Buzzing cities, dramatic natural landscapes and exotic foods are just a few of the things that attract so many people to teach English in Vietnam. Located in the centre of Southeast Asia, the country is best known for the UNESCO World Heritage-listed site of Halong Bay, bustling Ho Chi Minh City and the historic capital of Hanoi. As a TEFL teacher, you’ll have the chance to not only explore these famous sites but also see the authentic, local side of Vietnam.
In most cases, to legally work in Vietnam, you will need a BA degree and a criminal background check as a minimum. Ideally, you’ll also have a TEFL certification, previous experience or study in a relevant field. You can convert a tourist visa into a work visa if you have found work while in the country, which is a popular route to working in Vietnam. There are also plenty of volunteer opportunities in the country, which can be a great way to get a taste for it and see if Vietnam is for you.
If a warm, year-round climate, friendly students and colleagues, and an ideal base for exploring Southeast Asia on the cheap appeals to you, consider a position teaching English in Vietnam. From gaining your TEFL certification to finding the best jobs in the country, read on to discover everything you need to know in this Teach English in Vietnam Ultimate Guide.
The TEFL market is booming in Vietnam, where more students than ever are signing up for language lessons and more ESL teaching jobs are becoming available. 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. Teaching abroad in Vietnam is a wise decision for any ESL teacher looking to land a teaching job abroad.
Vietnam is a hugely diverse country. You can be dancing the night away in one of the big cities one minute, or discovering the sandy beaches along 3,260km of Vietnam’s coastline and taking in truly jaw-dropping mountain scenery the next.
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, Vietnam offers the perfect teaching job abroad for those who have just gained their TEFL qualification, with plenty of entry-level jobs teaching English to be found across the country. Wages are good, enabling teachers to afford a good standard of life without having to work overtime.
Here’s are a quick glance at a few of the essential things to know if you’re thinking about teaching English in Vietnam:
- The most popular locations for TEFL jobs in Vietnam are Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang, Hai Phong, Can Tho and Bien Hoa.
- Salaries for English teachers in Vietnam can vary greatly between different locations and institutes. However, as a guide, the basic monthly salary for a full-time position 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 $.
- To be eligible for a working visa in Vietnam, you must have a BA degree, be a native English speaker (or a non-native English speaker with a teaching qualification – more on this later!) and be able to provide a clean criminal background check. While a TEFL qualification is not a legal requirement for a visa, most schools ask for candidates to have a TEFL with a minimum of 120-hours.
- Previous teaching experience is not required to teach English in Vietnam.
- The maximum age for teaching in Vietnam is 60.
- Term times run from August to June, with peak hiring times between August and December for public schools and year-round for language schools.
- Teaching opportunities include public schools, private schools, international schools, business English, language schools and volunteering programmes.
- You’ll be paid in Vietnamese Dong (VND) but prices are sometimes quoted in USD $.
- The national language is Vietnamese, while just over 50% of the population speaks English, making it easy to get around and make new friends!
Requirements for teaching English in Vietnam
Wondering what you need to teach English in Vietnam? From legal visa requirements to the best TEFL courses to take to boost your CV and land a top job in the country, we have you covered. Keep reading to find out more!
With a growing TEFL market in Vietnam, employers have grown savvier when it comes to hiring new teachers. Being a fluent English speaker with a degree used to be enough to find work, but now teachers will usually need a TEFL qualification, preferably one that is at least 120 hours.
Regulations introduced in 2020 mean it’s slightly harder for non-native speakers to get a work permit now, which is a requirement for finding legal work as an English teacher in Vietnam. However, for those with a degree in English or Education, especially from a native English country, it’s not impossible.
Let’s take a look at the specific requirements for both native and non-native English speaking teachers in more detail below:
As a native English speaker:
- A bachelor’s degree (in any subject)
- A TEFL certification (120 hours minimum preferred)
- Previous experience (preferred, but not essential)
- A clean criminal background check
As a non-native English speaker:
- A bachelor’s degree (in English/Education preferred)
- English proficiency certificate (eg. IELTS)
- A TEFL certification (120 hours minimum preferred)
- Previous experience (preferred)
- A clean criminal background check
If you don’t have a degree or any previous experience, don’t worry! There may still be a way that you can teach English in Vietnam.
Teaching English in Vietnam without a degree
While a degree in any subject might be the most common requirement to obtain a work permit for Vietnam, it is technically possible to teach without one. When it comes to applying for a work permit (which we’ll talk about in more detail a little later on) there is actually the possibility of using five years of relevant, documented teaching experience instead of a degree. It seems like this is much more of an exception than the norm but, for those who can show previous relevant work, it might just be your ticket to teaching in Vietnam!
