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Getting an English teaching job in the middle east has proven tough in the past but not anymore.

When we say the Middle East, the first words that will pop in our mind are Arab, Islam, deserts, camels etc. Situated around the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, in the western part of Asia, the countries here are mostly balm and hot in temperature. 

How to get an English teaching job in the Middle East

english teaching job in dubai

Dubai at night

If you’re thinking about getting an English teaching job in the Middle East, there’s only one way to go here but up. With the government’s effort to include English in their national curriculum, there’s no doubt your English teaching career will rapidly boom together with the economy of these Middle Eastern countries.  

Whether it’s a small private school or a big university somewhere in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, your potential to earn as an English teacher in the Middle East is very much achievable and measurable. Not only that you get to have a high paying job,  you also get to work in countries that are rich in tradition and history.

Countries in the Middle East

Before we go off to the main topic of this article — How to get an English Teaching Job in the Middle East, I think it’s important to know first the official countries that belong to this continent, and these are…

Palestine, Cyprus, Egypt, Yemen, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman and Jordan.

Bursting your bubble – not all countries in the Middle East are ideal to move in to and build your dream English teaching job. Syria and Iran, for example, have an issue of peace and order.

But then, you can never go wrong with countries like United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and among others – not only are they giving quite a high salary, the cost of living in these countries is not so high. But it also depends on where in the country you live in. Dubai and Abu Dhabi, for example, have higher costs of living than Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah. Since the country is not so large, where you live is not such

What you need to know

Just like any other job, salary isn’t always the only thing you should consider in your job hunting. And because English teaching job is one of the most in-demand professions abroad, it’s very important that you consider these factors too. Factors that will make you live your ideal life as an English teacher in the Middle East.

Salary Offered

The salary offered to an English teacher in the Middle East is ranging from $2000 to $5000. Depending on your experiences and qualifications as well as the country and the type of school you’ll be teaching English in, your potential income is nevertheless more competitive compared to other countries.

Cost of Living

Cost of living is the amount of money that you need in order for you to survive your daily life in a certain country. It is knowing how expensive or how cheap it is to live in one country. And for middle eastern countries, I’ll describe it this way — It’s not so high, and not so low. Don’t worry, it’s totally livable, with a $2000 to $5000 salary potential, living a decent life as an English teacher in the middle is very much achievable.

Cultural Differences

Please remember this, although some countries here are already welcoming and embracing the western culture, you should remember that it is still an Arab/Islamic country, therefore, the cultural differences are very high, and one must always be sensitive, cautious and knowledgeable of their very basic laws. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait are stricter than the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.


If you love super summery weather, Middle Eastern countries are for you. Its hot and balmy weather is almost a year-long making it agreeable for locals and expats.


Your qualification will highly dictate your future in working as an English teacher in the Middle East. Just like any other job, fewer experiences and qualifications is equal to a not so high salary and the higher your qualification, the higher your pay of course. No pain, no glory as they say. If you want your pocket to be full, equip yourself with experiences and certifications.

How to start

Make yourself qualified. Earn a bachelors degree, acquire some teaching experience and upload your resume here on ESL land , then we take care of matching you with employers.

You also might want to equip yourself with experiences and certifications. Countries like UAE, Kuwait, Qatar usually requires someone with TESOL/TEFL certificates or CELTA and DELTA.

Prepare your CV (Curriculum Vitae) or resume.

Make it perfect (if not almost perfect). Remember that your CV/resume is the first impression a manager, employer, recruiter has of you. Make sure it will stand out among others and contains the right information about you.

Start submitting/sending out your CV/resume.

Of course, what’s the use of your almost perfect resume if you keep it, submit it here. Send it out! There are a lot of job hunting sites for ESL teachers you can find around the web. Sites like ESL-Land, ESL Cafe and Teach Away. These sites not only provide you with the latest English teaching jobs abroad, but they also give information, tips, advice and guides on how to become a successful English teacher abroad. Go ahead, sign up and submit your resume.

Prepare for your interview

Claim it, my friend, claim it! Just be confident and know in your heart that an interview will soon follow  (cross fingers). And if that happens, you know what to do. You might want to read this article to help you in preparing for the English teaching job interview you’ve been waiting for. Here at ESL Land we even guide you through the interview process. We also train teachers according to employer requirements so that you can hit the ground running. Keep in mind, the employer has to be a part of our training network for us to offer you this service.

Final Remark

I hope that this article has taught you a lot about what you need to know about getting an English teaching job in the Middle East. Always remember that hard work always pays. If you’re serious about your dream of being an English teacher and travel the world, browse the job board right now and see where teaching English will take you.

Saudi Arabia is a unique country. This is what to expect if you want to take a teaching job in Saudi Arabia. It is an adventure.

Sometimes I tend to agree with my friends when they say that I may be crazy. But the mundane is boring. Who wants to go only to the places that others have been and relive their experiences? Certainly not me.

I haven’t kept a permanent home since 2008 and to be honest I never really planned on doing so until a certain person entered my life in 2010. Atnd when she walked out of it due to irreconcilable differences I could not put up with anymore, life took on a new meaning. At first it was a scary meaning; confusion, distrust of heart related matters.

But I had good friends around me. And with good friends you can get through anything. And that’s when it hit me.

Being on the road is where I find true freedom. The kind that can’t be taken away.

And just like that life took on a new meaning.

A good meaning. A light shun from afar that I had been missing, a new day came of it and when the sun set, I wasn’t scared of the dark.

