Teach English in the Middle East

a world of opportunities

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Kirsten Colquhoun
August 22, 2023

Contents

Why teach in the Middle East
Where to teach
How to qualify
Types of jobs
How to get a job
Cost of living
Saving money
Life and culture

Are you looking for an exciting and enriching experience as an English teacher? Look no further than the Middle East! With its stunning architecture, rich history, delicious cuisine, and warm hospitality, this region offers a truly unique opportunity for those looking to explore a new culture and way of life. 

Plus, with high salaries and excellent benefits for English teachers, you can save money and travel while experiencing all that the region has to offer. And don’t forget about the breathtaking Persian Gulf, with its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, offering endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about teaching English in the Middle East, including the best places to find jobs, the requirements and qualifications needed, and the salaries and benefits you can expect.

Why Teach English in the Middle East?

There are many reasons to start teaching English in the Middle East. For one, it’s a chance to experience a new culture, and the Middle East has a rich and fascinating history. 

Additionally, English is becoming increasingly important in the region, and there is a growing demand for English teachers. Moreover, teaching English in the Middle East can be financially rewarding. Many schools offer good salaries and benefits, including paid accommodation and flights, health insurance, and retirement plans. 

Some schools may even offer bonuses for completing a contract or for exceptional work.

Best places to Teach in the Middle East

Some of the best places to find English teacher jobs include The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain. These are all great locations to teach English for a variety of reasons. 

First and foremost, these countries offer a range of benefits and the highest salaries for English teachers in the region, which allows you to save money on your travels! Additionally, these countries have a strong demand for English language education, which means that there are plenty of job opportunities available for qualified teachers. 

In terms of lifestyle, these countries offer modern amenities and infrastructure, as well as a safe and stable environment for foreigners. The region is home to some of the world’s most fascinating history, and delicious cuisines, making it a truly unique place to live and work. 

Overall, if you’re looking for a rewarding and enriching experience as an English teacher, these countries in the Middle East should be on your shortlist of potential destinations! 

How do I qualify to teach English in the Middle East?

Let’s look at some of the general requirements for TEFL teaching positions in the Middle East:

Visa requirements

Most Middle Eastern countries require a work visa to legally teach English. Visa requirements can vary depending on the country, but generally, you’ll need a valid passport and a work permit. Some countries may require a medical check-up or a criminal background check.

TEFL certification

Many schools in the Middle East require a TEFL certificate. We recommend our Level 5 168-hour TEFL course to help your CV stand out from the competition. 

With a Level 5 TEFL certificate from The TEFL Academy, you are given the opportunity to practise your teaching skills with in-classroom experience, either face-to-face or online if you take our Observed Teaching Practice Course.

Bachelor’s degree

A Bachelor’s degree is often required to teach English in the Middle East. Some countries may accept a degree in any field, while others may require a degree in a related field such as English or education.

Experience

While not always required, prior experience teaching English can be an advantage when applying for jobs in the Middle East. Some schools may prefer teachers with a few years of experience, especially when they have a lot of potential candidates.

Insurance

Many schools in the Middle East require teachers to have health insurance. Some schools may provide insurance, while others may require teachers to obtain their own.

Start-up capital

This is not a requirement but you need some start-up capital to cover initial expenses, such as housing deposits, living costs and flights. The Middle East is known for its generous teaching packages, so if flights and accommodation are included then you’ll only need to consider living costs.

Types of English teaching jobs in the Middle East

There are several types of English teaching jobs available in the Middle East.

Private language schools

These schools offer classes to both children and adults, and the curriculum ranges from basic English to Advanced courses. Your teaching schedule might be different to public and international schools since you’ll work on weekends and get off during the week. 

Private language schools typically pay a salary ranging from $1,500 – $3,500 USD a month, depending on the teacher’s qualifications and experience. Benefits can include paid accommodation, flights, health insurance, and a bonus for contract completion.

International schools

International schools offer a Western-style education and often require teachers to have a teaching license or certification. The curriculum in international schools is typically taught in English, and the student body is made up of expat children and local students. Salaries for international school teachers in the Middle East range from $3,500 – $7,000 a month, with some schools offering additional benefits such as paid accommodation, flights, and health insurance.

Universities

Universities in the Middle East often hire English teachers for their language departments. English teachers in universities may be required to teach courses in academic writing, literature, and linguistics. Salaries for university English teachers in the Middle East range from $2,500 – $7,000 a month, depending on the teacher’s qualifications and experience. Benefits can include paid accommodation, flights, and health insurance.

