Types of teaching jobs in Vietnam
job Teaching English in Vietnam is not a one-size-fits-all kinda business. There are many different types of teaching jobs available and, while most of them still centre around English, there is bound to be one style of teaching which suits you better than the rest. This post shares the types of teaching jobs you can find in Vietnam, with important information like salaries, hours, lifestyle and conditions as well as companies to apply to on your job hunt in Vietnam.
Before we dive in, the same requirements are needed for most teaching positions in Vietnam, as they are needed to apply for a work permit. The only difference is that international schools generally only recruit teachers that are qualified to teach in their home countries (for example UK teachers that possess a PGCE).
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
If you don’t have a TEFL or CELTA yet then consider purchasing the same online TEFL that I completed with TEFL.org or doing one of the Ninja Teacher courses when you arrive in Vietnam* (they also offer full support in finding a reputable job in Vietnam).
Types of teaching jobs in Vietnam
There are four main types of schools teachers can work at in Vietnam; international school, public school, language centres and kindergarten. Another popular way to teach in Vietnam is through tutoring gigs though this is unlikely to be a full-time position unless working for a tutoring company.
• If you are a fully qualified teacher in your home country then you are eligible to teach at International Schools.
• If you are TEFL/CELTA certified then you are qualified to teach at language centres, public schools and kindergartens (some international/private kindergartens may require further certifications).
Working at a Language Centre in Vietnam
One of the most popular types of teaching jobs in Vietnam is language centres. Most language centres teach English as a second language to children, but there are some companies that specialise in adult classes and business English. As language centres offer extra-curricular classes, the majority are scheduled in the evenings and all-day weekends. Normally, classes have around 15 students and classrooms are well supplied, with air conditioning, fans, boards and often tech resources to enhance teaching (for example, the company I worked for uses interactive TVs as boards).
Generally, language centres provide a curriculum but the amount of lesson prep required around that varies depending on the company. The language centre I worked for provides full lesson plans, whereas other centres require you to create lesson plans around a topic. Generally, though, there is not a lot of prep required.
How many hours you teach depends on the language centre, but normally it’s between 8 – 30hrs a week (I’ve never taught more than 21hrs a week). Similarly, with days off it depends on the company, but normally language centres offer two days off though not always consecutive. When working at a language centre I got 21 paid vacation days a year, though some of these are fixed as government holidays. In addition, I could take unpaid leave and contract pauses for up to 3months.
Some language centres offer salaried positions, while others pay hourly, however both base pay on your previous experience and qualifications. The standard range for language centre positions is between $20 and $25 p/hr (accurate to summer 2021).
Find out more about (and apply to) some of the big English language centres in Vietnam:
Working at Public Schools in Vietnam
Another popular type of teaching job in Vietnam is through the public school system. Typically teachers are recruited by a company that works with a number of public schools to provide teachers, rather than at one individual school.
I really loved teaching at public school in Vietnam, as the style of teaching and flexibility within the classroom allowed me to build strong relationships with my students. I worked for a company that provides a “Content and Language Integrated Learning” (CLIL) program, meaning that English was taught through specific subjects, in my cases science and maths. Personally, I found this more satisfying than teaching straight ESL as it encouraged me to use the knowledge from my degree and challenge myself. They also teach straight English like most other public school companies.
How much lesson prep is required by the teacher varies greatly among public school positions; some companies (like the one I worked for) provide structured curriculums with minimal additional prep required, whereas others only provide topics/outlines that the teacher needs to create/source additional content for. The conditions can also vary greatly, with large class sizes (sometimes up to 50 students) and varied supply of tech, airconditioning etc. My classes were never more than 35/36 students and I always had a teaching assistant but I know TAs aren’t always provided.
Public school classes are scheduled between 7am – 5pm from Monday to Friday, so you are guaranteed to have the weekend off. In my public school position, I taught a total of 18hours a week (8 classes) with office hours on top.
Generally, public school positions pay hourly however some offer salaried positions (~$1900 based on experience and qualifications). As with language centres, public school jobs base pay on your previous experience and qualifications. The standard range for public school positions is between $17 and $25 (accurate to summer 2021).
Find out more about (and apply to) some of the public school companies in Vietnam:
Working at International School in Vietnam
While I haven’t personally worked at an International School in Vietnam, many of my friends have. For private schools in Vietnam, you need to be fully certified to teach in your home country, though I know of some friends who were able to work at International Schools while in the process of completing their PGCE’s remotely.
There are two branches of private schools in Vietnam; bilingual schools and international schools. These positions operate the same as schools at home, with teachers preparing all materials with similar classroom conditions to schools in the west. International schools pay upwards of $2000 a month and often include health insurance, housing and contract completion bonuses. Typically private school contracts are two years.
These are some of the major international schools in Saigon:
• British International School (BIS)
• International School of Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC)
• Australian International School (AIS)
• Vietnam Australian International School (VAS)
• FOSCO International School (FIS)
• The American International School (TAS)
• American International School Vietnam (AISVN)
Working at Kindergarten Schools in Vietnam
The majority of the full-time Kindergarten positions are at private schools that follow a Montessori style. I haven’t taught in one of these schools personally, but I believe they normally hire with a preference for those who have experience teaching Montessori already. I’ve seen some kindergarten positions advertised that are not at these types of schools and they seem somewhat similar to working at public school when it comes to conditions, prep and salary.
It’s quite popular for language centre teachers to work mornings at kindergarten alongside their evening classes.
Hopefully, this has helped to guide you through picking what type of teaching job in Vietnam will best suit you. If you have more questions about these types of positions please send me a message or put them in the comments and I’ll do my best to help out.
✍ For more information on teaching in Vietnam, check out my Complete Guide to Teaching English in Vietnam.