How to Teach in Vietnam: Step by Step Guide

Who would not love Vietnam? Aside from cheap buys and beautiful people, you will also notice their beautifully preserved cultural heritage sites. Vietnam is a safe place to visit, people are friendly and there are still many untapped places. It’s no wonder that they attract thousands of tourists each year. Aside from attracting tourists., they are also attracting English teachers. Many years ago Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training had an objective to make all the students in the country graduate with high proficiency in English. This started their high demand for English teachers.

Work Experience, Visa and Documents Required to Work in Vietnam

Many schools in Vietnam do not set a standard when it comes to working experience as an English teacher but ex-pats are against the low standard some of the schools are regulating and would prefer them to raise the bar. Fortunately, there are still some schools that have high standards when it comes to hiring ESL teachers.

When it comes to visa and working permits, numerous English teachers in Vietnam only use a tourist visa that is considered illegal. Teachers who get caught for working without the necessary documents such as working permit or Business Visa are in for big trouble. They might get banned from entering the country and will be deported.

Schools who will let you work using a tourist visa only is suspicious as they can manipulate you since you do not have a legal working permit. They might give you lower rates than other teachers or worst they can fire you anytime they want and they won’t be liable for it. 

You must apply for a working permit to get a Temporary Residential Card valid for 1-3 years. Now it is easy for you to get in and out of Vietnam without needing a visa if you have the card. Remember to get a working permit before you can apply for a Temporary Residential Card. 

You should not be confused with a Business visa and working permit. While the former allows you to stay, apply, and work the same with the latter, you cannot use the Business visa for long term jobs. You or your employer needs to prove that while you are working using the Business visa your woking permit is also on the process. You are only allowed to work on long term projects or jobs using a work permit.

As an English teacher, you must prepare the following requirements before you can apply for a job:
  2. Valid Passport and Visa
  3. CV
  4. Other important documents that prove your education and work experience

Demo Lessons

Other schools would prefer you to make a demo for at least 30 minutes but you must be careful with this. Some schools are requiring their applicants to make a demo class but in reality, they are just getting your teaching services for free. To avoid this, you can ask whether the demonstration paid or not.

Salary in Vietnam as an English Teacher 

Salaries in Vietnam as an English teacher ranges from 15-25 $ per hour. If you would look at the figures it is relatively big considering that their cost of living is cheap. A full-time teacher works for at least 20 hours per week while other works 40 hours per week. But you must take note that this rate is applicable for caucasian teachers. If you are Asian, they will only offer you 10-15 $ per hour.  
Disadvantages for Asian or Non-white Applicants

Vietnam is a beautiful country but there are still schools that discriminate non-white teachers as they give priority to Caucasian teachers. They also give bigger salaries to Caucasian teachers despite your experience and expertise as an English teacher. 

When to Apply as a Teacher in Vietnam

You can apply before arriving in Vietnam or when you are already in Vietnam. When you apply before you arrive you must make sure that you only transact with legit agencies or you can apply through the website for safer transactions of better if you apply when you already arrived in Vietnam to avoid scams.

How to Find ESL Job in Vietnam

You can find ESL jobs posted in certain Facebook Groups for ex-pats. You can also search for legit schools in Vietnam online and apply as a teacher directly to their websites. You may also choose to teach online and avoid spending your money on traveling to Vietnam and application costs.

Observe Dress Code While Teaching in Vietnam
Foreign teachers must adhere to the dress code set by the school when they teach in Vietnam. Refer below for the list of dress code:

For Women
  • Dress pants and a button shirt with a sleeve on
  • Knee-length dress or longer with a small sleeve or longer and has a standard neckline
  • A knee-length skirt or longer and button shirt sleeve
  • You can wear a sleeveless blouse but you use a cardigan jacket
  • Closed shoes whether its black, high-heels, or flat.

For Men
  • Black Shoes
  • Dress pants and button sleeve shirt
  • Dress pant and a polo shirt
  • Wearing a tie is not necessary unless the school requires 

Working as an ESL teacher in Vietnam is a great opportunity for everyone but it does have some disadvantages that we should not disregard. Wherever we want to work as a teacher we must always consider our safety first and make sure that we are following legal procedures to avoid getting ourselves into trouble. – Karie | Helpline PH