Children having an English class at the Language Center in Vietnam

Teaching English in Vietnam – Pay, Visas and Finding a Job

When we decided to teach English in Asia we had a lot of decisions to make. Which country did we want to live in? How easily could we find a job? How much money would we make? What qualifications and experience did we need? We wanted to choose a country we felt we’d enjoy living in but with our travel fund running low we also had to consider where we could earn the most money and take into account visa issues.

After much research, we decided that Hanoi in Vietnam was the perfect place for us to live and teach. If you want to follow in our footsteps, here’s the information you need about how to find a job in Vietnam, how much you can earn and how to sort out your visas and work permit.

How to Teach English in Vietnam E-Book

2018 and 2019 teaching opportunities in Hanoi – the language centre we used to work for in Hanoi is now recruiting teachers for 2018 and 2019. If you’re a native English speaker with a degree and TEFL qualification, contact us now and we can put you in touch with the director for an interview.

How Easy is it to get a Job in Vietnam?

There’s a huge demand for English teachers here in Vietnam. Parents in particular are keen for their children to learn English at school and will pay for private tuition or extra classes at a language centre if they can afford it. I’ve been approached by teachers at the schools I work in to take on private tutoring or teach at Vietnamese-run language schools.

Teaching at a Language Centre in Vietnam

We’ve found that adults are also keen to learn English; I’ve met University students who are working as teaching assistants to improve their language skills and some of the waitresses in our favourite cafes and restaurants love chatting to us to practice their English.

Although English teaching jobs can be found throughout Vietnam, most work is available in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). After travelling around the country for a month last year we decided to look for jobs in Hanoi because we preferred the cooler climate and liked the smaller, European feel of the city.

How we Found a Teaching Job in Hanoi

Andrew emailed a few language schools over the summer while we were in England asking for work. He had a Skype interview with Washington Language Center who then offered us both jobs on the strength of Andrew’s interview and my CV alone. Nevertheless, we didn’t formally accept the job offers until we arrived in Vietnam so that we could check out the language centre for ourselves, meet the staff and read through the contracts in person.Children playing English games at a language centre in Vietnam

Although we liked the security of having a job lined up before we arrived in Hanoi, it’s perfectly possibly to turn up, get settled and then canvas the different language centres for work. From our experience, if you’re a native English speaker with a degree and better still teaching experience (like Andrew) or a TEFL certificate (like Amy) you can pick up work in Vietnam very easily.

How much Money can you make Teaching English in Vietnam?

Rates vary depending on who you work for. Since he has previous teaching experience, Andrew was offered a starting salary of $22 per hour after tax, while I was offered $21; once we’d completed our first month’s work our pay went up by a dollar each.  We are paid monthly in a combination of US Dollars and Vietnamese Dong which we then deposit into the new bank accounts we opened in Hanoi.

Dollars and Dong

Where can you Teach?

Language centres ­ – there are a lot of these in Hanoi, we work for Washington but Language Link and Apollo are other well-known options. The children who have lessons at our language centre tend to be from primary and middle schools.

Public schools – the language centre we work for runs partnership programmes with public schools in Hanoi where classes are shared between Vietnamese and foreign teachers. You can teach children aged five to ten in primary schools, 11 to 14 in middle schools and up to 18 in high schools.

Quang Trung Primary School, Hanoi

International schools – these private schools cater for foreign children and follow different curriculums; for example, a British international school would follow a British curriculum. International schools usually prefer to hire experienced teachers and pay higher salaries.

Teaching Hours and Schedules

We generally work 21 hours a week each teaching a combination of public school and language centre classes. Although this doesn’t sound much, since teaching hours are spread out we actually work Monday to Friday every morning and afternoon as well as two evenings a week.

Public schools – school terms run from September till the end of May with a two-week break for Tet in January or February. The day starts at 8.00am and there are four 35 minute classes with a short break in the middle. Lunch runs from 11am till 2.00pm and during this time we go home to eat and rest while most kids stay at school and nap in their classrooms. There are four classes in the afternoons from 2.00pm till 5.00pm.

Children having an English class at the Language Center in Vietnam

Language centres – if you teach in a language centre you’ll have to work evenings and weekends. Our centre runs 90-minute classes at 5.30pm and 7.00pm during the week and throughout the day at weekends. We teach a couple of evening classes each per week to make some extra money.

Visas and Work Permits for Vietnam

In order to enter Vietnam you need to either get a visa from a Vietnamese Embassy in advance or buy a visa approval letter online issued by the Vietnam Immigration Department. This letter will allow you to purchase a Visa on Arrival (VOA) at certain airports: Hanoi, Cam Ranh, Phu Quoc, Ho Chi Minh City or Danang.

Teaching English in Vietnam pay visas and finding a job

Pin Me!

There are many websites offering online visa approval letters but not all are legitimate. Before we left the UK we obtained our letter from Vietnam Visa Pro and we had no problem getting our Vietnam Visa on Arrival (VOA) at Hanoi airport. You can usually get single or multiple entry and one or three month VOA letters, we opted for the three month single entry business visa letter which cost $22 each. We had to pay an additional $45 each at the airport for our visas, so the total cost for both of our three-month visas came to $134.

