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The Requirements for Teaching English in Vietnam
Learn what qualifications you need to teach English in Vietnam, including education, citizenship, visa, and age requirements.
Written By: Lynda Galea | Updated: November 2, 2021
Written By: Lynda Galea
Updated: November 2, 2021
Vietnam has proven to be a popular market for English teachers seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience due to its low cost of living, delicious cuisine, and natural reserves with over 1,800 miles of coastline, mountain ranges, and pristine forests! If you are considering teaching English in Vietnam, you will need to ensure you meet the following qualifications:
Requirements for Teaching English in Vietnam:
- A TEFL certification;
- A bachelor's degree in any field/major;
- Native-English speakers from the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa are preferred but not required. Non-natives will be expected to be fluent in English and speak at a native level;
- A clean criminal background check;
- A valid passport.
Let's expand on each of these Vietnam ESL teaching requirements and qualifications below:
1. TEFL Certification
A TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) certification is required to teach English in Vietnam. Getting TEFL certified will provide you with the relevant training and qualifications you need to get hired by a reputable school in Vietnam and should leave you feeling confident in your abilities to provide ESL lessons to your students.
Which TEFL course is right for me?
Most job interviews in Vietnam are conducted on the ground, in-person, therefore it is common for students to take our 4-Week In-Person TEFL Courses in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Taking this course means you are already in Vietnam and can begin interviewing during your TEFL training, or immediately at course completion. Another popular option is our 170-Hour Online TEFL Course which you can take online from home. This course is part-time, which means you can still work and save some extra money in anticipation of your departure to Vietnam, whenever that may be.
2. Language Requirements
If you are a qualified non-native English speaker, you can be considered for ESL teaching jobs in Vietnam. You must be fluent in English and speak at a native level. Native-English speakers from the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa are highly preferred.
3. Degree Requirements
A bachelor's degree is required to teach English in Vietnam. Your bachelor's degree does not need to be in education, it can be in any field (i.e.: Marketing, Psychology, Arts, etc). Any four-year diploma or bachelor's degree from an accredited university will satisfy this requirement (or three years if you studied in the UK, Australia, or New Zealand).
4. Required Documents & Visa
TEFL teachers applying for jobs in Vietnam should expect to have the following documents available to process their work visa:
Bachelor’s degree (original copy)
- Passport photos
- A clean criminal background check from your home country (see below)
- An employment contract from your school (employer)
- A letter from your school (employer)
- A local police check (this is completed by your employer once you have secured employment in Vietnam)
- A health check (again, this is completed once you have secured employment in Vietnam and your employer will set this up for you. Requires two passport-sized photos)
Visa Requirements for Teaching English in Vietnam
You are able to enter Vietnam on a tourist visa which is typically valid between 15-30 days (but if needed, this can be extended upon arrival in Vietnam). Once you have secured a teaching job in Vietnam and signed a contract with a school, your employer will help you convert your tourist visa into a work visa/permit - this is needed to legally teach English there. You will need to leave Vietnam to pick up your visa in a neighboring country such as Cambodia. If you are able to secure a job in advance of being in Vietnam, you can also process your visa in your home country. The visa duration is one year (from the signing of your teaching contract).
Criminal Background Check
A clean criminal background check must be provided to obtain your Vietnamese work visa.
5. Age Requirements
In some countries, a teacher's age can be a factor in the hiring process. In certain teaching markets, especially in Asia where it is common to teach English to young learners, schools will typically look for younger teachers (21-35), and abide by certain age restrictions for hiring and qualifying for work visa sponsorship.
Vietnam is one of many countries in Asia that maintains an official retirement age of 55 for females and 60 for males. Because of this, schools will look to avoid sponsoring work visas for teachers nearing or at this age range due to retirement rules.
Additional Reading: Will I Face Age Restrictions Teaching English Abroad in Asia?
6. Prior Teaching Experience
While prior teaching experience can help you stand out on your resume, you do not need it to teach English in Vietnam. Your TEFL certification training will provide you with the relevant qualifications you need to get hired by a school in Vietnam.
Any reputable TEFL certification course should include a mandatory practicum component to help gain firsthand experience practice teaching with real non-native English speakers. This will prepare you for the classroom and leave you feeling confident in your ability to deliver well-structured ESL lessons to your students. This practice teaching can count as teaching experience and should be highlighted on your resume.
7. Physical Requirements
Once you have secured employment in Vietnam, your employer will set up a health check for you to ensure you are in good health. This is typically an up-front payment of $25 that your employer should reimburse you for and will require two passport-sized photos.
An accomplished traveler (she's visited 40 countries!), Lynda hails from Melbourne, Australia. Since she joined ITA in 2017, Lynda has become a primary expert on the field of teaching English online. Not only has she published numerous articles on the topic herself, but she has worked with International TEFL Academy alumni around the world to produce an entire library of information and content about teaching English online. Lynda also serves as a primary organizer of ITA's ground-breaking Teach Abroad Film Festival.
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