What are the Requirements to Teach English in the UAE in 2020? [Including Dubai & Abu Dhabi]

By Michael Kunik

Home to some of the immense oil wealth, major ports and a booming tourism sector, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become a global center of trade, finance & travel. With cities like Dubai & Abu Dhabi offering opulent shopping, world class dining, and some of the world's most stunning architecture, the Emirates have become a major destination for tourists and investors alike. These attractions, along with some of the world's most lucrative salaries and benefits  also make the United Arab Emirates one of the most desirable destinations for teaching English abroad.  

The UAE is divided into seven emirates, with Dubai being the most populous as well as the most popular, followed by Abu Dhabi. The population of the UAE is around 9.2 million, with over three-fourths of the UAE residents being expatriates. The nation is investing heavily in English language education and offers salaries for English teachers that are among the highest in the world. Combined with its small size, this has made the UAE one of the most competitive job markets in the world for teaching English abroad. In many cases, simply having a TEFL certification does not necessarily qualify you for positions there. This article will break down the full requirements for securing English teaching positions in this region.

What Are Salaries for English Teachers in the Middle East in 2020?

By Michael Kunik

Stretching from the western shores of North Africa across the Sahara to the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula and into the heart of Central Asia, the Middle East is a vast and diverse region not only from the standpoint of its cultures and geography, but in terms of the opportunities it offers certified English teachers as well.

In the wealthy Arab nations of the Persian Gulf region, English teachers can command some of the highest salaries and finest benefit packages in the world and must compete in a competitive job market. Often schools in this region of the Middle East will require English teaches to have a Master’s Degree (sometimes in education) and previous teaching experience, on top of their TEFL certification. That's not to say it's impossible for first-time teachers to get a job in this region (especially in Saudi Arabia), but you will need to be persistent, patient and flexible in your job search. Those who qualify for such positions will enjoy some of the highest salaries in the field as pay can range from $2,500 - $6,000 a month, plus free housing and flights to and from the teacher’s home country.

But I Don't Speak Arabic! Teaching English in the U.A.E.

By Katie Ayers

When I graduated from International TEFL Academy's Chicago Class, I felt like it was the first time I really mastered the English language - with all of the grammar rules and new knowledge about location of letters on your tongue, I was ready. So naturally, I embarked on a journey to a country that, for lack of a better word, spun my brain around.

A Typical Weekend for an ESL Teacher in Ras al Khaimah, U.A.E.

By Katie Ayers

You’ve heard the expression, work hard - play hard. While I’ve never verbalized this as my motto for life in Ras al Khaimah, UAE, it does make a lot of sense. My weekdays are essentially non-stop work. My days at work are extremely busy, I’m constantly in motion. I try to get all of my grading and planning done at work so I do not have to take it home. Unlike my previous positions, this is actually possible if you work hard enough during school hours. After school on weekdays I prepare food and head to the gym.

Middle Eastern Meals: Dining Adventures with Katie Ayers in the U.A.E.

By Katie Ayers

When traveling, the only solidified plan I make before leaving is where to eat. My Pinterest travel board is a glorified international food board and I am constantly in search of my favorite meal to date.

One of my favorite meals happens to come from my current home. After doing extensive research on where to eat in Ras al Khaimah, trying a variety of food and compiling my top 5 must eats I’m ready to convince people to travel here based on the food alone. If I convince you, and you make your way up to the northernmost Emirate, don’t leave before you hit at least 2 of these spots.

Classrooms Around the World - Teaching English in Ras al Khaimah, U.A.E.

By Katie Ayers

In 7 years of teaching, my classroom has doubled as a hallway, has had broken windows with no AC in the middle of the summer, has contained just a white board and a few chairs, had technology available with all the supplies I need and been filled with growing minds. My physical classroom here is similar to any class setting I’ve seen in the US, just a bit newer than what I’m used to and with lesson broken desks.

Will My Master's Degree Help Me Teach English Abroad?

By Tyler Parsons

The short answer is, yes! A higher education degree will always look great on a resume and help you stand out amongst other candidates applying for a position teaching English abroad. While it may not guarantee you a job over another teacher without one, the experience is definitely something that will catch the attention of schools during the hiring process and lead to interviews!

With that being stated, there are still some things to consider when applying to teaching jobs with a Master’s degree.