Teach English in the UAE

a world of opportunities

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Kirsten Colquhoun
August 3, 2023

Contents

Introduction
Why teach in the UAE
Best places to teach
How to qualify
Visa requirements
Teaching experience
TEFL Certification
Degree requirements
Types of teaching jobs
Demand for TEFL teachers
Average salary
Startup costs
What the salary covers
Cost of living
Saving in the UAE

Are you looking for a great adventure in some of the most unique cities in the world? Do you want to experience historic sights, futuristic architecture, amazing nightlife and out-of-this-world attractions? Then the UAE is the teaching destination for you. 

The UAE is becoming one of the most popular destinations to teach English. There are plenty of job opportunities with great salaries which allow you to save a sizeable chunk of your salary. 

The UAE is a central hub for travelling all over the world so globetrotting couldn’t be easier. But if we’re honest, living and teaching in the UAE is an experience like no other – you might want to spend your free time sipping on tea on Level 148 of the Burj Khalifa or cooling off in an Aquaventure Waterpark.

But before you pack your bags, let’s unpack what you need to do to start your teaching journey in the UAE, from applying for a job to preparing for your first desert safari!

Why start teaching English in the UAE?

Let’s get straight to the point! Teachers are paid very well in the UAE. And your salary is tax-free!

The UAE is known for the generous benefits not many other countries provide. These benefits can include paid return flights to your home country, accommodation for the length of your employment, health insurance, and more. Because of these benefits, teachers in the UAE are able to save substantial amounts every month while still living glamorous lives.

The UAE is rated as one of the safest countries in the world to live in. It is a cultural experience like no other – everywhere you go is a feast for your senses. And don’t worry, you don’t need to speak Arabic to get around the UAE, except for in a few remote areas. English is commonly spoken in most cities.

Teaching jobs in the UAE require impressive TEFL qualifications (like The TEFL Academy Level 5 TEFL certificate!), degrees and teaching experience so teaching experience in the UAE will make your CV sparkle. Teaching in the UAE gives you the opportunity to grow and learn as a teacher in a country where they aim to bring the best teachers in the world to their classrooms.

Best places to teach English in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates is made up of seven emirates. These include: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al-Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, and Fujairah. While there are teaching jobs dotted around the different emirates, the two most popular places for English teachers are Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Dubai

Extremely popular among foreigners

The most western of all the Emirates, the city is known for its beaches, low crime rate and amazing skyline. Schools in Dubai are constantly looking for teachers in all sorts of subjects.There are a lot of international schools in Dubai. The tax-free salary in Dubai is very attractive but it is important to note that the cost of living is high as well.

 

Abu Dhabi

Best for those who don’t mind a more conservative lifestyle

Abu Dhabi is the largest Emirate. Here you will be exposed to diverse groups of people and beautiful scenery. Teaching opportunities are mainly in local schools and you will have to work hard and have strong classroom management skills. Abu Dhabi is more conservative than Dubai but the cost of living is not as high.

Ras al-Khaimah 

Best for more relaxed teachers

Famous for its beaches, this city is located on the Arabian Gulf. Teaching in Ras al-Khaimah is less hectic than Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Here you can experience a good work-life balance by spending your days off on the beaches. The cost of living is not as high as in Dubai or Abu Dhabi but you will have to invest in a car – or make friends with teachers who have transport!

Sharjah 

Best for culture vultures

Sharjah is known as the cultural capital of the Arab world and is the most conservative Emirate. Some of the UAE’s first schools were established in this region and education is really important here.

What are the requirements for teaching jobs in the United Arab Emirates?

Let’s look at what you need to become a teacher in the UAE:

  • A TEFL Certificate. You will need a TEFL certification to teach in the UAE and it is common that schools prefer applicants with teaching experience as well. But not just any TEFL certificate! The TEFL Academy’s Level 5 168-hour Combined Course is exactly what you need to add that extra oomph to your CV. The TEFL Academy is reputable and internationally recognised – TEFL employers are familiar with the high standard of our TEFL trainees and are happy to employ our graduates.
  • Be a native English speaker. Most schools prefer native English speakers. This includes teachers from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand.
  • A degree. In the UAE teachers are expected to have a Bachelor’s degree to accompany their TEFL certification. Universities might require a Master’s degree. Many schools prefer teachers with teaching experience and a teaching qualification (license) from their home country.