Overall, teaching English in the Middle East can be a financially rewarding and culturally enriching experience for those who meet the qualifications and requirements. 

How to get teaching jobs in the Middle East

To get a job teaching English in the Middle East, start by searching for job postings online or create a teaching profile on teaching abroad platforms. You can also contact schools directly and inquire about job openings. Some schools may require a Skype interview, while others may require an in-person interview.

What is the cost of living in Middle Eastern countries?

Let’s now look at what you can expect if you make the move to the Middle East.

Overall, the Middle East has seen huge transformations in wealth over the past twenty years or so. Regions that were once little more than vast stretches of the desert have been transformed into some of the most glamorous and futuristic cities on the planet, where wealth and decadent living has become the norm. The likes of Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE have become the faces of wealth in the region, but it is actually Jerusalem in Israel that actually has the highest cost of living in the Middle East

For those who don’t feel as drawn to the spending sprees the area is certainly capable of possessing, there’s value to be had in the likes of Jordan, Oman and Kuwait where the cost of living is lower.

Is it possible to save as an English teacher in the Middle East?

Yes, you can! In fact, many English teachers in this region are able to earn competitive tax-free salaries that are significantly higher than the cost of living. This means that, with careful budgeting and planning, it’s possible to travel and save money at the same time. 

What's it like to live and work in the Middle East?

Living and teaching English in the Middle East can be a truly unique and enriching experience. However, it’s important to be aware of the cultural expectations and norms in this region

For some, the conservative culture of the region can come as a slight shock. English teachers working in Middle East countries are required to dress conservatively, refrain from public displays of affection and it’s safe to say the region isn’t necessarily the party capital of the world.

However, the Middle East is also beginning to evolve as more and more nomads flock to the region. Few teachers fail to fall in love with their experiences living in the Middle East, making the most of its emphasis on respect and a family-orientated approach. 

If you are wondering what your accommodation will look like, be prepared to be amazed. Expats usually stay in some of the safest compounds or gated communities, which can range from apartments to stand-alone villas. They typically come equipped with modern amenities such as air conditioning and internet access. 

This allows you to have greater freedom and independence, while still being able to enjoy the benefits of living and working in the Middle East. Overall, living and teaching in the Middle East is a rewarding and eye-opening experience, as long as you’re willing to embrace the culture and adapt to the local way of life.

So, what are you waiting for?

Check out our TEFL jobs board and begin your teaching journey by signing up with the world’s most accredited TEFL course provider today!

Contents

Are you looking for an exciting and enriching experience as an English teacher? Look no further than the Middle East! With its stunning architecture, rich history, delicious cuisine, and warm hospitality, this region offers a truly unique opportunity for those looking to explore a new culture and way of life. 

Plus, with high salaries and excellent benefits for English teachers, you can save money and travel while experiencing all that the region has to offer. And don’t forget about the breathtaking Persian Gulf, with its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, offering endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about teaching English in the Middle East, including the best places to find jobs, the requirements and qualifications needed, and the salaries and benefits you can expect.

Why Teach English in the Middle East?

There are many reasons to start teaching English in the Middle East. For one, it’s a chance to experience a new culture, and the Middle East has a rich and fascinating history. 

Additionally, English is becoming increasingly important in the region, and there is a growing demand for English teachers. Moreover, teaching English in the Middle East can be financially rewarding. Many schools offer good salaries and benefits, including paid accommodation and flights, health insurance, and retirement plans. 

Some schools may even offer bonuses for completing a contract or for exceptional work.

Best places to Teach in the Middle East

Some of the best places to find English teacher jobs include The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain. These are all great locations to teach English for a variety of reasons. 

First and foremost, these countries offer a range of benefits and the highest salaries for English teachers in the region, which allows you to save money on your travels! Additionally, these countries have a strong demand for English language education, which means that there are plenty of job opportunities available for qualified teachers. 

In terms of lifestyle, these countries offer modern amenities and infrastructure, as well as a safe and stable environment for foreigners. The region is home to some of the world’s most fascinating history, and delicious cuisines, making it a truly unique place to live and work. 

Overall, if you’re looking for a rewarding and enriching experience as an English teacher, these countries in the Middle East should be on your shortlist of potential destinations! 

How do I qualify to teach English in the Middle East?

Let’s look at some of the general requirements for TEFL teaching positions in the Middle East:

Visa requirements

Most Middle Eastern countries require a work visa to legally teach English. Visa requirements can vary depending on the country, but generally, you’ll need a valid passport and a work permit. Some countries may require a medical check-up or a criminal background check.

