What Makes the UAE a Unique Place for English Teachers?

May 17, 2024

If you are familiar with the TEFL industry at all, you will know that teaching English abroad is an enriching and fulfilling career that benefits you, as a teacher, as well as your learners. Is it a career, however, where big salaries are on offer to the most qualified, talented teachers? Turns out, yes! 

The truth is that TEFL salaries change greatly depending on several factors, from the institution that hires you to the type of course you teach, from the qualifications you hold to your teaching experience. Perhaps most crucially of all, however, is that your salary as a TEFL teacher depends on the country in which you teach. 

On that note, here’s everything you need to know about teaching English in the UAE.

Advantages of teaching English in UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is known for its modern cities and iconic skyscrapers, like the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, stunning desert landscapes, and rapid economic development, driven by industries such as oil and gas, tourism, finance, and real estate. 

With such a thriving economy, it’s not surprising that the English language – as the lingua franca of trade and tourism – takes centre stage in any kind of business transaction. For this reason, the demand for highly skilled English teachers is enormous. 

If you choose to teach English in the UAE, you will benefit from extremely competitive salaries, ranging between $2,000 and $5,000 a month, as well as very generous packages. TEFL employers in the UAE typically offer housing allowances, health insurance, annual flights home, and bonuses upon completion of your contract which could be 12 or 24 months long. All this with a teaching schedule of around 20-25 hours a week.

Another perk of teaching in the UAE is the tax-free income. This means that you can save a significant portion of your earnings, which makes your already abundant salary go even further. 

Beyond the financial aspect

Although the financial benefits of teaching English in the UAE play a key role in teachers’ preferences, this country has a lot more to offer in terms of cultural exchange and personal enrichment. 

The UAE is a melting pot of cultures, with expatriates from around the world calling it home. This cultural diversity allows you to learn about other people’s traditions and makes it easier to fit in. Furthermore, you can be confident that your stay in the UAE is a safe one, with this country being ranked as the second safest country in the world in 2023.

The ultra-modern infrastructure and state-of-the-art educational facilities is truly impressive, allowing teachers access to cutting-edge resources and technology to enhance their students’ learning experience. Furthermore, TEFL institutes in the UAE place a strong emphasis on professional development and offer training programs, workshops, and certification courses for language tutors to enhance their teaching skills and career advancement prospects.

Requirements to teach in the UAE

It’s undeniable that such a great location with so many opportunities is a tempting destination for many TEFL professionals. However, the UAE is very strict regarding the requirements for its international teachers. 

Qualifications

A minimum 120-hour TEFL certificate is generally standard, although many schools prefer candidates with a Level 5 qualification or higher. 

A bachelor’s degree, preferably in education, is preferred, especially for higher-level positions or university teaching roles. While knowledge of Arabic is not essential, possessing basic language skills can be an advantage and can help you fit in with the locals more quickly.

Additional requirements

A teaching experience of a minimum of three years is often the norm, but some institutions require up to 5 years of previous experience. The upper age restriction in the UAE is 55 for international applicants.

Candidates must demonstrate passion, cultural sensitivity, and strong teaching skills to stand out in such a competitive job market. 

Female teachers may have concerns about the strict dress code in the UAE, but many expatriates find it to be more liberal than anticipated. While modest attire is generally expected, particularly in the workplace, the dress code is not significantly more conservative than in many other parts of the world. 

However, it’s important to respect local laws and customs, as certain behaviours, such as public displays of affection and the use of inappropriate language are illegal and can result in severe consequences, including deportation.

Has the UAE won you over?

Overall, the UAE offers unique and generous opportunities in terms of career, cultural richness, modern amenities, and financial benefits, making it an attractive destination for English teachers seeking a rewarding professional experience abroad.

Featured image by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

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