Do you need a visa to teach English in the UAE?

Yes, you need a working visa to teach in the UAE. It’s common practice in the UAE that your employer will assist you with getting your visa. The visa process itself is very straightforward but it can take some time. The majority of teaching jobs in the UAE will be offered while you are still in your home country. Because of this, employers assist in every step of the visa application process.

Can I get a job teaching English in the UAE with no experience?

Most of the schools in the UAE prefer teachers with teaching experience. You will be able to look for tutoring positions without teaching experience, but a lack of experience will impact your salary.

If you don’t have any teaching experience yet but are keen on living in this desert paradise, don’t forget about a digital nomad visa. Dubai offers a Work Remotely From Dubai program which allows you to – you guessed it! – work remotely from Dubai. There are certain requirements you need to satisfy to qualify but check it out if that’s what you’re looking for.

Which certification is best for TEFL jobs in UAE?

A 120-hour TEFL certification is required to teach English in the UAE. Most schools prefer you to have a Bachelor’s degree and some teaching experience as well.

Because of the competitive nature of teaching jobs in the UAE, a Level 5 168-hour TEFL course from The TEFL Academy will give your CV a welcome boost.

Can I teach English in the UAE with no degree?

You have to have a degree to teach English in the UAE. Some schools will require you to have a degree in the subject that you will be teaching, but for many a Bachelor’s degree in any field will suffice. For university teaching positions, a Master’s degree or teaching license is usually required. 

The degree requirement is set by the UAE Ministry of Education and you will struggle to get a working visa without a degree.

What are the best sorts of English teaching jobs in the UAE?

There are a lot of different types of teaching opportunities in the UAE. You can look for a job at preschools, kindergartens, international schools, public schools and universities. The more qualified you are and the more experience you have, the better your chances of finding a well-paid position. The UAE has a lot of international schools where teachers are needed in diverse subjects like Maths, Science, Biology and English.

Let’s look at the different types of schools in the UAE:

Private International schools

Expats and wealthy locals tend to send their children to international schools. The tuition for these schools is high and enrollment is competitive. Teachers teaching in international schools require a teaching license and prior teaching experience. International schools look for teachers that can teach subjects like Maths, Biology and Science.

Public schools

Public schools in the UAE have a high demand for TEFL teachers. Salaries are very competitive and most schools provide teachers with attractive benefits as well as paid vacation days. To teach at a public school you need a Bachelor’s degree, TEFL certification and in some instances a teaching license.

Foreign language schools

Students and adults applying for university tend to attend foreign language schools in the UAE. These schools are the perfect fit for an TEFL teacher. As the UAE has a lot of foreigners you’ll find language schools offering languages from German to Japanese – and, of course, English.

Private tutoring

Private tutoring has an extra flair in the UAE – you might end up tutoring royalty! These large royal families rule over the Emirates and recruit English teachers to tutor in the royal households. Private recruitment companies sometimes seek teachers for wealthy families in the UAE as well.

What demand is there for TEFL in the UAE?

More than 90% of the population in the UAE are foreign workers from all over the world which creates the perfect environment for English teaching. The demand for TEFL teachers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is extremely high. What’s important to note is that the competition for jobs is also high due to the high salaries and generous packages.

What is the average salary for English teacher jobs in the UAE?

Teaching salaries in the UAE allow teachers to live very comfortably. You can even save a pretty penny each month after expenses. But how big are the bucks we’re talking about here? 

  • Language schools: Between AED 12,000 – AED 18,000 ($3,300 – $5,000 USD) a month. Additional benefits include housing, flights and end of contract bonus.
  • Private international schools: Between AED 9,000 – AED15,000 ($2,400 and $4,000) a month and includes shared accommodation, health insurance, flights and visa assistance.
  • Public schools: Between AED 12,000 – AED20,000 ($3,300  $5,500) a month. Additional benefits include accommodation for teachers and their family, flights for up to four family members, health insurance and an end-of-contract bonus.

