How to secure an ESL job in Vietnam

by Chrissie
(Phnom Penh, Cambodia)

Hi and firstly I really like reading all your info about various experiences..

I am a native English speaker from NZ. I am not sure how up to date the questions and answers and other info is on here?

I am a teacher (60 yrs old) teaching ESL in Cambodia. I teach kindergarten in the morning and ESL to young learners in the afternoon at the same school. I have a BA degree as well as a certified TESOL from Trinity, London.

After reading about your information about opportunities in Vietnam and better rates of pay, I thought of trying teaching there. I have sent quite a few replies to job ads that have been posted on various sites but get very few replies even acknowledgement of application.

I am visiting HCMC next week and wondered if just showing up may be the best thing to do. Or is it my age that may be putting them off.

Any hints advice much appreciated.

Cheers Chrissi


Reply from

The information on this website is up-to-date but some posts are a few years old. If anything, the situation in Vietnam has become more in line with the questions and answers posted. The only difference is that work permits are much more widely used and where 6 months visas were once available, only 3 month visas can be acquired.

Are you working at Home of English? I am currently in Cambodia (April, 15th, 2012) and have a friend heading over to AUSP in Vietnam next month to work. He has found the pay here too low for
him to save money and is leaving for the money alone.

Chrissi, they are not ignoring you because of your age. Vietnamese employers consider an Emailed resume as an insult.

They don't like to talk to machines in Vietnam. You are not a real person until you stand in front of the HR Staff and hand them your resume in person and give them a local phone number. Some schools will hire directly online but they are not the schools you want to work at.

AUSP would be a good school for you if you are interested in adults. IPS would be a good school if you are more interested in young learners. Both pay exceptionally well. $18USD-$22USD an hour is common but some schools will offer as low as $14USD an hour because you will not have a work permit.

Anyways, showing up is the best thing to do. It is the only thing to do. Look and dress as well as possible, take a resume that includes your experience, a photo and contact information. Get in a cab and go into a list of schools.

Hand your resume in personally and ask to see the manager. They won't even acknowledge your existence until they meet you. Only then will they consider you a serious candidate to fill a position at the school.

Good luck. Vietnam is a very different place from Cambodia. Life is hectic and noise pollution drives some people nuts. It is one of the best places to save money but it is also a more difficult and expensive way of life.


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