Teaching English in Vietnam – Everything you need to know

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Teaching English in Vietnam offers great weekly pay, bustling cities to explore, beautiful coastlines and a new culture to experience. The job market for English teachers is constantly increasing with great career opportunities.

Why else would one want to teach English in Vietnam?

With the rising demand for English teachers, not only will you be able to secure a suitable teaching position (with an attractive salary), but you will also receive an once in a lifetime opportunity to explore the local attractions such as temples, Dong Xuan market, national parks, eat local food and meet new colleagues.

Getting a job as a teacher

Getting a good job as an English teacher comes with one’s common sense and experience. Generally, you will need to do your research. However, there are a few things you can do to improve your chance of attracting the right employers.

Do I need a degree to teach English in Vietnam?

With a degree and a TESOL Certificate you stand a better chance of getting your desired job. Having a diploma in TESOL or a certificate in TEFL or CELTA, can increase the chances of attracting legitimate schools. Being a native speaker is, of course, a plus. However, good schools should offer to reimburse you for your TEFL qualification or expect you to already possess this.

Secondly, most schools will require you to have a TEFL certificate, as well as a teacher resume and possibly some work-related references. So make sure you create a resume tailored to your teaching experience. Include jobs that mentions about your teaching experience in a classroom environment. Include placement experiences, volunteering, English tutoring and so on.

Sometimes, recruiters will not mind if you are new to teaching and have a TEFL certificate. However, another tip I can offer is to be confident in the interview (even if you feel nervous on the inside) and to discuss your contract as soon as possible.

Vietnam pays teachers well, so make sure you aren’t getting ripped off and that you have clear communication before you start. If all these elements are in line, congratulations! You will have a great experience living in a new country and expanding on your career.

Contract length?

Most teacher contracts last 6- 12 months. However, these can be extended depending on the school you are with and your job performance.

Salary: How much will you earn teaching English in Vietnam?

A teacher’s salary in Vietnam, depending on experience will range between $1000 – $3000 per month.

Cost of living in Vietnam is extremely low, you could save potentially 35% – 50% of your income (Up to $1500 USD per month). Lots of teachers save a great deal of money while living here.

To receive your hard earned money, you can join a Vietnam bank that translates to English such as The Saigon Commercial Bank.

Teaching English in Vietnam: Job Opportunities

  • Public Schools
  • Language Centres or Private Schools

Like many teaching positions, you will have to make the decision to go public or private.

1. Public Schools

Public schools in Vietnam offer stability, weekends off and stable 8-5pm teaching hours. Planning time is often at a minimum as lessons will be prepared with content and are shorter in length than language centers (45 mins).

Expect that in public schools you will be teaching bigger classroom sizes, despite this challenge many teachers find this to be worth it as they create great relationships with their students. As teaching is paid so well in Vietnam, you can work part time (22 hours per week) and still have plenty of money left to travel.

Teaching in a Public school in Vietnam will require you to grow in confidence, organization and teaching skills, but it will be a great adventure to experience.

Salary

New teachers. 800 to 1000 USD per month.
Experienced teachers: 1200 to 1800 USD per month.

2. Language Centres

These are considered “private education” in Vietnam. Offer varying hours, however, can still be a great way to gain experience as well as offering higher pay. Language centres are for teachers wanting a more flexible lifestyle in my opinion, the hours may be more varied, however, this offers more time for travel. You can teach in the evenings and weekends where you will meet a wider variety of students at differing ages.

Salary

1000 to 1500 USD per month. Depending on personal preference, both types of schools offer various benefits to travelling teachers.

Locations – Where to teach & live

Choosing a location can be a tricky decision. Most teachers prefer a short-term contract based around the location they are teaching in, so accommodation prices will vary. It is recommended to teach in some of the main cities such as  Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Haiphong  and Da Nang.

If you are travelling to Vietnam without a secure job position, a hostel could also be sufficient until you are more organized. Once you have a secure teaching position, you can choose a more lengthy apartment contract.

Again, the main cities are recommended to teach in, however, more rural locations are also available. I would recommend building up more experience before moving away from the main cities. Some teachers are enjoying Nha Trang that is located directly near a beautiful beach and is less urbanized.

However, there are many beaches to explore throughout Vietnam’s coastline, any location may have slight differences, but each city will be beautiful and offer their own quirks.

The Students

As with any school, students will vary in behavior and level of knowledge. In public schools with large class numbers, teachers will have to consider implementing their organizational skills and behavior management strategies in order to get their point across. As teachers, we know this is the reality of dealing with such different personalities combined into one learning space.

That being said, you will find that you will become incredibly attached to your students by the time that you leave (if you choose to leave). Students are going to be attached to you to, known to invite you to events out of school hours or give you tips for the best places to visit and eat.

Students will strive to impress you and will admire you as well, probably more than in westernized countries as these children really want to learn English and also you may be different to the kind of person they usually see.

Children love something new and different, and that’s gonna be you!

As with any students, a good relationship and behavior management are the key to respect and obedience.

Make sure you do have personal time and do not get burnt out by always being prepared and rested for class.

Accommodation Options: (USD)

While teaching English in Vietnam, to find a place to live, there are some online sites available such as Facebook, Air Bnb, Craigslist. However, the best thing to do may be to call a real estate agent and arrange to look at a few apartments. Send them a message Via Facebook with some details or call an agency and let them help you!

On average – A good apartment will cost you around $200- 400 (US) per month.

  • Utilities: $46 per month.
  • Taxi ride: $0.48.
  • Internet: $10.
  • 1 meal in a restaurant: $2.

Visa Requirements

A VISA is a must to enter the country, however, to start with you will be on a tourist visa and then move to a work visa once you are properly employed. A good school will reimburse you for this. It is illegal to continue to work under the tourist visa, so only you can decide whether you want to risk this or not.

Travel, Attractions and Adventure

Vietnam offers exciting new experiences and if you have been to any part of Asia, most of the same rules apply – crazy traffic, amazing food and a new culture to explore filled with history and mystery.

Main attractions include the Islands of Con Dao (offers snorkelling and beautiful scenery), Marble Mountains, Tam Coc (caves and kayaking), My Khe Beach, Bac Ha market, Cocopalm forest, West Lake… the list goes on! Vietnam also provides many cruises, shopping and outdoorsy events for tourist teachers.

Food

Vietnam has many fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as traditional dishes such as Pho, Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich), Spring rolls, Sticky rice, Com Tam (broken rice) and Banh Xeo (pancakes). All at a low cost too!

So there you have it, a basic guide to teaching English in Vietnam.

This article was originally published in Jul-2018 and was last updated in Jan-2019.

Author: Kate Gosnell

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