How expensive is it to begin teaching English in the UAE?

Compared to Europe, the start-up costs in the UAE are not that high for teachers. Most schools will assist you with flights and accommodation. In some instances schools will even assist you with a relocation and furniture allowance. Your start-up costs will be between $1,500 – $2,000 and will mainly be for food and transportation until you receive your first paycheque.

What does my English teaching job in the UAE salary cover?

Besides getting a very competitive tax-free salary, your salary will include the following extras:

  • Flight tickets to return home once a year (usually for you and your family)
  • Accommodation and a furniture allowance
  • Free health insurance
  • Bonuses and performance-based financial incentives

What's the cost of living in UAE?

Imagining all the luxuries you can experience in the UAE you might expect the cost of living to be very high, but it is actually cheaper to live in Dubai than London! Where you live will definitely impact how much you spend each month, as well as how much you want to spend on food, transport and entertainment. But in general teachers are able to live comfortably and save in the UAE.

Accommodation   (usually included in package)

  • One-bed apartment in city centre: AED 5,500 ($1,500)
  • One-bed apartment outside city centre: AED 3,500 ($1,000)

Utilities

  • Electricity, water: AED 600 ($165) a month

Transport

  • One-way ticket: AED 7 ($2)
  • Monthly pass: AED 300 ($80)
  • Taxi: AED 3 ($0.80) per km

Food

  • Monthly shop: AED200 – AED 250 ($55 – $70)
  • Meal at a local restaurant: AED 30 ($8)

Internet

  • Unlimited: AED 365 ($100) a month

Entertainment

  • Gym, cinema, going out: AED 250 – AED 500 ($68 – $136)

Is it possible to save with a TEFL job teaching in the United Arab Emirates?

It definitely is. With very high, tax-free salaries teachers who work in the UAE can save between AED 3,000 and AED 3,500 ($800 and $1,000) a month. This is the biggest drawcard for teachers deciding to live and teach in the UAE. A good teaching position here can mean you will work less than in other countries, live better, and still be able to save more. Sounds like a dream!

Start your teaching course journey with a certified TEFL course provider.

Convinced yet? Sign up for one of The TEFL Academy’s TEFL courses and get started on your teaching journey. Who knows, soon you could be rubbing shoulders with the sheikhs.

Contents

Are you looking for a great adventure in some of the most unique cities in the world? Do you want to experience historic sights, futuristic architecture, amazing nightlife and out-of-this-world attractions? Then the UAE is the teaching destination for you. 

The UAE is becoming one of the most popular destinations to teach English. There are plenty of job opportunities with great salaries which allow you to save a sizeable chunk of your salary. 

The UAE is a central hub for travelling all over the world so globetrotting couldn’t be easier. But if we’re honest, living and teaching in the UAE is an experience like no other – you might want to spend your free time sipping on tea on Level 148 of the Burj Khalifa or cooling off in an Aquaventure Waterpark.

But before you pack your bags, let’s unpack what you need to do to start your teaching journey in the UAE, from applying for a job to preparing for your first desert safari!

Why start teaching English in the UAE?

Let’s get straight to the point! Teachers are paid very well in the UAE. And your salary is tax-free!

The UAE is known for the generous benefits not many other countries provide. These benefits can include paid return flights to your home country, accommodation for the length of your employment, health insurance, and more. Because of these benefits, teachers in the UAE are able to save substantial amounts every month while still living glamorous lives.

The UAE is rated as one of the safest countries in the world to live in. It is a cultural experience like no other – everywhere you go is a feast for your senses. And don’t worry, you don’t need to speak Arabic to get around the UAE, except for in a few remote areas. English is commonly spoken in most cities.

Teaching jobs in the UAE require impressive TEFL qualifications (like The TEFL Academy Level 5 TEFL certificate!), degrees and teaching experience so teaching experience in the UAE will make your CV sparkle. Teaching in the UAE gives you the opportunity to grow and learn as a teacher in a country where they aim to bring the best teachers in the world to their classrooms.

