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Too young to teach ESL in Vietnam – 20 years old, no degree, TEFL online

This question comes from one of my YouTube viewers and I believe it might be interesting for many other viewers as well.

The question says:

“Hi, I’ve watched some of your videos on teaching English in Vietnam and would like to do just that. I don’t have a degree but I was going to get a TEFL certificate online before heading there to look for a job (on a tourist visa). My main concern is I am only 20 years old and do not have any experience, but I am very willing to work hard and believe I would enjoy teaching and become good at it eventually. Do you think I have a good chance of finding a job or am I too young? I would just have turned 21 around the time I would enter Vietnam. Are there any cities I would have better luck in finding work?”

Too young to teach ESL in Vietnam – 20 years old, no degree, TEFL online

So, this person is just 20 years old and he (or she) is wondering if he can find an English teaching job in Vietnam.

I met countless number of young people (18 to 22 years old) teaching English in Vietnam. One of my classmates who did CELTA with me in 2009 was just 19 and after we finished CELTA he found a job in a grammar school (I didn’t even know that there are schools that teach only English grammar).

Not long time ago I met an 18 year old boy from Denmark who worked as an English teacher and students loved him. I think, young ESL teachers can find an ESL teaching job and probably students like to study with them better than with an older teacher since most of the students are maximum 25 years old. Probably they feel more comfortable learning the language with someone who is at a similar age.

So, I wouldn’t be worry about the age. I would be worry about the CELTA/TEFL certificate. You mentioned that you are about to get one online but I strongly advise you to get one onsite. Yes, they are more expensive but since you don’t have any teaching experience, an onsite teaching certificate will help you a lot. There is a lot of teaching practice involved there and you get the feedback from your tutor and from the others who study CELTA/TEFL with you.

Applying for a job without a university degree and just an online TEFL doesn’t really look good. It doesn’t mean you can’t get a job. If you are American, handsome (or beautiful if you are a girl), with big straight nose, and blue eyes then the university degree and the teaching certificate won’t matter so much. However, I do recommend you to get a teaching certificate onsite, not online.

Since Saigon is the biggest city of Vietnam, I believe it offers you more teaching possibilities. Recently, I heard that there are more schools and language centers in Hanoi than in Saigon. I am not sure how true this information is but you might want to consider Hanoi too. It is the capital!


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