complete guide to teaching in Vietnam

Curious about teaching English in Vietnam? As a veteran English teacher in Vietnam, I’m here to help! This guide answers questions you might have, including information on the qualifications you need, where to find teaching jobs in Vietnam, when to apply for teaching jobs and more.

With a rich culture, delicious (and cheap) food, welcoming locals and stunning scenery, Vietnam captures the hearts of those who visit. But what if you could live here, build a career, save money and connect with like-minded adventure seekers? Well teaching English in Vietnam sounds like the right move for you!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, all marked with * Booking through these links generates a small commission for me at no extra cost to you.

A Complete Guide to Teaching English in Vietnam

With over 5 years of experience teaching English in Vietnam, let me share the knowledge I’ve picked up. From what qualifications you need to teach in Vietnam and how to find a job, to where to live and what companies to work for, this complete guide to teaching English in Vietnam will help to prepare you for moving to Vietnam to teach English.

how to find a teaching english job in vietnam guide

Requirements to Teach English in Vietnam

To work legally, there are some essential qualifications and criteria that need to be met to teach English in Vietnam. These are required by the school to process your work permit and visa.

The essentials for teaching English in Vietnam are as follows:

✅ Must be a native speaker, or be native-level
✅ Need a TEFL / CELTA or equivalent
✅ Hold a bachelor’s university degree
✅ Have a clean criminal background check from your home country

If you possess these basic requirements, finding a secure and reliable job teaching English in Vietnam can be relatively easy.

While more challenging, it is possible to find teaching jobs if you are missing one of the requirements but you will often need to compensate for the missing qualification elsewhere. For example, if you are a non-native speaker you will have more luck finding jobs if you have a teaching degree or a CELTA qualification as opposed to an online TEFL.

NOTE: With the borders reopened in Vietnam post-COVID, teachers are often requested to be fully vaccinated to work in the education sector.

Teaching Certifications for Working in Vietnam

Completing a teaching certification is essential for finding teaching English jobs in Vietnam. You will struggle to find teaching English jobs in Vietnam without a TEFL or CELTA certification unless you are a licensed teacher.

The courses are not challenging to complete and are relatively cheap to purchase, so I recommend doing one as it is one of the key ESL job requirements.

Which is better? TEFL or CELTA qualification

There are two types of teaching qualifications to choose from; TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) and CELTA (Certificate in English language teaching to adults). Both are accepted in Vietnam, though the courses can differ in depth and content.

Generally, the CELTA is considered a higher quality of qualification and is recommended if you are a non-native English speaker to prove your English proficiency.

✍️ 6 Tips for Picking a TEFL Course

There are hundreds of different companies offering these qualifications which can make it confusing to pick which course, so let me share my recommendations for both online and in-person TEFL courses.

Online TEFL courses

I completed an online TEFL course through the UK-based company,*. I chose one of the more advanced and comprehensive courses, which was 140 hours of online study with assignments followed by a small in-person component. For me, it was the perfect combination of quality at a reasonable cost and I’ve landed multiple jobs at reputable companies with this TEFL qualification.

✍️ 140hr Course Review

Ninja Teacher, a Vietnam-based TEFL academy is another great option. They offer US-certified online TEFL courses* and offer full support to find teaching English jobs in Vietnam.

In-person TEFL courses in Vietnam

If you are looking for a more in-depth qualification, I suggest checking out the Ninja Teacher in-person TESOL course*. The Ninja Teacher courses are comprehensive and guaranteed to land you reputable teaching English jobs in Vietnam. Another perk of choosing a Ninja Teacher course is their in-country orientation, community building and their support in securing teaching jobs in Vietnam.

My boyfriend completed the Ninja Teacher in-person TESOL when he moved to Vietnam and speaks highly of how perfect an introduction to living and working in Vietnam it was.

Visas for Teaching in Vietnam

I recommend applying for jobs before moving to Vietnam as it makes the visas easier to process (especially post-COVID). There are two types of visas that your employer can process for you, and which one they chose often depends on the contract length.

Business Visas

To process your work permit, your employer needs you to be on a business visa. These start at 3 months but can last multiple years. Most employers will process a business visa for you, and this is a good sign that you are working for a reputable company. If you come into Vietnam on a tourist visa, then you will need to leave the country and return on a business visa (this is called doing a visa run).

Temporary Residency (TRC)

Some employers will also process temporary residency cards for their teachers (called a TRC). The TRC replaces the business visa typically lasts for multiple years, allowing the holder to leave and enter Vietnam without visas. In my opinion, these are the best type of visas to get for living in Vietnam however, employers are not required to provide them and many education companies do not unless you have a long-term contract.

Different Types of Teaching Jobs in Vietnam

There are 4 main types of jobs for teaching English in Vietnam; kindergarten, public school, international/bilingual school and a language centre. The two most popular teaching roles for ESL teachers are public schools and language centres (after-school classes).

