How to Find a Teaching English Job in Vietnam
The stunning scenery, rich culture and tropical weather have lead Vietnam to be one of the most desirable places to teach English. It’s also one of the most profitable places to teach in Asia, with an affordable yet high standard of living and decent salaries on offer. Successfully finding a teaching job in Vietnam is not too challenging, thanks to a high demand for English to match the countries fast-growing economy. However, it can be overwhelming figuring out how to go about finding a job teaching English in Vietnam. Fear not, this guide is here to point you in the right direction of where to find a teaching English job in Vietnam.
The requirements for teaching English in Vietnam
There are general requirements that every job in Vietnam requests. These are the documents that are needed to apply for the work permit. Make sure you have proof of all these (digital photocopies or photos) before you start your job search as most companies will ask for them during the interview stage. You will also need to get the documents notarized, however, the process for doing this varies based on your nationality. The requirements for teaching English in Vietnam are:
Must be a native speaker, or be native-level
Need a TEFL / CELTA or equivalent
Hold a bachelors university degree
Have a clean criminal background check from home country (or from the last country of residence)
Experience teaching, while preferred, is not essential for finding a job teaching English in Vietnam. Most language centres offer training and developmental support.
Missing one of the requirements?
You can still find work in Vietnam without all the requirements but the jobs on offer a not going to be as high salaried or reputable. If you are missing one of the requirements then you will likely need to compensate for this within the other requirements.
Oftentimes, it is preferred for non-native English teachers to have a degree in English or a CELTA to prove proficiency. Sometimes, despite being fully qualified, weak passports can make it challenging for non-native teachers to find work in Vietnam (visa and work permit complications). Pretty much every central and north African passport holder I know has encountered challenges.
Similarly, if you don’t have a degree, I recommend getting a CELTA to further your chances of finding a decent teaching position.
You will be most challenged to find a teaching position in Vietnam without a TEFL certification and I do not recommend coming here without one. You can find out more about the TEFL course I completed with TELF.org here, and tips for picking a TEFL course here if the one I did doesn’t fit your needs. If you’re already in Vietnam, the Saigon-based TEFL school, Ninja Teacher, offers both online* and in-person TEFL courses*.
Create a teaching-tailored CV
While finding a teaching English job in Vietnam is not overly challenging, there is still a lot of competition for positions at renowned and reliable schools. As with any profession, you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd and the best way to do this is to create a teaching tailored CV.
Tips for creating an ESL teaching resume:
• Include a professional profile photo
• Include your nationality
• Include contact information like Skype handle as well as email and/or phone number
• Include details of your TEFL certification and criminal background results.
If you don’t have teaching experience then it is key to include any experience you have that can be related to teaching. For example, I worked in management before becoming a teacher and had experience in training and mentoring recruits. Public speaking, interacting with non-native English speakers and any mentoring/training is relevant.
Where to find a teaching English job in Vietnam?
There are many different avenues that employers recruit through and it is not essential for you to go through a recruiter to find a job teaching English in Vietnam. I’ve worked for two education companies in Vietnam. My first job was found via a Facebook recruitment group and my second was found via LinkedIn.
Facebook groups for teaching jobs
Facebook is one of the most valuable tools for job hunting in Vietnam so it might pay to make your account private and spruce up that drunken profile picture. Doing a quick Facebook search for “teaching jobs in __” will point you in the right direction for finding some of these groups. Here are some of the Facebook groups for finding an ESL job in Vietnam/Saigon:
Other resources for teaching jobs in Vietnam
As mentioned, my second teaching position, which was teaching science and maths at public school, was found via LinkedIn. Having a professional and complete LinkedIn profile means that school recruiters can find your profile and reach out with job offers (this is what happened to me, so I didn’t have to do any hunting for this position). Here are some other sites that focus on teaching positions:
While I didn’t complete my TEFL with Ninja Teacher* (a Vietnam-based TEFL school), I have heard that they offer full support in finding jobs in Vietnam once you complete your qualification so this would be a great option if you’re overwhelmed by the idea of doing it on your own. Alternatively, many online TEFL providers have an international job site that might have some Vietnam job postings, I know TEFL.org who I completed my qualification with have one.
ESL Companies to apply to in Vietnam
There are different types of teaching English jobs on offer in Vietnam. The two most popular ways to teach English in Vietnam are at public schools and language centres. Learn more about the different types of teaching English jobs in Vietnam in this post. I highly recommend applying for a range of different roles and comparing them before accepting any job offers.
Here are some of the most reputable companies in Vietnam to apply to (this list is by no means exhaustive, just some places for you to start):
• VUS (language centre with children and adult classes)
• Apax Leaders (language centre children classes only)
• ILA (language centre with children and adult classes)
• Wall Street English (adult classes)
• EMG Education (public school class in Science, Maths and English)
• Compass Education (public school classes)
FAQ about finding a job in Vietnam
Do I need to be in Vietnam to find a teaching job?
No, you do not need to be in Vietnam to find a teaching English job – for visa reasons, it’s better if you are not so you can arrive on a business visa rather than a tourist visa. Interviews etc are often done over Skype in the ESL world so this is possible.
There are benefits to applying from within Vietnam too. For example, some companies/recruiters are perhaps not willing to take the risk that you’ll book your flights if there is a suitable alternative already in the country. Also, jobs tend to get snapped up quickly and often with a short period before the start date, which could be another perk to being in the country when interviewing.
How far in advance do I need to start looking for a teaching job?
Like I said above, teaching positions in Vietnam (especially in popular places to live like Hanoi, HCMC and Da Nang) tend to get snapped up quickly and often with a short period before the start date. Because of this, I don’t recommend looking for work until about 1 month before you are due to move to Vietnam. The main exception for this is if you are an international school teacher, in which case most positions are filled about 6 months before the start of the new school year.
When is the best time of year to find a teaching English job?
The biggest recruitment periods are over the summer and winter, to coincide with the start of the semesters at public and international schools. Most language centres operate year-round without a break, meaning that time of year won’t affect your ability to find work at a language centre. Winter is a common time for ESL teachers to leave so there is a need to fill positions at this time of year also.
Hopefully, this guide to finding a teaching English job in Vietnam has helped put you on the right track. If you have any more questions or need further guidance please send me a message or put your question in the comments and I’ll try to help you as best I can.
✍️ For more information about teaching, check out my complete guide to teaching English in Vietnam