Teaching in Saudi Arabia
Teaching in Saudi Arabia offers many benefits for those who choose to work there. Typical remuneration packages include:
- a generous, tax-free salary
- free, fully furnished accommodation or equivalent accommodation allowance
- private healthcare for you and your family
- free education for your children
- annual return flights to and from the UK
- an end of contract bonus (usually one month’s wage per year worked)
Working as a teacher in Saudi Arabia, you will typically earn between 11,000 SAR (approx. £2,300) and 15,000 SAR (approx. £3,000) per month, which is more than a main scale UK classroom teacher.
As a bonus, this is paid tax-free and you’ll receive free accommodation or a tax-free accommodation allowance on top.
Many teachers also take advantage of working in Saudi Arabia by letting their UK homes whilst they are abroad.
Find Teaching Jobs in Saudi Arabia
There is a range of teaching opportunities available in Saudi Arabia. A popular choice for UK teachers is working in International British Schools. These cater for British ex-patriot children as well as other nationalities, including Saudi Arabians, who have a preference for the British style of education.
Similar to UK schools, these establishments provide an education that is based on the National Curriculum and which follows the standard structure of EYFS, key stages one to four and sixth form. Older students will work towards GCSEs and the International Baccalaureate.
UK teachers find British International Schools very easy to settle into as English is the language used and most of the staff, students and parents will be from the UK.
An alternative is to teach in a private international school. These are similar to International British Schools but have a curriculum based on that of another country. These include American International Schools, which are also a popular choice because they deliver lessons in English and much of the subject content is familiar.
Classroom teacher vacancies are available across all age ranges and all subject areas. At times, there are also positions available for middle and senior leaders, including SENDCOs, heads of departments, vice principals and even principals.
In addition, there are numerous opportunities to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL) throughout Saudi Arabia. These include university positions, jobs teaching company employees and roles within private language schools. Here you may find yourself teaching both children and adults.
Qualifications Needed to Teach in Saudi Arabia
To teach in a British or private international school you will need similar qualifications to those required to teach in the UK. These are:
- Relevant degree
In addition, you will usually need 2 - 3 years successful teaching experience in an English-speaking school.
Those seeking senior leadership roles will also need a recognised leadership qualification, such as an NPQH, and may also require an M.Ed. or Ph.D. To teach TEFL, you usually need to be a native or fluent English speaker, hold a degree and have a recognised TEFL qualification.
Living as a Teacher in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East and one which benefits economically from being the world’s biggest producer of oil. For this reason, it has a large international workforce comprising over 10 million ex-patriots.
Saudi Arabia is very different to the UK and it’s not for everyone. Governed by Islamic (Sharia) law, it’s one of the more conservative Muslim countries and some westerners may find it difficult to adapt. Women, for example, are not allowed to drive and must follow a dress code when in public. Alcohol is also forbidden. If you intend to work there, the British Government advises that you respect Saudi Arabian traditions, customs, laws and religion at all times.
Most UK ex-patriots in Saudi Arabia, including teachers, tend to live in compounds. These are self-contained housing developments where western communities live together – a little like a holiday village. Many of these have their own facilities, including pools, restaurants and markets. Women do not have to follow the dress code within the confines of a compound.
Saudi Arabia enjoys good relations with the UK and there are around 26,000 UK workers in the country. However, before accepting a job in Saudi Arabia, you should always read the latest travel advice from the UK Government’s website.
For those that take the opportunity to go, there is much for teachers to experience in Saudi Arabia. It has stunning landscapes, plenty of historic sites and some very modern cities. Its vast desert interior is home to fabulous oases and there’s the chance to indulge in activities such as safaris, dune surfing and off-road driving. The country also has a wealth of beautiful coastline where you can take part in a wide range of water sports or relax by the beach.
Those who teach in the larger cities will also be able to sample the more sophisticated side of Saudi Arabia: its superb restaurants, air-conditioned shopping malls, art galleries and museums. With so much to do, you’ll be sure to come back with great memories and many new friends.