Visa Stamps in Passports

So what happens after three months? Many teachers opt to leave the country  and re-enter to top-up their visas. If you sign a nine or 12-month contract with an international school or language centre they will apply for a work permit and visa on your behalf. This is a good option since the process of getting one is difficult, expensive and long winded. Our language centre arranged the following appointments for us:

  • A two-hour health check at a local hospital where they tested everything from our blood and urine to our eyes, ears and teeth and even took a chest X-ray. This would have been extremely difficult to organise on our own.
  • A Vietnamese police check. Someone from the language centre took us to Hanoi’s main police station and filled-in the paperwork for us.

In addition to this we had to visit the British Embassy in Hanoi to get the following:

  • Certified copies of our most recent degree certificates.
  • An affidavit proclaiming that Andrew’s UK police check is the original.
  • An affidavit proclaiming that Amy’s UK police check and TEFL certificate are the originals.

The embassy documents alone cost £280 to administer and we’re not certain how much the health checks and Vietnamese police checks cost; we do know that each work permit costs about £500. Since the language centre are paying for all of this we’ve definitely saved a lot of money and hassle. All we will have to pay for are our work Visas which are about £120 each.

Are you looking for a TEFL course? TEFL UK are offering our readers discounts on their online and in-house, fully accredited courses, you could save nearly £30! If you want to take advantage of this great offer then send us a message using our contact form (include your name and ‘TEFL UK’ as the subject) and we’ll get you the following discounts:

120hr Advanced Interactive TEFL Program, our price – £90 (usually £99)

150hr TEFL Masters Program, our price – £150 (usually £179)

70hr Intensive Teaching Business English Program, our price – £79 (usually £89)

TEFL UK Accredited 20hr Teaching Practicum, our price – £129 (usually £149)

Want to teach in Vietnam?

Would you love to teach in Vietnam but feel too overwhelmed to take the leap? Then we’d recommend contacting Teacher’s Friend Vietnam. This small, independent company is run by real teachers who have actually lived and worked in the country. Georgie and her team will help you find jobs with reputable schools that will provide you with a work permit, excellent resources, ongoing training and a great salary. They’ll also help you find an apartment, get a visa, find a motorbike, meet other like-minded people and offer support throughout your time in Vietnam.

Teacher’s Friend offers packages for teaching in Hanoi, HCMC and smaller cities and the countryside. If you’re interested and are a native English speaker with a Bachelor’s degree, clean police check and a practical TEFL certification of at least 120 hours (or are willing to obtain one), contact Teacher’s Friend to get started. Georgie is kindly offering our readers a 10% discount on packages, just use the code TFV01 when you contact them.

Find out more about teaching English abroad in these posts:

  • Jamie Newman
    Posted at 14:04h, 18 October Reply

    Thanks for this Amy. I was just looking into this myself! Do you have any recommendation on where to obtain a TEFL certificate? I’ve seen so many options.


    • Amy
      Posted at 16:26h, 18 October Reply

      Hi Jamie, glad you found this useful. I plan to write about my experience with TEFL courses soon; I took a 120-hour online course with LoveTEFL and a practical weekend course in London with The online course gave me good background information but the practical course was much more useful. I would recommend taking a practical course and even a CELTA if you can afford it; schools/language centers prefer you to have this experience too. Do you have any previous teaching experience? Andrew used to be a teacher in England so he didn’t need a TEFL certificate to teach in Vietnam.

      • Jamie Newman
        Posted at 06:56h, 19 October Reply

        No formal teaching experience unfortunately. The idea was really planted in my head after really enjoying volunteering in Cambodia and Zambia. It would be quite the transition for me from the software world! A great way to keep traveling and get deep into other cultures.

        • Amy
          Posted at 07:16h, 19 October Reply

          I agree Jamie, I also look at TEFL as a great way to travel and live in new countries. We’re also finding that we can earn and save a lot of money here because of the extremely low cost of living in Vietnam. I’d definitely recommend Vietnam as a place to teach; let me know if you have any other questions, I’ll be posting more on this topic in the future.

  • Beth
    Posted at 20:19h, 19 October Reply

    Hi Amy, this was really useful for me as I have been wondering about how easy it might be to get a job teaching abroad. I’m not sure if I would need a TEFL certificate though as I have a PhD and my current job is teaching at a university. Do you think this would be sufficient?

    Love your website by the way – very inspirational and a great read!

    • Amy
      Posted at 06:13h, 20 October Reply

      Thanks Beth, I’m glad you found this information useful. Andrew doesn’t have a TEFL certificate but he is a qualified teacher in the UK and he taught there for a few years so he didn’t need a TEFL certificate to get a job in Vietnam – I did need one though because I had no experience. It sounds as though you have good experience and wouldn’t need a certificate to get a job either but it all depends where you plan to teach so you should research this in advance. Thanks for reading 🙂

      • Oscar Schlcht
        Posted at 21:58h, 12 August Reply

        Hi Amy, sorry to change the subject of the thread somewhat, but I am in the process of getting the documents I need together so that apply for a work permit once I find a school that are willing to take me on. I already have a Basic Disclosure is this the form of police check required for the work permit? My research is serving up conflicting information.

