Teach English in Vietnam

a world of opportunities

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Kirsten Colquhoun
June 7, 2024

Contents

Why teach English
Requirements
Jobs and programs
How to get a job
Teaching programs
Salaries and benefits
Cost of living
Saving opportunities
Life and culture

Adventure seekers and English teachers, Vietnam is calling your name!

Thinking about teaching English in Vietnam? You should be!

Imagine this: it’s a weekday, you’re taking your daily walk on one of the most beautiful beaches, sipping on fresh coconut water, and enjoying the most delicious Vietnamese food for lunch. You arrive at work and teach English to chatty, friendly students. Making some good ol’ fashioned money never seemed this rewarding!

If this sounds like your scene, teaching English in Vietnam is the right fit for you!

Why teach English in Vietnam?

Those who teach English in Vietnam will tell you that their experience is unlike any other TEFL teacher’s. 

  • With its low cost of living, Vietnam offers a comfortable lifestyle for TEFL teachers.
  • Vietnam is a tropical paradise. From beaches to hot springs to mountains to valleys, the country boasts gorgeous natural scenery and balmy tropical weather. And did we mention the crystal-clear waters, lush nature reserves and picturesque forests?
  • And TEFL jobs for days! There is a high demand for TEFL teachers in Vietnam, so finding a job shouldn’t be too difficult.

Basic requirements and qualifications

Vietnam is generally considered one of the easier countries to get a working visa for. However, there are a number of requirements you need to satisfy in order to qualify for both a visa and a job teaching English in Vietnam.

The TEFL Academy has seen thousands of graduates move to Vietnam to teach English as a foreign language (many of whom are still there!) so let’s dive into the requirements for teaching English in Vietnam.

Do you need a visa to teach English in Vietnam?

To work in Vietnam you need a sponsored work visa from your Vietnamese employer. There are many English teachers working in Vietnam “under the table”  on a tourist visa. Although this is common practice, it is illegal. If caught, it may result in deportation. 

And there’s no need to go the illegal route! It’s perfectly acceptable to enter Vietnam on a tourist visa in order to look for employment. Once you have found a job, your employer can apply for your work visa for you and your tourist visa can be updated. 

If you secure a job before leaving for Vietnam, employers and schools will assist you in applying for a 3-month business visa before your arrival. Once you arrive, they will start your application for a work permit. 

Visa requirements for teaching English in Vietnam

To get a work visa for Vietnam, you need:

  • Valid passport (minimum six months validity remaining)
  • Clean criminal background check
  • University degree (in any subject)
  • Teaching certificate (such as TEFL)
  • Signed contract from an authorised Vietnamese employer
  • Sponsor letter from an authorised Vietnamese employer
  • Clean health check in Vietnam

After gathering the necessary documents, you will need to submit your application for a work visa to the Vietnamese embassy or consulate in your home country – unless your employer is organising this once you arrive.

Remember, it is possible to enter on a tourist visa, which is generally three months, which can then be converted to a work visa once you have secured employment.

The cost of a visa may be covered by your employer. If not it will cost $25 to $150.

Tip: Be sure to ask your employer about benefits and compensation before signing a contract, or you may end up paying for things you did not budget for. 

Can I teach in Vietnam without experience or a degree?

To legally work as an English teacher in Vietnam, the Vietnamese government requires foreign English teachers to hold a degree. This degree can be in any field but it must be a Bachelor’s degree. 

Experience is not necessary to teach English in Vietnam. As is always the case, teaching experience is preferred for the better-paid jobs, but certainly not for all. Don’t forget: the practical part of your TEFL course counts as teaching experience!

Do I need TEFL certification to teach  in Vietnam?

To legally work as an English teacher in Vietnam, the Vietnamese government requires foreign English teachers to hold a TEFL teaching certificate.

Remember that not all TEFL courses are created equal. To give yourself the best possible chance at finding work teaching in Vietnam, make sure the TEFL course you choose is accredited, internationally recognised and is held in high regard by its graduates.

Completing a Level 5 TEFL course (168 hours) with an in-class teaching component will strengthen your application.

Can I teach as a non-native speaker?

Your chances of securing an English teaching job in Vietnam as a non-native speaker is possible if you can prove your English proficiency to be that of a native speaker.

