Teaching English in Vietnam: A Guide

2 Oct
Students in Vietnam

Students in Vietnam

Teaching English in Vietnam is fantastic and I would recommend it without hesitation. There are an abundance of jobs and the standard hourly rate is $20 per hour, often higher. In a country with such low living costs, this sort of wage can provide you with an excellent standard of living.

Despite this, when first arriving in Vietnam, I was worried that it wasn’t for me. Being honest, it can be a bit of a culture shock initially and despite loving the country, I was skeptical about actually setting up a life here. It seemed unthinkable that I would be able to find a job, flat and new friends, all in a culture so very different from home.

I can now honestly say that I have fallen in love with the place, warts and all. There are so many different opportunities that I truly believe there is something to suit everyone. Whether you are looking for short term work to extend your travel in South East Asia, or want to set up a long term career in teaching, you should definitely consider Vietnam as a location.

Practising for the school show!

Practising for the school show!

Interested, but still not sure if it’s for you? Have a read of this guide I wrote, for TEFL Jobs World.


If you have any questions, please do leave a comment.

Has anyone reading taught English in Vietnam? Have you had a similar experience? Would you recommend it to others contemplating taking the plunge in to South East Asia life?

Me with one of my cute students

Me with one of my cute students


12 Responses to “Teaching English in Vietnam: A Guide”

  1. Chris August 24, 2013 at 2:10 am #

    Hi, my name is Chris, i am close to having a bachelors degree, will get a ESL cert, and get help learning some Vietnamese. I actually sort of feel sort of a calling to go to Vietnam. I have volunteered in Nepal for three weeks, so culture shock wont be a factor. I have read so many great things about working in Vietnam as an English teacher, can you tell me a little more about the career, the classroom environment, how long you have been there and what its like to live in country?

    I would like to spend a year or more there.

    Thank you and have a great day,


    • siobhanambersmith August 28, 2013 at 8:34 am #

      Hi Chris,

      Thank you for the comment. Glad you are planning on making the move to Vietnam, you won’t regret it!

      I have been working here since March this year. Living in the country is great although it can take a bit of getting used to! The people are (generally) friendly, it is easy to find work, the beer is cheap and the food is great. In terms of transport, you will probably need to get a motorbike or bicycle of some sort. The public transport isn’t great. There are xe-oms (motorbike taxis) and taxis but if you use these to get everywhere you need to go, it does add up.

      The classroom environment varies wildly. That’s what’s so great about it. If you are looking for more casual work, you can find it. If you are looking to build a TEFL career, it is possible to do this here. Most schools provide a teaching assistant, materials, workbooks and so on. The classes vary in size – in private centres, you may have a class of around 10-12 students. In state school,s the classes can be as big as 40 or 50! It is a case of having a look around and deciding on the type of job you would like.

      I hope this answers some of your questions! When do plan on heading out here?


  2. Vinh Prag (@MrPrag) September 29, 2013 at 7:41 am #

    I have a very brief experience with teaching in Vietnam. When I was here as a 19-year-old, studying Vietnamese and going out all the time (back when Polite Pub was THE place to be), I got a teaching gig at UNESCO Language Center. My students were mostly a motley mix of adults of all ages.

    As a Dane, I wanted to show them a little bit of the alternative teaching we’re so famous for in the Nordics, so I shifted some of the focus on reading forced and unrealistic dialogues in a boring textbook to actual conversation and the occasional Sinatra lyrics quiz.

    I could feel that some students (mostly young guys) enjoyed playing with English and learning it in a fun way, but I expect that some other students (like the bored housewives who had grown up in an educational system where making an effort was considered as a lack of solidarity) kept complaining to my boss who kept moving me to new classes until there were none left who would have me.

    Thus ended my two or three months career as an English teacher in Vietnam.

  3. Bethany Tucker May 20, 2014 at 12:05 am #

    Hey! My husband and I have worked and lived in several East Asian countries. We’re considering Vietnam. Thanks for this blog! Would you consider chatting with us on Skype possibly? We’re looking to to our research before jumping on a plane. I did that for China, and while it worked out, I wish I’d done more research!

  4. Rasheedah N. October 31, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    I’m a single parent looking to teach abroad. I do not have my Bachelors degree but am working on it. How realistic do you think it is for me to come to Vietnam and teach? I do plan on getting either my cert for esl. Which is better CELTA, TESOL or TEFL?

  5. Andrea Copland November 11, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    Hi Siobhan,

    I am looking at teaching English in Vietnam just year as I’ve just finished my degree and currently doing the TEFL course. When looking for a job, would you recommend that I go through an agency, or find work directly through a school/language centre? I also will be doing it from South Africa, as I want to go there with a job in place as I am travelling alone and don’t know the country.

    Thanks so much 🙂

  6. Siobhan Comerford January 17, 2015 at 1:40 pm #

    Hi Siobhan (from a fellow Siobhan and aspiring Teacher Sio!), I cam across your blog from the Tefl jobs world website. I’m in Mui Ne (near Phan Thiet ) at the moment with my boyfriend and I’m seriously considering doing a tefl when i get home to Ireland next month and coming back in Sept/Oct. Your blog is great! Loads of info for someone in my position, thanks a mill 🙂 and best of luck with whatever comes next for you!

  7. Katie April 16, 2015 at 12:09 am #

    Hi Siobhan!
    I have to say, reading your blog helps me tremendously feel like I’m making the right decision to try and teach ESL in Vietnam. I have my certification and degree and am able looking for jobs there to apply to from home. I’m so incredibly excited but scared as well. I guess my biggest concern is finding people to make friends with. Did you have a hard time finding new friends in Vietnam or was it fairly simple?

    Thank you for sharing your experiences!

    • Imogen July 1, 2015 at 3:05 pm #

      Katie! I just came across

      • Imogen July 1, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

        Sorry I hadn’t finished that, new to wordpress! Katie, I am currently in the same boat you were in April. I am planning to move to Hanoi in the next couple of months to teach English. I already have a certificate but I am trying to research more into schools/centres before I go. How did you get on teaching? Are you currently in a good job? I am also intrigued how it all went, if you don’t mind 🙂
        Thanks, Imogen

  8. 유현우 May 22, 2015 at 1:10 am #

    hi! how about those undergraduate but has an experience in teaching English? Like teaching Korean people. Grammar, Pronunciation, Reading And Speaking is very good. Is it possible or are their possibilities to teach there in Vietnam? I need a reply. Thank you! have a great day!

  9. Dave June 25, 2015 at 2:04 am #

    Hi Siobhan, Thank you for sharing so many great details. I do have one question about “the second option” and working at several smaller language centers. You mentioned that each center will typically offer contracts with three or four teaching hours per week. But how many weeks are the contracts usually for?

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