TEFL certification

Many schools in the Middle East require a TEFL certificate. We recommend our Level 5 168-hour TEFL course to help your CV stand out from the competition. 

With a Level 5 TEFL certificate from The TEFL Academy, you are given the opportunity to practise your teaching skills with in-classroom experience, either face-to-face or online if you take our Observed Teaching Practice Course.

Bachelor’s degree

A Bachelor’s degree is often required to teach English in the Middle East. Some countries may accept a degree in any field, while others may require a degree in a related field such as English or education.

Experience

While not always required, prior experience teaching English can be an advantage when applying for jobs in the Middle East. Some schools may prefer teachers with a few years of experience, especially when they have a lot of potential candidates.

Insurance

Many schools in the Middle East require teachers to have health insurance. Some schools may provide insurance, while others may require teachers to obtain their own.

Start-up capital

This is not a requirement but you need some start-up capital to cover initial expenses, such as housing deposits, living costs and flights. The Middle East is known for its generous teaching packages, so if flights and accommodation are included then you’ll only need to consider living costs.

Types of English teaching jobs in the Middle East

There are several types of English teaching jobs available in the Middle East.

Private language schools

These schools offer classes to both children and adults, and the curriculum ranges from basic English to Advanced courses. Your teaching schedule might be different to public and international schools since you’ll work on weekends and get off during the week. 

Private language schools typically pay a salary ranging from $1,500 – $3,500 USD a month, depending on the teacher’s qualifications and experience. Benefits can include paid accommodation, flights, health insurance, and a bonus for contract completion.

International schools

International schools offer a Western-style education and often require teachers to have a teaching license or certification. The curriculum in international schools is typically taught in English, and the student body is made up of expat children and local students. Salaries for international school teachers in the Middle East range from $3,500 – $7,000 a month, with some schools offering additional benefits such as paid accommodation, flights, and health insurance.

Universities

Universities in the Middle East often hire English teachers for their language departments. English teachers in universities may be required to teach courses in academic writing, literature, and linguistics. Salaries for university English teachers in the Middle East range from $2,500 – $7,000 a month, depending on the teacher’s qualifications and experience. Benefits can include paid accommodation, flights, and health insurance.

Overall, teaching English in the Middle East can be a financially rewarding and culturally enriching experience for those who meet the qualifications and requirements. 

How to get teaching jobs in the Middle East

To get a job teaching English in the Middle East, start by searching for job postings online or create a teaching profile on teaching abroad platforms. You can also contact schools directly and inquire about job openings. Some schools may require a Skype interview, while others may require an in-person interview.

What is the cost of living in Middle Eastern countries?

Let’s now look at what you can expect if you make the move to the Middle East.

Overall, the Middle East has seen huge transformations in wealth over the past twenty years or so. Regions that were once little more than vast stretches of the desert have been transformed into some of the most glamorous and futuristic cities on the planet, where wealth and decadent living has become the norm. The likes of Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE have become the faces of wealth in the region, but it is actually Jerusalem in Israel that actually has the highest cost of living in the Middle East

For those who don’t feel as drawn to the spending sprees the area is certainly capable of possessing, there’s value to be had in the likes of Jordan, Oman and Kuwait where the cost of living is lower.

Is it possible to save as an English teacher in the Middle East?

Yes, you can! In fact, many English teachers in this region are able to earn competitive tax-free salaries that are significantly higher than the cost of living. This means that, with careful budgeting and planning, it’s possible to travel and save money at the same time. 

What's it like to live and work in the Middle East?

Living and teaching English in the Middle East can be a truly unique and enriching experience. However, it’s important to be aware of the cultural expectations and norms in this region

For some, the conservative culture of the region can come as a slight shock. English teachers working in Middle East countries are required to dress conservatively, refrain from public displays of affection and it’s safe to say the region isn’t necessarily the party capital of the world.

However, the Middle East is also beginning to evolve as more and more nomads flock to the region. Few teachers fail to fall in love with their experiences living in the Middle East, making the most of its emphasis on respect and a family-orientated approach. 

If you are wondering what your accommodation will look like, be prepared to be amazed. Expats usually stay in some of the safest compounds or gated communities, which can range from apartments to stand-alone villas. They typically come equipped with modern amenities such as air conditioning and internet access. 

This allows you to have greater freedom and independence, while still being able to enjoy the benefits of living and working in the Middle East. Overall, living and teaching in the Middle East is a rewarding and eye-opening experience, as long as you’re willing to embrace the culture and adapt to the local way of life.

So, what are you waiting for?

Check out our TEFL jobs board and begin your teaching journey by signing up with the world’s most accredited TEFL course provider today!

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