Located on the north coast of the African continent, Morocco is one of the most popular teaching destinations in the region. With miles of coastline on both the Atlantic and Mediterranean, Morocco draws visitors from all over the world thanks to its natural beauty that also includes the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert. The country is at the very center of Arabic and Islamic culture and is also the home of the largest Berber population in the world, an ancient ethnic group that are responsible for much of the traditional architecture, crafts, and clothing associated with Morocco. Visitors can also enjoy the popular local cuisine and some of the liveliest and most colorful markets in existence.
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TESOL qualified teachers in Morocco typically earn between 7,000 and 10,000 MAD (Moroccan Dirhams) per month, which currently equates to around $700 to $1,000 US. Many teachers in Morocco also choose to top up their main salary by taking on some private tutoring in their spare time. Rates for tutoring range from $10 to $20 per hour. Pay rates can vary considerably between jobs so it is a good idea to shop around before committing to a specific position. Previous teaching experience can sometimes increase your starting salary and pay rises are possible once you have proved your worth to your employer.
The majority of ESL teachers in Morocco work for private language schools who often focus on adults who require English language skills in the workplace. There are also a small number of jobs available in international schools and bilingual high schools, although previous experience is usually required as these jobs pay considerably more than mainstream language school jobs. Some teachers are also able to gain enough students to work full time as a private language tutor, either with adults or young learners.
Also read: How many hours do ESL teachers teach?
As many of the schools in Morocco are relatively small in size they do not always advertise their job vacancies online. Because of this, most foreign teachers fly into the country first and then look for a job on arrival. The major cities of Casablanca, Fez, Rabat, Marrakesh, and Tangier offer the most numerous jobs and your salary is likely to be higher in one of these locations when compared to smaller towns. The school year in Morocco runs from September to June/July, although private language schools donât necessarily follow this schedule and can operate year-round in many cases.
Unless you have arranged a job in advance of your arrival you will normally enter the country on a standard 90-day tourist visa and then convert this to a work permit once you have secured a job. If you have secured a job in advance you should have all the visa paperwork taken care of by the employer and be issued with a work permit before departure. To obtain a work permit you will require your college diploma, a criminal background check, a TESOL certificate, and a work contract.
As the average salary for an ESL teacher is not that high in Morocco you should not expect to save much of your monthly salary. However, with the addition of some private tutoring on the side you should be able to cover all your bills and still have enough left to enjoy your time away from the classroom. On arrival you will need enough cash to see you through to your first payday. You will need to cover rent, a security deposit, groceries, transport costs, etc. To cover this we would recommend a sum of between $1,500 and $2,000 US, although anything over this could make the early part of your stay more comfortable.
The average cost of living in Morocco is around $500 to $1,000 US per month, depending on the lifestyle you lead. Just remember that this is considerably lower than in most western countries and every $5 you earn here will go that much further than what you are used to. Rent is usually the biggest expense for most teachers and this can vary from one city to the next. It is recommended that you do plenty of research into the current cost of living in the location you have chosen before you sign a work contract.