English ESL/EFL teaching in Vietnam

English ESL/EFL teaching in Vietnam

Vietnam attracts people with its gorgeous landscapes, beautiful temples, and delicious food. The location is better than it could be, there are some nearby amazing places such as Thailand, Combodia, and Laos. Tropical climate will make you free of the necessity to think what to wear. And welcoming atmosphere let you immerse in Asian culture and historical heritage. ESL teachers admit that such experience is a must-have for those, who are fond of travel and new emotions. The demand for learning English is constantly growing among the population. As long as most of the citizens aren't educated, the requirements for teaching are reasonable and acceptable. Carry on reading this article to know how you can start a new page of your life.

Requirements for English teaching in Vietnam

Before landing a well-paid job, you have to go through an applying process and impress a potential employer with your brilliant CV and resume. Despite the fact that Vietnam is friendly and welcoming country, especially for expats, there are some difficulties in terms of a work permit and visa regulations for those. The imigration law was updated in 2020, so now it is a bit harder to get a job for non-native speakers. However, it is possible. But the requirements for tutors from English-speaking countries and for educators, who aren't from those, are different.

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Native English speakers are required to have:

  • a bachelor's degree in any subject;
  • TEFL/TESOL certification (120-hour course is minimum);
  • previous teaching experience (isn't a necessity, but preferred);
  • a clean criminal background check.

Truth be told, it used to be easier to get a job without qualifications about 5 years ago. However, Vietnam is getting more popular, so the interest of ESL teachers to this place is increasing too. The certificate is one of the important things that allows you to be noticed.

As for non-native speakers:

  • a degree in education or English;
  • TEFL/TESOL certificate;
  • Proficiency level in English, proved by some certification such as EILTS, TOEFL, CAE, CPE.
  • a clean criminal background check;
  • previous work expereince (isn't essential).

If you aren't from an English-speaking country, you just have to prove your briliant knowledge of the language and understand the base of learning process. What is more interesing, despite that education and experience seem to play important roles in hiring, there are still ways of how to get a job without them.

Teaching ESL in Vietnam without a degree

Having no degree isn't the end of the world, but there is much work to prove that you are a decent candidate to get a work permit in Vietnam. Turn on your imagination and think of any work experience you may relate to teaching English, and find a way how to document it. Your five years of relevant background may replace a degree. Another way of work and travel is volunteering. There are many programs you may enroll in to try without commitment to a long-term contract. The requirements to teach children in some summer camps or small villagies are pretty low, as well as payment. You won't make a dough, but you will have a place to sleep, food to eat, and amazing opportunity to get new experience.

Teaching English with no experience

Probably you've noticed that having work experience in teaching isn't an essential part in filling a position. You should understand that all your accomplishments and positive personal traits may cover lack of experience. As Vietnam is a sough-after place for EFL teachers, you should keep in mind that you have to compete with other candidates to prove that you are special. TEFL/TESOL course may help a lot. You will get information about learning approaches, potential students' problems, and making lesson plans. So the last step is practice. Even a minimum 120-hour course will make employers impressed by your determination to become a qualified ESL tutor.

Average salary and benefits for teaching English

Money is one of the significant factors influences a making decision about where to live. All requirements that we have discussed impact on a wage ESL teachers earn in Vietnam. Needless to say that your income depends on a type of institution where you work. We are going to talk about them later. Such things as experience, international certificates, and citizenship make a huge diference to your salary. Usually, qualified ESL educators make about $1,500-2,000 a month. The good news is you can make more working on the side setting your own lesson price. An average sum is $17-32 an hour. 

Vietnamese money

Newcomers can rely on a decent amount of money too, also it will be inspiration to develop professional skills to be promoted. If you are lucky and found a generous employer, you may expect to get lucrative benefits such as a contract complition allowance, free-rent appartment, flight reimbursement, work permit and visa expenses.

Visa for teaching jobs in Vietnam

In comparison with other countries, Vietnam allows you to stay in the country on a three-month tourist visa while you are looking for a job. As soon as you have made a decision where to work, a potential employer checks all essential things as criminal background check, university degree, and certification. Be sure that you have everything they need. The cost of work visa depends on such factors as the length and type. Usually, institutes take such responsibilities for paperwork and help to get visa done. 

