Ready to Make Vietnam Home

by Paul
(Saint Louis)

Hi Phillip,

Made my first trip to Vietnam, HCMC, March 2012. I have not stopped thinking about how to get back. I get why Anthony Bourdain feels the way he does about the people, food and culture.

A little background. My school in the US and has a large Vietnamese population. When I traveled to Vietnam I was able to stay with relatives of my students. The people I met were amazing and some of the most gracious and friendly as well.

Anyway, I have spent 17 years in education, 4 as a classroom teacher and 13 as a building principal. I have teaching certification, Master's in administration and doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. I am 41 and ready for something new, different ... a change.

HCMC is where I want make to home base. I see myself still remaining connected to investment opportunities in the States 2 to 4 months of the year. The other time teaching English or putting my experience to work in Vietnam.

Here are my questions:

1) Do I have a skill-set / qualifications that would be in demand at the top universities like RMIT?

2) Or, should I focus on the better private schools?

3) What would be the anticipated monthly income for RMIT and/or private schools for someone with my experience?

4) Finally, I know you don't like to give out personal opinions. However, knowing what little you know about my background what advice /suggestions would you give for money-making opportunities?

Thanks and best wishes.



Reply from

Hey, Paul.

Top Universities in Ho Chi Minh City usually require a minimum of a Bachelor's degree, 2 years experience, and a 'Best of' TEFL Qualification (CELTA, etc.)

To qualify for an English teaching opportunity at RMIT you'll need the same. But the 'cream of the crop' jobs are not the
English Teaching positions. The Schools pay well and they take good care of their teachers but...

Teachers in the General English program at RMIT are considered part-time employees. They are paid by the hour and never see more than 4 hours of teaching time a day. Despite that your average monthly income would amount to about $2,000USD a Month. That is a respectable amount when compared to any of the Private Sector Schools.

But not all of them. Salaried teachers at RMIT (And other International Schools) that teach the courses in Commerce (both Diploma and Bachelor programs), Technology (Information Technology and Multimedia Design), Accountancy, Business Information Systems, Professional Communication, Marketing and Economics, and Finance are at the top of the teacher 'food chain' in Vietnam.

They get benefits that exceed any offered to other instructors in Vietnam. It is a tough nut to crack because competition is fierce and you'll need a Master's degree to just qualify as a teacher in any of the above programs at RMIT.

$3,500USD - $4,000USD a month are common amongst these teachers as of June, 2012. Wages at top Private Schools (Which you would qualify for) start at $17USD an hour and reach as high as $24USD and hour.

This is highly subjective, though. I have seen people who qualify for $22USD accept offers of $14USD an hour because they did not look around and did not negotiate. Employers will offer you the lowest, most ridiculous number to start the negotiations. If you don't negotiate then they'll take advantage of you.

My opinion is that you are well qualified. As long as you are presentable then work will be easy for you to find. I personally think you should look into employment opportunities with AmCham member companies in Ho Chi Minh City. AmCham is the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam.

Hope that helps.


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