Saturday, January 29, 2011

Teaching English in Hanoi

I have been teaching English in Hanoi for about a year and a half. My background is in finance. I came to Hanoi with no teaching experience. I took a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) course in Sydney before coming to Hanoi. There are many options for teaching English here, such as language schools, universities, public schools and kindergartens as well as tutoring.

Most people I know work in language schools which are popping up everywhere around town. They usually have some tutoring on the side. Learning English is very popular here and with money continuing to flow into the country and the population having more disposable income; parents are opting to send their kids to English lessons. With higher incomes and a high young population (I heard somewhere that 65% of the population are under 30) it makes for an attractive teaching environment.

The majority of classes are with kids or teenagers however there are adult classes as well. The levels range from beginners to advanced students planning to study abroad.

I have worked for a number of language schools in Hanoi. The choice you need to make is whether to go with a bigger, more reputable school or a smaller Mum and Dad type of set up. The bigger schools such as Language Link and Apollo will give you a contract, paying for things like insurance and holidays. They have a good selection of resources and are much better for social interactions. At Language Link there is a teachers room where teachers can prepare their lessons and chat with each other. They will pay you around the $18 per hour mark. They are generally the lower end of the pay scale in Hanoi. You have the option of a full time or part time contract. A full time contract is a minimum of 70 hours per week.

The Mum and Dad type schools, which usually operate out of a big house, are generally more relaxed and flexible. They also, generally, don't have contracts. The first school I worked for didn't have a contract and in the end I got screwed some of my wages. They were a small company; terribly run with little to no organisation, inefficient and of poor quality. I knew from the outset they were a rubbish company so I take the blame for sticking with them and not getting some of my money. The company was called Ninemoon English centre. They paid $20 per hour but I would avoid at all costs. The majority of the work I have done in Hanoi has been without a contract. This comes with added risk but I have had no other issues with employers and commonsense, along with a little word-of-mouth, usually prevails. I have earned between $24-33 per hour - cash in hand. They don't have the benefits of the bigger schools but in my experience the extra money they offer makes up the difference and more.

Once working for a school you will generally get offers for tutoring. I have done this throughout the whole time I have been here. You can ask from around the $25 per hour mark.

Hanoi is a great city to find work. There are many jobs and if you are a good teacher you will find work easily; regardless of experience. The Vietnamese students are generally great and look for a fun, interactive teacher. Creating a happy, enjoyable learning environment, for both kids and adults, will give you many teaching opportunities in Hanoi.


  1. Hey Dan, How does the visa process work. Someone told me 3-months at a time........Im from the US. Can I just go to Hanoi or do I neeed to apply for a visa first.

  2. Hi There,

    You will need a visa. At the moment I think it is 3 months at a time. So, best thing is to go to the Vietnamese embassy in your area and grab a 3 month tourist visa. I had to leave the Hanoi every 3 months when i was there to get a new tourist visa (did quick trips to Malaysia or Thailland).

  3. Hi all,

    This is a great site with some excellent information about teaching in Vietnam. There are many wonderful opportunities (private, part time and full time) here in Vietnam.

    A word of caution about a school I recently worked for. CitySmart Vietnam - Specifically, Maple Bear Kindergarten in Hanoi. This school was very poorly run. The Management was very disorganized and unprofessional. Very little support for the foreign teachers. Resources extremely limited. You will not be paid accurately or in a timely manner and the contract will continue to change, even after you have signed and agreed upon contract conditions. This school is a cash grab - a business. It's sad that the school and management are more interested in stealing parents hard earned money. The children and parents that attend this school are simply wonderful and they are unaware of how the school is overcharging them and treating the teachers (both foreign and Vietnamese) extremely poorly. It is difficult to provide the best education to the children under these circumstances.

    Just a word of caution for those thinking of working for this company...

    Vietnam is great though. Many opportunities both personally and professionally. Do your research - ask questions before signing on.

    Best of luck!

  4. Dan, I know your comment is a bit dated. You could not work in a University, Academy like LL, Apollo, Cleverlearn etc with just TEFL you would have to have degree or dipl. From Jan 31st you need MA or BA or similar degree to get work permit (3 years). No such thing as a three month 'tourist' visa. There will be NO more renewals. So you have to exit every three months. Your correct there are mamny shonky 'academies' all cheating parents, students and teachers. That why they advertise every week or month for teachers, with big B/S about their business. Beware. This is Vietnam, getting due justice is very difficult.

  5. Hi guys,
    We are Mindspa education, located in Hanoi. We are currently offer jobs for whoever want to be English teacher. Please contact me if you are in Hanoi or will be in Hanoi in the future. Kelly 0988 678 184 or email me:
    I'm sure I can assist you guys something. Looking forward to hearing from you.

  6. Really scary when a person who proclaims to teach English has serious problems writing it. Start using correct punctuation and let's hope that the Vietnamese don't pick up your bad writing habits.

    1. Wow. I don't know you, and I sincerely hope we never meet. But on behalf of Dan and everyone else who has the misfortune of crossing paths with you - you sir/madam, are a fucking cunt.

  7. Beware with Mindspa Education. Actually, THEY DON'T PAY THEIR FOREIGN TEaCHERS!!FRAUD... FRAUD... FRAUD...

  8. Dan is this blog still active as I see you have not commented on it for a while. If it is there are a couple of things I wouldn't mind checking out with you

  9. Hi, this is a great website with lots of useful information, thank you! I am English, and looking for some short term work teaching english in Hanoi. I will only be here for about 6 weeks so I think the more laid back 'mum and dad' type schools would be my best bet. Are there any you could recommend? Thank you!

  10. Hi, My company is in Hanoi, Vietnam and now i am finding an English teacher who has experience in teaching E in company. Teacher should be American or English guy. You can contact me at +84 36285 0000 or send CV to address Thanks!

  11. "minimum of 70 hours per week" , per week ? Do you mean per month ?

  12. hi, I'm 31 woman in Hanoi, seeking for an American English tutor. Actually, I need to improve my speaking. Salary is negotiable. Please send me email if you 're interested :

  13. Seeking a English teacher for goups of 15 people to improve English speaking skill. Time is sunday or saturday. However maybe change time if necessary. Location and requirements for teaching are ready. Salary can be discussed. Location: Ba DInh, Viet nam.
    More information:

  14. Great article Dan, not sure you're still active on here but thought I'd say a little something.

    I've been teaching in Hanoi for just over a year now and agree with you totally about certain language centres, they are cropping up all over the place. There is a definite interest in learning English here in Hanoi, just by the number of requests for teachers is a good indication. I have been turning work down purely due to lack of time.

    Anyway, anyone who teaches English in Hanoi will certainly see the benefits.

    All the best, English Teacher Hanoi