How do I get a job teaching English in the UAE?

The United Arab Emirates is famous for its vast oil wealth that has fuelled rapid growth in all parts of the economy, from ports and global trade, to finance and tourism. This rapid growth is particularly evident in cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi where high-end shopping, world-class dining, and groundbreaking architecture are all commonplace. On top of these attractions, the UAE also offers a modern infrastructure, year-round warm climate, and some of the most lucrative salaries and benefit packages to be found anywhere in the ESL teaching world.

One of the most fascinating facts about the UAE is that around three quarters of its 9 million population were born overseas, one of the main reasons why English language skills are in such high demand throughout the country.

How do I get a job teaching English in the UAE?

As the potential rewards for teaching English in the UAE are so big, the competition for each job can be rather fierce. Also, employers are able to set the bar quite high in terms of requirements as they know they will have no trouble attracting plenty of good candidates. The first thing you will need if you are serious about working in the UAE, and most other countries, is a TESOL certification. At ITTT we have a wide range of in-class and online TESOL courses that will set you up perfectly for teaching in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Take a look at our in-class TESOL course locations

Take a look at our online TESOL course options

As well as a TESOL qualification, you will also need a 4-year degree to be eligible for most positions. Some employers will be happy with a degree in any subject, while others will expect your degree to be in the field of education. They might even expect a masters level qualification. Additionally, many jobs will ask for experienced native English speakers from one of seven different countries: The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, or New Zealand. Teachers who do not meet this criteria can still apply for jobs in the UAE providing they have a high level of teaching qualifications and plenty of classroom experience.

Also read: How much can I earn teaching English in the United Arab Emirates?

What is the hiring process for ESL jobs in the UAE?

The peak hiring seasons are during the spring and summer, prior to a start date in August or September. However, jobs can become available at any time of year. The vast majority of employers complete their hiring process remotely by advertising vacant positions online and then interviewing via video conferencing apps such as Skype or Zoom. Once you have secured a job and signed the contract your employer will assist you in applying for the necessary visas and other paperwork. Just be aware that the visa application could include an HIV test and a criminal background check. The process of applying, interviewing, and securing a visa can take anywhere from one to three months.

What are the start-up costs for teaching English in the UAE?

Wherever you choose to teach ESL you will need some spare cash to hand to see you through until you receive your first paycheck. Typically you will need to cover your initial flight into the country, accommodation, meals, and other sundries such as a local phone sim card, etc. However, most teaching jobs in the UAE will come with a generous benefit package that should make the transition much easier on a financial level. Your flights in and out of the country are often covered by the employer and free accommodation is also usually included. Despite this invaluable help you will still need to have some funds available to help you settle in. We recommend having around $1,000 to $1,500 saved prior to your departure to the UAE.

Also read: What are the best countries to teach ESL in the Middle East?