Published 7th May 2021
Teaching English as a Foreign Language is your ticket to living in any country in the world. And one of the countries that is growing in popularity as a TEFL destination is Vietnam – but you probably know that already. If you’ve never been to Vietnam you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. So let’s look at what it’s like teaching English in Vietnam.
Living in Vietnam
Let’s talk about the obvious first. Vietnam is a breathtakingly beautiful country, with gorgeous cities, quaint villages, dreamy beaches and mystical mountains. It has a warm, tropical climate so you can be sure to enjoy balmy summers and mild winters. The food is outrageously good, with local Vietnamese specialities and French classics with a Vietnamese twist waiting to be enjoyed in a sidewalk café.
If you are teaching in Vietnam, it is common to share a house with other teachers. Grocery shopping and eating out are relatively inexpensive and it is super easy and affordable to travel around the country and in neighbouring countries. It’s common for TEFL teachers living in Vietnam to spend their holidays backpacking around Thailand or China or visit Singapore or Malaysia. So while the average salary may not be as high as in other countries, the cost of living is low enough to make sure you can live a very comfortable life. You are probably not going to earn enough to pay off your student loans, but you will be living a good life and will be able to travel to your heart’s content within Asia.
Teaching English in Vietnam
Vietnam is an up-and-coming market for TEFL. With the boom in tourism and hospitality, Vietnam has seen a huge surge in the need for English. This has naturally resulted in a massive increase for TEFL teachers – and therefore TEFL jobs. To teach in Vietnam, you need a Bachelor’s degree (in any field) and a TEFL certificate. You’ll also need to get a background check (otherwise known as a police check, criminal check or FBI clearance) but that shouldn’t be difficult to get.
The best cities to find TEFL jobs in Vietnam are the cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. Hanoi, in the north, is quite chilled and is definitely more laidback than Ho Chi Minh in the south, which is the economic hub of the country. If you’d rather not be in a big city, Da Nang is a gorgeous beach town and Hue is a small, historic city – both of which have plenty of TEFL schools.
Read more: The Best Cities to Teach English in Vietnam
Teaching in a language school in Vietnam
The majority of TEFL jobs in Vietnam are in private language schools. In these schools, you could teach either Young Learners and teens or adults. Language schools have no academic years as such which means students can start at any time of the year. This is beneficial to teachers because it means you can apply for a job at any time of the year. While you won’t get school holidays as you would in a mainstream school, you will get a certain number of days paid leave as per any other job.
Teaching in a language school in Vietnam you can earn between $20 and $25 an hour. You generally work around 20 hours a week. It is very common in Vietnam to work shifts. In other words, you will work for a few hours in the morning, have the afternoon off, and work again for a few hours in the evening. You might be required to work one day of the weekend, but you will still get two days off a week.
Language schools can be great places to work, especially for more inexperienced teachers. Some schools have bad reputations for not paying teachers or not having many resources, but this is the case all over the world and not only in Vietnam. Make sure you do your due diligence before accepting a job to be sure you will be working at a legitimate, well-respected school with a good reputation. Generally speaking, language schools provide resources for lessons, professional training and a support network of teachers.
Teaching in an international school in Vietnam
It’s also possible to get a job in an international school. In these schools, you’ll be teaching English to wealthy Vietnamese or ex-pat children. International schools generally provide a wonderful teaching and learning environment, which makes teaching easier. However, you are required to have a few years of teaching experience to apply. You also might be expected to do duties after hours, such as attend school functions or have parent-teacher meetings or even get involved in extra-murals. At an international school, you can expect to earn between $2 000 and $2 500 a month.
Teaching freelance in Vietnam
Of course, it’s possible to work as a freelancer in Vietnam. You can teach students privately or you can teach online. In Vietnam, you can earn between $10 and $20 an hour for private lessons, more if you have more experience or qualifications. It’s up to you to set your rate so you can actually charge as much as you want. Many teachers teach private students in their free time, on top of their usual lessons.
How to find a teaching job in Vietnam
The best way to find a job in Vietnam is to be in the country and pound the pavements. Employers generally prefer to do face-to-face interviews with their teachers so they can start immediately. Once you’re in Vietnam, look in the local newspapers or in Facebook groups to find job advertisements. Don’t accept the first job you are offered – there is a good chance you’ll be overwhelmed by job offers so you have the benefit of being picky.
If you want to apply for a job while you’re still at home, that is another option. Have a look at websites such as TEFL.com and apply online. You will need to do an interview through Skype or Zoom. Once you have gone through the interview stages and accepted a position, you will then sort out the paperwork in your home country before buying a ticket to Vietnam. It shouldn’t take more than a few weeks to get organised.
Teaching in Vietnam is a dream job for many. Being able to live in such a spectacularly beautiful country is a privilege and a pleasure, and teaching English is one way you can make it happen for yourself.