I started traveling again, made some wonderful new friends in Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Czech Republic and of course Germany. I spent a few months in Berlin studying German and when someone new entered my life, loving wasn’t so hard again. But this post it’s not about that; it’s about taking on new adventures, new challenges, breaking norms and doing whatever the hell you want to do with your life.

And when you do that, in time you learn who your real friends are, who loves you beyond just words and who you can call family. Isn’t that what life is all about?

Why Saudi Arabia?

When asked this I tend to think why not? It’s just like any other country in the world except with some really really really harsh rules. The first document I got on my way to Saudi Arabia threatened my life.

teaching job in saudi arabia: KSA document

Okay maybe not exactly but who puts that on their declaration form? No other country I have been to has drug smugglers put to death on their form. Scary stuff. It just shows how strict the rules are here. And does explain and justifies the comments by my buddy this morning who wrote me asking

Still alive? Still have both of your hands?

Yes I still do and luckily I am not a drug smuggler otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this. But I still haven’t answered the question why Saudi.

Because what is true about me today would make my ten year old self really happy. We all had dreams as children. We wanted to be superheros, doctors, chefs, presidents, ninjas, travel and see the world and whatever.

Although I had all those dreams that we all had as children, some of them stayed with me. I always wanted to travel and see the world. I wanted to be a Poet, a Teacher like my grandfather and a more simple one, a good person. That’s what my ten year old self wanted.

I want to be able to sit on a rocking chair one day with my grand kids and tell them about that time when I decided to go and tried a teaching job in Saudi Arabia. It will be a story that will remain with them and hopefully inspire their own dream.

Dreams are all we have and making them come true is what all of us strive for. Like Einstein said, “imagination is more important than knowledge” but in my adventure, I gain knowledge while fostering my imagination and reaching new heights. And that’s what KSA represents. But if we wanted to go into details, here is what a teaching job in Saudi Arabia offers:

  1. It’s a well paid contract
  2. I teach the same hours I have taught in other countries
  3. It’s a new job with great potential
  4. They pay for everything; I just show up and do what I do
  5. It’s in a country I know little to nothing about
  6. and best of all, it’s an adventure and I love adventures.

What’s not to like with this deal?

How did I come about this gig?

Like any other job I applied. Like teaching in Korea, Japan, Taiwan or anywhere else the process is pretty much the same. You contact the recruiter seeking Teachers for that particular region. They ask you to submit your information, education, qualifications etc and they start job hunting for you.

If and when they find a position that’s a match for your qualifications, they present it to you. If you are interested then you are interviewed by the recruiter first, then the school they represent. If you like the perks which in most cases include, housing, health insurance, airfare, moving allowance and so forth, then you accept. And the rest is hunky dory.

A lot of countries are seeking English Teachers because the language has become more and more important with each passing year.
And what better way to travel and see the world than having someone else pay for it? When you have your weekends and time off, you can explore nearby countries like I did for 3 years in Asia. Nothing beats that.

It gets addictive though

Many times I have wanted to return home and stay. For example this previous trip home; the longest I have had, I almost stayed but things didn’t work out the way I wanted at the job I was at. And once again I was reminded and reunited with my dream to see as much of the world as possible. And one day be able to sit down on a rocking chair and tell my grand kids about that time when I decided to go to Saudi Arabia. It will be a legendary story that will create a wonderful memory for them.

It does get addictive because once a traveler always a traveler. Either you are doing it physically or you are thinking about where you would like to go and making plans to go there. It never stops. If you doubt me check out Wandering Earl, Nomadic Matt or Expert Vagabond. These guys have been at it for quite sometime. They all have their own ways that allow them to keep doing it and each of their story is unique.

What to expect for a teaching job in Saudi Arabia.

What do I expect?

I expect to have a blast. To ride camels and go desert surfing as often as possible. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I landed and when viewing the landscape from the plane. The entire country is a f**king desert. A filthy rich f**king desert.

My driver (Hussein) was telling me while driving me from the airport that there are oil reserves in Saudi Arabia for the next two hundred years and that’s not even a tip of the iceberg. He said everywhere they dig just over flows with oil. And that there are two mountains said to be full of gold. And the gold you buy here is pure one hundred percent gold.

So I expect to get me a piece of that gold in a form of a nice watch for now since all the leather ones I buy tend to break after a year or so of use.

I expect to be at orientation on Sunday morning. That’s when I will see Hussein again unless I need him to take me anywhere anytime then I can call him. But that’s boring. Why call him to drive me around when I can put on my shoes of disobedient and go explore Al-Khobar? Too dangerous? Nah, then what’s fun without a tiny bit of danger.

Just last night I was in Berlin saying goodbye to the most lovely person in the world. Then I was hopping on the plan to Qatar where I spent two hours doodling online. And now I am at Al Nimran Hotel in Al Khobar. Hussein is gone. The regional manager called me a few minutes ago to let me know about the schedule and that Hussein will be back on Sunday to drop me off to work unless I need him before then. But I am exhausted because I didn’t sleep at all in the plane so now I will go out, grab a bit and catch up on a little reading then hit the sack.

Two other Teachers arrive today from Canada and South Africa and a third one tomorrow from California. I look forward to meeting them and hoping they are good people on this here new adventure I am about to share with them.

I am a little nervous but less so now than excited.
I am interested to know if Saudi Arabia is like the stories I have read online. After all, it’s the most restrictive Muslim country in the world. How will I fare here? Will I crack under pressure and cave because of the restrictions? Or will I embrace it and adapt like I have done in other countries. Who knows!

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