The TEFL market is booming in Vietnam, where more students than ever are signing up for language lessons. Young professionals hoping for a career in tourism or banking are brushing up on their English skills, and the expanding middle class form a vital part of the student body. Primary school children are also receiving English lessons in higher numbers than before, making Vietnam a great place to look for work whether you’d like to teach kids or adults.
Vietnam has a diverse landscape where you can discover bustling cities, sandy beaches along its 3,260km stretch of coastline, and truly jaw-dropping mountain scenery. Expats love the street food culture and incredible culinary experiences on offer in Vietnam. The national dish, Pho, is a popular staple. The wonderful scenery and delectable cuisine, combined with a huge English education market and low living costs, make Vietnam an understandably alluring destination for many EFL teachers. Due to the demand for teachers it’s particularly popular with those who have just gained their TEFL qualification, with plenty of entry-level positions to be found across the country. Wages are good, enabling teachers to afford a good standard of life without working overtime.
- Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang, Hai Phong, Can Tho, Bien Hoa
- Average salary for EFL teachers: The basic monthly salary for full-time positions is likely to be in the region of 27,700,000 VND – 46,171,000 VND (£920 – £ 1,500/$1,200 to $2,000 USD) per month. Hourly rates range from 390,000 VND – 740,000 VND (£13 – £25 / $17 – $32) per hour. Pay is often quoted in American $.
- TEFL qualification requirements: A 120-hour TEFL qualification will be required for most positions
- Prerequisite university degree: A BA degree is a visa requirement
- Term times: August to June
- Currency: Vietnamese Dong (VND)
- Language: Vietnamese
- Teaching programmes: Public Schools, Private Schools, International Schools, Business English, Language Schools, Volunteering
- Age restrictions: Maximum 60
- Previous teaching experience: Not essential
With a growing TEFL market in Vietnam, employers have also grown more savvy when it comes to hiring teachers. Being a fluent English speaker with a degree used to be enough to find work, but now teachers will also need a TEFL qualification, preferably one that is at least 120-hours. On the whole, TEFL institutes in Vietnam are professionally run and will treat teachers well – it’s a highly respected job and wages reflect that – but do try to speak to current staff at a school before accepting a position to get a feel for what it’s really like, and if their wages are commensurate with other local schools. A common complaint amongst teachers at language schools in Vietnam is that the materials they’re provided with for their lessons aren’t up to scratch. If you’re asked to teach with unsuitable materials or course books, you’ll have to think on your feet to adapt them for your students as schools are unlikely to splash out on replacing them.
Peak hiring season is August and December for public schools. Language schools hire year-round, and it’s easy to find work within a couple of weeks of arrival if you’re in a major city. The face-to-face approach works much better than looking online if you’re already in the country, and employers will be used to teachers turning up with a CV. Full-time employment is easier to find now than it was in the past, but there are still those who prefer a medley of part-time roles to add variety and negotiate a higher income.
Requirements for teaching English in Vietnam
|Country||Avg. monthly salary||Degree required||Start of term||Teaching experience||Housing & flights included||Suitable for non-native English speakers||Age restrictions|
|Cambodia||£680 - £1,000
($900 - $1,300)
|China||£1,000 – £2,000
($1,300 – $2,575)
|Yes||September||No||Yes||Yes, if degree obtained from an English-speaking country||Under 55|
|Hong Kong||£1,550 – £6,300
($2,000 – $8,380)
|Yes||August||No||Not usually||Yes||Under 60|
|India||£120 – £775
($150 – $1,000)
|Indonesia||£565 – £1,030
($745 – $1,355)
|Yes||July||No||Not usually||No||Under 60|
|Japan||£1,600 – £2,000
($2,100 – $2,675)
|Kazakhstan||£360 – £470
($465 – $600)
|Malaysia||£550 – £1,450
($720 – $1,900)
|Myanmar||£600 – £1,500
($800 – $2,000)
|Mongolia||£630 – £1,000
($875 – $1,400)
|South Korea||£1,280 – £1,600
($1,670 – $2,000)
|Taiwan||£1,335 – £1,735
($1,700 – $2,220)
|Thailand||£740 – £980
($1,000 – $1,280)
|Vietnam||£920 - £ 1,500
($1,200 to $2,000)
Due to its low cost of living, EFL teachers in Vietnam can live comfortably and still be able to save money for the future. Even a modest salary for a TEFL teacher will still be far greater than what local people earn. If you live like a local by dining on street food and avoiding tourist traps, you can have a great experience without breaking the bank. Accommodation isn’t typically included with teaching jobs but it’s not hard to find somewhere to rent, and while modern condominiums are popular with expats, you can get a great deal by renting in a local neighbourhood where you’ll also get a more immersive experience. Health insurance may not be included in your contract either, so it’s very important to take out appropriate coverage while you’re in the country.
Travel in Vietnam is inexpensive so teachers can spend their time off exploring the country. Public transport is cheap, but many expats choose to rent a motorbike (around $50 a month) which enables them to get around easily both for work and leisure.
- Accommodation: £415 – £650 / $543 – 850
- Utilities: £59 / $77
- Health insurance: Cost of typical visit to a GP: £27 / $36
- Monthly transport pass: £7 / $9
- Basic dinner out for two: £15 / $20
- Cappuccino in expat area: £2.45 / $3.20
- A beer in a pub: £2.14 / $2.80
- 1 litre of milk: £1.12 / $1.46
- 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £0.61 / $0.80
(living costs sourced from Expatistan)
“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!
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.”
Frances, TEFL Org graduate teaching in Vietnam
Discover more student stories from TEFL Org graduates.