        Many thanks,

        • Amy
          Posted at 10:44h, 13 August Reply

          Hi Oscar, yep, we just had a Basic Disclosure for the permit and that was fine. Also remember original copies of your degree and teaching certificates; your school/language centre should help you with the whole process. Good luck, let me know if you have any other questions.

          • Oscar
            Posted at 17:34h, 13 August

            Thanks Amy, a really informative page overall too! So the basic disclosure is the one applied for through disclosure Scotland?

          • Amy
            Posted at 18:05h, 13 August

            Yep, that’s the one. Good luck!

          • Alain
            Posted at 14:57h, 14 June


            I am very confused by this, because I always hear talk of certain countries not accepting/honouring this one,yet others it seems to be acceptable.

            I was under the impression it had to be the official one from your local police station, or the ACRO police check? Also why can the viet police not just do a background check through interpol and take a fingerprint…surely?


          • Amy
            Posted at 08:49h, 16 June

            Hi Alain, we needed to get a police check from our home country (UK) to get our permit. Of course, the rules may have changed now, we were in Hanoi in 2014-2015.

  • Miriam of Adventurous Miriam
    Posted at 21:12h, 20 October Reply

    Great guide, Amy. We’ve been thinking about teaching in Asia (or my husband has, while I freelance) so this is really helpful. Thank you!

    • Amy
      Posted at 12:01h, 21 October Reply

      Glad you found it useful Miriam 🙂

  • Patti
    Posted at 03:46h, 21 October Reply

    I loved this post, Amy. As a retired teacher my husband has suggested many times that I teach in a foreign country, as a way for us to travel/live. I have no idea if this will ever come to fruition, but I do tend to read a lot about it. Teaching is teaching through, it’s a big commitment, I remember well! I’m really looking forward to reading your next post about the realities, but I’m guessing your students now love you!

    • Amy
      Posted at 12:03h, 21 October Reply

      With all your teaching experience this would be a great option for you Patti. Andrew and I are thinking about teaching in Spain in 2016 as we’ve heard there’s a lot of work going there; since you’re headed that way soon-ish you could always give it a go 🙂

  • Emily
    Posted at 14:42h, 23 October Reply

    We’ve had (very) lofty dreams of going to teach English somewhere in Asia, but I hadn’t thought too much about it. I like all the detail in this post because if we ever decide to actually move forward I now am better prepared!

    • Amy
      Posted at 04:00h, 25 October Reply

      Teaching is definitely a good way to combine slow travel and work Emily.

  • Maxine Frandsen
    Posted at 02:04h, 03 November Reply

    This is such a fantastic and informative website, thank you so much for doing it. I have took onboard lots of advice and suggestions you have given.

    I am traveling around East Coast Australia (3 months) and New Zealand for 2. After this, I’m not too sure what I’ll be doing, however after seeing this about teaching, I quite fancy that! 🙂

    I have a Cert Ed qualification, which here in the UK allows you to teach at an alternative provision and in higher education, Although I don’t have a degree. Do you think I’ll also need a TEFL too, to teach in Asia?

    Thank you for your time, happy traveling!


    • Amy
      Posted at 02:54h, 03 November Reply

      Hi Maxine, thanks for reading, I’m glad you’ve found our site useful. I would imagine your teaching qualification would be good enough here in Vietnam and the rest of Asia and if you have experience teaching as well then you should have no problem. Happy travels and let me know if you have any more questions 🙂

  • Lily Lau
    Posted at 23:42h, 12 November Reply

    I had no idea you could do that! Sounds amazing to become a teacher in Vietnam, I always dreamed about volunteering in Africa but it’s still a huge challenge to me, I guess I could start here too. Thanks for sharing, Amy!

    • Amy
      Posted at 15:08h, 13 November Reply

      No worries Lily, volunteering in Africa sounds great; doing some work here in Asia to get some experience would be brilliant. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  • Jen Phan
    Posted at 17:25h, 07 February Reply

    Thanks for posting this up! Very useful 🙂 So my brother and I have recently visit Vietnam about 3 weeks ago and we both fell in love with the place all over again. My brother wants to teach ESL there but he doesn’t really know where to start. He has a BS degree in Math and he’s had experience in teaching to high school students for less than a year. He’s planning to get a 120 hour online TEFL certificate as well. Do you think he would be qualified without the certificate? Also, I’m currently teaching ESL in S.Korea, this is my first year and i’ve only started 2 weeks ago haha, but I went through a recruiter to get my job. So my question is, how do you get a job in Vietnam? Are there recruiters to help or did you just e-mail schools in Vietnam?

