With its rich culture, tropical climate and abundance of jobs, Vietnam has secured a spot as one of the top places to TEFL in Asia. Here is a guide to how you can teach English in Vietnam.
Who am I?
Hey! I’m Frances! I moved to Vietnam in 2016 to start my TEFL career and haven’t looked back. I had few expectations of Vietnam before I moved to Saigon but it is safe to say that I am head-over-heels in love with life here. While I’ve worked in the public school system, the majority of my experience in Vietnam has been in a language centre. I’d like to share some of the knowledge I’ve accumulated to help you with your move to Vietnam to teach English!
Why teach in Vietnam?
Maybe I’m a little biased as I’m lowkey obsessed with Vietnam, but life here is so vibrant! Between the abundance of epic street eats, friendly locals, mountain scenes to awe at, and unreal travel experiences on your doorstep, it’s hard to not see the appeal of living and working in Vietnam. Not to mention students are driven and have a great balance between studying and fun. As a bonus, average wages are high enough to save money while still living a comfortable lifestyle.
Requirements for Teaching English in Vietnam
To teach English in Vietnam most companies require:
- a bachelor degree
- a TEFL certification
- a clean criminal background check
These documents, along with a Vietnamese health check, are needed for your employer to get a work permit for you. You can find work without a degree in Vietnam, but it will be more challenging as employers want everything above board and the work permit is a legal requirement.
How to find a TEFL job in Vietnam
I recommend trying to find a job before you move to Vietnam. You can search for positions remotely through the TEFL Org Jobs Centre, LinkedIn and through Facebook groups like TEFL Org’s own. These Facebook groups are actively used by recruiters and are a great place to hear about companies that are hiring.
There is a high demand in Vietnam for teachers and you can find work all year round, especially in language centres. If you have your heart set on public school then the peak recruitment period is in August and December. Vietnam celebrates Lunar New Year and recruitment tends to drop around this time so February is a slow month to find teaching work in Vietnam.
Types of jobs for TEFL teachers in Vietnam
There are three main types of work you can do as a TEFL teacher in Vietnam; public school, kindergarten and language centre – over the past three years I’ve done them all!
Public school sometimes gets a bad rep for having oversized classes and rowdy kids but I’ve had nothing but excellent experience teaching in Vietnamese public school. Normally you will have to prepare your own lessons using a set textbook/curriculum but some companies (like my old one) provide lesson plans and materials. I actually taught science and maths in public school as part of a CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) program which is becoming more popular here.
Working for a kindergarten is similar to working in the public school system where you are given either lesson plans or a curriculum to follow. Kindergarten hours are normally morning and afternoon.
Language centres tend to cater to either adults (doing IELTS or Business English) or children (like after-school classes). You can expect lesson plans to be provided at most language centres and hours to fall predominantly in the evenings and on weekends. Normally language centre class sizes are much smaller than at public schools, and more training and guidance will be provided for first-time teachers.
Average salaries in Vietnam
Most full-time positions in Vietnam are around 20 – 30 teaching hours, with an hourly rate based upon qualifications and experience. The average teacher makes between US$17 – 22. The average monthly salary is upwards of US$1200. I recommend finding a salary position over an hourly one so that you are guaranteed hours and pay.
Average cost of living in Vietnam
That said, Vietnam has a low cost of living and you can live a comfortable life and still save a little money with $1000 a month. For example, rent averages around $300, motorbike rental for $50, a street meal for $2 and a big night out for less than $20.
I hope this guide to teaching English in Vietnam has been useful for you. I honestly cannot recommend it enough, for both experienced teachers and newbies – it is the perfect place for your next TEFL adventure! If you have more questions you can find me over on So The Adventure Begins.
For more information on teaching abroad, check out our definitive guide.