We help ‘adventure seekers’ secure brilliant teaching jobs in Vietnam & Cambodia
Teaching jobs in Vietnam – and Cambodia provide stable employment, decent pay and an excellent lifestyle. As quality TESOL certification is the key, you’ve come to the right place. The TESOL programme at each of AVSE’s three ‘bricks and mortar’ locations – Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh – and Online, comes with ‘hands-on’ job help immediately after you’ve completed the course related requirements.
Job opportunities teaching English in Vietnam or Cambodia outstrip the number of suitably qualified people many times over. There is every reason to believe that you’ll be in a paid job within days of completing the TESOL course with us. It’s possible to make a western level salary by teaching English in Vietnam or Cambodia where the cost of living is substantially less than in western countries. Certainly, that’s our experience over the past 10+ years.
Putting money to one side, teaching English in Vietnam, Cambodia or another exotic location abroad offers an ‘expat lifestyle’ that most people can only dream about. Moreover, for folks with a kind heart or a fully-fledged egalitarian streak, teaching abroad constitutes tangible action directed at improving the lives of others and making our world a better place.
- Every application for the TESOL programme at AVSE-TESOL is thoroughly vetted;
- We offer a quality product that comes with ‘top shelf’ accreditation and genuine international recognition;
- We have an established network of partner schools and language centres built up over many years working in the TESOL sector;
- Trainees are made aware before they join our programme that they have obligations that must be fulfilled – successfully completing the necessary assessment tasks and conducting themselves in a professional manner are just two of these obligations;
- AVSE-TESOL has specialist staff based at each of our training locations who work with our TESOL graduates, side-by-side, to land that all-important first teaching job;
- All TESOL trainers and tutors at AVSE-TESOL are qualified, professional educators, who hold specialist Vocational Training qualifications mandated by the Australian Government. It is not enough to be a qualified teacher, to work as a teacher-trainer; and
- Every TESOL trainer employed by AVSE-TESOL has worked as an ESL teacher in both Vietnam and Cambodia at one time or another during their career. They’ve been ‘on the other side of the desk’ and are therefore well-placed to guide people who are new to the profession.
In the first paragraph on this page, I mentioned ‘hands-on’ job support. What does ‘hands-on’ job support at AVSE-TESOL look like? Among other things, the team at AVSE-TESOL will move mountains to ensure that you: 1. know a thing or two about teaching and learning, allowing you to ‘talk the talk and walk the walk’ when engaging with potential employers; 2. possess a sharp, professional Curriculum Vitae that’s responsive to market conditions, for teaching jobs in Vietnam, Cambodia or elsewhere; 3. are introduced to reputable schools and language centres in our existing network that have teaching jobs available; and 4. feel fully supported throughout the transition to employment phase, post TESOL course. We have made a concerted and genuine effort in our publicly displayed Service Agreement to spell-out in plain-English what ‘hands-on’ job help means, to avoid misunderstandings.
With Australian Government accredited TESOL certification from AVSE-TESOL, that long-held dream to teach overseas and lead an expat lifestyle will be a reality. Typically, teaching jobs in Vietnam and Cambodia allow our TESOL graduates to take home (net) somewhere between US $1,000.00 and US $2,000.00 per month, depending on where the teacher works, how many hours they work and the availability of non-income benefits such as accommodation, transport and free utilities. Most employers quote and pay a net salary and then deal with the local Taxation Department on the teacher’s behalf. With the cost of living in Vietnam and Cambodia being a fraction of what it is in most developed countries, English language teachers in Southeast Asia can realistically expect to save at least half of their income without cutting corners.
At the end of the day, ‘the proof is in the pudding’. AVSE-TESOL can point to more than 7,000 people who have successfully completed our Aussie Government accredited TESOL training course and landed brilliant ESL teaching positions around the world. The vast majority of these folks secured their first teaching job with support from AVSE-TESOL and they’re pleased to share their personal experiences in the event you’d like to know more.
Where are the best teaching jobs in Vietnam for a foreigner?
From major cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to regional locations like Danang and Can Tho and quieter rural areas – there are plenty of English teaching jobs in Vietnam for foreigners who want to earn some money while taking in everything this wonderful country has to offer. With a population of over 90 million people living on a relatively small tract of land that’s diverse as the people themselves, there are brilliant ESL teaching jobs available the length and breadth of Vietnam. Let’s take a look at the various options from a geographical standpoint.