How to bolster your English teaching resume as a non-native speaker: 

  • Previous English teaching experience (at a formal school or volunteer work)
  • Level 5 TEFL Certificate with in-class teaching practice
  • References from past employers or academic professionals who can advocate for your English proficiency
  • A test result from an English test like IELTS or Pearson at a level of C1 or higher.

Do I need to speak Vietnamese to teach English in Vietnam?

As a matter of fact, you don’t! Teaching English as a foreign language is based on the principles of immersion learning. The focus is on using English in real situations. Translation is used sparingly. In fact, it is preferable for a TEFL teacher to not speak the local language in the classroom, to avoid the students using them as their own personal dictionary! 

Outside the classroom, speaking Vietnamese certainly helps you immerse yourself in the culture. And it makes it much easier to order a coffee!

How much start-up capital do I need?

Start-up capital as an English teacher in Vietnam will vary depending on your needs. As an English teacher in Vietnam, accommodation may or may not be included in your package. If accommodation is not supplied by your employer, this will form a large part of your start-up costs. 

But with the cost of living being low, it won’t prove difficult to afford a place to stay. Many English teachers in Vietnam share accommodation with other teachers, which is another way to save costs. Some Vietnamese employers will provide accommodation or offer housing allowances.

Remember that you will need to support yourself until your first paycheque.

Let’s break down the start-up costs you should be aware of when moving to Vietnam.

  • Accommodation: First month’s rent and security deposit of two months’ rent
  • TEFL certification: A TEFL course can cost between $100 and $500, depending on the length and level of the course and the course provider. 
  • Document fees: Any costs related to certifying and notarising your degree and TEFL certificate
  • Flight ticket: Variable. 
  • Visa application: The cost of getting a work visa is subject to your home country. You can expect to pay between $50 -$150. 
  • Living expenses: You will need one month’s worth of start-up capital of about 

17 million – 25 million ($750 – $1,000). Add to this 35 million ($1,500) for your first month’s rent upfront and two months’ rent deposit. 

Generally speaking, it’s recommended that you have between 35 million and 45 million ($1,500 and $2,000) to cover your start-up costs in Vietnam.

Jobs and programs in Vietnam

There are a myriad of English teaching jobs and programs to choose from in Vietnam. You could teach English at a public school, international school or a language school.

Language Schools

There are various private language schools in Vietnam which hire English teachers to teach an assortment of English classes: General, Academic, Conversational, Business and Test preparation. Class sizes are small and range from 5 to 20 students per class. 

Popular language schools in Vietnam are ILA, Apex, and Apollo English.

International schools

English teachers teach grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills to Vietnamese students. Additionally, you could also find yourself teaching Maths, Science, and Social Studies. Class sizes can range from 10 to 25 students in international schools. 

Private lessons

Private lessons are a great way to earn extra income, and it is common for English teachers in Vietnam to teach private English lessons to their students. 

Tips for finding private lesson opportunities in Vietnam:

  1. Advertise on social media (Facebook groups)
  2. Ask Vietnamese teachers to refer you to students
  3. Enquire at language centres for private language opportunities
  4. Enquire at local businesses and offer to train their employees.

Tip: Ensure that your contract and visa allow you to work outside your normal teaching job.

How to get a English teaching job in Vietnam

Ready to start teaching the ABC’s? Here are some steps you can take to get an English teaching job in Vietnam:

  1. Research job opportunities on our jobs board
  2. Update CV and cover letter
  3. Prepare for interviews
  4. Ace interview
  5. Apply for a work visa and work permit

Easy peasy!

Popular teaching programs in Vietnam

There are numerous government-sponsored English language programs in Vietnam, the most popular being the English Teaching Assistant program. In this program you work alongside a local Vietnamese teacher in a public school with class sizes ranging from 30 to 40 pupils. 

Using a recruiter will help you find English teaching jobs in Vietnam.  They provide visa assistance, and support throughout your placement in Vietnam.

What is the average salary in Vietnam?

The average salary for English teachers in Vietnam ranges from 23 million – 45 million ($1,000 – $2000) a month. 

  • At a language school, you can expect to earn 28 million – 42 million ($1,200 – $1,800) a month. 
  • At a public school, you can earn up to 45 million ($2,000). 
  • For private lessons, teachers usually charge between 250,000 – 350,000 ($10 – $15) an hour.

Tip: English teacher salaries are more competitive at international schools and universities.

What is the average cost of living in Vietnam?