    • Amy
      Posted at 06:10h, 08 February Reply

      Hi Jen, thanks for reading and commenting. I think your brother can probably find a job without a TEFL but he’ll have more options if he does take the course. How is teaching in S.Korea? I think there are some recruiters in Vietnam but we just emailed some language centres in Hanoi and found a job pretty easily. Most teachers turn up in Vietnam and look for work when they arrive; there’s a big demand for English teachers so if you’ve had experience in South Korea you shouldn’t have a problem finding work. Good luck 🙂

  • Matthew
    Posted at 16:46h, 26 May Reply

    Sorry for being several months late to the website. These adventures look amazing! But a question about the visas are they working holiday visas (i.e. is there an age restriction applied to the visas)? Or can just about anyone suitable enough to teach have a reasonable shot at attaining one no matter their age?
    Thanks so much,

    • Amy
      Posted at 07:03h, 27 May Reply

      Hi Matthew, we have business visas and as far as I know there’s no age limit attached to them. If you get a job here your employer should organise a work permit for you which will allow you to obtain a year-long business visa. You just need to remember documents like your education and teaching certificates and you need a police check from your home country. Let me know if you have any other questions. Are you thinking of working in Hanoi?

      • Matthew
        Posted at 13:25h, 27 May Reply

        Thanks for replying! I’d be looking at a smaller area first then a larger area later on as I get used to the experience. Mainly researching options at the moment. Every bit of information helps.
        Thanks heaps.

        • Amy
          Posted at 09:21h, 29 May Reply

          No worries 🙂

  • Costas
    Posted at 17:14h, 09 August Reply

    Hi Amy

    Very useful info.. thanks

    I have an English Degree, CELTA and around 6 years teaching experience. What do you think the pay would be for someone with my experience?

    Also, do you have any good tips on finding apartments in Ho chi min city? prices?

    Thanks Amy

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:39h, 11 August Reply

      Hi Costas, I think with your experience you’d have no trouble finding a job. Where are you from? In Hanoi I know they are now accepting mainly English speakers from the UK, Australia, America, Canada and New Zealand. Andrew has lots of teaching experiences and UK teaching qualifications and he earned $23 an hour after tax, so that should give you some idea. As we lived in Hanoi I’m not sure about Ho Chi Minh City apartments but in Hanoi we found one easily and it cost us just $450 per month, including all bills except electricity. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions 🙂

  • Camelia
    Posted at 03:20h, 31 August Reply

    Camelia english center announce
    We have 1 period English from 5 pm to 7 pm today afternoon
    And everyweek we have about 6 hour for you
    Who can teach,or know any other teacher please contact with us by
    Phone 0962545538 Mr Đức
    Or email [email protected]
    Adress: Đặng Xá urban area Trâu Quỳ Gia Lâm

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:28h, 31 August Reply

      Thanks for the information, I will leave it up here to see if anyone is interested.

  • Gayle & John
    Posted at 11:31h, 14 September Reply

    Hi Amy

    have been reading your posts about teaching in Vietnam with great interest. We’re cycle-tourists from the UK who’ve cycled from Norway to Japan, it’s taken us just over 3 years and now we’re ready for something different and to re-plenish the old bank account. Right now we’re house-sitting for friends in Laos. We’re hoping to find TEFl jobs and over the last few weeks we’ve been doing reseacrh and trying to make decisons just as you two did…..that’s why finding your posts has been so useful!! We have spent a long time cycling in China and love it and therefore it’s included in our considerations. We’ve also been to everywhere in your table….but that doesn’t make it easier to choose!! Ok, I’m getting to my question now….I already have my CELTA certificate and in October John will do his in Thailand (Chiang Mai) however, John doesn’t have a degree….did you meet teachers in Vietnam without degrees? Also, we are a good bit older than you, not completely ancient( early 40’s) but do you see this would be a problem when looking for jobs in Vietnam?
    Thanks for your time and for all the useful information!!

    • Amy
      Posted at 14:00h, 15 September Reply

      Hi Guys, it sounds like you’ve been on an incredible journey, I will definitely check out your blog. I don’t think the age should be an issue for teaching; Andrew was doing a bit of recruiting for our old language centre in Hanoi and they did decline a couple of 60+ year olds but that’s it. I also think you’re in a really good position if you have a CELTA. I know when we were in Hanoi there were a couple of teachers without degrees, however they did seem to tighten up the rules on this once we left. With a CELTA though I’m confident John could get a job in Vietnam though, he may just have to apply to a few more language centres then we did. I’ve heard that China are desperate for teachers so if you choose there I think you’d have no problem finding a job. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Gayle & John
    Posted at 11:33h, 14 September Reply

    re-sending this with our blog address written with “http”.

  • Teaching English Abroad
    Posted at 07:19h, 22 October Reply

    I appreciated your overview of teaching in Vietnam. I’ve been in Korea for 10 years and am heading home to Canada soon but if I were to continue teaching abroad, Vietnam would have been my #1 choice.

    • Amy
      Posted at 20:53h, 22 October Reply

      Wow, that’s a long time in Korea! We still hope to go there one day. Hope your return to Canada goes smoothly ?