Approaching 40% of the total population of Vietnam live in the country’s two major cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City – and the surrounding urban provinces. Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn, that this is where most of the ESL teaching jobs in Vietnam are located.
Teaching in one of the major cities in Vietnam or in a province close to a major city has advantages and disadvantages. Positive aspects include easy access to healthcare, public transport, nightlife, accommodation options to suit all budgets and a variety of teaching jobs that are available. The disadvantages of teaching in one of Vietnam’s major cities or in a nearby province include a higher cost of living, the frenetic pace of life, air pollution, safety concerns, smaller living space, seemingly wall-to-wall motorbikes – and noise.
Almost certainly, you will enter Vietnam for the first time via an international airport in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. I’ve got it pegged you’ll quickly know after you arrive in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City if you could see yourself living and working there.
Are the best teaching jobs in Vietnam for foreigners in regional cities? Let’s drill down on this question.
Surprisingly, ESL teachers often overlook job opportunities in Vietnam’s regional cities. This is a shame considering many locations that fit this category boast a sizable population and consequently offer many of the positive aspects of teaching in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City – without most of the disadvantages.
Danang, for example, is an exquisite, vibrant city which comes with lush mountains, a jaw-dropping coastline, history and easy access to the world-famous cities of Hoi An and Hue. If teaching English in a tropical paradise with a wonderful beach appeals to you, there’s an excellent chance you’ll love Danang. Nha Trang is also a fabulous beach location that’s well worth exploring.
Can Tho and Vung Tau are other regional cities with much to offer ESL teachers. Both have a decent size population and, like Danang, offer most of the upside that comes with teaching in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City without most, if not all, of the downside. If a quintessential country lifestyle is something that you enjoy, Can Tho will be a great place to work as an ESL teacher. Vung Tau is worth checking out if you’re a beach person who enjoys nightlife.
There are plenty of ‘long-hauler’ expats who will argue the best teaching jobs in Vietnam are located in the rural towns and villages dotted across the country. There’s a lot to be said for immersing yourself in the local culture, stepping outside your comfort zone, making a positive difference in the lives of some of the poorest people in Vietnam, and, who knows, perhaps even learning the local language. Teachers in general and foreign teachers in particular are highly respected in Vietnam, especially in rural areas. For once in your life, you’ll be a ‘god-like’ figure. It will do marvels for your self-esteem – and you’ll have a much better understanding of frustrations experienced by Hollywood movie stars and the British Royal Family.
From my experience, those expats who’d argue that the best teaching jobs in Vietnam are found in the country’s rural areas, would also point out that a rural placement isn’t for the faint-hearted. First, there’s the language barrier. Almost certainly, you’ll be the only foreigner in the town. Accessing the internet will be problematic. The electricity supply will be ‘hit and miss’, which means you may not have ongoing access to air conditioning or a fan in the sweltering heat. Dealing with the social isolation and the demands on your time that come with ‘movie star’ status should also be factored into your decision-making process. Some folks will thrive in this environment, but others will find it tough.
So, let’s ‘cut to the chase’! Where are the best teaching jobs in Vietnam for a foreigner? The answer is straightforward. They’re where you’ll feel most comfortable. If you’re a person who loves big cities, you can find a great teaching job in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. If big cities aren’t your thing, the best teaching jobs for you may be in a regional location like Danang, Can Tho or Vung Tau. If you’re adaptable and up for a real challenge, teaching English in a rural area in Vietnam may be a good choice.
Importantly, your first teaching job in Vietnam doesn’t have to be your last. If your first job doesn’t work out, move to a new one. Whatever your preference – big city, regional city, rural – the volume of teaching jobs for foreigners in Vietnam dictates that you’ll be spoilt for choice.
About the writer: Peter Goudge is the Managing Direct (and founder) of AVSE-TESOL in Vietnam and Cambodia. Peter has lived and worked in Southeast Asia for approaching two decades. If you’d like a great job working as an ESL teacher in Vietnam or Cambodia, but you’re not sure how to get a start, feel free to reach out to Peter directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
How to find ESL teaching jobs in Vietnam
Vietnam is an exciting and vibrant country, both culturally and environmentally. The people are warm, friendly, and eager to learn English. It’s an ideal destination for anyone wanting to experience the expat lifestyle and work as an ESL teacher overseas. But, how do you find good ESL teaching jobs in Vietnam?
The good news is that Vietnamese are very keen on education because it can help create a better future. They’re equally as keen to learn English skills. That means there is always ESL teaching jobs available in Vietnam. However, they don’t take ‘just anyone.’ Vietnamese schools, and indeed Vietnamese employers generally, have specific ways of doing things. There are customs and procedures they like to observe. This can have a significant impact on how you go about applying for a job there.
