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How Much Do English Teachers Make in Kuwait?
Ever wondered what salary you can earn teaching English in Kuwait? Explore how much money you can make teaching English in Kuwait and the expenses you will need to consider both in terms of start-up costs and your monthly cost of living.
Written By: John Bentley | Updated: October 31, 2023
Written By: John Bentley
Updated: October 31, 2023
Though not as large as Saudi Arabia or as well known as Dubai and the UAE, Kuwait represents one of the most lucrative and competitive job markets for teaching English in the Middle East. Once little more than a local center of the pearl industry, Kuwait has developed into one of the world's largest petroleum exporters that blends traditional Arabian culture with a modern economy and a diverse population. In fact, of the country's population of 4.4 million, the Kuwaiti government estimates that 70% are foreign expatriates.
Combined with the fact that many Kuwaitis seek university educations in the UK and the USA, the demand for English language education has skyrocketed in recent decades. Schools and students are often willing to pay top dollar for qualified English instructors, both for teaching in regular schools and universities and for specialized training to prepare for English proficiency exams required to enter English language universities.
English Teacher Salary in Kuwait
How Much Does an English Teacher Earn in Kuwait?
On average, English teachers in Kuwait can expect to make anywhere between $1,800 - $3,300 USD (approx. 500 - 1000 KD*) per month tax-free. It is common for employers to pay for teacher's housing and often to provide a reimbursement for flight costs. Experienced teachers can expect to earn even more.
Your salary will fluctuate depending on which teaching position you choose to pursue, which city you teach in, and how many hours you teach per week. Any previous teaching experience can possibly translate into higher starting pay rates and as you gain experience, you will likely see your salary rise accordingly.
* The abbreviation for the Kuwaiti dinar is KD.
Read more: How Much Can I Make Teaching English Abroad?
Kuwait Teaching Salary: The Details
TEFL-certified teachers have a multitude of teaching opportunities awaiting them in Kuwait. For those who choose to teach English in this vibrant country, there are various avenues to explore:
- Teaching adults, business professionals, or children in private language schools and occasionally in vocational colleges;
- Teaching children and teenagers in International schools;
- Private tutoring both children and adults, often for standardized proficiency exams;
- Teaching English online;
- A combination of the above.
NOTE: If you have advanced teaching credentials, you may have the opportunity to secure a teaching position in an international school, a private bilingual grade school, or a private high school. These positions often come with higher salaries and additional benefits compared to those available to first-time teachers.
|Salary & Expenses||English Teacher Salary in Kuwait Details|
|Language School / International School Salary||Between $1,800 and $3,300 USD per month|
|Private Tutoring Salary||$20-$50+ USD per hour|
|Teach English Online Salary||$5-$20 USD per hour|
|Average Cost of Living||$850 -$1,500 USD per month|
|Start-up Costs||Between $1,500 and $2,500 USD|
Let's explore each option and what you can expect to earn from them:
1. Kuwait Private Language & International School Salaries
Although Kuwait is a small country of under 5 million residents (and just under the geographical size of New Jersey), there is still a great demand for English teachers in and around major cities like Kuwait City. Despite this great demand to gain employment in Kuwait, teachers are typically required to hold a degree specifically in education, with a strong preference for those who have previous teaching experience. This often makes Kuwait a harder market for TEFL-certified teachers to gain employment, especially beginner TEFL teachers with little to no teaching experience.
The school year in Kuwait starts during the last week of August and ends in June. However, private language institutes that cater primarily to adults in the business community do not necessarily operate according to the academic calendar used by grade schools and universities. Most primary and high schools recruit in the spring for positions beginning in August. Private language institutes catering to business professionals do not necessarily operate according to the standard academic calendar and may hire year-round based on need.
Pay will fluctuate depending on where you are located, with teachers in larger cities like Kuwait City earning more than those teaching in smaller cities and towns. English teachers working at private language and International schools in Kuwait can expect to make anywhere between $1,800 - $3,300 USD per month or more if they possess advanced credentials and experience.
Visa Options for Teaching English in Kuwait
Work Visa for Teaching English in Kuwait
It is standard practice for English teachers in Kuwait to receive a sponsored work visa which will be processed in their home country before departure.
2. Kuwait Private English Tutoring Salaries
Private tutoring ESL students (especially adults) is extremely common among English teachers in Kuwait. Teachers who choose this route are often:
- Teaching English in Kuwait at a private language or International school and taking on some private tutoring students to help supplement their income;
- Teaching English online and seeking supplemental income by privately tutoring students in addition to their online teaching job;
Getting clients for private lessons is a marketing exercise, and all the avenues that seem appropriate to your circumstances have to be explored. Here are some ways you can market yourself:
- Post notices in schools and universities, coffee shops, supermarkets, embassies, or corner shops;
- Run an advertisement in local periodicals, especially those that cater to university students, professionals and ex-pats;
- Send notices to local public schools announcing your willingness to work with local students on their English.
- Compile a list of addresses of professionals (lawyers, architects, etc.), and professional associations who may need English for their work and have the resources to pay for it and then contact them.
- Call on export businesses, distribution companies, and even travel agencies and tourism companies.
