Teaching English in Vietnam? Why Not Try Something New?

Many of our full-time workers here at Ardor SEO share the same story. They started out in cubicles, being watched by hawk-like micro-managers. Barely able to cover expenses each month, they lived for Friday night chicken wings at their local sports bar. Today they roam the world as free-wheeling digital nomads.

With teaching jobs in Cambodia, making friends with cows is optional

Ardor CEO Kris Reid chilling in India on a yoga retreat, enjoying the benefits of the remote working lifestyle.

An easy way out of the rat race is to pack a bag and head over to Vietnam.

Experiencing rapid economic growth and development, it’s no surprise that Vietnam is a fast-growing destination for expats, overseas workers, and digital nomads.

And with many well-paid teaching jobs available, teachers flock to this side of the world too.

Hanoi is where most teachers work. Ho Chi Minh City, popularly known as Saigon, is where most of the entrepreneurs and digital nomads are. Expats are everywhere, and a majority of them are between 18 and 35 years old.  

Teaching English in Cambodia exposes you to an entirely different way of life

Life in Phnom Penh is laid back and low-key.

When it comes to the quality of life, Vietnam offers a better one compared to its neighbouring countries.

Cost of living can be anywhere from $700 to $1,400 a month. And the average local salary per month is from $148 to around $500.

Where you choose to live, however, will dictate how economical or expensive your cost of living will be.

Hanoi ($600 – $900), for example, is less expensive than Saigon ($750 – $1,300). Hoi An ($550 – $800), on the other hand, is the most affordable.

What makes Vietnam popular among digital nomads is the high-speed and reliable internet in large cities, including Saigon. It’s even better than what Thailand has to offer.

Teaching in Cambodia without a degree isn’t always the best way to live

English teacher livin' the dream in Cambodia

If you’re looking for ESL teaching jobs in Vietnam, you’re likely to find one. English speaking tutors in this country can be considered heroes as they can help a third of the population who are living in poverty to break free from their dismal fate.  

This is why they are highly in demand.

Plenty of public schools and private English centres are desperately looking for English teachers. But not because you are one doesn’t mean you’ll be accepted right away.

Schools and facilities that are very particular about accents and pronunciation would prefer to hire a native English speaker. But you have an edge if you’re Caucasian or white.

If you’re neither a native English speaker nor white, then you might have challenges up ahead.

However, if your qualification speaks for itself, you’re better off applying in international schools and bigger companies. Most of them would hire you based on your experience than anything else.

To improve your chances to be hired as an English teacher in Vietnam, it’s best to have:

  • A Bachelor’s degree
  • TEFL/TOFEL/CELTA Certificate
  • A valid passport and visa

Full-time teachers work at a minimum of 20 hours a week and up to 40 hours a week. Pay per hour ranges from $15 to $25, with some town and smaller cities paying less. Expect less pay in suburbs too.

Pay for private tutor varies but is less of a hassle than being a full-time employee.

In other words, expatriating to Asia is a great way out of the rat race, but teaching English is a lateral move at best. Use it as a stepping stone.

Alternatives to teaching: Jobs in Vietnam for English Speakers

Vietnam may be one of the countries with the highest demand for ESL teachers but, as previously mentioned, getting a job won’t be easy for everyone aspiring to teach English.

Racism is a major problem in the field of ESL teaching, and people who are not white are offered lower pay than that of Caucasian or white people. If you’re not white-skinned, you’ll be fighting a massive race issue while looking for a job.

Like any other countries, you must have a work permit or business visa to teach in Vietnam. If you try to work on a tourist visa, you’re in for a legal problem when caught. Schools and companies who hire someone under such an arrangement are shady at best. What are the odds of you getting screwed over at some point?

So your backup plan is to teach English? Join the line of people from all over the world looking for English teaching jobs. If you are looking for a job teaching in Cambodia without a degree, you will be battling with Nigerians and Filipinos, who are generally better equipped for low-wage survival in third-world conditions. Teaching jobs without degree education requirements attract people who will work for less than you will; it’s a fact.

