Published 17th July 2019
Đi một ngày đàng học một sàng khôn
A day of travelling will bring a basket full of learning
If ever there was a saying that would sum up the TEFL life, this would be it. This Vietnamese saying not only reminds us why we decided to teach English as a Foreign Language in the first place, but it also gives us a glimpse of why Vietnam is such a popular destination. With a mindset like this, there’s no question that we’ll fit right in in Vietnam.
If you are thinking of heading off to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh, you probably know all the good stuff there is to know about Vietnam. You know that you should go to Ha Long Bay, visit the Cu Chi tunnels, get a suit made, and eat pho for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are endless things to see and do and places to go in Vietnam, so the fact that there are loads of English teaching jobs means it’s a no-brainer why Vietnam is so popular with TEFL teachers.
But we know that you want to go there (who doesn’t?), but do you know how you can get a job there? Let’s look at a few things you should know about getting an English teaching job in Vietnam.
You need a degree
Unfortunately for those of us who aren’t graduates, Vietnam is strict on the degree issue. In order to qualify for a working visa you need to have a Bachelor’s degree. It can be a Bachelor’s degree in astrophysics or post-modernist literature – it doesn’t matter what the degree is in but it has to be a Bachelor’s. It goes without saying that you need a 120-hour TEFL certificate as well.
You’ll need a background check
An important piece of paperwork you mustn’t overlook when planning to go to Vietnam is the background check. This is known by different terms in different countries – you might know it as FBI clearance, police check, or criminal check. Whatever you call it, you will need it to apply for a work visa.
Being a native speaker is an advantage
As much as we hate it to be true, being a native English-speaking teacher in Vietnam has its advantages. More specifically, if you are from the UK, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland or South Africa you are the preferred choice of teachers. If English is not your first language, you can still find a job in Vietnam but it may be a bit harder for you.
You can find a job on Facebook
It’s possible to find a job before you arrive in Vietnam or you can do your job search when you arrive in Vietnam. Either way, there are tons of online resources you can use to find jobs and contact schools. You can look for job posts in Facebook groups like Vietnam Teaching Jobs, or you can keep an eye on websites like Vietnam Work or TEFL.com.
You’ll probably work in a language school…
The majority of EFL jobs in Vietnam are at private language schools. You could be teaching adults or children, working morning, afternoon or evening. You’ll generally work about 20 to 30 hours a week. While General English is the most popular English class, you could find yourself teaching exam classes or Business English.
…Or a school
If you’re not in a language school, you’ll be teaching kindergarten, Young Learners or teens in a school. There could be up to 40 students in a class, but you will have a teaching assistant to teach with. If you prefer teaching adults, it is possible to teach in a university but these jobs are few and far between and are generally reserved for experienced teachers.
You’ll need start-up money
It’s not common for Vietnamese employers to cover airfare or accommodation in Vietnam. Teachers are expected to pay their own way to get to the country. When you have a job, you can usually find shared accommodation with other teachers in your school, but the rent will be your responsibility.
You might not want to leave
Don’t say we didn’t warn you when your gap year turns into a gap decade.