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How Much Do English Teachers Make in Saudi Arabia?
Ever wondered what salary you can earn teaching English in Saudi Arabia? Discover the potential earnings of teaching English in Saudi Arabia and the essential expenses you must factor in, including initial investment and monthly living costs.
Written By: John Bentley | Updated: December 5, 2023
Written By: John Bentley
Updated: December 5, 2023
As Saudi Arabia continues to expand its influence in diplomacy, commerce, and even sports, such as soccer and golf, the demand for English language education has skyrocketed. The Saudi government has made English education a top national priority, including “enabling students to acquire basic language skills,” “developing students’ positive attitude toward learning English”, and “helping students gain the linguistic skills needed in different professions.”
The growing job market for English teachers in Saudi Arabia is competitive but highly lucrative, offering tax-free salaries ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 per month or even more. In addition to the financial perks, teachers can enjoy benefits like airfare, health insurance, and furnished housing. With a large expatriate population and a growing number of Saudis pursuing higher education in English-speaking countries, the demand for English language education continues to rise. This has generated a strong demand for specialized training to excel in English proficiency exams required for admission to English language universities.
Read More: Teaching English in Saudi Arabia
English Teacher Salary in Saudi Arabia
How Much Does an English Teacher Earn in Saudi Arabia?
Typically, English teachers in Saudi Arabia can expect to earn $1,500 - $3,000 USD (approx. 5600 - 1100 SAR*) per month tax-free, and probably more for those with additional experience and credentials. It is common for employers to pay for teacher's housing and flight costs.
The salary you can expect as a teacher will vary depending on the teaching position you decide to pursue. If you have previous teaching experience, this could potentially result in higher starting pay rates, and as you gain more experience, your salary is likely to increase accordingly.
* The abbreviation for the Saudi Arabian riyal is SAR.
Read more: How Much Can I Make Teaching English Abroad?
Saudi Arabia Teaching Salary: The Details
There are a variety of avenues for English teachers to gain employment in Saudi Arabi:
- Teaching adults, business professionals, or children in private language schools and occasionally in vocational colleges;
- Teaching children and teenagers in International schools or public schools;
- Private tutoring 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 elite international school, a private bilingual grade school, or even a college or university. These positions often come with higher salaries and additional benefits compared to those available to first-time teachers.
|Salary & Expenses
|English Teacher Salary in Saudi Arabia Details
|Language School / International School Salary
|Between $1,800 and $5,000 USD per month
|Private Tutoring Salary
|$20-$50+ USD per hour
|Teach English Online Salary
|$5-$20 USD per hour
|Average Cost of Living
|$500-$1,000 USD per month
|$1,000 - $1,500 USD (3,750 - 5,600 SAR)
Let's explore each option and what you can expect to earn from them:
1. Saudi Arabia Private Language & International School Salaries
Saudi Arabia offers some of the highest salaries in the world for English teachers, but it also comes with a competitive job market and high hiring standards. Many positions require a degree in education, and preference is given to those with previous teaching experience or a Master's degree. This can make it challenging for TEFL-certified teachers, especially those who are just starting out.
The school year in Saudi Arabia starts near the end 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 Riyadh earning more than those teaching in smaller cities and towns. English teachers working at private language and International schools in Saudi Arabia can expect to make anywhere between $1,500 - $3,000 USD per month or more if they possess advanced credentials and experience.
Visa Options for Teaching English in Saudi Arabia
Work Visa for Teaching English in Saudi Arabia
It is standard practice for English teachers in Saudi Arabia to receive a sponsored work visa which will be processed in their home country before departure.
2. Saudi Arabia Private English Tutoring Salaries
Private tutoring ESL students is common among English teachers in Saudi Arabia and can be lucrative. Teachers who choose this route are often:
- Teaching English in Saudi Arabia at a private language or International school and taking on some private tutoring students to help supplement their income;
- Expatriates living in Saudi Arabia because their spouse has a job and they are looking to make money and enjoy a productive life by tutoring either full-time or part-time;
In many cases, students and other folks you meet in your daily life will approach you and ask if you can provide private lessons. Still, getting clients for private lessons can be a marketing exercise. Here are some ways you can market yourself:
- Post notices in schools and universities, coffee shops, supermarkets, embassies, or corner shops;
- Advertise 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 incorporate practical guidelines for how to set up your own tutoring business.
- Enroll in ITA's Teaching Test Prep Skills Specialty Course. Many Saudi Arabian 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!).
It's important to note that when charging higher rates, you must be able to demonstrate the value and expertise you bring to the table. Emphasize your qualifications, teaching experience, and any specialized training you have received. This will help potential clients understand why they should invest in your services and why your rates are justified.
Ultimately, the key to success as a private ESL tutor in Saudi Arabia is to continuously improve your teaching skills, market yourself effectively, and deliver exceptional results for your students. As you gain a positive reputation and a loyal client base, you can confidently increase your rates and enjoy a rewarding and financially lucrative career in private tutoring.
PRO TIP! Tutoring English is a multi-billion dollar global market. If you want to take advantage of lucrative opportunities in this field - or even to build your own English tutoring business, ITA highly recommends taking the Tutoring English TEFL Specialty Course.
How much money can I make from private tutoring ESL students in Saudi Arabia?
If you're just starting out as a private ESL tutor in Saudi Arabia, you can expect to charge around $20-$50 USD per hour for one-on-one lessons. However, if you're teaching small groups of 2-3 students, you have the opportunity to increase your rates as the cost can be split among them. Additionally, if you're able to market yourself to Saudi Arabian elites and ex-pat professionals, especially those working at embassies or multinational corporations, you can potentially charge higher rates and earn upwards of $60-$80+ per hour.
3. Saudi Arabia Teaching English Online Salaries
Like private ESL tutoring, teaching English online provides a viable way for teachers to make extra money. Some digital-nomad-style English teachers in teach online as their sole job and income, but in Saudi Arabia most 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 if you are already in Saudi Arabia - 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 to start. Hours are flexible, and it is up to you how much or how little you teach - you are in control of your schedule.
A key advantage of teaching online is that you can begin teaching and making money before you move to Saudi Arabia. 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 Saudi Arabia.
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 Saudi Arabia
Two categories of expenses need to be taken into consideration for those looking to teach English in Saudi Arabia:
- Start-up costs
- Cost of living
Let's explore each of the two in more detail.
1. Start-Up Costs for Teaching English in Saudi Arabia
Start-up costs are expenses you will incur from your arrival in Saudi Arabia 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 Saudi Arabia will usually range somewhere between $1,000 - $1,500 USD (3,750 - 5,600 SAR). This is the minimum amount of savings you should have on hand before leaving home and arriving in Saudi Arabia. If you have more, great, but if you have less, you may find yourself stretched financially.
When planning ahead, it's important to remember that there are other start-up costs to consider before embarking on your teaching adventure in Saudi Arabia. These may include the cost of your TEFL certification, airfare to Saudi Arabia (often this will 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 Saudi Arabia
Cost of living refers to everyday monthly expenses you will incur during your time in Saudi Arabia. The minimum cost of living in Saudi Arabia is modest ($500-$1,000 a month), and salaries ($1,500 - $3,000 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 Saudi Arabia save up to $800+ USD per month after expenses.
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Co-Founder at International TEFL Academy
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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"The Middle East is a very fascinating and unfortunately an extremely misunderstood area by so many. In a lot of ways, it’s an extremely easy place to adjust to, Western luxuries are quite accessible and almost everything is in English and Arabic."
- Katie Ayers
Teaches English in the UAE