In addition, getting an official TEFL Certification in Vietnam could set you back between $1,500 and $1,800. That’s fine if you’re serious about teaching, but less so if you feel that teaching is only a means to an end. While some say you may not even need a TEFL Certification in Vietnam to teach English as a second language, not having one could make you a far less attractive candidate if competing for a spot.

Plus, you won’t be able to teach in better-paying countries without one.

This writer knows many foreigners teaching in Vietnam. Most of them share their woes about the many constraints in their job. Some schools are often in noisy locations, overcrowded beyond capacity, and with poor ventilation. Average schools also lack the materials needed for teaching English, such as a language lab, tape recorders, and electronic equipment.

There’s a huge problem with communication and organisation too. You may be given lesson plans in advance or not at all. And your schedule can change without notice.

Life can be tough when you’re looking for English teaching jobs without degree education

Homeless English teacher living at a Bangkok gas station

If you’d rather go through these challenges, then English teaching is for you!

A smart way to Live And Work Abroad

A group of digital nomads discussing alternative IT jobs in Cambodia for foreigners

Passionate digital nomads brainstorming at a co-working space

If after all this you still think teaching in Vietnam is for you, then more power to you. But there is an alternative.

When it comes to working in Vietnam, jobs for fluent English speakers don’t have to revolve around teaching, scuba instructing or bar work. If you’ve got a knack for content writing, a background in coding, mobile app development, or an appreciation for human resources, you could be a potential candidate to work with us here at Ardor SEO. Led by Kris Reid, AKA ‘the coolest guy in SEO’, we’re a tight-knit team of remote workers who know how to have fun.

So remember that a life abroad can be yours without having to go the route of many of your world traveling friends. There are more ways to be employed and travel the world than to teach English in Vietnam or volunteer with an NGO. Teaching in Vietnam without a degree might be amazing if that suits you, but if you’re looking for something else there’s no need to assume that it’s your only option. You can find something amazing to do here in Vietnam to make money and live the life you want.

Hot creative job openings in Asia

A man browsing English teaching jobs in Cambodia with his tablet

A man enjoying remote working

If you don’t see any specific openings on our jobs page that fit your skill set, below is a list of some of the broad skills agencies are looking for:

Outreach Coordinator

For the outreach portion, you’ll be reaching out to potential partners that will help us move our SEO strategies forward. You will produce email templates and craft custom responses to partners as needed.  The job is 100% remote – you are free to work from anywhere in the world. In addition, if you are the selected candidate, then you will receive a free flight and accommodation to train with our senior team in Vietnam. 

For more information, get in contact with us here.

Project Manager

Are you good at holding the reins, a master of time management, and know when to crack the whip as deadlines creep closer? Are you good at building relationships with your team, and able to keep track of several moving parts at once?

If so, we could use you as a project manager. You’d help with scheduling, time allocation, and steering the ship as things shift and change. If you believe you’d be a good fit, let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

SEO Analyst

Are you a data-driven, analytic mind who knows the internet like the back of your hand? Can you self-motivate, work independently, and solve issues by yourself as they occur without needing to be micromanaged?

If so, we could use you as an SEO Analyst – ideally, you should be based in Asia (Thailand, Vietnam etc). You’d assist our SEO team in looking for ways to improve our clients’ sites, build authority, and even implementing new website designs. Don’t worry if you’re a bit new to it. We’ll teach you what you need to know to get started.

SEO Content Writer

Are you a writer? Do you know your way around quality content? Did you read this article and cringe, immediately spotting several ways you could have written it better? This is a chance of a lifetime for a dynamic writer seeking to build a lucrative career.

You’ll produce SEO content for our clients, provide direction to our in-house writers, and move projects forward. Also, you’ll craft articles, web pages, and anything else that needs to read well and sound good. Build your portfolio and learn how to write for the web at Ardor SEO.

Finding a Place Where You Belong

Many new digital marketing agencies pop up and look for candidates to hire. However, it’s best to choose a business that has been in the field for some time. We at Ardor SEO have been catering to clients since 2010 and we’re always searching for awesome people like you to join our team. So, if you’re searching for employment, don’t teach English in Vietnam and work with us instead! Feel free to drop us a line and we can have a chat about possible roles you could fill.

About the author 

Kris Reid

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