful for many ESL teaching jobs.Related Content
Can I teach English in Vietnam without a bachelor's degree?
To legally teach English in Vietnam, you need to have a university degree that you can provide the government when you are applying for your work visa. If you don't have a bachelor's degree, it's possible to find volunteer teaching opportunities that don't require one.
Do I need a visa for Vietnam?
Yes, you must have a visa and passport (valid for six months from arrival) to enter Vietnam. However, it's possible to arrive in Vietnam on a tourist visa to search for work before you apply for a work visa.
How much money can you make teaching English in Vietnam?
First-time teachers can usually make about $1,000 per month. For those with more teaching experience or qualifications, they can earn between $1,200 - $2,000. It also depends on the teaching institution, whether it's a private, public, or international school.Related Content