  • Bryan
    Posted at 01:43h, 06 November Reply

    Hi, thanks for the post. I have a question I wonder if you could answer as you are there in person and might know first hand and I can’t find anything online: if I’m currently a university student, already with a two year degree (Associate’s degree from a community college, as we call it in the US) would that be enough to get a visa to teach? I can provide transcripts from my engineering degree currently in progress as well as my two year Associate’s diploma; do you know if this would be enough to legally work in Vietnam? Thanks.

    • Amy
      Posted at 01:52h, 06 November Reply

      Hi Bryan, we are actually no longer in Vietnam, we finished teaching there at the end of the academic year in May. I’m really not sure whether that would be enough; from our experience language centres ask for a degree certificate. Saying that, if I were you I’d email a few centres like Language Link or Apollo to see if they’d accept you. Failing that, there is plenty of private work around if you’re willing to work on a tourist visa for three months at a time. Good luck and sorry I can’t be more help.

  • Rebecca
    Posted at 18:32h, 10 January Reply


    I really enjoyed reading your post! I’m currently teaching in Spain, but I’m anxious to go to Hanoi. I was a volunteer at a center in Haiphong. I was wondering if you could put me in contact with any U.S. citizens living there? I’m having difficulty figuring out if it’s necessary to go back to the U.S. for anything before accepting employment in Hanoi. Based on your blog entry; the school will provide the health check. I’ve got an apostilled copy of my Illinois background check, but it was done in September 2015. I have no clue as to how long it will be accepted or if a nationwide background check is necessary.

    I also have an apostilled copy of my degree, but it was done in September 2015. I’m hoping to move to Hanoi in August 2016.

    I’d like to see an entry on what the expat scene is like there? It’s a bit elitist here and it’s difficult to make Spanish friends. Do you encounter a lot of “know it all” type expats? What’s the dating scene like for women. I know you’re in a relationship, but it’s something a few of us are curious about. lol

    Thank you,

    Rebecca 🙂

    • Amy
      Posted at 11:33h, 11 January Reply

      Hi Rebecca, thanks so much for reading and commenting. It’s great to hear from a teacher in Spain, as we are just about to head out to Madrid and look for teaching work! Where are you based in Spain?
      Unfortunately, we didn’t know any American teachers in Hanoi, but I’m sure there are plenty. I’m honestly not sure about the apostilled documents, we arrived in Hanoi with our UK police checks which had been issued just a couple of months beforehand and just plain copies of our degree certificates, which we then got certified at the British embassy in Hanoi. If I were you, I’d contact a few language centres to find out for sure or post a message on The New Hanoian there will be plenty of US teachers on there.
      The expat scene is nice in Hanoi, we only really knew other teachers though, but everyone was friendly. I can put you in touch with some friends still living there if you like? They might also know a bit more about the dating scene than I do 🙂

  • Emily
    Posted at 16:17h, 01 March Reply

    That was better than China..

    • Amy
      Posted at 22:09h, 01 March Reply

      Hi Emily, really? That’s interesting, I thought China was pretty lucrative too.

  • Roger Conant-Woodberry
    Posted at 13:30h, 18 March Reply

    Hello Amy&Andrew ~

    Thanks very much for your post! Very helpful to have first hand experience which is as recent as it is.

    I’ve heard by some individuals/responses/blog posts that the Vietnamese Government is seeking to limit/curtail/fine teaching/teachers working with a tourist visa, and that private teaching is actually on the books as being forbidden (?). From what you say, and most others, in practice this is not at all inforced, and if it ever is, it is enforced with any school that is employing you, but not against the teacher.

    I’d like to go to Hanoi–living in France now! — and to give it a go with teaching ESL there; have experience and B.A. is in English Literature. Would you have any contacts I could e-mail in advance, perhaps to help find apartment, etc.
    Thanks very Much indeed!

    • Amy
      Posted at 18:11h, 18 March Reply

      Hi Roger, thanks for reading, I’m glad you’ve found this post helpful. When we left Vietnam in June last year, the Ministry of Education were tightening up on visa rules and we heard rumours of them doing raids on schools/language centres searching for employers who were hiring teachers without proper work visas. I’m not sure what it’s like now, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend teaching on a tourist visa; any good employer should be able to arrange a work visa for you. Yes, you can contact [email protected] to find an apartment, you can also email some of the popular language centres; Language Link, ILA, Apollo, Washington. Good luck and enjoy Hanoi!

  • Emily
    Posted at 14:03h, 20 March Reply


    Sorry to bother you, but do you know any other language centers like washington language center that has partnership programmes with public schools?


    • Amy
      Posted at 11:52h, 23 March Reply

      Hi Emily, I believe that Language Link, ILA and Apollo also have partner schemes. Good luck!

  • Helen Smith
    Posted at 12:05h, 22 April Reply

    Hello both!

    I have just booked a one way ticket to Vietnam where I hope to find work!! I am a qualified teacher of Design and Technology with 2/3 years of experience and eventually wish to gain a employment in an international school. I am very aware however that there is a timing issue with this and I have been advised that most British international schools recruit around December / January time for the next academic year? As such, I am heading out at the end of July and thought I’d try my hand at teaching English until later in the year. I have a few questions about becoming an English teacher in Vietnam if I may?