The cost of living in Vietnam is very low. Your standard of living – and how much pho you want to eat! – will decide how much you are able to save.

 Living costs to consider in Vietnam:

Accommodation

  • One-bedroom apartment in city centre: 7 milliion – 9 million ($300- $385) 
  • One-bedroom apartment outside city centre: 4.5 milliion – 6 million ($200- $250) 

Utilities

  • Gas, water, electricity: 1.4 million – 2.8 million ($60 – $120) a month

Groceries

  • Monthly shop: 2.3 million ($100)
  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: 25,000 – 70,000 ($1 – $3)

Transport

  • Monthly pass: 200,000 ($8.50)
  • Scooter, per month:  1 million ($40)
  • Taxi, per km: 15,000 ($0.60)

Internet

  • Unlimited: 250,000 ($10)

Entertainment

  • Going out, gym, movies etc: 4.5 million – 7 million ($200 – $300)

Is it possible to save as a TEFL teacher in Vietnam?

Saving in Vietnam is as easy as (Vietnamese meat) pie! If you are smart about eating out and your entertainment habits, it’s possible to keep your living costs quite low.

English teachers in Vietnam can expect to  save an average of 10 million ($450) a month. Side hustles, like private tutoring or online English teaching, are great ways to bump up your savings. 

What is it like living and working in Vietnam?

Vietnamese culture is likely to be different from yours (unless you are from another Asian country), especially in the classroom. Vietnamese students are very respectful of their elders and will wait to be called on to speak in the classroom.

Saving face is an important concept in Vietnamese culture. Avoid doing anything that will embarrass a person in public, including shouting, ridiculing or being aggressive. 

Teachers in Vietnam need to dress business casual. Shoulders and legs should be covered, and tattoos hidden. Your conduct in public should reflect your status as a teacher.

Finally, Vietnamese people have a great sense of humour, but they won’t tolerate criticism of their country or jokes about the war. Be mindful and respectful and you’ll soon have many friends in Vietnam.

Living and teaching English in Vietnam is probably exactly what you would imagine. The teaching is fun, the coffee is good, and the salaries are enough for you to lead a comfortable lifestyle while enjoying everything Vietnam has to offer. 

It shouldn’t be surprising that many TEFL teachers start out teaching in Vietnam – and never leave!

Contents

Adventure seekers and English teachers, Vietnam is calling your name!

Thinking about teaching English in Vietnam? You should be!

Imagine this: it’s a weekday, you’re taking your daily walk on one of the most beautiful beaches, sipping on fresh coconut water, and enjoying the most delicious Vietnamese food for lunch. You arrive at work and teach English to chatty, friendly students. Making some good ol’ fashioned money never seemed this rewarding!

If this sounds like your scene, teaching English in Vietnam is the right fit for you!

Why teach English in Vietnam?

Those who teach English in Vietnam will tell you that their experience is unlike any other TEFL teacher’s. 

  • With its low cost of living, Vietnam offers a comfortable lifestyle for TEFL teachers.
  • Vietnam is a tropical paradise. From beaches to hot springs to mountains to valleys, the country boasts gorgeous natural scenery and balmy tropical weather. And did we mention the crystal-clear waters, lush nature reserves and picturesque forests?
  • And TEFL jobs for days! There is a high demand for TEFL teachers in Vietnam, so finding a job shouldn’t be too difficult.

Basic requirements and qualifications

Vietnam is generally considered one of the easier countries to get a working visa for. However, there are a number of requirements you need to satisfy in order to qualify for both a visa and a job teaching English in Vietnam.

The TEFL Academy has seen thousands of graduates move to Vietnam to teach English as a foreign language (many of whom are still there!) so let’s dive into the requirements for teaching English in Vietnam.

Do you need a visa to teach English in Vietnam?

To work in Vietnam you need a sponsored work visa from your Vietnamese employer. There are many English teachers working in Vietnam “under the table”  on a tourist visa. Although this is common practice, it is illegal. If caught, it may result in deportation. 

And there’s no need to go the illegal route! It’s perfectly acceptable to enter Vietnam on a tourist visa in order to look for employment. Once you have found a job, your employer can apply for your work visa for you and your tourist visa can be updated. 

If you secure a job before leaving for Vietnam, employers and schools will assist you in applying for a 3-month business visa before your arrival. Once you arrive, they will start your application for a work permit. 

