Okay, so now you know where to find a teaching job in Vietnam, let’s move onto picking what type of teaching you want to do! WAIT, there are different types of teaching jobs available in Vietnam?! Believe it or not, teaching 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.
I’ve enlisted some fellow teacher/blogger friends to give you a general run-down of the different types of teaching jobs available in Vietnam. Hopefully this will give you a bit of insight into the different styles of teaching possible and the perks of each type of job before you start applying for teaching jobs in Vietnam!
What different types of teaching jobs are available in Vietnam?
There are five main different types of teaching jobs that people do in Vietnam. If you are a fully qualified teacher in your home country then you are eligible to teach at International Schools. If you are TEFL certified then you are qualified to teach at Language Centres, Public Schools and Kindergartens. Private tutoring is another popular side job, that can even be turned into a full time teaching position.
Click through the tabs for more information about the different types of teaching jobs in Vietnam
Working at an English Language Centre in Vietnam
This is the type of teaching English job I have! I work for an English language centre called Apax English in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Who do you teach at English language centres?
Most language centres teach English as a second language to children, with the occasional company catering to business English. As a general rule, language centres provide a curriculum to follow. So you will either be given a textbook to lesson plan from or they will have lesson plans already created for you to adjust to your personal style. This means that as a teacher there is not an overwhelming amount of prep required outside of teaching hours.
English language centre classes tend to be smaller in size - at Apax English our classes are capped at 16 students.
What hours do you teach at English language centres?
In my position I work 18 hours a week, but at language centres you can work anything from 10 - 30+ hours - it really depends on the company and the classes they need taught.
As language centres target children, the class times mostly fall in the evenings and weekends in order not to clash with regular school times. This can leave language centre teachers with some pretty unconventional hours. Despite working weekends I get two set days off work a week, though not everyone gets two consecutive days off.
What pay can you earn working at an English language centre in Vietnam?
You can earn a good hourly wage at language centres and often it can be negotiated depending on your previous experience and qualifications. The standard range in Vietnam is between £12-20 an hour (I was on £17 per tax). I earn a salary in the region of 40 million VND (£1300) a month, which puts me towards the top end of the general pay range for a language centre teacher. In addition to the salary some companies offer completion bonuses which can vary from a percentage of your salary to a full extra months salary. The positions that offer larger bonuses tend to be in less popular places to teach, like smaller cities or far away districts of the cities.
TIP: Find an English language school that pays salary. Then, if for reasons out-with your control, you are not at full hours you are still guaranteed pay.
Are there other benefits to working at an English language centre in Vietnam?
Working for an English Language Centre will also come with paid vacation time (I get 25 days per year), potentially a housing allowance and support in getting a work permit and bank accounts set up and, if you're lucky, help in finding housing. I also have local health insurance from my company. Most other big language centres offer similar support.
In addition to my paid vacation I can take unpaid vacation time and do class swaps. My company has a limit to how many unpaid days you can take for the sake of students having consistent teachers, but each company has its own policy on this.
What do you like and dislike most about working for an English language centre in Vietnam?
One thing I love about working for an English language centre is that my lessons are planned for me, meaning I am able to focus all of my energy on how to teach not what to teach! This means I can be a fun and engaging teacher and connect with my students more.
I dislike that there are sometimes communication breakdowns between the Vietnamese management of our language centre and the English speaking managers. As a result there can be differences in expectations and short notice for events or changes in policy.
What qualifications do you need to work at an English Language Centre?
To work for an English language centre the majority of positions require a university degree, TEFL certification and a native-level grasp of English (they will hire non-native teachers if the level of English is high enough to teach English properly).
What are some of the big language centres you can work for in Vietnam?
Some of the big English language centers in Vietnam are:
- Wall Street English
- I Can Read
There are many more not included on this list, but these are major companies who have a presence throughout Vietnam.
Working at an International School in Vietnam:
Hey I am Sara. I am an Ontario certified teacher from Canada. I work at the American School of Vietnam, and I teach High School English (Grade 8, Grade 10 and a World Literature class). I have been teaching in Vietnam for almost 1 year, coming from previously teaching in West Africa.
Who do you teach at international schools?
My students are made up of mostly Vietnamese kids, but also students from other places such as South Korea, and America. In our school we try to limit the class sizes to 20 students, though it all depends on the class. Most my classes are 20, but other teachers have classes of only 10 students sometimes.