    1/ What kind of VISA would you recommend I apply for initially? Should I opt for a 3 x month travel visa or a work visa, or would any employer include this with a contract of employment?

    2/ What kind of insurance should I opt for? Again, is this something that any future employer would include in the contract and does this cover your medical insurance?

    3/ What is the shortest term of employment most language schools offer? If I only planned to be in Vietnam for a few months, is private teaching the only viable option to me?

    4/ (a very practical question). Is it necessary to own a laptop in order to plan lessons/resources or do most schools provide these?

    Think that were my main questions…..thank you so much in advance for your time!

    Best wishes, Helen 🙂

    • Amy
      Posted at 21:31h, 22 April Reply

      Hi Mel, thanks for reading, it sounds like you’re in for an adventure! We got a three-month single entry business visa and then our language centre helped us sort out the rest; I’d recommend doing the same. We just have our regular travel insurance, our employer didn’t provide insurance and I don’t think it’s something many language centres do include, although I’m not sure so it’s worth asking your employer in the interview process. Most language centres try to hire teachers on a nine or twelve month contract, but I’m sure it’s possible to get shorter term work if you ask around different centres. I would definitely take your own laptop as well but our language centre did loan us a very old one to use in school – again, you can ask your employer about this. Good luck and let me know if you have other questions.

  • Sean Stokes
    Posted at 19:28h, 03 May Reply

    Hi Amy, great article – I see you’re in Spain now! I am a Spanish teacher in the UK but have a job starting in the summer in Hanoi at a private secondary school.

    Just regarding the work permit process – so you just took your degree and Basic Disclosure to the embassy and they sorted it?

    Also for the visa – how did you go about getting the business visa? I can’t seem to find many websites that offer visa on arrival for the business visa and it seems overly expensive to get it done at the embassy.

    Many thanks

    • Andrew
      Posted at 20:42h, 06 May Reply

      Hi Sean, thanks for your message. In order to get our certified copies of the degree certificates and the affidavits we had to make an appointment at the British Embassy in Hanoi, it’s a bit of a long-winded process but you need to start by emailing [email protected] and explaining what documents you need notorised/certified. Once they know exactly what you want doing and have seen electronic versions of the documents they will charge you, you then get a link to book an appointment and finally go to the appointment with all your documents. Your School should be able to help you with all of this and also with your visa on arrival, our language centre offered to provide us with a visa letter but we had already organised and paid for our own using the site mentioned in this post. All the information in this post is how things worked for us, Vietnam does however seem to have an ever-changing approach to its visa rules so it’s probably best to speak to your school about this just to be sure.

  • Sam
    Posted at 06:24h, 21 June Reply

    Thank you. This is really helpful. My name is Samta and I am an Indian. do u think it is simple for Indians to get teaching jobs in Nam? I was in Vietnam recently and am thinking of taking up a teaching job there.. could you share your email I’d where I could get in touch with you??

    • Amy
      Posted at 08:51h, 23 June Reply

      Hi Sam, thanks for reading and commenting. We are not in Vietnam anymore unfortunately, we taught there for just one year. I think if you have a degree, TEFL, a bit of experience and are from an English-speaking country you’ll meet the visa/work permit guidelines for Vietnam. However, these change a lot so things may be different now (we were there in 2014-15). I would start by emailing your CV to language centres like Apollo, Language Link and ILA to see what they say. Good luck with the search and enjoy Vietnam 🙂

  • Matt
    Posted at 09:52h, 05 July Reply

    Hi Amy,

    Thanks for this. I’m heading out to Vietnam so this is very informative! Quick question, I’ve been trying to find out whether I will need to pay tax back in the UK on anything I earn in Vietnam. I’m getting mixed responses on this though. What was your experience with this?



    • Amy
      Posted at 08:09h, 06 July Reply

      Hi Matt, thanks for reading and commenting. We didn’t need to pay tax in the UK because we were paying it to the Vietnamese government; we did have to let the UK student loans company know what we were earning though so they could figure out if we needed to make any payments. I am also registered as self-employed in the UK as I make some money through freelance writing/blogging, but my Vietnam earnings didn’t count towards this because I was paying tax in Vietnam. I hope that helps. Where are you planning to move to in Vietnam, do you have a job lined up? If you’re interested in Hanoi, we can put you in touch with our old language centre who are currently recruiting for September.

      • Matt
        Posted at 09:01h, 06 July Reply

        Hi Amy,

        Thanks for a quick response. It’s probably going to be more like November when head out unfortunately. I do have an online tefl but I really want to get some in class experience first so I’ve signed up to a 4 week in class course first, but if my plans change I will let you know!

        • Matt
          Posted at 09:30h, 06 July Reply

          Hi Amy, just one more question! Other than the student loans company, did you have to fill out any forms or paperwork when you left the UK? Did you stay ‘UK residents’ whilst you were in Vietnam or did you have to declare that you were living abroad? Sorry to bombard you! Thanks again for all your help!

          • Amy
            Posted at 09:59h, 06 July

            No worries, ask away 🙂 Nope, we haven’t filled out any other forms or anything since leaving the UK three and a half years ago, we remain UK citizens.

