Age Discrimination - English Teachers Vietnam

by Tim Stotts
(Sacramento, CA, )

What is the reality on age discrimination in What is the reality on age discrimination in Vietnam among English teachers?

I'm American, white, blue-eyed and blond. I am fit, trim and a "typical" looking American.

I have a bachelor's degree with many years of professional experience in the health care industry. I will soon have a CELTA certificate and I have experience as an English teacher in Brazil and as a student teacher at California State University.

I am also 55 years old. I would like to make a living as an English teacher in Vietnam, however, I am worried that my age will disqualify me from securing any teaching jobs there.

If I got a job there would I be able to work as an English teacher until I retire at age 66?

I need to know what I'm facing in terms of age discrimination before I continue moving forward with this goal to work in Vietnam.

Thanks for any advice you can give me about this.


Reply from

Hi, Tim. I know another Tim. He is currently teaching English in Vietnam.

He lived from paycheck to paycheck in the US until I met him in the staff room of a private English school in Ho Chi Minh City.

He was 62 when he left the US and landed in Vietnam. That was 7 years ago. He does have more difficulty getting work than the young but he has no qualifications at all. Not even a TEFL.

This leaves him nothing in which to compete with and leaves him exposed. He is thus forced to work in the small private English schools where the electricity keeps cutting out and the air-conditioning with it.

That is not you and I think you are over-reacting about your age.

You are just 55 and have some fantastic qualifications (Hopefully with documentation). You would be about average age amongst most of the university Professors.

My friend is still teaching English in Vietnam and I'll bet he is nearly 70, although he stays very fit, looks good and never smells of booze. It took him a long time to build up a good 30 hours of work a week.

That will be your biggest problem. The older teacher usually gets the least amount of hours. You might need to work at 3 different schools to make about $2,000USD a month.

My friend might be a harder worker than you, is never late and makes his students somewhat enjoy the hour they have with him.

If you can do the same then my answer is yes, there is age discrimination but it can be overcome with time, commitment and hard work.

My advice to you is to hit the top level universities with the knowledge that your age is actually an advantage and your qualifications look good for a school to brag about of their teachers.

Your post to this website shows a guy that seems unsure if he is worth anything.

The Vietnamese will see that as a weakness and offer you less. The truth is that, especially in the Universities, Vietnamese students expect a serious education to come from an older person.

You qualify as a high level university professor. You were a student teacher at California State University!

Start acting like it and you will find a great job.


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Jul 11, 2019
You're as old as you feel
by: Ronny

Interestingly enough I have just had an application to teach in Vietnam turned down because of my age (65) I have a Bachelor's degree in Languages, majoring in Spanish and have had an ESL certificate since 2012. Everything seemed fine but when they scanned my passport I was told that they would be unable to secure a work visa because of my age.

Sep 19, 2011
by: Alan

Hi Philip,

Good to hear your encouraging words to young Tim. I'm not sure of the date posted tho as the current situation (19/9/11) may be different. I'm 66 (nearly 67) but also fit and raring to go. I've an expat Brit with TEFL, Diploma (online tho), MSc and 2 years teaching business English in Madrid. Before that I had 35 years training in industry and teaching in schools and universities in the ME and UK, most IT and business studies.
Any comment on my prospects of finding reasonably paid work teaching adults, preferably in companies? There seem to be conflicting stories about earning up to $2000+ pm (from people who want you to come there?) and others cautioning don't expect much. I don't expect an income like in IT in Saudi, but I do need to work with a new family in Manila. Most other countries, even China, seem to be closing doors to 60+ as they get organized / the recession kicks in I guess.
Vietnam looks interesting and I still like a challenge, if I can get it.
Any thoughts for Vietnam would be much appreciated. I plan to visit in a month.

Aug 05, 2011
Reply - Age Discrimination English Teachers Vietnam
by: Tim Stotts


Thank you for your reply and comments. Your insights and suggestions have helped me a lot and I feel more confident and much less concerned with my age being an issue.

Thanks also for telling me about your English teacher friend, Tim. He is an inspiration.

I plan to keep moving ahead with my goal and be teaching in Vietnam later this year. I'll keep you posted.

Please keep your wonderful blog going! It's been a blessing. Thanks again, Philip!

Tim Stotts


Reply from

I'm glad to be of help.

I want to ask you if you'll consider writing in from time to time about how it goes and the process you encounter.

You are a natural inspiration and it would help many people who may be sitting home now wondering if they are too old to still try this kind of thing in their lives.

I'll always try to give you any help I can.


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