A guide to teaching English in the UAE
Teaching English in the Middle East

All you need to know about Teaching English in the Middle East. Helpful advice on what life is like teaching here.

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Teaching English in the Middle East

Teaching English in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates is both one of the youngest and one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. The nation itself only formed just over 40 years ago in 1971, consisting of seven emirates. The geography of this terrain is dominated by vast desert land, dotted with oasis green islands, perfect, white sandy beaches, and some of the busiest and cleanest, best developed, hi-tech metropolises of the 21st century. The modern day buzz and star studded attraction of the UAE, and in particular, the city of Dubai, is something else, and famous and wealthy visitors flock to this modern magnificent land for its huge shopping malls, plush hotels, and gigantic skyscrapers, just as much as for the traditional souks and ancient mosques and temples.

The UAE is one of the today’s millionaire’s playgrounds; it has become a centre for so much commerce and tourism. Not so many years ago and the main residents of the country were the Emirati nomads, who roamed the deserts by camelback. The modern day United Arab Emirates are dominated by young, multi-cultured businessmen, oil and energy tycoons, and entrepreneurs, with much of the remaining Muslim population moving into a new, urbanized way of life. The women of the country now have freedom (unlike in some neighbouring nations), they are educated, and offered human rights, able to drive and work outside of their home.

Teaching English in the UAE

English language has become a staple subject in state schools of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and it is now the primary second language. Despite this, there are not as many native English speakers teaching in the UAE as one would think, especially considering the potential for TEFL jobs within Dubai alone. However, the growing tourist and hospitality industries are beginning to change that, and the demand for more natural English speakers and TEFL teachers is rapidly increasing. English TESOL and TEFL jobs in the UAE are not so hard to spot, heavily advertised in local papers and on expat websites, with no real perfect or bad time to start your job hunt. As well as the many schools advertising for qualified TEFL teachers, there is also a network of language agencies, which are often happy to employ native speakers from the UK, Canada, and the USA, interviewing them and offering jobs within the applicant’s home country.

As well as state schools, there are also a wealth of private and internationals schools, educating the hoard of expat kids that find themselves starting a new life in the United Arab Emirates. A further teaching option is with adult classes and business English schools, catering for the many professionals who are drawn to the UAE for high end and hi-tech jobs, needing to brush up on their business English, hoping to develop their careers and impress the boss.

There is also a lot of opportunity to teach privately, with many international families and business learners looking for additional help and tuition, and many TEFL teachers choose to give private tuition in addition to their primary TEFL job, making for very good earning and saving potential.

Teachers tend to get paid very well, the typical TEFL teacher can expect to earn around 8000 to 12000 AED per month (approx 10000 AED = £1700, €2000, $2700), and in most full time TEFL jobs in the UAE, you will receive free accommodation, medical insurance, and all visa costs covered, as well as some end of contract bonuses. Life in the UAE may not be cheap, but the high, tax free TEFL wages make it very possible to live well and build up some great savings.

Whilst there is a rapid increase for native English speaking TEFL teachers in the UAE, any TEFL teachers who are fluent in both Arabic and English should also consider working as a translator, with a constant stream of translation jobs seemingly available in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.


Dubai is perhaps one of the most modern cities in the world, and a major global trade centre. It’s not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, attracting some of the world’s most famous and wealthy people. The economy is secure due to lucrative oil and tourism industries, but such is the economical and social growth that the city has a constantly increasing demand for TEFL teachers, and more so, native English speaking TEFL teachers, with schools and agencies willing to pay high wages, in-line with the high costs and high standards of living in the country.

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is another major tourist destination in the United Arab Emirates. One of the richest and fastest developing cities in the world, Abu Dhabi, as with Dubai, is also one of the most expensive to live in. The size of the rapidly growing tourism industry is making for such a high demand for TEFL teachers in Abu Dhabi, that English teaching wages here are amongst the highest anywhere in the world, and are also tax free! More often than not, including free accommodation! TEFL teaching in Abu Dhabi is not just a chance to witness the exciting growth of one of the most modern cities in the world, but a chance to play a part in its development.

If you would like to get qualified to become eligible for jobs in the United Arab Emirates then you can book your Online TEFL Course here

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  1. Dr Mamo Alo says:

    I’m looking for a teaching post vacancy

  2. Naseem says:

    Good afternoon, I would like to find out if a TEFL course is more sufficient to work in Dubai or is a CELTA course more ideal? Also, do schools in Dubai accept teachers with a CELTA/TEFL but no degree? Many thanks