Best places to teach English in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates is made up of seven emirates. These include: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al-Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, and Fujairah. While there are teaching jobs dotted around the different emirates, the two most popular places for English teachers are Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Dubai

Extremely popular among foreigners

The most western of all the Emirates, the city is known for its beaches, low crime rate and amazing skyline. Schools in Dubai are constantly looking for teachers in all sorts of subjects.There are a lot of international schools in Dubai. The tax-free salary in Dubai is very attractive but it is important to note that the cost of living is high as well.

 

Abu Dhabi

Best for those who don’t mind a more conservative lifestyle

Abu Dhabi is the largest Emirate. Here you will be exposed to diverse groups of people and beautiful scenery. Teaching opportunities are mainly in local schools and you will have to work hard and have strong classroom management skills. Abu Dhabi is more conservative than Dubai but the cost of living is not as high.

Ras al-Khaimah 

Best for more relaxed teachers

Famous for its beaches, this city is located on the Arabian Gulf. Teaching in Ras al-Khaimah is less hectic than Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Here you can experience a good work-life balance by spending your days off on the beaches. The cost of living is not as high as in Dubai or Abu Dhabi but you will have to invest in a car – or make friends with teachers who have transport!

Sharjah 

Best for culture vultures

Sharjah is known as the cultural capital of the Arab world and is the most conservative Emirate. Some of the UAE’s first schools were established in this region and education is really important here.

What are the requirements for teaching jobs in the United Arab Emirates?

Let’s look at what you need to become a teacher in the UAE:

  • A TEFL Certificate. You will need a TEFL certification to teach in the UAE and it is common that schools prefer applicants with teaching experience as well. But not just any TEFL certificate! The TEFL Academy’s Level 5 168-hour Combined Course is exactly what you need to add that extra oomph to your CV. The TEFL Academy is reputable and internationally recognised – TEFL employers are familiar with the high standard of our TEFL trainees and are happy to employ our graduates.
  • Be a native English speaker. Most schools prefer native English speakers. This includes teachers from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand.
  • A degree. In the UAE teachers are expected to have a Bachelor’s degree to accompany their TEFL certification. Universities might require a Master’s degree. Many schools prefer teachers with teaching experience and a teaching qualification (license) from their home country.

Do you need a visa to teach English in the UAE?

Yes, you need a working visa to teach in the UAE. It’s common practice in the UAE that your employer will assist you with getting your visa. The visa process itself is very straightforward but it can take some time. The majority of teaching jobs in the UAE will be offered while you are still in your home country. Because of this, employers assist in every step of the visa application process.

Can I get a job teaching English in the UAE with no experience?

Most of the schools in the UAE prefer teachers with teaching experience. You will be able to look for tutoring positions without teaching experience, but a lack of experience will impact your salary.

If you don’t have any teaching experience yet but are keen on living in this desert paradise, don’t forget about a digital nomad visa. Dubai offers a Work Remotely From Dubai program which allows you to – you guessed it! – work remotely from Dubai. There are certain requirements you need to satisfy to qualify but check it out if that’s what you’re looking for.

Which certification is best for TEFL jobs in UAE?

A 120-hour TEFL certification is required to teach English in the UAE. Most schools prefer you to have a Bachelor’s degree and some teaching experience as well.

Because of the competitive nature of teaching jobs in the UAE, a Level 5 168-hour TEFL course from The TEFL Academy will give your CV a welcome boost.

Can I teach English in the UAE with no degree?

You have to have a degree to teach English in the UAE. Some schools will require you to have a degree in the subject that you will be teaching, but for many a Bachelor’s degree in any field will suffice. For university teaching positions, a Master’s degree or teaching license is usually required. 

The degree requirement is set by the UAE Ministry of Education and you will struggle to get a working visa without a degree.

What are the best sorts of English teaching jobs in the UAE?

There are a lot of different types of teaching opportunities in the UAE. You can look for a job at preschools, kindergartens, international schools, public schools and universities. The more qualified you are and the more experience you have, the better your chances of finding a well-paid position. The UAE has a lot of international schools where teachers are needed in diverse subjects like Maths, Science, Biology and English.

Let’s look at the different types of schools in the UAE:

Private International schools

Expats and wealthy locals tend to send their children to international schools. The tuition for these schools is high and enrollment is competitive. Teachers teaching in international schools require a teaching license and prior teaching experience. International schools look for teachers that can teach subjects like Maths, Biology and Science.