If you don’t have a degree or any experience, there’s still the option of volunteering as an English teacher in Vietnam. There are several good volunteering programmes running in Vietnam, with placements available in many different locations. You can find out more about volunteer options further down in this article.
Teaching English in Vietnam with no experience
Want to teach English in Vietnam with no experience? No problem! For those with a bachelor’s degree, having no prior experience in teaching won’t stop you from finding a job. However, it’s worth remembering that for the best paying roles, especially those in the most popular teaching locations, you could find yourself competing against more qualified candidates.
This is where a good TEFL certification – particularly a Level 5 or advanced training – can really help to show employers that you have the skills and determination to become an English teacher, even if you don’t have classroom experience.
Visa for teaching jobs in Vietnam
As we’ve mentioned above, to legally teach English in Vietnam you’ll need a work visa/permit. These are sponsored by your school or employer, who will usually help you to organise all the documents you’ll need. These will include:
- Certified bachelor’s degree
- Certified teaching certificate (TEFL etc..)
- Certified IELTS/TOEFL certificate (for non-native English teachers)
- Full clean criminal background check
- Full clean health check (carried out in Vietnam)
- Certified copy of passport
- Passport photos
- Any documents required from the school (which they will supply)
These will then be submitted to the Department of Labor in your school’s region for approval. Work permits usually take around a week to process but may be quicker if completed online. Don’t worry if this all sounds a little overwhelming – it’s actually not as bad as it seems! For those with a degree, there’s a very low chance of your work visa being rejected.
Of course, like many other countries in Southeast Asia, you’ll hear about teachers working without a visa or permit. There are schools that employ people without the correct documents and pay cash under the table. It’s worth remembering that should you get caught, your teaching English in Vietnam experience could end with deportation and a country ban… which is not something we would highly recommend! It’s usually a red flag when an employer is willing to hire teachers without the proper paperwork, so it’s important to be aware of the signs of scams and bad employers.
Teach English in Vietnam: Salary & Cost of Living
Want to teach English in Vietnam but not sure how much you’ll earn, spend or be able to save? The great news is, thanks to its low cost of living, EFL teachers in Vietnam can live comfortably and still be able to save money for the future. In fact, even a modest salary for a TEFL teacher will still be far greater than what local people earn, allowing you to experience everything Vietnam has to offer while still saving!
Of course, factors like where you choose to teach, how much experience you have and whether or not you have a qualification in English or Education will play a role in determining how much money you can make. It should go without saying that lifestyle choices – like how often you eat out at fancy western restaurants or drink at expensive cocktail bars in major cities – will determine how much of your paycheque is left at the end of each month.
But whether you’re a splurger or a saver, wages in Vietnam shouldn’t disappoint! Read on to find out more about the average salaries and living costs for English teachers in Vietnam.
How much can you make teaching English in Vietnam?
An English teacher in Vietnam can expect to make between 27,700,000 VND – 46,171,000 VND (£920 – £ 1,500/$1,200 to $2,000 USD) per month. This will depend on what kind of school you teach at, where your school is, whether you have a degree in a relevant field and how much experience you have.
But don’t worry if you’re a new TEFL teacher hoping to still make a decent wage – there are plenty of opportunities to tutor English on the side, with hourly rates ranging from 390,000 VND – 740,000 VND (£13 – £25 / $17 – $32)
Experienced teachers and those with a degree in Education or English can apply for higher-salaried jobs as well as negotiate for a better wage but as a guide, look for positions with a minimum of 46,171,000 VND (£ 1,500/$2,000 USD) per month.
How much does it cost to live in Vietnam?
While contracts don’t typically include perks such as accommodation and flight reimbursement that other countries like China and South Korea offer, salaries in comparison to the cost of living in Vietnam are very good.
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. Housing isn’t typically included with teaching jobs but it’s not hard to find somewhere to rent. 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, including the historic capital city Ho Chi Minh. 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.
