8 Things to Consider Before Teaching English in Vietnam

Do you want to teach English in Vietnam? Are you ready to experience a new country and explore a new culture, all while making a difference teaching English? You are in the right place!

Beyond being a unique country filled with a rich history of art, culture, cuisine, and mesmerizing landscapes, you are sure to make a positive impact in the lives of those you encounter through teaching English in Vietnam.

Vietnam is a beautiful country located in Southeast Asia bordering China, Laos, and Cambodia. Like many nations in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is a country that is continually in need of English language teachers. With an all year ’round hiring season, you are more than able with the right tools and knowledge to make your dream to teach here a reality! 

As with any adventure in life, it is important to do your research and to know some of the basics before you make a decision. If you are thinking about teaching English in Vietnam, here are 8 things you should consider before you take the big but exciting leap to your bright and rewarding future ahead.

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1. What do I need to teach English in Vietnam?

If you are considering teaching English in Vietnam, the minimum requirements for most jobs include a fluency in English, a TEFL certificate and a desire to learn about the country and culture. In many cases, a bachelor’s degree is preferred, though it’s possible to find work without it.

If you are interested in learning more about how to get a TEFL and simply want help navigating it all then check out our Vietnam TEFL Program. This program is specifically designed to make it easy for you to get started teaching English in Vietnam and will give you the tools you need to be successful. 

2. What are the different types of teaching jobs in Vietnam?

With a TEFL in hand, your ability to teach English in Vietnam is a possibility turned into an open door. There are many types of teaching jobs to consider in Vietnam whether that be teaching in a private school, public school, private language institute or university.

Private Language Institutes/Centers:

Most teachers find jobs teaching at a private language institute/center, and they offer great opportunities to teach both children and adults, and people of varying skill levels. Sometimes you can specialize (age/level). Most private language institutes/centers are open year ’round and seven days a week, providing plenty of opportunities for teaching hours, though they tend to be most busy in the after work/school hours. While hours will vary depending on the school, it is typical to teach around 30 hours per week with two days off.

Public Schools:

While the pay is not as high as some teaching roles in private schools, public schools can also provide you the opportunity to inspire and educate children of various age levels in Vietnam. If you work in a public school, you will be working during traditional school hours Monday through Friday with typically no more than 30 hours teaching per week.

teaching english in vietnam

Private Schools:

Teaching at a private school provides the opportunity to make a higher wage than at a public school while at the same time working traditional school hours Monday through Friday with typically no more than 30 hours teaching per week. Plus, you will get to inspire and encourage children to learn lifelong skills through teaching English.

Universities:

Working in a university will most likely lead to the highest salary in comparison to the other teaching opportunities listed above. However, in addition to a TEFL certificate you will most likely need to have at least a bachelor’s degree (sometimes a Master’s degree or higher) to teach in a university setting.

3. Do I need to obtain a work permit/visa to teach in Vietnam?

Since you are considering teaching English in Vietnam, you should be aware of whether you need a work permit or visa. Most people arrive on a 3-month tourist visa, until they find a job (it’s sufficient if you plan to take your TEFL course in Vietnam). While prices are subject to change, the current price for a 3 month tourist visa is $25 USD. Once you are hired, your employer can then process a work permit for you to teach legally in Vietnam.

teaching english in vietnam

4. How much can I earn teaching English in Vietnam?

You can earn between $1,100-$1,700 USD per month while teaching English in Vietnam and the cost of living is quite low. Salaries here are higher in comparison to nearby countries and offer enough to live quite comfortably. This monthly salary will give you enough for living costs while also supporting your travel bucket list! If you want to compare living costs than check out this cost comparison calculator to gather more information about the cost of living in Vietnam compared to your current cost of living. 

If you want to compare this more in depth with other countries, feel free to check out our Country Comparison Chart. The chart provides a breakdown of how much you can earn in each country, the cost of living, education requirements, hiring periods, and even more helpful information to get you started on your journey teaching abroad.

On a side note, it is also comforting to know that Vietnam is a country on the rise. According to BBC, Vietnam is currently a nation with one of the fastest growing economies in southeast Asia!

5. What are additional sources of income to support my time teaching in Vietnam?

It is helpful to consider what additional sources of income are available to help you further support your travel goals while teaching English in Vietnam. When you are not teaching in your primary school, you can offer private English lessons to your students or other members of the community. This can not only provide additional income, but also provide you more opportunities to connect with locals and to adapt to a new place.

If you are looking for a more flexible, remote income, teaching English online is a great opportunity to build on your current skill set. Plus, teaching English online allows you to have a side income (up to $28 USD/hour!) that you can take with you any place your travel heart desires. Teaching English online is a growing industry with ample opportunity for those passionate about teaching and flexible enough to allow you to do more of the things you love.


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6. What are some teaching essentials I need to bring to Vietnam?

Beyond your regular packing essentials, including a laptop and smartphone, it is also important to remember to bring these crucial items with you:

  • your original TEFL certificate
  • original bachelor’s degree/diploma
  • your passport (valid for longer than your intended stay)
  • proof of a clean criminal background check

For teaching, you’ll need to pack clothing that is comfortable, but professional and modest enough for teaching. 

You may also wish to bring mementos from home, such as photographs of your family and hometown, to share with your curious students.

7. What are some important customs and tips about adapting to Vietnamese culture?

While it is fun to teach and explore a new country, it is also important as a global citizen to respect and be aware of the customs and etiquette of another place. This doesn’t mean you have to know the history of the whole country, but simply to know how to be polite and respectful in a new and foreign culture.

Overall, it is important to know that Vietnamese people are conservative in nature. For instance, people in Vietnam are reserved when it comes to how they dress. Both men and women may wear pants, but their clothing is not too flashy or revealing. Therefore, it is favorable to wear clothing and attire that looks professional and is modest.

A few mannerisms to avoid in Vietnam include pointing with your finger since it is a sign of disrespect. Instead, point with your entire hand. Also, standing with your hands on your hips or crossing your arms over your chest is disrespectful. When passing any item to a person, use both hands instead of one, whether it’s a gift, a plate during dinner, etc. When eating meals, try to finish everything on your plate as a sign of gratitude. 

Additionally, it is not common to show public displays of affection or to make physical contact with the opposite gender.

Overall, remember to show gratitude for any gesture or small act of kindness. It goes a long way! Regardless of a language barrier, it is easy to tell when someone is truly appreciative and genuine through their attitude, body language, presence in the moment, and one’s overall attempt to adapt and be open to a new culture. If you can do this, then you are sure to be well received and to create meaningful friendships to last even after your time teaching abroad!

teaching english in vietnam

8. What are some fun things to do during my downtime in Vietnam?

Lastly, another thing to think about when teaching English in Vietnam is what you want to do in your downtime! Are there certain places in Vietnam that are on your bucket list? Do you want to go hiking? Do you want to explore mountains, beaches, certain towns (like the nation’s capital, Hanoi), types of Vietnamese cuisine like the infamous Pho (a delicious rice noodle soup with broth and veggies), or something else? Take time out to try new things during your time abroad to make the most of your experience!

Besides fulfilling your bucket list, do you want to give back beyond what you can achieve in the classroom? Try to see if there are any activities or volunteer events you can lead or help out in the community where you will teach. There are so many possibilities when it comes to this! Not only does it feel good to give back, it can also build a stronger bond with your students and increase your sense of belonging in a new place.

Overall, if you’re ready to go outside of your comfort zone, determined to make a difference, and excited about adventure, then teaching English in Vietnam may be just the place for you! 


Words by Melody Lipford.