- Get ESL business cards made with Arabic on one side and English on the other.
- Enroll in ITA's English Tutoring Specialty Course. This course will not only provide you with enhanced teaching skills in a private tutoring setting but also incorporates practical guidelines for how to set up your own tutoring business.
- Enroll in ITA's Teaching Test Prep Skills Specialty Course. Many Kuwaiti students seek to study in universities in English-speaking nations and will pay high fees to receive specialized training to prepare for standardized exams they need to pass to gain entry to universities in the US and UK. This course will provide you with the skills you need to help these students maximize their scores on such tests (and boost your resume for higher-paying jobs!).
How much money can I make from private tutoring ESL students in Kuwait?
As a first-time private ESL tutor in Kuwait, you should expect to charge and make around $20-$50 USD per hour for one-on-one lessons. If you are providing private tutoring lessons for small groups (2-3 students at a time), it's possible to increase your rates as your small group of students will be splitting the hourly cost amongst themselves. Also, if you are able to market yourself to economic elites and ex-pats - especially those who work at embassies or multinational corporations, you can very likely charge higher rates and make the equivalent of $60-$80+ an hour. These types of clients are typically easier to cultivate once you have a little experience under your belt and you start getting referrals.
Something to keep in mind - a student may only be after a single private tutoring lesson, or a handful, and can withdraw from their lessons with you at any time. As a result, you should be cautious when trying to budget your private tutoring income too far into the future.
3. Kuwait Teaching English Online Salaries
Like private ESL tutoring, teaching English online is an extremely popular way for teachers to make money. Some digital-nomad-style English teachers in Kuwait teach online as their sole job and income, while others do it to supplement the income they earn from teaching at a private language/ International school or from private tutoring. This could be a great option for you is you are already in Kuwait - say on your partner or spouse's work visa - and looking to make extra cash.
Teaching English online provides TEFL-certified teachers with the opportunity to make money from the comfort of their own homes, with most teachers being able to make anywhere from $5-$20 USD per hour. Hours are flexible, and it is up to you how much or how little you teach - you are in total control of your schedule.
A key advantage of teaching online is that you can begin teaching and making money before you move to Kuwait. This is a great way to help cover the start-up costs of your move and will ensure that you have an income immediately upon your arrival in Kuwait.
Additional Reading: To learn more about how much you can earn from online ESL teaching, please read How Much Money Can I Make Teaching English Online? Need help to find an online teaching platform? Check out Non-Chinese ESL Companies to Teach English Online With.
Expenses for Teaching English in Kuwait
There are two categories of expenses that need to be taken into consideration for those looking to teach English in Kuwait:
- Start-up costs
- Cost of living
Let's explore each of the two in more detail.
1. Start-Up Costs for Teaching English in Kuwait
Start-up costs are expenses you will incur from your arrival in Kuwait until you receive your first paycheck and may include things like a security deposit and first month's rent, apartment supplies, transport, groceries, getting your new local cell phone number set up, etc.
Start-up costs to cover your first month of living in Kuwait will usually range somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000 USD, but having access to $2000+ would be ideal. This is the minimum amount of savings you should have on hand before leaving home and arriving in Kuwait. If you have more, great, but if you have less, you may be setting yourself up for failure from the get-go which can cause unnecessary added stress during an already stressful period of adaption and change.
When planning ahead, it's important to remember that there are other start-up costs to consider before embarking on your teaching adventure in Kuwait. These will include the cost of your TEFL certification, airfare to Kuwait (although sometimes this may be covered by your employer), and any costs associated with obtaining necessary documents like your passport, visa, etc.
2. Cost of Living for Teaching English in Kuwait
Cost of living refers to everyday monthly expenses you will incur during your time in Kuwait. The cost of living in Kuwait is somewhat modest ($850 - $1500 a month) and salaries ($1,800 - $3,300 a month) for first-time ESL teachers are generous. English teachers typically live comfortably on what they earn, but financial planning is still imperative to prepare you for success. The most popular expenses that fall under this category include:
- Monthly rent expenses (although it is common that your employer will provide you with housing and cover your rent)
- Utilities (electricity, gas, water bills, etc)
- Food and grocery expenses
- Health insurance
- Internet bill
- Cell phone bill
- Transportation (transit card, ride-sharing services, etc)
- Travel/entertainment expenses
Your cost of living expenses can vary. On average, English teachers in Kuwait save up to $800+ USD per month after expenses.
- What are the Requirements for teaching English in Kuwait
- Teaching English in the Middle East Country Profiles
- Top 5 Countries to Make the Most Money Teaching English Abroad
John Bentley is Co-Founder & Senior Writer for International TEFL Academy (ITA), the world leader in TEFL certification for teaching English abroad. A graduate of Harvard University and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern, John is a recognized expert in the field of TEFL. His articles have appeared across the field's top websites, including GoAbroad.com, StudyAbroad.com, InterExchange, GoOverseas.com, Adventure Teaching, & many others. He has also spoken as an expert on Teaching English Abroad & TEFL certification at major conferences like MeetPlanGo and Lessons from Abroad (LFA) in Portland & San Diego.
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Teaches English in the UAE