Visa requirements for teaching English in Vietnam

To get a work visa for Vietnam, you need:

  • Valid passport (minimum six months validity remaining)
  • Clean criminal background check
  • University degree (in any subject)
  • Teaching certificate (such as TEFL)
  • Signed contract from an authorised Vietnamese employer
  • Sponsor letter from an authorised Vietnamese employer
  • Clean health check in Vietnam

After gathering the necessary documents, you will need to submit your application for a work visa to the Vietnamese embassy or consulate in your home country – unless your employer is organising this once you arrive.

Remember, it is possible to enter on a tourist visa, which is generally three months, which can then be converted to a work visa once you have secured employment.

The cost of a visa may be covered by your employer. If not it will cost $25 to $150.

Tip: Be sure to ask your employer about benefits and compensation before signing a contract, or you may end up paying for things you did not budget for. 

Can I teach in Vietnam without experience or a degree?

To legally work as an English teacher in Vietnam, the Vietnamese government requires foreign English teachers to hold a degree. This degree can be in any field but it must be a Bachelor’s degree. 

Experience is not necessary to teach English in Vietnam. As is always the case, teaching experience is preferred for the better-paid jobs, but certainly not for all. Don’t forget: the practical part of your TEFL course counts as teaching experience!

Do I need TEFL certification to teach  in Vietnam?

To legally work as an English teacher in Vietnam, the Vietnamese government requires foreign English teachers to hold a TEFL teaching certificate.

Remember that not all TEFL courses are created equal. To give yourself the best possible chance at finding work teaching in Vietnam, make sure the TEFL course you choose is accredited, internationally recognised and is held in high regard by its graduates.

Completing a Level 5 TEFL course (168 hours) with an in-class teaching component will strengthen your application.

Can I teach as a non-native speaker?

Your chances of securing an English teaching job in Vietnam as a non-native speaker is possible if you can prove your English proficiency to be that of a native speaker.

How to bolster your English teaching resume as a non-native speaker: 

  • Previous English teaching experience (at a formal school or volunteer work)
  • Level 5 TEFL Certificate with in-class teaching practice
  • References from past employers or academic professionals who can advocate for your English proficiency
  • A test result from an English test like IELTS or Pearson at a level of C1 or higher.

Do I need to speak Vietnamese to teach English in Vietnam?

As a matter of fact, you don’t! Teaching English as a foreign language is based on the principles of immersion learning. The focus is on using English in real situations. Translation is used sparingly. In fact, it is preferable for a TEFL teacher to not speak the local language in the classroom, to avoid the students using them as their own personal dictionary! 

Outside the classroom, speaking Vietnamese certainly helps you immerse yourself in the culture. And it makes it much easier to order a coffee!

How much start-up capital do I need?

Start-up capital as an English teacher in Vietnam will vary depending on your needs. As an English teacher in Vietnam, accommodation may or may not be included in your package. If accommodation is not supplied by your employer, this will form a large part of your start-up costs. 

But with the cost of living being low, it won’t prove difficult to afford a place to stay. Many English teachers in Vietnam share accommodation with other teachers, which is another way to save costs. Some Vietnamese employers will provide accommodation or offer housing allowances.

Remember that you will need to support yourself until your first paycheque.

Let’s break down the start-up costs you should be aware of when moving to Vietnam.

  • Accommodation: First month’s rent and security deposit of two months’ rent
  • TEFL certification: A TEFL course can cost between $100 and $500, depending on the length and level of the course and the course provider. 
  • Document fees: Any costs related to certifying and notarising your degree and TEFL certificate
  • Flight ticket: Variable. 
  • Visa application: The cost of getting a work visa is subject to your home country. You can expect to pay between $50 -$150. 
  • Living expenses: You will need one month’s worth of start-up capital of about 

17 million – 25 million ($750 – $1,000). Add to this 35 million ($1,500) for your first month’s rent upfront and two months’ rent deposit. 

Generally speaking, it’s recommended that you have between 35 million and 45 million ($1,500 and $2,000) to cover your start-up costs in Vietnam.

Jobs and programs in Vietnam

There are a myriad of English teaching jobs and programs to choose from in Vietnam. You could teach English at a public school, international school or a language school.