With that in mind, what is the most effective way to find, apply for, and land, good ESL teaching jobs in Vietnam? There are a few ways to leap frog ahead of your competition. Let’s drill down on this point.
Be in Vietnam
Vietnamese schools generally prefer to hire ESL teachers who are already in Vietnam. This is likely because Vietnamese companies and businesses, including schools, feel more comfortable doing business with people they’ve had a chance to meet face-to-face. It is an integral part of their business culture, and often extends to the hiring process as well.
If you’re already in Vietnam, you can be personally introduced or referred to schools (by a trusted company like AVSE-TESOL in the case of ESL teachers). They can also meet you in person before they hire you. This gives you a huge advantage over people applying from overseas.
Referral or third-party introduction
Following on from this, Vietnamese businesses do tend to place a great deal of emphasis on trusted referrals and third-party introductions when employing people. If you are applying for ESL teaching jobs in Vietnam from abroad, you’ll increase your chances of success if you can meet this criterion. Keep in mind that Vietnamese employers have a distinct preference for face-to-face interviews.
If you have a degree, a clear background check and government-regulated TESOL, TEFL or CELTA, there are specialist entities in Vietnam that place qualified ESL teachers in decent jobs. You’ll see advertisements offering a helping-hand (fee for service) from these entities in Facebook Groups related to ‘teaching in Vietnam’. AVSE-TESOL’s Teaching Jobs Abroad Programme is well-worth checking out if you’re keen on the idea of having someone do the ‘leg work’ for you with job placement – without the usual headaches.
Using social media sites like Facebook Groups, LinkedIn, online forums, and ESL websites (for example, Dave’s ESL Café), is another option. However, if you can network and get the ‘patronage’ of someone known to your prospective employer, it will improve your chances.
Word of mouth
Let people you know, who may know people involved in hiring ESL teachers in Vietnam, that you’re looking for a job there so they can put your name forward (introduce you).
Vietnam is a beautiful country so dropping your CV off at English language centres around the country offers the best of both worlds. You get to see more of Vietnam whilst introducing yourself in person to these centres. It’s that ‘personal’ touch Vietnamese employers appreciate.
Putting job search help, introductions, third-party recommendations aside, you must also tick several prerequisite boxes before you’ll be considered for any ESL teaching jobs in Vietnam. These are:
- university or college degree and government-regulated TESOL, TEFL or CELTA certification
- a ‘clean’ background check
- minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) if you are NOT a native English speaker
You will also need:
1. a professional CV:
The importance of a professional Curriculum Vitae (CV) can’t be overstated. It’s not just important for finding teaching jobs in Vietnam, but for finding jobs, anywhere. Your CV should:
- Include your personal details – full name, contact details like an email address, mobile phone number, home address, date of birth, and nationality. It’s also a good idea to include a recent photo of yourself in your CV.
- Provide a professional summary – this is where you introduce yourself and your credentials relevant to the job in question. In this case, it is teaching ESL. List your applicable qualifications, skills, and experience. If you’re a new graduate, list experiences that you think will help, like coaching or tutoring. Failing that, try to convey your passion and enthusiasm for teaching ESL. Keep this section short and sweet.
- List your education and qualifications – include any education / teaching related qualifications you have, including your TESOL, TEFL, or CELTA certification.
- List your teaching experience – include job titles, length of time in each position, responsibilities, achievements, level or ages taught, methodologies used, and specialisations gained. If you’ve taught in Vietnam before, don’t forget to mention it because this indicates you’re already familiar with the culture and teaching environment.
- List your language skills – highlight your language skills both in English (if you’re a native speaker, indicate this) and any other languages you may speak.
- List your general skills and relevant interests – list skills like computer literacy, software use, classroom management skills, curriculum development experience, and so on. Also include transferable skills (interests and hobbies) that help round out what you can offer as an ESL teacher.
- Provide references – include a minimum of 2 professional references: name, position, company, and email address.
2. to look the part:
Your appearance speaks volumes at a job interview. Dress professionally. Make the most of what you have. Be mindful of personal hygiene. Vietnamese employers place a lot of emphasis on dress code and appearance.