What hours do you teach at international schools?
We work Monday to Friday, with weekends off, and our work day starts at 7:30am and ends at 3:15pm, though school starts at 7:45am and ends at 2:45pm. Also if you do any extra curricular activities you tend to stay even later. I coach girls' basketball with my partner, and we sometimes don't leave work until 5pm and even later on game days.
There are also other times when you are contracted to be there after hours, such as parent teacher nights, or the Christmas bazaar. But never anything long.
What pay can you earn working at an international school?
International schools all depend on your qualifications, years of experience and certification. From what I am aware of most teachers make over $2000US a month, paid at the end of each month. We get paid roughly 40% of our monthly salary in cash, and the rest is paid into our Vietnamese bank accounts (which the school does all the work setting up for you). There are no completion bonuses for finishing your contract but bonuses for signing on longer, or paying out for sick days not taken and that kind of thing are a bonus.
Are there other benefits to working at an international school?
Holidays are paid. At my school we have a week off in October for fall break, 3 weeks off for winter holiday in December/January, another 2 weeks off for Tet holiday in February, spring break is a week in April, and then 6-7 weeks for summer break. The salary is annual, so it is paid equally on a 12 month pay scale. Usually schools pay your summer pay in a lump sum before you leave, but I haven't been here for a summer yet so I am not 100% sure that happens.
The school pays for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City (reimbursed within your first month of work). You are also given a flight home for the summer months paid for by the school, which is reimbursed to you once you return for the second year. Then at the end of the contract you get your flight home paid for. If you sign on for another year, your flight back to HCMC is paid for again. There are other perks for signing up for a third year but depends on your contract as that is always subject to change.
Housing allowance is key. Some international schools of my past provided housing but our school provides more than enough monthly to pay your rent. Many teachers choose to have roommates to save on rent, while I am here with my partner. We share a two bedroom apartment in a very nice building with a killer balcony, and even after paying utilities we don't spend all of our allowance. When you first get to the city they will put you in a nice apartment for your first month and cover the rent so you don't have to worry about it. You can opt to stay there and take over the rent with your allowance but many find new housing more suited to their liking.
They issue health insurance that sounds like great coverage (though I haven't used it yet). Ours can be used in many places around the world. Work permits are all done and paid for by the school. They tell you everything you need, what you need to get stamped at embassy and so on, and then take it all in for you to get it processed. They also help with getting your residency card sorted out.
A big perk for me is the ability to attend professional development in fields of interest to us. We are able to pick from a ton of options out there in different places and apply to attend it, with all fees (flight, hotel, etc) paid for by the school. Each teacher is allowed to attend one a year.
Any issues you have are easily dealt with and handled by the administration at the school.
What do you like and dislike most about working for an international school in Vietnam?
I like working at an international school because as a qualified teacher, it's nice to have more freedom to create lessons in the subject matter I am trained in and really connect with my students. I went to school for teaching so creating my own lessons is part of the fun for me.
I dislike that a lot of these international schools have owners and are for profit schools as I am not used to the concept of school being a business.
What qualifications do you need?
To work at an international school you have to have a bachelor degree (at least) and a teaching certification, usually from your home country. TEFL only does not suffice as certification for working at an international school. Also in order to get the work permit we had to submit letters stating we have 3 years of experience working at previous schools already.
What are some of the big International schools you can work for?
There are so many international schools in Ho Chi Minh. These are just the ones I can think off of the top of my head:
- There is another American one called American International School.
- Canadian International School
- British International School,
- Australian International School
- European International School
- International School HCMC
- Singapore International School
Where did you find you position?
In the international teaching world you make a lot of connections. We were lucky enough to have friend who happen to be my partners former principal from an old school we worked at, who is now a principal at current our school. She told us of positions available so we applied. Usually I sign up at www.tieonline[.]com and find vacancies there, or honestly I sit and think of countries I want to move to and search their international schools and apply directly to the schools. Many people I know use Search Associates or go to international school job fairs. I have yet to do either of those, but may in the future try.
Working at Public School in Vietnam:
My name is Laura. I am an American teaching here in Saigon. I've been teaching in Vietnam for a little over seven months now, and have experience in both language centers as well as public schools. I currently teach in a few public schools in District 1 working with a company that places me in my regular classes. I teach English, Maths and Science and I see my students four times per week.
