Teaching English in United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates Overview

Along with Saudi Arabia, the UAE offers some of the very best TEFL salaries in the world. 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 Arabs 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 UAE 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 – 4,500 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

Dubai, Abu Dhabi.

Typical requirements

Degree, TEFL certificate, 3-5 yrs exp.

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1. Consider a move to UAE 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 UAE. This must be done in conjunction with your employer.

Cost of living

The cost of living in UAE 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

almiaad2013 logo-dark Almiaad Education Center in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain etc. Almiaad Education Center is a leading provider of teacher recruitment, school management and English courses and materials with teams and agents in more than 7 countries. Contact: Sami info@almiaad.com

Would you like your school, language centre or recruitment agency to be listed above? 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. James Luworo says:

    I wand to know more about teaching English (ESL) in UAE

  2. Zizi says:

    I am an Iranian and I ha BA in taechinh English from Tehran University. Can I get a job as a language teacher in UAE? My English skills are fluent and I have three years of experience in teaching English in Iran universities as well as language institutes. Thanks for your kind reply in advance.

  3. batthozu anjaneyulu says:

    let me get email alerts of teaching of english/education jobs in gulf countries

  4. Dan says:

    Hello Batthozu. If you want a weekly email with the latest jobs all you need to do is join the mailing list. See the form above these comments….

  5. Jason says:

    If I would come to the UAE with my family, are there international schools for my children? Do employers cover the cost of the international schools?

  6. Sonia says:

    As I non-native speaker of English, but with 24 years experience teaching and with experience in teaching in Ireland, could I get a teaching job in UEA?

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