3. cultural sympathy:
Cultural sympathy or empathy is about respecting and having an appreciation for other cultures, including observing important values, social mores, perspectives, and customs. Tattoos are a case in point. They are becoming more accepted in Vietnam now, but this wasn’t always the case. For a long time, they were associated with the ‘criminal element’ and that view still persists. Tattoos also offend the ‘no self-harm’ principles of Confucianism, which is strong in Vietnamese culture. The general advice therefore is that if you have tattoos, it is wise, and respectful, to cover them up in public.
Vietnamese people also value modesty, humility, and restraint. That means they don’t typically like public displays of affection, being offended, confrontational or aggressive behaviour, excessive skin exposure, boasting, or wealth flaunting. They’re also hardworking people who place strong emphasis on family values, education, and perseverance. They respect experience and wisdom, and don’t like to lose face. So, dress conservatively, cover up, show restraint, don’t swear around them, and don’t discuss improper topics.
Ready to find your ‘dream’ teaching job in Vietnam? It’s a beautiful place to live and work as an ESL teacher. However, like most countries in the region, there are customs and social niceties to observe. Get your TESOL qualification – AVSE-TESOL is way ahead of the competition – revamp that CV, learn as much as you can about Vietnamese culture and traditions so you don’t inadvertently offend, and go get it!
About the writer: Hilliary Edge completed the Australian Government TESOL course at AVSE-TESOL in Hanoi, Vietnam. After teaching in the north of Vietnam for just under two years, Hilliary headed off teach English in Costa Rica. Thanks Hilliary from everyone at AVSE-TESOL in Vietnam for this Guest Post.
Start point for teaching jobs in Vietnam – and Cambodia
Let’s say that you’ve decided the 4-week, ‘in-class’ TESOL course at AVSE-TESOL is the best start point for teaching jobs in Vietnam – and Cambodia. Making new friends, socialising, and the idea of an extended period in an exotic location like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Phnom Penh is far more appealing than doing an online TESOL course. It’s commendable that you’ve got this far with your decision-making. Next, you’ll need to nail down which of AVSE-TESOL’s three premier locations is right for you.
Will the climate in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Phnom Penh influence your decision? Are teaching jobs in Vietnam more plentiful compared to Cambodia? Is the TESOL course with AVSE-TESOL the same at each location? The decision is yours, but a helping hand is a good thing, and that’s what we’ll offer in this post.
Here are some key metrics that might help with your decision-making process.
|Metric||Hanoi||Ho Chi Minh City||Phnom Penh|
|Size||3,329 km²||2,061 km²||679 km²|
|Population||8 million||9 million||1.5 million|
|Seasons||4 seasons||2 seasons, wet + dry||2 seasons, wet + dry|
|Weather (via link)||https://en.climate-data.org/asia/vietnam/hanoi/hanoi-1193/||https://en.climate-data.org/asia/vietnam/ho-chi-minh-city/ho-chi-minh-city-4235/||https://en.climate-data.org/asia/cambodia/phnom-penh/phnom-penh-4857/|
|Apartment per month with easy commute x 1 bedroom||US $350.00||US $400.00||US $380.00|
|Single person's average monthly costs (excluding rent)||US $450.00||US $420.00||US $470.00|
|Average foreign teacher salaries per month||US $1400.00 (+/-)||US $1400.00 (+/-)||US $1350.00 (+/-)|
|Savings capacity (after all expenses)||50% (+/-)||50% (+/-)||50% (+/-)|
‘Take away’ from the Key Metrics table
– The population of Phnom Penh is substantially lower than both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
– Buddhism is the predominant religion in all three cities.
– While Hanoi has the traditional four seasons, Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh have two – the wet season and the dry season.
– Overall living costs are similar in each of the three cities.
– Teaching jobs in Vietnam attract a slightly higher salary compared to Cambodia.
Did reviewing the key metrics lead you to decide which city, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Phnom Penh, is the best place to start your teaching journey? Yes? No? Let’s take this opportunity to look at some other factors.
Each location is unique
Here’s some great news! AVSE-TESOL’s in-class TESOL programme – Australian Government accredited teaching qualification, complimentary accommodation, and ‘hands-on’ job help – is precisely the same in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh. On reflection, perhaps the ‘same, same’ is not great news after all – it won’t help with your decision making. ‘Same, same’ doesn’t invite drawing a line through a city on the basis that you’ll get a better deal elsewhere. While AVSE’s TESOL programme is a ‘mirror image’ in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh and will equally set you up for teaching jobs in Vietnam or Cambodia, the three cities are unique. Here’s a snapshot of each city.
Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam and the seat of government, is best known for history, culture, and the arts. It’s vibrant, alive, and dazzling to the eyes, especially at night. Hanoi is a great city to walk around, with lakes and parks in abundance.
There’s something new to see around pretty much every corner in Hanoi; old buildings from the French colonial era next to modern skyscrapers, people selling all kinds of wares on the sidewalk, street art, open-air dancing, the list goes on. It’s fair to say that many TESOL students over the past decade have fallen in love with Hanoi. It’s the kind of place where people go – and stay.
Here are three quirky facts about Hanoi to share with your friends:
- The designer of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Statue of Liberty in New York, Alexandre Eiffel, also designed the Long Bien Bridgein Hanoi.
- ‘Ha’ and ‘noi’ (Hanoi) translate to ‘inside rivers’ in English. What’s the link? Hanoi is situated between the Nhue River and the Red River.
- The world’s longest Mosaic Mural (according to the Guinness Book of Records) is in Hanoi (see below).
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City is ‘ground zero’ for teaching jobs in Vietnam. For the past two decades, Ho Chi Minh City has been a magnet for foreigners looking to live the dream of an expat lifestyle by teaching English in Southeast Asia. Ho Chi Minh City is also a magnet for Vietnamese people from rural and regional areas the length and breadth of the country, with employment and access to services being key ‘pull’ factors.
The population of Ho Chi Minh City in 2022 was recorded at 9.3 million. Any wonder I occasionally feel hemmed in! ‘Organised mayhem’ is how a recent graduate of the TESOL programme at AVSE-TESOL described everyday life in Ho Chi Minh City. The description has merit. It’s true that traffic and noise are palpable, but the place has many endearing features. There are more quaint coffee shops than any other city in the world, or at least it seems that way. If you like to meander around markets, Ho Chi Minh City will be your version of ‘heaven on earth’. The key to loving Ho Chi Minh City, in my opinion, is taking whatever time is necessary to adapt. It’s also important to remember that you’re a visitor.
Here are three quirky facts about Ho Chi Minh City to share with your friends:
- In 2020, it was (conservatively) estimated that there were 8+ million motorbikesin Ho Chi Minh City.
- What we know today as ‘Ho Chi Minh City’ was originally named ‘Gia Dinh’. It was renamed ‘Saigon’ during the French colonial period.
- Ho Chi Minh City consists of 24 ‘Districts’. Go Vap District, where AVSE-TESOL is located, has the second highest population.
Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia, is on the march with a level of growth envied by most developed countries. Once a dangerous, Southeast Asian backwater, Phnom Penh (and greater Cambodia) has morphed into a robust, commercial hub. AVSE-TESOL has been on the ground in Phnom Penh for more than a decade. As a result, we’ve witnessed the ‘lion’s share’ of the transformation first-hand.
In many ways, Cambodia is the last frontier for teaching English in Asia, there are fewer foreigners, and terrific opportunities for TESOL qualified teachers. True, Phnom Penh is not for everyone, but if you’re keen to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people who have done it tough for eternity, there is no better place to work as an ESL teacher.
Here are three quirky facts about Phnom Penh to share with your friends:
- The name ‘Phnom Penh’ derives from the 14th century Wat Phnom Temple, located on Street 94 in Phnom Penh (see below).
- The World Health Organisation recently reported that the life expectancy of a Cambodian male is 67.3 years, and a female is 71.2 years.
- The Cambodian flagis the only one in the world that contains an image of a building.
Same quality experience
Regardless of where you choose to complete the in-class TESOL training programme at AVSE-TESOL, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Phnom Penh – your start point for teaching jobs in Vietnam and Cambodia – you will receive the same high-quality, educational, immersive experience, inclusions, and optional extras. Importantly, you will also receive the same warm welcome from AVSE-TESOL staff on the ground and local people. You’ll be in a strong position for the best teaching jobs on offer, wherever you choose to call home because you’ve invested in quality, Australian Government accredited TESOL training.
Last, if you’re unable to travel to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Phnom Penh to complete the 4-week in-class TESOL course at AVSE-TESOL, our online TESOL programme will prepare you equally well for teaching jobs in Vietnam or Cambodia.
About the writer: Peter Goudge is the Managing Director and founder of AVSE-TESOL in Australia, Vietnam and Cambodia. From a humble beginning, AVSE-TESOL now has teacher training schools in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh. There are plans afoot for further expansion in the year ahead. Feel free to reach out to Peter directly via the following email address with any questions you may have about teaching jobs in Vietnam or Cambodia: email@example.com