Language Schools

There are various private language schools in Vietnam which hire English teachers to teach an assortment of English classes: General, Academic, Conversational, Business and Test preparation. Class sizes are small and range from 5 to 20 students per class. 

Popular language schools in Vietnam are ILA, Apex, and Apollo English.

International schools

English teachers teach grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills to Vietnamese students. Additionally, you could also find yourself teaching Maths, Science, and Social Studies. Class sizes can range from 10 to 25 students in international schools. 

Private lessons

Private lessons are a great way to earn extra income, and it is common for English teachers in Vietnam to teach private English lessons to their students. 

Tips for finding private lesson opportunities in Vietnam:

  1. Advertise on social media (Facebook groups)
  2. Ask Vietnamese teachers to refer you to students
  3. Enquire at language centres for private language opportunities
  4. Enquire at local businesses and offer to train their employees.

Tip: Ensure that your contract and visa allow you to work outside your normal teaching job.

How to get a English teaching job in Vietnam

Ready to start teaching the ABC’s? Here are some steps you can take to get an English teaching job in Vietnam:

  1. Research job opportunities on our jobs board
  2. Update CV and cover letter
  3. Prepare for interviews
  4. Ace interview
  5. Apply for a work visa and work permit

Easy peasy!

Popular teaching programs in Vietnam

There are numerous government-sponsored English language programs in Vietnam, the most popular being the English Teaching Assistant program. In this program you work alongside a local Vietnamese teacher in a public school with class sizes ranging from 30 to 40 pupils. 

Using a recruiter will help you find English teaching jobs in Vietnam.  They provide visa assistance, and support throughout your placement in Vietnam.

What is the average salary in Vietnam?

The average salary for English teachers in Vietnam ranges from 23 million – 45 million ($1,000 – $2000) a month. 

  • At a language school, you can expect to earn 28 million – 42 million ($1,200 – $1,800) a month. 
  • At a public school, you can earn up to 45 million ($2,000). 
  • For private lessons, teachers usually charge between 250,000 – 350,000 ($10 – $15) an hour.

Tip: English teacher salaries are more competitive at international schools and universities.

What is the average cost of living in Vietnam?

The cost of living in Vietnam is very low. Your standard of living – and how much pho you want to eat! – will decide how much you are able to save.

 Living costs to consider in Vietnam:

Accommodation

  • One-bedroom apartment in city centre: 7 milliion – 9 million ($300- $385) 
  • One-bedroom apartment outside city centre: 4.5 milliion – 6 million ($200- $250) 

Utilities

  • Gas, water, electricity: 1.4 million – 2.8 million ($60 – $120) a month

Groceries

  • Monthly shop: 2.3 million ($100)
  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: 25,000 – 70,000 ($1 – $3)

Transport

  • Monthly pass: 200,000 ($8.50)
  • Scooter, per month:  1 million ($40)
  • Taxi, per km: 15,000 ($0.60)

Internet

  • Unlimited: 250,000 ($10)

Entertainment

  • Going out, gym, movies etc: 4.5 million – 7 million ($200 – $300)

Is it possible to save as a TEFL teacher in Vietnam?

Saving in Vietnam is as easy as (Vietnamese meat) pie! If you are smart about eating out and your entertainment habits, it’s possible to keep your living costs quite low.

English teachers in Vietnam can expect to  save an average of 10 million ($450) a month. Side hustles, like private tutoring or online English teaching, are great ways to bump up your savings. 

What is it like living and working in Vietnam?

Vietnamese culture is likely to be different from yours (unless you are from another Asian country), especially in the classroom. Vietnamese students are very respectful of their elders and will wait to be called on to speak in the classroom.

Saving face is an important concept in Vietnamese culture. Avoid doing anything that will embarrass a person in public, including shouting, ridiculing or being aggressive. 

Teachers in Vietnam need to dress business casual. Shoulders and legs should be covered, and tattoos hidden. Your conduct in public should reflect your status as a teacher.

Finally, Vietnamese people have a great sense of humour, but they won’t tolerate criticism of their country or jokes about the war. Be mindful and respectful and you’ll soon have many friends in Vietnam.

Living and teaching English in Vietnam is probably exactly what you would imagine. The teaching is fun, the coffee is good, and the salaries are enough for you to lead a comfortable lifestyle while enjoying everything Vietnam has to offer. 

It shouldn’t be surprising that many TEFL teachers start out teaching in Vietnam – and never leave!

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