Become a teacher at a CIS Accredited School

When in the previous article on comparing working condition at a school with an English center’s in Vietnam, we mentioned that the opportunities to work at international schools are fraught with challenges. Today we will explain more about the term CIS Accredited School, as well as the basic requirements for a teacher to be successfully employed in these places.

What is a CIS Accredited School?

Council of International Schools (CIS) is the world’s leading prestigious international education accreditation organization, with a list of strict criteria & standards in evaluating an international school.

At the moment, there are 734 schools & 622 universities/colleges representing 116 countries are CIS members all around the world.

In Vietnam in particular, out of a total of 20,000 schools, only 17 schools can become members of CIS. The institutions that are members and have been accredited by the CIS are mostly high-quality international schools.

CIS sets very strict criteria to accredit a school to international standards. To be recognized as a member of CIS, one has to achieve the 20 most core criteria in 8 sets of standards (domains) that CIS offers, from the school’s goals and orientation; International standard education program; Teaching and student assessment; Academic quality and psychological health of students; to Facilities and Infrastructure, among many other standards…

CIS sets very strict criteria to accredit a school to international standards

After being recognized as a member, schools will usually have to go through a rigorous accreditation process with all the criteria of the 8 CIS standards to be officially certified by CIS. Currently, 530/734 member schools are accredited by CIS. Many educational institutions around the world wish to obtain CIS accreditation because it is the most standard and practical assessment in recognizing a world-class school.

In Saigon, the lowest salary rate for a professional qualified teacher at an international school is currently 80 million VND/month (after deducting personal income tax). The highest rate can be up to 120 million VND/month. Not to mention, many international schools have to pay rent for foreign teachers from 20-22 million VND/month.

For Vietnamese teachers at bilingual CIS international schools, the salary at primary school level is about 40 million VND/month, secondary school level is 60-70 million VND/month.

Requirements of a foreign teacher at a CIS Accredited School:

Currently, the requirements for making a work permit for teaching jobs in Vietnam are much more strictly adhered to. Any counterfeiting related to work permits or visas, or lack of documents to qualify to work in Vietnam, if detected, will lead to a forced return to the home country.

To teach in private centers or private schools, teachers need to have at least a university degree (regardless of major) and teaching certifications such as TEFL and TESOL. In addition, teaching experience will be a factor that helps teachers negotiate better salaries. 

However, up to now, there has been no legal document stating that foreigners could use the certificate of TEFL/TESOL English teaching method as a substitute for the pedagogical certificate to teach at PUBLIC SCHOOLS, according to the official dispatch 1861, issued on June 25, 2021, on the standard qualifications of foreign teachers participating in teaching at public schools.

In addition, the requirements for foreign teachers’ qualifications to apply to international schools recognized by CIS (Council of International Schools) are no longer so simple. According to most CIS accredited institutions, to be accepted to teach at a standard international school, apart from these criteria:

+ Confirmation of at least 03 years of working experience in the education industry

+ Health certificate and a clean criminal record

One also needs to have a pedagogy bachelor degree, if not a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) or QTS (Qualified teacher status). This means that if your major is different from your teaching major, you need to study for a PGCE certificate (online if you are in Vietnam) within 1 year. Some international schools will support teachers with partial tuition when studying for this degree, if the teacher has a long-term commitment to the school or shows the potential of an enthusiastic and excellent individual.

This is an example on the minimum requirements for a teaching position at a CIS school:

Minimum Education Requirements:

Bachelor/Master in Education + TEFL/TESOL/CELTA


PGCE /Teaching license or equivalent + TEFL/TESOL/CELTA

A teacher who is qualified to work at a CIS accredited school, in addition to the generous salary mentioned above, is also entitled to a premium benefit package which usually includes:

  • Air ticket support
  • Allowance for relocation
  • Housing subsidy
  • Paid National and School Holidays
  • International health insurance

So, if you are abroad or in Vietnam and have a desire to work in an international environment like in the CIS Accredited Schools, along with enjoying an excellent compensation package, make sure you get yourself well-prepared and have a long-term plan in teaching in Vietnam.


Gracie Nguyen

To have good luck is a skill Not knowing how to seize opportunities is also a form of incompetence.

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To have good luck is a skill Not knowing how to seize opportunities is also a form of incompetence.