What is the Best TEFL Course to Teach English in Vietnam

By Geddy Gee
The article is about TEFL courses in Vietnam: are they required, how to pick a good one.

Teaching English requires you to have a bachelor’s degree in most Asian countries. Cambodia is probably the only exception, so if you don’t have a degree, you could find a job over there. But in Vietnam, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree. The subject doesn’t matter, but if it was in English, linguistics, or in Teaching, you will get plus points and in some cases you will get offered a higher salary. But for most language schools, they would hire teachers without a degree, but the problem is that is a government requirement in order to issue a work permit. So in order to legally work in Vietnam, a degree is required.

But what about a TEFL certificate? Is it required and does it even help? Unfortunately the internet is filled with false information regarding this. If you do a Google search to find this answer you will find many articles telling you that it is absolutely required to have a TEFL certificate if you want to become an English Teacher. If you take a closer look you will see that the article is either written by a TEFL course provider or it contains a referral code and the person who wrote the article will earn a commission from you signing up to it. It’s not at all to say that TEFL courses are bad, in fact it might be a good idea to take one, but the point is that it is not actually a requirement to become a teacher in most countries, including Vietnam. 

However it could definitely improve your knowledge about teaching, or give you a good introduction on how to step into the classroom if it’s something you have never done before. Being a teacher for the first time in a new country could be intimidating. If you don’t know what to do and walk in front of a class with 20 to 40 people staring at you, waiting for you to start teaching, you definitely want to know how to handle the situation. The course will also be helpful in helping you navigate things like accommodation, culture, and people in Vietnam. You can make friends with people doing the same thing as you and have a community to keep in touch with. This is of course if you take a TEFL course in Vietnam, and not online or in your home country. While that could still help, the way to benefit most would be to take the course in the country you plan to teach. But not all courses are created equal and there are a few things you need to look for when picking one.

A TEFL course should be at least 120 hours

When deciding on a TEFL course the first thing you should look at is the hours of training. For a certificate to be respected it needs to be at least 120 hours. If you go for anything less the certificate would carry no weight. You look at top rated TEFL providers in Vietnam like Ninja Teacher or Avse TESOL you should be able to see this under the programs or courses section on their website. In fact you even see a school trying to sell a course under 120 hours, it should be an immediate red flag. For example if you visit Ninja Teachers website you will see they have a 120 hour course and a 150 hour course. These courses also include a Vietnam orientation and training program and that is why they have such good reviews.

A TEFL course should focus on practical hours

As I mentioned above, it’s not a requirement to have a TEFL certificate in order to secure a job so if there is no practical aspect to the course then there isn’t much benefit. Course providers should know this, so if they try to sell you a course while knowing that, they don’t have your best interest in mind. A good course will teach you a few important theoretical things, then focus on making sure you know exactly how to teach a group of kids. It should teach you how to keep their attention and to handle disruptive behaviour. A good TEFL teacher needs to be interesting and use a lot of body language. Especially since English isn’t their first language and you will not be communicating in Vietnamese in the classroom. Even if you do speak some Vietnamese, it is encouraged for TEFL teachers to use English only so the students can be fully immersed in the language and culture.

A TEFL course should provide support, community and job assistance

A good TEFL course doesn’t end once the course is completed. You could take a TEFL course in your home country or even online, but the whole benefit of taking it in Vietnam is because of the local support. When moving to a new country, you have no idea how to rent an apartment, open a bank account, find food prices and avoid scams. Your TEFL teacher will give you a good run down on all these things with some local tips. You will have people in the same boat as you so you can all find solutions and share with one another. And of course a good TEFL provider makes sure their students can get a good job. That is the reason you are here in the first place. If a provider is confident in their course and training they will know that any teacher who completes it will be job ready. They should be able to pass on advice on how to apply for jobs or even refer you to schools or language centres.

Written by Geddy Gee for Teflnet August 2022
Ex-teacher, traveler, and writer at Teast
© Teflnet

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