Teach English in Vietnam

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Teach English in Vietnam

Guide to teaching English in Vietnam

Boasting a tropical climate, diverse topography, and an immense culinary culture, Vietnam is a highly popular destination when it comes to teaching English abroad. Not only will teaching English in Vietnam give you the opportunity to earn a good salary in a country with a low cost of living, it will present you with the chance to experience a dynamic culture which is vastly different to yours at home.

Interested in teaching English in Vietnam? We’ve got you covered! Keep reading to learn more about the various types of English teaching jobs, average salaries and benefits, and how to get a job as an ESL teacher in Vietnam!

Types of teaching jobs in Vietnam

Teaching English in Vietnam can come in an array of forms according to your experience, qualifications, and ambitions. With a significant demand for foreign teachers to increase English acquisition among the next generation, the English teaching jobs Vietnam has to offer come in a range of opportunities for various teachers.

  • Public schools: Working at public schools is the most popular option when teaching English in Vietnam. Public school classrooms consist of around 40-50 students, which can be both exciting and exhausting. Teachers in public schools will usually work from 8am-4pm with a three hour lunch break, offering an excellent work/life balance. Teachers also typically work at multiple schools throughout the week. Although this may sound daunting, very little admin work is usually involved outside the classroom.
  • Private language schools: Private schools are also a popular option when it comes to teaching English in Vietnam. The biggest difference between working at public and private schools is the schedule and the class size. Working at a private school will require teachers to work from the afternoon until the late evening, and with smaller classes. This can make private school lessons more formal and also more manageable.
  • International schools: Working at an international school will require more hours and responsibility compared to other English teaching jobs in Vietnam, because parents expect a higher quality of education. International schools in Vietnam will require teachers to assign homework, grade tasks, and deliver a comprehensive Western curriculum in order to maximize the student’s language acquisition.
  • Private tutoring: Many teachers who work at public schools also decide to tutor privately. This is because it is incredibly flexible and it also offers a high hourly salary. These lessons will typically take place during after school hours, and the classes will be smaller but with a mixture of ages. However, it is important for teachers to understand whether or not this breaches their work contract.

Average salary and benefits for teaching English in Vietnam

Teaching English in Vietnam offers a handsome salary especially when compared to its incredibly low cost of living. The average salary for teaching English in Vietnam ranges from around $1,100 to $2,200 USD per month depending on your experience and qualifications.

  • Public schools: The salary for teaching English in Vietnamese public schools can range from around $1,200 to $2,000 USD per month depending on the amount of hours they work. Additionally, there is always room for a pay increase for each additional year the teacher re-signs their contract.
  • Private language schools: English teachers who are working at private language schools in Vietnam can expect to earn around $1,000 to $1,800 USD per month.
  • International schools: Although the requirements and responsibility will be far higher at international schools, so will the salary. English teachers in Vietnam can earn around $2,000 to $5,000 USD per month at international schools depending on their qualifications, experience, and the school itself.
  • Private tutoring: Private tutoring in Vietnam also pays well, but it also depends on the teacher’s negotiating power as well as their skills. Private tutoring in Vietnam can offer teachers around $12-$25 USD per hour depending on their credentials.

Common teacher benefits

Teaching English in Vietnam can offer a range of benefits. Teachers working at international schools are more likely to receive more extensive benefits than those working at public or private schools.

Here are some of the benefits common to all teachers in Vietnam:

  • Work permit and visa assistance
  • Orientation upon arrival
  • Accommodation assistance
  • Health insurance
  • Reimbursement for visa costs

Cost of living in Vietnam

In addition to a great salary,Vietnam has an incredibly low cost of living.Even in the capital Hanoi and economic hubs such as Ho Chi Minh City, the cost of living is significantly lower than in Western countries.

  • Housing: $200 - $600 USD/month
  • Food: $100 - $200 USD/month
  • Transportation: $50 - $150 USD/month

Where to teach English in Vietnam

With over 3,400 miles of coastline, Vietnam is a long country with a range of options for interested teachers. Whether you want to work in the cultural capital Hanoi, the economic capital Ho Chi Minh City, or on the breezy coast, English teachers in Vietnam have a range of options to choose from.

Hanoi

Located in the north of Vietnam, Hanoi is known for being the country’s cultural capital. The demand for English teachers is higher in the north, and Hanoian authenticity remains intact with fewer visible examples of Western influence. The north of Vietnam experiences all four seasons, so be sure to pack your suitcase appropriately!