Who do you teach at public schools?
I teach first grade, and in each of the classes I'll have anywhere from 30-37 students. I am certainly not used to having this many little ones at once; I luckily have a TA with me in each classroom but in all honesty I never really need them! It's been quite the adjustment, but part of me actually prefers having more kids as it's the same situation as back home.
What hours do you teach at public schools?
I teach only about 12 hours per week - this is definitely not a typical public school situation, though. I have Monday mornings and Wednesday afternoons off as well as the weekends. I generally have about four hours in between each class, which leaves me time to lesson plan, go to the gym and focus on my freelance writing and blog responsibilities. Another fun perk is the fact I'm finished on Fridays at 3PM which is quite nice!
What pay can you earn working at an public school?
Most public school teachers will earn per teaching hour; the amount varies but it's usually about $17 to $25 USD per hour. However, I teach through a company that works with public schools throughout the city and I earn a salary, which is pretty nice. I make around 39,000,000 VND (after taxes), which is a little over $1,700 USD per month. Since I've lived here for over six months, my tax rate is about to go down, and I'll be making around $1,800 USD per month. It may not seem like much, but I've managed to save quite a bit in the past few months. If I decide to re-sign my contract I will get a bonus, yes!
What do you like and dislike most about working for a public school in Vietnam?
I would never want to work weekends as I am a creature of habit, so I prefer to have a Monday through Friday schedule. The main disadvantage is the fact that there are a bajillion kids, but as I mentioned previously, that has gotten easier.
The company I work for employs a few hundred ESL teachers which makes for an extremely social setting. A lot of the group goes next door for beers after work, which is a pretty cool perk I think. It was quite easy to get to know people which made the transition run that much smoother.
What qualifications do you need?
You'll need your original college degree, the original copy of your TEFL certification, a background check from your country (sometimes) and, of course, a passport. My company hires non-native speakers, which I think is quite nice.
What are some of the big public schools companies you can work for?
Each public school gig is generally provided through a company. The companies have deals with schools throughout the city and then source their teachers out to each of the schools. While I'm based in District 1, some of my colleagues have to travel quite far to their schools. Some of the companies who offer public school schedules that pay at an hourly rate are:
- Compass Education
- Mercury Education
- EMG Education
I used to work through Vinalearn and had zero issues. I prefer to be working on a salary and set schedule, though. I work for a company called EMG Education and I like it quite a lot as they also provide all the material for each class and a lot of us teachers are always bouncing ideas off each other. Language centers such as ILA and Apollo also send some teachers to public schools throughout the week, but I'm not sure about the rates.
Where did you find you position?
I actually met my manager on a night out and she invited me to apply! However, lots of public school jobs are listed on vietnamteachingjobs[.]com.
Private English Tutoring in Vietnam:
Many teachers also pick up extra hours doing 1:1 or small group private private tutoring. Most private tutoring jobs are picked up through word of mouth or through forums like Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) ESL Teaching Jobs where individuals can post looking for an English tutor. Teachers tend to do private tutoring as a supplement to their other teaching jobs and rarely do you come across a teacher who only does private tutoring.
Working at a Kindergarten/Preschool in Vietnam:
Kindergarten positions are normally offered in a similar style to public school and language centre positions; either teaching classes in the mornings. Some kindergarten positions are given directly via one kindergarten, but more often the positions are treated like public schools where you are scheduled at a number of different kindergartens throughout the week. However you also get kindergarten positions at language centres where classes can take place in the morning or the evening. For example, I work at a language centre but I teach the Kindergarten program.
I hope this breakdown of the different teaching jobs that are available in Vietnam has given you useful insight into working in Vietnam. So…What type of teaching are you going to do?
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For more on teaching English in Vietnam:
- Don’t have a TEFL certification yet? Start here: Beginners guide to picking the perfect TEFL course
- TEFL[.]org 140hr course review
- Why do we teach English in Vietnam?
- How to find a teaching English job in Vietnam
If you are interested in working in Vietnam and looking to score yourself a good job with a reputable language centre, please reach out to me. My old company is expanding rapidly and have a high demand for new teachers! I’d love to put you in touch with the recruitment team.