✍️ Find out more about the specifics of each type of teaching job and some reputable companies to apply to.

Public School

⏰ Public school classes run during the day, with early mornings
📆 Monday – Friday with weekends off
📚 Public schools often follow textbook curriculums with lesson planning required
🧑‍🏫 Little professional development or teaching quality feedback
💰 Some salaried positions but often hourly

Language Centers

⏰ Language centre classes are often in the evenings, with morning and afternoons free
📆 Normally teaching weekends, with days off mid-week
📚 Less freedom in lesson planning/curriculum due to higher class prices
🧑‍🏫 Generally, language centres offer more professional development
💰 Many salaried positions, but you can also find hourly

Teaching Science and Maths in Vietnam

Some education companies in Vietnam are branching into CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) with a focus on teaching English through science and maths classes.

With my background in science (I studied Biology at University), it made sense for me to transition to teaching science and maths in the Vietnamese public school system. I really loved teaching science and highly recommend it to anyone with a BSc degree.

✍️ Teaching Science and Maths in Vietnam

teaching science and maths in Vietnam complete guide ESL

How to Find a Teaching English Job in Vietnam

There are many different avenues that employers recruit through, so it’s a good idea to check out the different roles being advertised across all platforms, from job sites to LinkedIn and Facebook groups.

ESL teaching job sites like Teast are the perfect place to start your job hunt. On Teast, you can browse job listings from across Vietnam, making it perfect for comparing the companies that are recruiting and the salaries being offered.

Facebook groups are a valuable tool for job hunting in Vietnam so it might pay to make your account private and spruce up your profile picture. Doing a quick Facebook search for “teaching jobs in __” will point you in the right direction for finding some of these groups.

✍️ This guide shares more resources with tips for creating a teaching CV, more job sites and Facebook groups to check for ESL job listings.

When to apply for teaching jobs

The biggest periods of recruitment are over the summer and in the build-up to winter, as these coincide with the start of school semesters at public schools.

Most language centres operate year-round without a break, meaning that the time of year won’t affect your ability to find work at a language centre.

Best companies to teach for

These are some of the most reputable and best companies to teach for in Vietnam, in terms of support, salary and resources:

➡️ VUS (language centre with children and adult classes)
➡️ 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)

Teaching Dress Code in Vietnam

The strictness of the dress code depends greatly on the work environment and the company you are working for.

As a general rule, business dress is expected at international schools and some public schools, while business casual is largely accepted at language centres.

Regardless of companies, tattoos, facial piercings and unnatural hair colours are frowned upon and you may be asked to cover/remove items. That said, I haven’t had an issue with my nose ring.

For Girls:

• Shoulders should be covered (no spaghetti straps)
• Knees should be covered
• Close toed shoes

For Guys:

• Shirts or polo shirts
• Business shoes/simple black shoes
• Suit pants or chinos. Black jeans might be acceptable

Preparing for your First Days

Ahead of your move to Vietnam, you will need to ensure all your documents have been notarized. The process for this varies from country to country, but UK citizens can follow the steps outlined in this post. Normally schools will ask for these documents during your induction days.

It’s a good idea to give yourself a few days to acclimatize before your job start date, even if only to adjust to the temperatures and get over jet lag.

If you have a job already secured, then I recommend finding an Airbnb or hotel nearby the school so that you can get there easily – Grab is a ride-hailing app that will help you get around. Once you have settled into the job, you can start apartment hunting. Check out Facebook groups and rental sites like Rent Apartment VN to find an agent to help you secure an apartment.

It’s smart to bring teaching attire with you to avoid the added stress of trying to find clothes in Vietnam.

The first week will likely be a long one full of learning and shadowing teachers, so give yourself some time to rest and soak up all the information. Try and make some friends through colleagues and you’ll start to settle into the teaching community within no time.

There you have it – a complete guide to teaching English in Vientam. Still have questions left unanswered? Send me a message and I’ll do my best to help you out!

Found this guide to teaching in Vietnam useful? Pin it for later!

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Planning to teach in Vietnam

For more on teaching English in Vietnam I recommend checking out these posts:

✍️ 6 Tips for Picking a TEFL Course
✍️ 140hr Course Review
✍️ Getting a Work Permit in Vietnam
✍️ Types of Teaching Jobs in Vietnam
✍️ Teaching Science and Maths in Vietnam
✍️ How to Find a Teaching English Job in Vietnam

Meet Frances; Scottish lass turned Vietnam expat, and creator of this space. She can be found sippin’ ice tea’s and writing about her adventures from her sunny base of Saigon, Vietnam’s southern metropolis. All with a healthy side of researching her next road trip. With 5 years of living, travelling and scooting around Asia under her belt – let Frances be your guide to travelling the region.

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