Public schools

Public schools in the UAE have a high demand for TEFL teachers. Salaries are very competitive and most schools provide teachers with attractive benefits as well as paid vacation days. To teach at a public school you need a Bachelor’s degree, TEFL certification and in some instances a teaching license.

Foreign language schools

Students and adults applying for university tend to attend foreign language schools in the UAE. These schools are the perfect fit for an TEFL teacher. As the UAE has a lot of foreigners you’ll find language schools offering languages from German to Japanese – and, of course, English.

Private tutoring

Private tutoring has an extra flair in the UAE – you might end up tutoring royalty! These large royal families rule over the Emirates and recruit English teachers to tutor in the royal households. Private recruitment companies sometimes seek teachers for wealthy families in the UAE as well.

What demand is there for TEFL in the UAE?

More than 90% of the population in the UAE are foreign workers from all over the world which creates the perfect environment for English teaching. The demand for TEFL teachers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is extremely high. What’s important to note is that the competition for jobs is also high due to the high salaries and generous packages.

What is the average salary for English teacher jobs in the UAE?

Teaching salaries in the UAE allow teachers to live very comfortably. You can even save a pretty penny each month after expenses. But how big are the bucks we’re talking about here? 

  • Language schools: Between AED 12,000 – AED 18,000 ($3,300 – $5,000 USD) a month. Additional benefits include housing, flights and end of contract bonus.
  • Private international schools: Between AED 9,000 – AED15,000 ($2,400 and $4,000) a month and includes shared accommodation, health insurance, flights and visa assistance.
  • Public schools: Between AED 12,000 – AED20,000 ($3,300  $5,500) a month. Additional benefits include accommodation for teachers and their family, flights for up to four family members, health insurance and an end-of-contract bonus.

How expensive is it to begin teaching English in the UAE?

Compared to Europe, the start-up costs in the UAE are not that high for teachers. Most schools will assist you with flights and accommodation. In some instances schools will even assist you with a relocation and furniture allowance. Your start-up costs will be between $1,500 – $2,000 and will mainly be for food and transportation until you receive your first paycheque.

What does my English teaching job in the UAE salary cover?

Besides getting a very competitive tax-free salary, your salary will include the following extras:

  • Flight tickets to return home once a year (usually for you and your family)
  • Accommodation and a furniture allowance
  • Free health insurance
  • Bonuses and performance-based financial incentives

What's the cost of living in UAE?

Imagining all the luxuries you can experience in the UAE you might expect the cost of living to be very high, but it is actually cheaper to live in Dubai than London! Where you live will definitely impact how much you spend each month, as well as how much you want to spend on food, transport and entertainment. But in general teachers are able to live comfortably and save in the UAE.

Accommodation   (usually included in package)

  • One-bed apartment in city centre: AED 5,500 ($1,500)
  • One-bed apartment outside city centre: AED 3,500 ($1,000)

Utilities

  • Electricity, water: AED 600 ($165) a month

Transport

  • One-way ticket: AED 7 ($2)
  • Monthly pass: AED 300 ($80)
  • Taxi: AED 3 ($0.80) per km

Food

  • Monthly shop: AED200 – AED 250 ($55 – $70)
  • Meal at a local restaurant: AED 30 ($8)

Internet

  • Unlimited: AED 365 ($100) a month

Entertainment

  • Gym, cinema, going out: AED 250 – AED 500 ($68 – $136)

Is it possible to save with a TEFL job teaching in the United Arab Emirates?

It definitely is. With very high, tax-free salaries teachers who work in the UAE can save between AED 3,000 and AED 3,500 ($800 and $1,000) a month. This is the biggest drawcard for teachers deciding to live and teach in the UAE. A good teaching position here can mean you will work less than in other countries, live better, and still be able to save more. Sounds like a dream!

Start your teaching course journey with a certified TEFL course provider.

Convinced yet? Sign up for one of The TEFL Academy’s TEFL courses and get started on your teaching journey. Who knows, soon you could be rubbing shoulders with the sheikhs.

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