So you are playing around with the idea of teaching English abroad eh? WELL I am 100% telling you, DO IT! It may be the best decision you have ever made, and hey, if its not? I promise you will learn some valuable things about yourself AND the world! It’s a win-win!

So lets just get right into it shall we?

Step 1: Understand The Options

Schools in Vietnam:

In Vietnam you have two main choices when it comes to teaching! You can choose to work in a traditional public school or a private language center. Both of these have pros and cons which we will weigh up in step two, but most importantly you will have to decide what times you would like to work and what fits best with your routines!

Traditional Public/Private School:

  • Hours: 7AM-12PM, 2PM-4:30PM At a traditional school you will be working Monday to Friday, morning until late afternoon, with a long lunch break where you and the students can go home and nap – like in Spain where they have a siesta, in Vietnam they do this too!! After lunch it is encouraged to have an hour nap and this is common practice even in professional jobs!!
  • Pay: Hourly rate of 17 – 25 USD per hour of teaching depending on experience.

Private After School Language Center

  • Hours: 5:30PM-7:30PM Monday – Friday, 7:30AM-7:00PM Weekends **schedules will be made so you would have two days off some time throughout the week – days differ per person**
  • Pay: 1,000 – 2,000 USD a month

Step 2: Weigh the Pro’s and Con’s

Traditional Public School Pros:

  • Familiar routine and weekends off
  • Long lunch break for a meal and nap
  • More relaxed teaching practice curriculum *this depends on the school
  • More likely to not get your pay taxed
  • Get to experience students from all backgrounds and English levels
  • More attached students/better relationships
  • Able to make local friends easier
  • Short classes
  • More involved in local festivities

Traditional Public School Cons:

  • Long working hours
  • Working directly with Vietnamese teachers which leaves more room for miscommunication
  • Larger class sizes
  • Greater variation of students english levels per class
  • Less teaching resources
  • Less room for pay raises
  • Slightly more selective/judgey ie dress code, event participation
  • Less support

Learning Center Pros:

  • Free weekdays
  • Approx. 20 hour teaching weeks
  • Opportunity to get promoted/gain more responsibility
  • Smaller class sizes
  • TONS of resources
  • Professional development through workshops and trainings
  • More organization
  • Option to work full or part time

Learning Center Cons:

  • Non-paid meetings/administrative tasks
  • Less routine
  • Hours can fluctuate depending on enrolled classes
  • Long weekend working hours
  • Non compensated planning time
  • High quality lesson plan expectations

Step 3: Apply and Train For Your CELTA/TESOL/TEFFL

Okay cool beans!

You should now be fairly sure of what type of school you are thinking you want to teach in!! If not – DON’T WORRY! There are ways to do both even!!

Now, you are armed with the knowledge of your options and you are feeling the confidence and excitement grow as you are aware of your options!! (too dramatic?) Anywho – now it’s time to get trained!! Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Did I graduate from a University or College? If so… move on to the next question. If not, this does make things a bit more difficult and you do have less options (but it’s not impossible!) so move on to the next question!
  2. Did I study Education in University or College? If so… you probably have a version of a CELTA or TESOL embedded in your degree therefore you can skip this and move to the next section. If not, that’s okay! You just need a CELTA/TESOL or TEFL.

Now research your options!! You can get trained and armed with a CELTA/TESOL/TEFL online, in a classroom in your hometown or in Vietnam!


If you want to get trained at home this will be less expensive but you may miss out on crucial information specific to teaching in Vietnam!


Ninja Teacher is a great website where you can get trained and placed at a school or language center in Vietnam!


Online Certifications – I linked a good article where you can weigh your options!


Through various language centers you can also get your training! Some popular language centers in Vietnam include:


ILA English

Language Link *option also to work at a school*

Apollo English

APAX English

Step 4: Apply For Jobs or Connect With Agency

Through these center websites you can apply directly!

If you are interested in connecting with an Agency or public school you could check out Dave’s ESL Cafe which has tons and tons of jobs listings all around the world!

Other handy websites include:


Vietnam Teaching Jobs

The New Hanoian

Vietnam Works

Check List:

Before you leave make sure you have these documents ready!

  • An internationally recognized TEFL/CELTA certificate (original document) Need to still take a course? Sign up here for 20% off a training!
  • A health check from a hospital (You can get this done in Vietnam)
  • A University degree (original document)
  • An academic transcript (original document)
  • A police clearance check (original document, not more than 6 months old)

Thinking about teaching in Thailand? Check out my article here about it!

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