Take a look at the table below to get a better idea of the daily costs of living, working and travelling in Vietnam:
|Country||Avg. monthly salary||Degree required||Start of term||Teaching experience||Housing & flights included||Suitable for non-native English speakers||Age restrictions|
|Teach in Vietnam||£920 - £ 1,500
($1,200 to $2,000)
|VND (đ)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|Inexpensive restaurant meal||50,000||2.19||1.67|
|Domestic beer (0.5 litres)||20,000||0.88||0.67|
|Water (0.33 litre)||7,109||0.31||0.24|
|VND (đ)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|Regular milk (1 litre)||34,162||1.50||1.14|
|Loaf of white bread||19,904||0.87||0.66|
|Regular eggs (1 dozen)||33,360||1.46||1.11|
|Apples (1 kg)||62,864||2.75||2.10|
|VND (đ)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|One-way ticket (local transport)||7,000||0.31||0.23|
|Monthly pass (regular price)||200,000||8.75||6.68|
|Taxi start (normal tariff)||11,000||0.48||0.37|
|Gasoline (1 litre)||21,173||0.93||0.71|
|VND (đ)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|Electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage (for a regular apartment)||1,517,405||66.41||50.65|
|Regular prepaid mobile tariff (per minute, local without discounts)||1,611||0.07||0.05|
|Internet (60 Mbps, unlimited data, cable/ADSL)||245,591||10.75||8.20|
|Clothing and Shoes||Cost|
|VND (đ)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|Pair of jeans (Levis 501 or something similar)||916,464||40.11||30.59|
|Summer dress in a chain store||679,276||29.73||22.67|
|Nike running shoes (mid-range)||2,088,877||91.42||69.72|
|Men’s leather business shoes||1,960,355||85.79||65.43|
English teaching jobs in Vietnam
Wondering what kind of English teaching jobs in Vietnam might be available? There’s an abundance of work for TEFL teachers in the country, so it’s easy to find jobs teaching English, from private tutoring to teaching English online.
Teachers can find work year-round in language centres teaching a range of ages, as well as jobs in private and public schools. It’s possible to secure work before arriving in the country but it’s easier to do so in person, as face-to-face interviews are preferred by many employers.
On the whole, TEFL institutes in Vietnam are professionally run and will treat teachers well. It’s a highly respected job and wages will reflect that. However, 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 schools in Vietnam is that the teaching materials they’re provided with for their lessons aren’t up to scratch, even in private language schools. If you’re asked to teach with unsuitable materials or coursebooks, you’ll have to think on your feet to adapt them for your students as schools are unlikely to splash out on replacing them. Adjust your lesson planning accordingly!
Public and private language schools hire year-round, and it’s easy to find teaching jobs in high-end institutions 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.
Let’s take a look at each of the different options available to TEFL teachers in more detail below.
If you have a bachelor’s degree, a TEFL qualification and some experience, you might want to consider a teaching position at a public school in Vietnam. They tend to offer good salaries if you’re an experienced teacher, along with long, paid holidays and a reasonable number of working hours.
However, it’s worth considering the number of students you’ll feel comfortable teaching. In public schools in Vietnam, it’s common to have up to 60 students in one class. Over the course of a week, some English teachers at public schools in Vietnam can see around 1000 pupils, making it difficult to form strong bonds with your students.
If the numbers don’t put you off and you have the qualifications, you can expect to work Monday to Friday with weekends off, with terms running from August to June.
Employers hiring in Vietnam
Now that you know the different types of schools you can work at, you might be ready to start applying for jobs. We’ve compiled a list of recommended employers, recruiters and volunteer programmes to help you find the best teaching English opportunities in Vietnam:
- Highly qualified teachers can apply to the Asian Institute of Technology in Vietnam, where you need 5+ years’ experience and preferably a master’s degree as well as a TEFL. Part-time, $22 – $25 per hour.
- Aston has 6 branches in Vietnam. Teachers need a degree and TEFL qualification.
- The British Council hires both teachers and teacher trainers in Vietnam.
- Compass Education looks for teachers with a degree and TEFL to teach kids aged 6-15. 6-month contracts, 15-20 hours a week, class size of up to 40.
- Fisher’s Super Kids is based in Danang City. You need a degree and TEFL, preferably 1 year of experience.
- Native speakers with a degree and TEFL can apply to ILA.
- Language Link has over 40 schools. Teachers with a degree and 120-hour practical TEFL can apply.
- British/Canadian applicants are preferred for Shelton, which has around 30 branches. Professional teachers (PGCE or equivalent) hired for 9.5-month contracts, a minimum of 18 hours per week.
- Voluntary positions for US applicants with Teachers for Vietnam. Placements in universities for volunteer graduates over 21 years with a TEFL/experience.
- Apply to the Universal Education Center if you have a TEFL and a degree.
- Teach with Travel Bud and earn $1,200 – $2,000 per month. Contracts of 4 to 12 months. You need a degree, TEFL certificate and accepted passport.
- Vietnam Teaching Jobs is a jobs board with current TEFL listings.
Don’t forget, you can also find the latest teaching positions on The TEFL Org Jobs Centre page.
English teaching programmes in Vietnam
If securing a paid teaching job in Vietnam isn’t possible, you can only commit a short period of time or you would simply rather volunteer, there are a number of English teaching programmes in Vietnam that might be of interest.
