Teaching English in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Overview

The best TEFL salaries in the world are in Saudi Arabia. If you work here for a decade you should be able to buy a nice house outright back in the West. But that’s if you can handle living in such a place for such a length of time. As with all Gulf States, the ultra-strict Muslim way of life is not particularly compatible with other belief systems and therefore many Westerners will require considerable time to adjust to what can be a stifling and rigid cultural environment. For example, even playing music in public is forbidden. Besides the generous tax-free salaries, the other positive points include the excellent cuisine and opportunities to explore the desert and coastline.¬†Experience is essential and many employers require at least three years. Many teachers complain of a culture of entitlement by rich Saudis who lack motivation to learn and feel they deserve to pass exams with no effort whatsoever. Despite the large expat community and great salaries, life here is hard for Westerners and the rigid laws make it quite difficult to enjoy yourself in your spare time. Western women may finds things especially difficult. It is undoubtedly a great place to save money though, and if it weren’t for that single fact then the number of TEFL teachers in Saudi Arabia would probably be much lower than it is.

Type of Institution Typical salary (USD/month) Typical hours Typical annual leave
Language centres and local universities 2,500 – 5,000 Various shifts Various
International schools 3,500 upwards 7am Р4pm Monday to Friday plus some weekend work 10 weeks plus national holidays

Main places for jobs

Jeddah, Riyadh.

Typical requirements

Degree, TEFL certificate, 3-5 yrs exp.

The University of Toronto TEFL Online - Internationally Recognized


1. Consider a move to Saudi Arabia very carefully. Can you really handle the considerable cultural restrictions for a year or more?

2. Having medical insurance (ideally as part of your contract) is essential as treatment costs are very high here and many expats have been prevented from leaving the country until they settle their considerable medical debts.

3. Be sure to negotiate with potential employers regarding the availability of free or subsidised accommodation, plus medical and flight allowances.

Red tape

Work permits should be arranged before you arrive in Saudi Arabia. This must be done in conjunction with your employer.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Saudi Arabia is high. However, the fabulous tax-free salaries mean that you ought to be able to save a good portion of your salary each month.

Tax and salary information

Your salary is tax-free. You should receive your salary on a monthly basis unless otherwise stated in your contract.


Huge demand for English tuition Few openings for those without considerable experience
Excellent tax-free TEFL salaries High living costs
Decent infrastructure The cultural differences associated with living in a Muslim-majority nation may be a shock to the inexperienced

Directory of Recommended Schools, Language Centres and Recruitment Agencies

Would you like your school, language centre or recruitment agency to be listed here? Please contact us.

Qualified English teachers please register with World of TEFL and we will contact you with relevant vacancies as they come in. This is a free service for teachers.

1 Comment

  1. bliss4mf says:

    I’ll be very glad if my dream is realistic to teach in saudi arabia. l studied English Language and have 3 years of teaching experience.

Leave A Reply