Neccessary documents to get a work visa/permit:

  • passport photos;
  • certified copy of passport;
  • full clean health check, you do it on the spot in Vietnam;
  • clean criminal record;
  • certified bachelor's degree;
  • TEFL/TESOL certificate;
  • language crtification such as CAE, CPE, IELTS.

All of these will be passed to the Department of Labor for confirmation. Usually, it takes a week to get it done. There is a fat chance for degree holders to get a rejected visa. It isn't terrifying as it seems to be.

Probably, you have heard some stories about people, who work in Asia illegally. The end of the most of such stories is deportation. If you don't want to be banned from living in this country, be careful with employers, who are ready to work under the table. We don't recommend this way of working.

Types of teaching jobs in Vietnam

If you wonder where to work and how much money you may make there, there are the most popular available positions for ESL teachers in Vietnam. They are different in terms of conditions, workload, and requirements. Inspite of existence of the Internet, most employers in Vietnam prefer to interview candidates in person rather than online. And thanks to tourist visa, you have a chance to find a job on the spot as soon as you have arrived in Vietnam. Almost all institutions hire staff all year-round, it is a good news, because you don't have to wait for appropriate time to apply for. Educators' duties differ depending on a workplace. If a school provides lesson materials, check them twice whether they really satisfy your students' level and lesson topic. Some teachers, who work in Vietnam for long time, claim that course books and teaching materials aren't suitable. Don't hesitate to adapt activities and content to a class's preferences and level.

Vietnamese education

Public Schools

Having international certification, enough experience, and education, you may consider work at a public school. You will work from August till June, five days a week from 9 to 5. Fortunately, there are some benefits, which may attract thoughtful people, such as paid sick leave, retirement, paid hoildays, satisfying amount of working hours. The salary is quite high about $1,600-1,900 a month. Taking into account all requirements, only qualified ESL teachers can make such dough. Before saying yes, take into account an average size of a class, usually it has 40-60 students. It is unlikely to set bonds with most of the students at a high school. In other words, there are about 1,000 students you will teach for a week.

Language Schools

They are always in need of native English speakers to teach adolescents and adults. As Vietnam is a sough-after destination to learn English, you may find many appropriate work places around every corner. Such a job provides so many benefits such as convenient schedule, lesson resources and materials, trainings. When it comes to money, language schools offer $1,200-1,600 a month with opportunities to get paid overtime. There is no need to spend much time on lesson preparation as all neccessary things are provided. Most grown-ups prefer to study in the evenings, so you have free time in the afternoon to discover new places in Vietnam. 

International Schools

Affluent outskirts and wealthy neighbourhoods always look for high-qualified professionals. Parents are paying well to make their children educated in such schools, so expectations for tutors are very high. Sometimes, even TEFL/TESOL certification isn't enough to prove your competence, it is better, if you also have a degree in linguistics or education. Busy schedule allows you to earn more money having some perks as tuition at a discount for your kids, paid holidays, overtime payment. However, it is likely you will be in charge of making lesson plans, searching materials, and creating curriculum. Fortunately, average salary is about $2,000-2,400 a month.


Usually, it requires master's degree to teach at university. Needless to say that you must be qualified and experienced enough. So, TEFL/TESOL certification is a minimum to impress a potential employer. Here you can realize your professional potential and develop teaching skills. There are quite decent stipulations in terms of salary $1,700-2,000 a month, paid hoildays, prepared materials, and curriculum. However, be ready to work overtime. There is fat chance to handle all work on time.

Living in Vietnam and Teaching Online

If you are used to working remotely, it's not necessary to apply for a job on the spot. There are many online schools around the world where you can get international experience having private lessons. Setting your own price and schedule you may travel around and discover Vietnam as a real tourist. Unfortunately, it is unlikely to get benefits from online employer, so be ready to pay for your flight tickets, housing, and essensial expenses till you get the first payment. The good news is such online schools and platforms offer pretty flexible conditions not only to experienced professionals, but also to new brand teachers. That's a chance to realize your professional potential having a classroom with a certain type of students you want.

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