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What Are the Basic Requirements for Teaching English in Kuwait?

Learn what qualifications you need to teach English in Kuwait, including education, citizenship, visa, and age requirements.

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A small nation nestled in the northern corner of the Persian Gulf, Kuwait represents a small but lucrative job market for English teachers. Combining high salaries and top benefits with a multicultural population, modern infrastructure, and top-level shopping and eating, Kuwait has a ton to offer. However given Kuwait's many advantages, combined with its small size and population of 4.25 million, aspiring TEFL teachers can expect to encounter a highly competitive job market where schools often prioritize experienced native English-speaking teachers with advanced qualifications.

However, for those who meet the requirements, a career in Kuwait can be highly lucrative. English teachers can enjoy a tax-free monthly salary ranging from $1,800 to $3,300 or even more if they possess additional experience and credentials. In addition to the financial rewards, teachers are often provided with enticing perks such as airfare, health insurance, and furnished housing. With its world-class shopping, dining, and abundant travel opportunities, Kuwait represents a top option for those seeking a fulfilling and financially rewarding teaching experience in the Middle East.

If you are considering teaching English in Kuwait, you typically must meet the following qualifications:

What Qualifications Do You Need to Become an English Teacher in Kuwait?

To teach English in Kuwait, you must possess a TEFL certificate & a college degree. Many employers also prefer candidates from native English-speaking countries with an education degree and relevant teaching experience. The average salary for first-time English teachers in Kuwait ranges from $1,500 to $3,000 USD per month.

Requirements to Teach English in Kuwait

Now let's look at the following requirements to teach English in Kuwait in detail:

  1. Have a TEFL Certification (typically required)

  2. Hold citizenship from a recognized English-speaking country

  3. Hold a Bachelor's Degree (at least) from an accredited college or university

  4. Understand the hiring process & possess the correct documents

  5. Cover basic start-up costs

1. TEFL Certification (Typically Required)

If you aspire to teach English in Kuwait, getting a TEFL Certification is essential. While it may not be a legal requirement, reputable language schools in Kuwait typically prefer their teachers to be TEFL-certified.

2. Hold citizenship from a Recognized English-speaking Country

Most schools in Kuwait employ native English speakers from countries like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand for English teaching jobs. In exceptional cases, individuals who are not citizens of these nations may still have a chance at securing a teaching position. However, these opportunities are not very common. Non-native English speakers can improve their chances by obtaining a graduate degree, demonstrating exceptional English language skills, and having extensive teaching experience.

ITA graduates teaching English in Qatar

3. Possess a Bachelor's Degree from an Accredited College or University

Can you teach English in Kuwait without a degree?

While a bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for English teachers in Kuwait in addition to a TEFL certification, many schools prefer to employ candidates with a degree in education or even a master's degree. Previous teaching experience and a teaching license from major native English-speaking countries are also highly valued for most ESL teaching jobs.

However, this doesn't mean that individuals with only an undergraduate degree and a TEFL certification cannot find teaching opportunities in Kuwait. Flexibility, persistence, and exploring other possibilities are key for those looking to teach in this region. In many cases, gaining experience teaching in a region like Asia, which also offers top-paying opportunities, can help open doors for teaching jobs in Kuwait and other Persian Gulf nations.

Pro Tip! If you are looking for a fantastic experience in the heart of the Middle East where you can still earn great salaries and benefits, consider other countries in the region like Saudi Arabia. There are also exponentially more jobs in Asia, in countries like South Korea & China, where English teachers commonly receive benefits like free housing & airfare and typically save 30%-50% of their monthly salary after expenses.

Get paid to teach English in Kuwait

4. Understand the Hiring Process & Documents like Visas

The ideal time to explore teaching opportunities in Kuwait is during the spring and summer months when schools and universities are preparing for the start of the academic year in August-September. However, it's important to remember that job openings can arise throughout the year, giving aspiring teachers the chance to apply at any time. The hiring process typically involves conducting interviews and finalizing decisions well in advance, allowing teachers to have their visa formalities sorted before they depart for Kuwait. This ensures a smooth transition and enables educators to fully focus on preparing for their rewarding teaching journey in the heart of the Middle East.

Many schools utilize recruiting agencies and online job boards to manage the hiring process. Foreign English teachers will typically enter the country on an Entry Visa. Upon arrival, your employer will help you receive your work permit and residency visa from the Ministry of Social Affairs & Labour. To receive their permit, teachers should expect to pass a physical and an HIV test, and in many cases, academic transcripts may be required. A criminal background check may also be necessary to receive a No Objection Certification, which is issued by the General Administration of Criminal Investigation at the Ministry of Interior and is required to get your work visa. Expect the processes of interviewing and making travel and visa arrangements to take at least 1-3 months.

Paperwork and documents required to obtain a work permit & visa for teaching English in Kuwait:

  • Application
  • Passport
  • Medical Test (May also be required on arrival in Kuwait)
  • Criminal Record Check
  • Sponsorship Letter: a letter of employment indicating the employer’s name/organization, commercial registration number, employee’s capacity, salary, contract duration, employee’s name, birth date, and nationality
  • Employment Contract
  • Other documents as required


Teach English in Kuwait

5. Save for Basic Start-up Costs

It is strongly recommended that individuals interested in teaching in Kuwait plan to arrive with savings of at least $1,000-$1,500 to cover initial expenses. While many employers provide housing and some even offer airfare, it is still advisable for new teachers to have accessible funds for the first month or so to cover basic expenses such as food. However, it is entirely possible to recover these start-up costs, as most English teachers in Kuwait can save anywhere from $800-$2,000 per month after taking care of their expenses. This allows teachers to enjoy a rewarding teaching experience in the heart of the Middle East, while also building their savings and indulging in unique travel opportunities throughout the region.

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