Teaching Abroad Direct
Dubai is becoming an attractive destination for teachers from other countries who are looking to teach English as well as other subjects. Thanks to its luxurious lifestyle, generous salary packages, renewed demand for teaching staff and cultural diversity, Dubai is one of the world's leading destinations for teachers and looks great on any educator's CV.
In order to teach in Dubai, you'll need to have a Dubai teaching license. So, how do you obtain this? In this article, we'll look at the process of getting a teaching license in Dubai.
To start, it's important to note that there isn't just one universal way of getting a teaching license in Dubai. The specific requirements and procedures for obtaining a teaching license can vary based on the type of school you wish to teach in (whether this is public or private), your qualifications, the subject you teach, the position you intend to take up at your desired school, and your experience. There are however similar steps that each teacher will generally take, which we'll outline here.
Every school position will have basic qualifications that you'll need to meet to pursue a position there and obtain a license. For many teachers, this means having a relevant bachelor's degree in education or a related field, along with any required teaching certifications for your subject area. Some schools may also require a master's degree or additional qualifications, especially if you are applying for higher management or more senior leadership roles.
It's absolutely essential that you have a clean criminal background check from your home country (or from the UAE, depending on your previous residence). Without this, you won't be able to work in Dubai.
All schools have an educational authority that oversees them. The UAE Ministry of Education manages public schools, while Dubai's Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) is responsible for private schools. You'll need to contact the authority that is appropriate to you, and determine their licensing requirements and processes.
You'll likely need proof of your qualifications, passport, teaching certificates and so on. You'll need to make sure your documents are properly authorised for the job and authority you're applying to.
The school you plan to teach at will likely want to conduct assessments and interviews to assess your teaching skills, subject knowledge and language proficiency. You may have to undergo a formal or written exam, or teaching demonstration in order to get your license.
After the above steps, you'll send off your application for a teaching license to the relevant educational authority, along with all required documents and fees. When it's been approved, you'll receive your teaching license from the educational authority. The license is usually valid for a specific period, and may need to be renewed periodically.
When your license is granted, you'll need to obtain a work visa and residence permit, both of which are essential for legally working in Dubai. Your sponsoring school should assist with this, alongside any training you need for your role – including familiarisation with the local curriculum, school policies and procedures.
Like any other country, Dubai has its own standards and conditions for getting a teaching license. It's completely normal (and many institutions will), ask for a bachelor's degree in either education or a subject area. Some schools may require a master's degree. You may also need a teaching license from your home country to prove that you are a regulated teaching professional.
Of course, you'll also need a job offer and to be sponsored by a Dubai-based school. Some schools may also need proof of ongoing professional development as part of their admissions process.
Many schools in Dubai employ professionals with a minimum number of years of teaching experience. The number of years requested can vary depending on the type of school you wish to teach at, and the grade you want to teach.
You'll need a clean criminal record, with no criminal history from your previous country of residence. You'll also need a proof of English language proficiency, such as a TOEFL certificate (you may also need to pass further tests that the school may decide to set for you if applicable). Finally, it isn't uncommon for some Dubai employers to ask candidates to undergo some kind of medical or fitness screening as part of their work permit application process.
There is not a strict set of criteria in terms of qualifications you need to become a teacher in Dubai. However, if for example, you teach at a secondary school, it is more likely that you'll need a bachelor's or master's degree in the subject you teach, and some form of formal teaching qualification. So for example, a science teacher would typically have a science degree and a PGCE (a postgraduate certificate in education). If you plan to teach English as a second language in Dubai, you will need to complete a TEFL certificate.
At primary school or infant school level, this isn't required, but very generally speaking, and regardless of the position you take, you'll need at least two years of relevant teaching experience on your CV.
There are some secondary schools that will take teachers who don't have a degree in a particular subject, but they will ask for experience. For NQTs (teachers who have just earned their qualified status), you will need one year of teaching employment on your CV.
As of 2021, all teachers teaching in Dubai will require a teaching license. The Teacher and Education Leadership Standards (TELS) licensing programme has the aim of standardising teacher qualifications for teachers working in the Emirates in both private and public schools. You can use existing CPD to achieve the TELS UAE qualification, and can even take it outside of the UAE. It is likely you will need to fund this yourself.