        • Amy
          Posted at 09:52h, 06 July Reply

          Ok, good luck with everything! Let us know if you have any other questions.

          • Matt
            Posted at 12:18h, 02 September

            Hi Amy,

            I’m booked onto a 4 week in class TESOL course which starts at the end of November in Ho Chi Minh. I have my flight booked and my VISA sorted.

            Just a couple of questions:

            1.Getting documents certified – Did you take your original degree along with the copies? Also, did you just get them certified before leaving the UK or did you get an apostille on them as well?

            2. Your police check – is that the basic CRB that Disclosure Scotland does, and did you get that certified before you left home as well?



          • Amy
            Posted at 16:01h, 03 September

            Hi Matt, exciting news. We took our original degrees and got them certified in Hanoi at the British embassy, we just had to make an appointment there when we arrived in Hanoi. It may not be the same in HCMC, so I’d look up the details of the British embassy there and check that. We got a basic police disclosure which we also got certified at the embassy. Good luck with the course and job search!

  • Corinne
    Posted at 09:13h, 30 July Reply

    Hi Amy!
    This is a great page, I am glad that I have found it. I will be moving to HCMC in 2 weeks and have a job already lined up. It is with a private school and sounds very good. The only thing that sounds a bit strange is that I have been told I won’t need a working visa. A 3 month tourist visa (renewable) would be enough for me because I will be working part time. Various websites suggest that this is illegal. Do you know anything about it? The job really sounds great that’s why I don’t want to turn it down… except if it really is dodgy of course. Thank you very much for your thoughts!

    • Amy
      Posted at 11:06h, 31 July Reply

      Hi Corinne, as far as I know, it is illegal to work in Vietnam on a tourist visa. However, if I were you I’d discuss it with them when you arrive and see what you think; you don’t have to accept the offer, there should be plenty of other jobs you can apply for instead. Good luck with the move and enjoy Vietnam!

  • Shannon Gillies
    Posted at 03:16h, 07 August Reply

    Very helpful post–thank you! I’m a certified teacher (of young children) in Canada, but I decided to take the online TEFL course with U of Toronto anyway. I’d eventually like to teach English in Danang, but not necessarily full-time with a school (as my husband and I are approaching retirement). I hear there is a lot of opportunity to teach privately, but I’m wondering about taxation and visas. Can you do this on a tourist visa? I’m guessing most people do it under the table, but I don’t think I’d want to take that chance! Did you know of anyone’s experiences tutoring privately?

    • Amy
      Posted at 08:20h, 07 August Reply

      Hi Shannon, Yes, I think most people do private tutoring under the table. I’m really not sure about the taxation and visas for this I’m afraid; we had work permits through our language centre. I would suggest looking at the visa rules for Vietnam as they change all the time, so there might be one suitable for private tutoring. Good Luck and sorry I can’t be more help.

  • Brett
    Posted at 00:15h, 12 August Reply

    Hi, I’d be interested to follow up on the school where you worked before. I have TESOL diploma, master of education and many years (over 10) experience as esl teacher in Asia.

    • Amy
      Posted at 09:17h, 12 August Reply

      Hi Brett, I have sent you an email about the teaching positions available.

  • jes
    Posted at 20:12h, 17 August Reply

    hello Amy, thank you for you post.I really liked it, but could you please help me with the website that posts the Vietnamese teaching jobs i mean English teaching jobs.
    Thank you

    • Andrew
      Posted at 10:28h, 18 August Reply

      Hi Jes, thanks for your comment. There are many websites that officially post TEFL jobs in Vietnam. They’re easy to find too; just search on Google for ‘TEFL jobs in Vietnam’ and you should find them very easily.

  • Pett
    Posted at 14:28h, 03 September Reply

    Hello there! Great read and very informative. I’m about to set on an adventure myself. I’m a licensed and experienced English teacher from the Philippines. It’s frustrating that my qualifications are overlooked because I’m not a native English speaker (I’m not angry though) but I’m not gonna give up easily. You mentioned about the language center where you taught. I’m interested if there is any available teaching position. My resume and documents are ready. Hope you could help me land a job. Best regards!

    • Amy
      Posted at 15:52h, 03 September Reply

      Hi Pett, thanks for your message and for reading. Yes, I totally agree, it’s not fair that people get overlooked just because they’re not ‘native English speakers’. I’m sure you’ll be able to find a job though as it sounds like you have just the right positive attitude. Unfortunately since term starts on Monday I believe our former language centre now has all the teachers it needs. I wish you luck with your search though. P.S: we absolutely loved the Philippines!

  • Summer
    Posted at 18:49h, 26 October Reply

    Can you please give me a contact number for the Washington Language Center? My partner has accepted a job with them and we fly tomorrow but they still have not sent any information about his visa on arrival (it is my understanding that they provide a confirmation letter). We are trying desperately to get in contact with them but the contact number listed does not appear to work when I call it. If you can offer any assistance that would be great.