While nowhere near as strict when it comes to requirements as paid teaching jobs, there are a few things you’ll usually need to apply to a volunteer programme. For starters, you’ll have to be at least 18 years old. Some programmes also look for participants who have completed at least one year of a degree or diploma while others will look for those with a year of relevant experience.
Many English teaching programmes in Vietnam come with a cost, meaning you’ll need to fund the programme fee, as well as your flights. Programmes will usually include accommodation, meals, airport pick-up and on the ground support and training but you should check details thoroughly to make sure you know exactly what is covered by your fee and what you’ll still need to pay for when you arrive.
English teaching programmes in Vietnam run for various lengths of time but are usually between 1 and 6 months. You’ll most likely be placed with other foreign English teachers, which means you’ll have a group of new friends in Vietnam straight away. Weekends are usually free to explore the country, making volunteering the perfect way to travel at the same time as gaining valuable teaching experience.
Teaching English in Hanoi
Considering a move to teach English in Hanoi? Great choice! As the second-largest city in Vietnam, Hanoi is one of the most popular locations for TEFL teachers. The city is home to a large, friendly, expat community, meaning you’ll never be short of friends or people to talk to.
Although this can make competition for the best jobs in Hanoi high, there are a huge number of language schools dotted throughout the city. The English market in Hanoi is booming, with new English learning institutes opening all the time. This makes it relatively easy to pick up work teaching English abroad in Vietnam, even for brand new TEFL teachers. And, with good salaries, a low cost of living and plenty of things to see, do and eat in your spare time, it’s no wonder that Hanoi has become such a magnet for those looking to teach English abroad.
The Vietnamese capital has a distinctly different, old-world vibe compared to the modern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City to the south. Much of Hanoi’s charm lies in the historic Old Quarter, with its maze of streets packed with cafes, street food stalls and markets.
But while the ancient alleyways are a great place to explore on your time off, you’ll probably want to find accommodation somewhere less crammed with tourists, and where you can get a little more space for your hard-earned money.
A large number of expats live in Tay Ho, in northern Hanoi. The once-sleepy fishing village is now home to stylish coffee shops, boutiques and restaurants, making it an ideal place to live.
Of course, like anywhere else, there are downsides to living in such a large city. Pollution levels can at times reach some of the worst in the world, with the city centre’s intense traffic adding to Hanoi’s unclean air woes. The pollution can be particularly bad during wintertime, which mixed with the surprisingly-chilly weather can create a wet, grey smog.
On the plus side, escaping the city when you need a break is incredibly easy. Hanoi is a great choice for those hoping to see some of Vietnam’s top sights, including Halong Bay, Trang An, Tam Coc and the ancient capital of Hoa Lu.
The city’s easy-to-reach Noi Bai International Airport also makes exploring the rest of Vietnam and much of Southeast Asia a breeze. You’ll find cheap domestic flights to locations like Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Quoc, with international flights to the likes of Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia as well.
TEFL Org teacher story
If you’re thinking about moving to Vietnam to teach English, one of the best things you can do is to listen to those who’ve done it before! Our student stories from previous TEFL Org graduates give you an idea of what it’s actually like to teach abroad. Here’s what Frances had to say about her experience of teaching English in Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon):
“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.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is there an age limit for teaching abroad in Vietnam?
Sadly, there is.
The age limit for Vietnam teaching jobs is 60, so if you had planned to teach Vietnamese students English after retirement age, then sadly that isn’t possible.
However, most teachers will tell you there’s immense value in volunteering, even when there aren’t paid English teaching positions available for over 60s.
If you have the means, volunteering in Vietnam is an incredibly rewarding experience. Resources like Volunteering HQ can make this happen for you.
Q. Can I teach English in Vietnam without a degree?
Although a degree is preferred, especially in terms of applying for a visa, five years of relevant experience has also been known to do the trick.
Alternatively, volunteering is a viable option if you’re wanting to teach English in Vietnam without a degree.
Q. Are English teachers in demand in Vietnam?
The demand to attract English teachers to teach abroad in Vietnam is substantial. Since the early ‘00s, the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training has set lofty targets for English proficiency, in large part to be more competitive in international markets.
As such, it’s a country that’s crying out for English teachers to teach abroad in their country. As explored, experienced English teachers can expect decent salaries, and while visa restrictions are aplenty, Vietnam teaching jobs are similarly abundant.
English has boomed as a second or third language in Vietnam, and there couldn’t be a better option for EFL teachers who wish to teach abroad in South Asia.
Hopefully, this article has explained everything you need to know about teaching English in Vietnam. Just in case, though, here are some of the internet’s most pressing questions about the teaching abroad experience in one of Southeast Asia’s most popular destinations.