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Ho Chi Minh City is also commonly known as Saigon (Sài Gòn) among its native population. It is considered to be the economic capital of Vietnam. Westernisation is more palpable in Ho Chi Minh, with a wealth of digital nomads, expats, and foreign businesses situated in this southern and sunny destination. Ho Chi Minh City is considerably hotter than Hanoi, and only has two seasons - dry season and wet season.

Da Nang

Da Nang is located in central Vietnam and is one of the fastest growing Southeast Asian coastal cities. The city is popular for its sandy beaches and the relaxed lifestyle that comes with it, which also means that it boasts a lively expat community. Da Nang also has its own international airport, and is a very short distance from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, as well as being a short drive away from the highly popular Hội An.

Requirements to teach English in Vietnam

In order to teach English in Vietnam legally, you’ll need to meet or obtain the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree in any field
  • Minimum age of 21 years
  • TEFL certificate
  • Be a native English speaker or show proof of English proficiency (ex: IELTS certificate if you’re a non-native speaker). If you’re a teacher from outside the US, the UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa, you will need to provide proof of your native proficiency. If you're a teacher from outside the US, the UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa, you will need to provide proof of your native proficiency.
  • Criminal background check (and no convictions)
  • Completed health check (can be completed in-country)

How to get a job teaching English in Vietnam

  1. Search for jobs: You can become a teacher in Vietnam by applying for jobs independently or through a program. While you may earn a higher salary finding jobs independently, a program provider will offer more assistance when it comes to the visa process, housing, orientation, and more. You can search for jobs using the GO Overseas job board
  2. Meet the basic requirements and apply: You will need to prepare your documents, such as your passport scan, bachelor’s degree and TEFL certificate in order to meet the requirements to teach English in Vietnam.
  3. Prepare for the interview: In order to maximize your employability, you’ll need to prepare for the interview. You can do this by researching your employer’s or school’s values and the responsibilities of the role, and prepare to answer questions of why you want to live in and become an active member of the Vietnamese community.
  4. Apply for a visa: Congratulations! At this point, you will have secured a job teaching English in Vietnam. You will now need to prepare your documents and submit them in order to apply for your visa and work permit. Your employer in Vietnam will assist you through the process and may even reimburse you for visa costs.

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 maintain a professional relationship with their teachers and likely won't joke around with them. Additionally, students will wait to be called on before speaking.
  • Classrooms in public schools are likely to contain from around 40 to 50 students, which can be daunting at first if you are a first time teacher! You will usually have a Vietnamese co-teacher to help you manage the classroom.
  • Primary school students are especially noisy, and they love to dance and play games throughout the lesson. But don’t mistake this for insubordination! They are usually very excited to have a foreign teacher in class with them!
  • Vietnamese primary students are very competitive! Try to grab their interest by splitting classrooms into teams and having them compete for stars using the target language of the lesson.
  • Students with special education needs are included in mainstream classrooms in Vietnamese public schools, but they do not receive much support. This might make it difficult for teachers to get every student involved in activities, since there can be varying levels of attention and ability within one classroom.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you teach in Vietnam if you only speak English?

    Yes. In fact, it is encouraged that English teachers in Vietnam only use English in the classroom to increase language immersion for their students.

  • Is it hard to get an English teaching job in Vietnam?

    It’s not hard to get an English teaching job in Vietnam as long as you meet the requirements of having a bachelor’s degree and native or native-level English proficiency. Teachers are not always required to have previous experience to teach English in Vietnam.

  • Is teaching English in Vietnam worth it?

    Yes, teaching English in Vietnam is totally worth it. Not only will you earn a good salary and save money, you will be immersed in a foreign culture which is vastly different to your home country’s.

  • How do I find a teaching job in Vietnam as a foreigner?

    You can find work in-country or before you arrive. While it may be easier to find jobs with schools independently when you are in-country, you can reach out to program providers online that can help you find employment before your arrival.

  • Is there a demand for English teachers in Vietnam?

    There is a significant demand for English teachers in Vietnam. Vietnam ranks as a moderate proficiency country and there is a push to continue to improve the country’s level of English.

  • How much money can you make teaching English in Vietnam?

    First-time teachers typically make around $1,200 USD per month teaching English in Vietnam. Those with more experience and higher qualifications can earn between $1,500-$2,500 USD or more working at reputable international schools.

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  • Do I need a visa to teach English in Vietnam?

    Yes, you must have a visa and passport (valid for at least six months from arrival) to teach English in Vietnam. However, it's possible to arrive in Vietnam on a tourist visa to search for work before you apply for a work visa.

  • Can I teach English in Vietnam without a degree?

    To legally teach English in Vietnam on a work visa, you will need a bachelor’s degree. If you don't have a degree, it's possible to find volunteer teaching opportunities that don't require one.

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