    • Amy
      Posted at 03:47h, 27 October Reply

      Hi Summer, I have sent you an email with the phone numbers in so that it doesn’t appear here in public. Let me know that you’ve received it.

  • nandita
    Posted at 22:46h, 18 November Reply

    Hi Amy,
    I am from India and I have taught French in Indian schools for more than 20 years, including 3 years of IBDP and MYP teaching in an international school in India. Presently, I am in Canada and are planning to move to Hanoi in early 2017. I have also done a Practical Certificate course in French from University of Toronto and TEFL. I have a Masters in French, Spanish, Russian and English and have a Bachelors in Education. Is there a possibility to get a job in any international school in Hanoi?
    Please let me know.
    Thank you in advance!

    • Andrew
      Posted at 05:44h, 20 November Reply

      Hi Nandita, thanks for commenting. With your qualifications and experience I would personally say that you should be able to find a job. We have no experience however with international schools and so couldn’t say for certain – it really depends on what positions are available at the time. Good luck with your move.

  • Matt
    Posted at 10:29h, 06 December Reply

    Hi Amy,

    With regards to getting your degree copies certified, did you need to present your degree transcript as well or was just the certificate ok?

    • Amy
      Posted at 09:14h, 07 December Reply

      Hi Matt, we only needed the certificate. You want to have the transcript on hand too though in case the rules have changed.

  • amampau
    Posted at 05:35h, 19 December Reply

    Hi Amy,

    What are the chances for a filipino english teacher with licensed and English proficiency training certificate to land a job in vietnam, particularly in Ho chi minh?

    I would be very glad if you can give me a response on this.

    Good day!

    • Amy
      Posted at 14:18h, 19 December Reply

      Hi, I can’t say for HCMC really, as we worked in Hanoi. I didn’t meet any Filipino teachers in Vietnam but I’m sure there’s a role for you somewhere. You should email your CV to a few language centres and see what they say. I wish you good luck 🙂

  • Rod
    Posted at 17:19h, 21 August Reply

    Hi Amy, nice post:). I’ve been looking for info on how to teach freelance in Vietnam, basically picking up shifts at difference schools (I just want to spend a few months in Vietnam but don’t want to commit to a full contract). Do you happen to know if there’s a way to do this above board with a business visa or something or do teachers who work this way typically do it under the table on a tourist visa?

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:56h, 22 August Reply

      Hi Rod, I believe you’re allowed to work temporarily on a 3-month business visa (check the Vietnam immigration department info because this may have changed since we worked there though). Then I think you can do visa runs when necessary and pick up odd shifts. The rules do change regularly though so keep an eye on this. Good luck with the move 🙂

  • Kulsum
    Posted at 19:59h, 04 September Reply

    Hi Amy. Your post is really great – definitely put my mind at rest about a few things! My boyfriend and I will be travelling to Vietnam to start teaching English next month. At the moment we don’t have jobs yet but are keeping an eye on what’s available as we finish our TEFL course. I was particularly interested in your post as you and Andrew managed to get a job together. How easy is it for couples to both get jobs in the same city? Would you recommend letting the school know that your partner will also be teaching English when you apply for a job? It is a few years on since you were in Vietnam but any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks 🙂

    • Amy
      Posted at 17:23h, 05 September Reply

      Hi Kulsum, thanks for reading and commenting. We found it easy to get a job together, in fact, our language centre likes to hire couples and friends because it means you have some support and are more likely to settle in well. So, I would definitely let any perspective employers know that you’re applying as a couple. I’d also make sure you take over hard copies of your degree/tefl certificates and get a police check from your home country. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions.

      • Kulsum
        Posted at 21:52h, 10 September Reply

        Hi Amy. Thanks very much for your reply – much appreciated 🙂

        • Amy
          Posted at 08:37h, 11 September Reply

          No worries 🙂

  • Maria Ktoan
    Posted at 18:04h, 19 February Reply

    Hi! I live in the US and hold a Master’s degree in English. I do have teaching experience (taught middle school and high school Spanish though). Would I need to obtain a TEFL certificate?

    • Amy
      Posted at 00:54h, 22 February Reply

      Hi Maria, thanks for your message. It really wouldn’t hurt to get a TEFL, a simple online one should be enough. But I expect with your qualifications and experience you should be OK. Good luck with your job search 🙂

  • Jess
    Posted at 15:29h, 28 April Reply

    Hi Amy,

    Me and my boyfriend Jack are currently in nearly exactly the same position as yourself and Andrew were in before moving to Vietnam. We are in the UK, about to graduate from university, and are both certified TEFL teachers. We’re aiming to move to Vietnam in September to start working, but need to apply for jobs first. When you and Andrew were first applying, did you apply together or separately? We’ve both got our CVs and cover letters but we’re not sure about whether we should apply together or not. We love the idea of working in the same school together as it’s a completely new experience for us, but we’d still be happy to work in separate schools. If you could give us any advice about the application process it would be greatly appreciated.

    Jess ?

    • Amy
      Posted at 18:19h, 30 April Reply

      Hi Jess, thanks for your comment, Andrew has emailed you 🙂

Post A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.