With a population of over 90 million and a long history of tradition, your life while you teach English in Vietnam can look a lot of different ways—remote rural villages cascading down rice paddies, modern city skyscrapers with office buildings and karaoke bars, gorgeous karst mountains just begging to be explored. And that’s just outside of the classroom! Inside, you'll find hardworking, motivated, and downright fun students. Lucky for you, ESL jobs in Vietnam are as plentiful as the rice grains, and we’re here to help you find the one for you. Work in Vietnam teaching English—here's how.
Where to Teach in Vietnam
As an English teacher in Vietnam, you have tons of choices for where to work. Here's the lowdown on oft-loved places by past teachers, and where many teach English in Vietnam programs are based.
English teachers in Vietnam will find the majority of teaching opportunities located in the two largest cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), due to the higher population and presence of many more international language schools and institutes.
Ho Chi Minh City has had a fierce comeback post-Vietnam War, which has created a constant need for English teachers in particular. Sitting near the mouth of the Mekong Delta and amidst glorious jungle hideaways, you'll know adventure is never really far away as you teach English in Vietnam. Salary typically ranges from $800-$1000 USD on average—but if you are teaching English in Vietnam without a degree or without TEFL, you can expect it to be lower.
In the second-largest city in Vietnam, Hanoi, international language schools are continuously popping up and teaching experience is gradually becoming less of a requirement. There’s a lot of Chinese influence in this part of Vietnam, so not only do first-time teachers have plenty of opportunities to try their hand at teaching, but they can also have a dual international experience. While many pursue opportunities for teaching English in Hanoi, Vietnam to teenagers or the younger Vietnamese population, adults in Hanoi are actively searching for English language learning opportunities to help them develop their career too.
If a teeming metropolis isn’t for you, there are several other spots, like Hue and Hoi An in southern Vietnam, that offer teaching jobs near the rainforest and beaches of the Vietnam. For a mountainous teaching experience in quieter, more rural villages, head north to the Thai Nguyen province where cultural traditions are upheld and a variety of teaching options are available.
How to Teach English in Vietnam
When you teach English abroad in Vietnam, you are spoilt for choice with placements. Private schools and English language centers are the primary institutions in which teachers will find formal placements. The demand for English language learning here is high, and ESL jobs in Vietnam are available year round in almost every city and town.
International schools can be more difficult to secure placement in because requirements and experience are a great deal higher. But, the benefits and salaries will match, so teachers with considerable experience shouldn’t be discouraged from going after these placements. Teaching in a formal institution typically requires a bachelor’s degree and TEFL/TESOL certification. Some programs include training and certification.
Teachers can set up multiple teaching gigs spread out at a variety of English language centers, or commit to a full time contract at a private school. If the former is your route, you might also want to consider private tutoring as a way to earn and save while teaching in Vietnam. Rates for private tutoring range from $10-$30 USD an hour based on teaching experience. Individuals who teach in Vietnam can expect to work anywhere from 25 to 40 hours a week. In some cases, only half of that time is spent in front of students teaching lessons, and the other half of work hours are spent planning and preparing for lessons.
If you don’t speak Vietnamese, you can still find plenty of teaching placements in Vietnam. However, if you take the time to learn some Vietnamese, it will definitely help you navigate the classroom and gain greater respect from fellow teachers and students alike.
ESL Teacher Salaries in Vietnam & Cost of Living
Your teaching English in Vietnam salary will be pretty standard. You can expect anywhere around $10-$30 USD hourly depending on your placement. First-time teachers will likely sit on the lower end of the pay scale. To receive the greatest benefits and higher pay, teachers will need a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate and teaching experience.
Since the cost of living is lower in Vietnam, the monthly salary teachers receive will be enough to afford a very comfortable lifestyle (even in a big city like Hanoi) and provide some extra money to save for later (or more spring rolls). Depending on where you find ESL jobs in Vietnam, you might not have to commit to teaching 40 hours a week, and can use that extra time to travel. Luckily, Vietnam offers really efficient and cost effective transportation. Be brave and buy your own motorbike to cruise on!
If you’re looking for extra perks, Vietnamese schools don’t offer much. Most teaching jobs in Vietnam are not likely to cover your accommodation, flight, or insurance. However, many employers will help you secure a visa or work permit, they just won’t take care of the fees attached.
Where & How to Live in Vietnam
Individuals who find English teaching jobs in Vietnam will most often need to secure their own housing in an apartment, unless a teaching job happens to provide housing. In many cases, if you ask your employer or placement providers, they will have suggestions or help you find accommodation.
Don't forget to coordinate your teaching English in Vietnam work visa—this can usually be done with support from your school placement or the agency you're working with. You will need a work visa to teach in Vietnam and to be able to secure housing. Sometimes the visa process can be difficult if you’re trying to find placement on your own. Many teachers who have worked in Vietnam in the past came in with a business visa. This is no longer a viable option. Coming in on a tourist visa is an option because you are able to convert the visa to a work permit or business visa within Vietnam. Unlike many other countries, you’re not required to leave Vietnam and come back on a new visa when you utilize teach English in Vietnam programs.
GoAbroad Insider Tips for ESL Jobs in Vietnam
Don't go in blindsided: Read plenty of teaching English in Vietnam reviews before you settle on the program that will give you the experience you want. Consider your budget, goals, and salary.
First-time Teachers: Language schools are the most reliable and offer the most support. Other teaching placements in Vietnam may not be as suitable for beginners.
Bonuses: Some language schools will offer overtime pay and cover travel expenses.
Contracts and Travel: Working at a language school implies a contract, which commits teachers to a certain amount of teaching time a month. This can inhibit outside travel opportunities.
Diverse Classes: It can be challenging to work with students who are not all at the same level. Some teachers will pass students who are not ready for a heavier or more advanced workload simply to save face.
Ready to become an English teacher in Vietnam? We thought so. Grab your conical hat and go go go! We'll see you there.