Teaching English in Vietnam – What You Need to Know
Vietnam is undeniably one of the melting pots for ESL teachers who are looking to make a career in a foreign land. Low cost of living, great food, amazing destination to travel, warm and such welcoming culture, these are only a few reasons to move to Vietnam and refresh your teaching career.
You probably won’t believe me if I tell you that hundreds if not, thousands of expats are coming to Vietnam every year to teach English. Even though the demand is skyrocketing, there are loads of mistakes that they do and still doing. So, here, from someone who has taught English in Vietnam will tell you what you need to know before signing a contract with someone who offered you a teaching job here or booking your one-way ticket.
DEMAND FOR ENGLISH TEACHERS IN VIETNAM
The demand for English teachers here is crazy high, which is good. It means that the if locals speak English, the country can attract more tourists, businesses from different countries, more jobs for the locals, and competitive economic growth.
If you visit any expat Facebook groups or simply googling teaching English in Vietnam, it will surely overwhelm you with the unending posts about job offers. Whether you decide to live in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), or even in smaller cities like Hoi An, Da Nang, or Nha Trang, you can get yourself a job easily. There are loads of private English centres and public schools who are desperate to get their hands on a foreign teacher. However, there are a few cons you need to know:
- Most of these schools are in favour with native English speakers which is perfectly reasonable if they are very strict with the pronunciation that their students should learn. But at the same time, being a white person with blond hair get the job easily too – I know. It’s hard to get yourself around that fact, but it is indeed a fact.
- This means if you are either native English speaker or a white-skinned person with blond hair, you can get that job.
- Non-native English speakers and not white with blond hair can have a little challenge in finding the job the yare hoping for.
It is true if I tell you that work experience is not very much a requirement if you decide to teach English in Vietnam. This is sad on all levels, despite the cry out of the expat community for the Vietnamese schools to raise their standard in hiring a teacher, the demand is just too high to take this subject on top of the discussion.
VALID VISA AND WORKING PERMIT
You won’t believe how many English teachers come here and work on a tourist visa. This is, in fact, illegal, if you plan to work here, you need to secure a business visa and/or a work permit depending if your employer required you to do so. Working on a tourist permit or on illegal documents will result in serious trouble such as deportation and entry ban in the country.
If the school let you work on a tourist visa, this is a red flag and a sign of unprofessionalism. They are more likely to screw you over at some point, for example not paying you in time for your last paycheck when you quit the job. They can also use this against you as you cannot ask for a legal help regarding this matter.
RELATED POST: Vietnam visa types
As I mentioned, being a native English speaker with white skin and blond hair can land you a job easily, there are still a couple of job requirements you have to prepare. A lot of schools are getting wiser and more professional as the year comes by, a Bachelor’s degree is a must too, TEFL/TOFEL/CELTA certificate is one of the most important requirement as well.
TIP: Look for schools who will check not only your accent, physical appearance, but also who will require you to have an experience in teaching, a teaching certificate, a bachelor’s/master’s degree. These schools are more serious in the business, who are also concern with the quality of teaching they provide to their students.
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Some schools will ask you to do a demo lesson at least for a minimum of 30-minutes, some demos are paid whilst the others are not. Remember to ask this before agreeing to perform one.
Salary is quite attractive in Vietnam, the pay ranges between $15-$25 per hour whereas a full-time teacher works at least 20 hours a week, some work for 40 hours a week. If you prefer to work as a private tutor too, this is less hassle but the pay varies.
PERKS AND ADDITIONALS
There are a few schools or agencies who will offer you a free accommodation or transportation allowance. Based on other teachers, it’s mostly a hit and miss, you can be offered with decent accommodation or a crappy one. Housing is relatively cheap in Vietnam, therefore, I suggest you find your own instead. Whilst transportation is cheap too.
FIND A JOB BEFORE COMING VIETNAM OR APPLY FOR A JOB WHEN YOU GET TO VIETNAM
This is a very common question from aspiring English teachers in Vietnam. In my personal experience, I only started finding a teaching job when I moved to Vietnam, this made all my interviews, demo lessons, and even getting tips from English teachers in Vietnam a lot more convenient. My friend started applying for a possible job before moving here, he scheduled interviews and demos beforehand and did it right when he arrived.
Personally, I won’t accept a job unless I’m in Vietnam, this is to avoid scams too.
These are the things you need to know before hopping on a plane heading to Vietnam or committing and signing to a job contract. If you have any questions, leave it below the comment section and we will do our best to answer it.