Hi Phil, my name is Scott and I am currently living and teaching English (privately at home) in HCMC and I've been following your site for a while now and one area that I know exists but has not been addressed by you or any of the folks submitting stories is the area of fake documentation.
The world is rife with such documents these days and I was wondering if you or any of your readers had any stories to share regarding this.
Do the authorities truly check out the authenticity of the documents submitted for the work permits? I am certainly not one of these types but I know some friends of mine back in America that do either make their own or buy imitation degrees on the Internet.
Have you run across this in Vietnam and if so are they still successful in gaining employment or are they booted out of the country once discovered?
Thanks and best regards, Scott======================
Reply from Travel-Budget-Asia.com
Only a matter of time before someone brought up fake degrees.
Yes, they are every where and Yes, I know of teachers that have bought copies of Fake Degrees from both Koh San Road in Bangkok and others who paid more than $500USD for a top 'Degree Mill' Document (Comes with 5 free reference checks!).
Initially, the onus falls upon the school to verify your documents. The truth is that most high-volume private schools are more concerned with how happy you make their students than if your degree is real.
Hence, they never verify your documents. Even if they did, you would have to be a pretty bad teacher for them to fire you over it.
I must have worked with 10-12 different companies in varying capacity. Private business, Universities ... blah, blah. None every checked my Uni Degree. I got my TEFL checked twice but never my Uni Undergrad Degree.
Oh, except for RMIT
. I think they even checked my blood type and confirmed if I had ever wet my bed. What an excellent place to work at, though.
If you are properly educated with experience then RMIT is the cream.
The Universities and top Private Schools will verify your documents before they even call you for an interview. The high volume private schools usually will ask you about it but won't verify or even ask to see your undergraduate degree.
That is where you need to decide whether to come clean or not. I know people that lied on their resumes to get the interview but came clean during the interview. Some schools said sorry but I know of at least 2 that are working for schools that know darn well that their employees don't have a degree. Both have Good TEFL Certificates, though.
If you don't have a degree then consider doing an Internship in Thailand
or at least consider doing a good quality TEFL course
Every little bit will sway employers. Especially if you have had any kind of experience teaching before. If you once dated a Chinese Girl, change the story a little. You once volunteered to acclimatize Chinese immigrants and taught them basic English skills.
For those without an Undergraduate Degree, the TEFL will be your most valuable document by far. Especially if you did a recognized course and doubly so if you got some in-class experience with it.
People without degrees are working everywhere. They don't dare apply for Work Permits, Though. That is the point where the government becomes involved in the verification of your documents.
You don't want that if you are without proper qualifications. Therefore, that is also the time when many teachers move on to new schools or countries.
Schools want to keep teachers that the students like and will do everything they can to protect you even if you have no degree. Just remember that the school may also use that against you if things ever go sour.
Bottom line. If you don't have an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited school then you had better get a TEFL and do your best to be outgoing and entertaining to the students.
There will always be schools looking to hire teachers that conduct classes that students ask about and want to attend.
But teachers with no qualifications at all and no professional pride are on the run in Vietnam.
It's still pretty easy to get a job, though. Especially if you can make the girls swoon and convince the boys that English is fun.