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Indian looking for an ESL/EFL teaching job in Vietnam

If you are an Indian and looking for a teaching ESL job in Vietnam then you might have the same questions as this YouTube viewer of ESL Saigon Channel. If that is the case then probably you will find this very useful.

The message is a very long one so here you have just the six questions with my answers.

Question no 1 - As I learnt from your YouTube channel and other sources over the net, the Vietnamese prefer Americans as their teachers of English. In case, a non-native speaker (having received a TESOL certification) applies for a job here, what are the chances that his/her application would be accepted and he/she would find a suitable job?

Short answer: You have chances if you know how to find a teaching job!

To be honest with you, I have seen many Indian teachers in Vietnam. Not everybody wants to study with Indians but there are many job opportunities for Indians here. Besides several English teachers in language centers, I met Indian tutors, and many Math teachers.

When we talk about non-native speakers, I think it is important to specify if they are Caucasians or not. Non-native speakers who are Caucasians have a huge advantage over non-Caucasians due to their appearance.

Regarding to "chances to find a job" I will give you an example. Three weeks ago a Romanian friend of mine just finished CELTA at Apollo Vietnam. Since then I have been helping him to find a job and now he has two teaching jobs. Two of his friends, from Ireland, are still looking for a job. They couldn`t find any job and now they think to leave Vietnam. I made at least one video about how to find a teaching job in Vietnam and everybody who is interested in this topic should check it out.

My advice: You have excellent educational background therefore you should apply for big, established, famous schools because usually they don`t really care about your skin color as long as you are suitable for the job and for their needs.

Question no 2 - Does one get a permanent job as an English teacher, or is one employed on a contractual basis? If on contractual basis, how does one extend one`s contract? What are the chances for a non-native speaker of English to get a permanent job as an English teacher in Vietnam?

English teachers in Vietnam sign contracts, usually one year long contract, contracts that are not registered with Vietnamese authorities. Many English teachers have a tourist visa and work illegally in Vietnam. Tourist visas are easily expandable and this is how it is.

My advice: Come here on tourist visa, try to find a job, see how things go, and then decide if you want and can apply for another kind of visa. Big schools usually take care of these formalities.

Question no 3 - How does a non-native speaker of English teaching English in Vietnam get a Work Permit? In case it becomes mandatory for the English teachers to have a Work Permit, wouldn`t the teachers with a tourist visa be deported? How secured is an English teaching job in Vietnam, for teachers with a tourist visa?

Again, I have an entire video and many written posts regarding to this topic. At this moment, ESL teachers are not deported. 99% of the ESL teachers in Vietnam don`t have a work permit. If you want one then I think the school that hires you should apply for one.

When working permits will be mandatory, probably tourist visa won`t be extendable. Actually, working permits are mandatory and nobody is allowed to work on tourist visa; at least this is what the law says (there are a few exceptions).

My advice: Start working on tourist visa then try to get a working permit. Probably it is not very difficult as long as you have a job and you are here in Vietnam.

Question no 4 - How well are the non-native English speakers teaching in Vietnam paid? Is there a significant difference between the remuneration of a non-native speaker of English and that of a native speaker?

There is a difference but it depends on many other factors such as: the school (a school I currently work for pays the same salary for its Filipino teachers, Romanians, and native speakers of English), your education, your experience etc. As a general rule, if a native speaker of English gets $17 for example, a Caucasian non-native speaker of English will get $15, and an Indian will get $12-$13. But, again, this is a prediction. I never asked an Indian how much money he/she earns.

My advice: Don`t care so much about the salary, you will always find better opportunities. You need time and relations to find good well paid jobs.

Question no 5 - Besides the "accent issue", which, as I learnt, the schools of Vietnam often consider a major problem with non-native speakers, are there any other issues non-native speakers of English face while teaching in Vietnam?

As I have already said, English language is associated with Western world, and with Caucasian people. That`s why everybody wants to have a Caucasian teacher preferably American, Canadian, British, or Australian. Accent, skin color, and passport are all an issue. But, a fairly good accent with strong education can overcome the other two issues.

Question no 6 - Which certification among TEFL, TESOL and CELTA is considered the best, for working as an English teacher in Vietnam?

CELTA is considered to be the best since it is associated with Cambridge University. I do recommend CELTA but the other certificates will be good too. There is a video on this topic on my YouTube channel and of course a blog post on this website. Check them out!

My advice: Get CELTA if you can! If not, TESOL or TEFL will do just fine!

If anyone else has questions regarding to teaching ESL in Vietnam then feel free to send me an email and I will answer them as soon as I can.


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