Teaching Jobs in the Middle East

The teaching job opportunities in the Middle East are expanding every single year offering unique opportunities for professionals in the UK to grow. Countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia offer tax-free living and the chance to live a luxurious lifestyle, complemented by fantastic blue, sunny skies all-year round. No matter what subject you specialise in, international and domestic schools in the Middle East are constantly looking to recruit the best talent. Combined with flight cost cover, accommodation subsidies, health insurance and high-paying salaries, working as a teacher in the Middle East is a move you’ll never regret.

Popular countries:

Working in tax-free countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia is a huge incentive for any teacher looking for work abroad, and there are exciting earning opportunities available. You can expect to be paid the following for working in:

  Average Salary p/m Top end earners p/m
UAE £2,000 £3,000
Saudi Arabia £2,000 £3,000
Egypt £1,500 £2,100
Jordan £1,700 £3,400
Qatar £1,500 £2,900

In general, the UAE and Saudi Arabia offer the highest teaching salary in the Middle East, at around £24,000 per year.  
While the salaries can at first appear lower in comparison to other regions in the world, once you take into account the lack of tax requirements you can attain a higher quality of live than many places in the world.

Legal requirements

You will require a working visa to remain in employment in the Middle East, although you should expect your school to help process this on your behalf. Some countries, like the UAE, may also have stricter entry tests, such as HIV and tuberculosis blood testing before you can be completely cleared to work there. Teaching in Dubai tends to be the most popular choice for teachers of all subjects due to the number of schools, education standards and the salary/benefits packages generally on offer.

Teaching requirements

The teaching requirements are quite similar across the board in the Middle East, with teachers needing to have a combination of degrees and specialist certificates (TEFL for English teachers) and relevant work experience to meet the set criteria. You should also make yourself aware of the best times to apply for roles. For example, the Saudi Arabian school year begins in August and ends in June, before braking for the summer holidays. Recruitment tends to begin during the holiday break, although opportunities do also frequently appear right throughout the calendar year, find out more about teaching in Saudi Arabia.

School expectations

Many of the schools in the Middle East have adopted the British curriculum and pertain to reach the same educational standards. This means the working structures are also quite similar, making it easy to transfer your lifestyle in the process. Many of the countries are oil rich and investment into the education systems are increasing as a result. The UAE is the best-performing country in the region in key subjects such as maths, reading and science, with ambitions to reach the top 20 global rankings by 2022. Jordan and Qatar are also positioned close by in the top 40/50.

Most countries in the Middle East have stringent rules when it comes to dress code in-line with Sharia (Islamic) law. This means dressing modestly, with women asked to cover the tops of arms and legs. Some countries or schools may have more stringent rules in place regarding this. Children are generally obedient and take their lead from the teacher, as the culture of respecting elders is very prominent in the Middle East. For example, in Egypt students are expected to stand when a teacher enters the room, addressing them formally.

Living and lifestyle

No matter which country you choose to work in, the close proximity of all countries makes it easy to travel around the region to gain valuable new work experiences. Whether it’s on a contracted basis or during school holidays, you can move between the likes of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan quickly to explore and learn more. Members of the LGBTQ+ community should be aware that homosexuality is banned in many countries due to Islamic laws, so it is advisable to take this into consideration before applying.