Looking to teach English in Vietnam ? Well, that’s great, because Vietnam is one of the easiest countries in the world to get a job in. No wonder why there’s a buzzing and rapidly increasing expats community here. The main interest for some might be how low the living cost is, compared to the wages one can earn. On top of that, Vietnam is a country blessed with beautiful landscapes, from scenic rock formations to pristine beaches and perfectly complemented by its unique food and culture.
Follow the trend : Be an English teacher in Vietnam !
Your best bet is to teach English as a huge majority of foreigners is working here as an English teacher.
Most countries in Asia require potential applicants to have a bachelor’s degree and/or to be a native English speaker, but this isn’t necessary in Vietnam. Since being there, I had the chance to meet Brazilians, Nigerians, Egyptians, Filipinos or Russians English teachers. More than once, some teachers admitted they didn’t even have a degree.
As a native speaker, you can expect an hourly wage starting from 20$ an hour. It can increase depending on your diploma(s), certification(s), nationality and experience. Hanoi is known for having higher wages than the rest of the country.
If you’re not a native speaker, it is still possible to find a job, especially if you’re ready to commit for at least 6 months. Sadly enough, your skin color will definitely have an impact on how easy it will be for you to find a job and your rate. Lower quality schools will value white teachers a lot because they think that’s what the parents want for their kids.
Bonus point if you have blue eyes and blond hair, as it is very uncommon here and valued. Officially for marketing purpose.
A massive demand for English teachers
Urban Vietnamese usually start to learn English in kindergarten, up until adulthood. It’s really ingrained in their culture to go to tutorial centers and cram schools. They also learn English in public and private schools. Therefore teachers are able to choose between wide ranges of age, types of school and schedule. Most tutorial centers are going to be open late during the weekdays and all day at the weekend. On the other hand public and private schools will be open from Monday to Friday during daytime.
Most foreigners are working in Hanoi, Saigon or other popular beach destinations such as Nha Trang. It’d be very easy for you to find a job in smaller cities or in the countryside, as they are always looking for long-term teachers. The hourly wage will surely be lower though. You can also have the opportunity to volunteer in mountain villages. They’d be very happy to have you!
You should be wary of any company asking you for payment beforehand.
Why teaching in Vietnam ?
First being in a foreign country and being able to make a living sounds like a very attractive option to many travelers. Vietnam is a good base to explore the surroundings with cheap and quick flights to a dozen of countries. Saigon and Hanoi are well-connected airports.
Most schools in Vietnam ask teachers to work around 25 hours per week, which is significantly less than in most countries. It leaves one plenty of time to pursue other interests or projects.
For people very weather-sensitive such as me, Vietnam is also a very good all-year-round option. Don’t expect snow or frost here. The downside is a high level of humidity during the summer months
But what makes teaching English in Vietnam so popular is also the living cost, insanely cheap on this side of the world. Another reason is the very relaxed policy visa.
How cheap is Vietnam ?
Imagine a place where one hour of work equals to about 50 pints of beer and you’ll understand why so many foreigners are living here.
Not every foreigner likes to drink beers though, and teaching in Vietnam can be a great way to save money. More than once, I met travelers working here in order to prepare a long journey in Asia or around the world.
You can rent a room in Hanoi starting from 150US$ and an apartment from 300US$. These numbers are per month, and it can easily be lower outside of the capital. 20 kilometers away from Hanoi, you can find a two-bedroom apartment for about 300$. It will be even cheaper in the countryside.
How to deal with the visa ?
A lot of foreigners are teaching with a 3-month tourist visa. Therefore doing a visa-run is a very popular activity. A visa-run consists of exiting the country and coming back the same day in order to renew your visa. Most people in Hanoi would fly to Bangkok and come back to Vietnam within the same day whereas teachers in Saigon usually fly to Kuala Lumpur or take a bus to the Cambodian border. This is how foreigners manage to stay for a longer period of time. There’s no problem with the Vietnamese immigration to let people back the same day or to let teachers work on a tourist visa. It is also possible to extend your visa with a tourist agency, but not indefinitely.
Teaching on a tourist visa is illegal, and some schools might take advantage of the situation.
Better schools will be able to provide you a working visa if you fit their requirements.
Where to look for a job ?
The main marketplace is on Facebook, that’s where a lot of stuffs are happening in Vietnam, from renting an accommodation to finding friends. Most employers ask for a resume, photocopy of your passport, your diploma and other credentials, and to finish they also ask for a police background check. Sometimes they might ask for a video or a photo of you.
I gathered a bunch of Facebook groups in order to help your research, not only limited to English teaching position :
Teaching in Vietnam
Teaching in Hanoi
Teaching in Saigon /
Ho Chi Minh City
All kinds of jobs
Contact the school directly
Apart from Facebook you can also send your resume directly to the school through their website. Here I gathered several schools in Hanoi that you can look up :
- Apollo English
- Language Link
- KinderWorld (if you want to teach in a Kindergarten)
- Aten (Website in Vietnamese but they have 12 schools around Vietnam)
There are many more schools in Hanoi but I listed the ones with an easy English interface. You can consult a complete list here :
What if I don’t want to commit long-term ?
You can try your luck here Hanoi Cover Teachers/Classes. This is a group where you can find classes at the last moment in Hanoi, sometimes even the same day. If you’re good they’ll usually call you again.