What are the best countries to teach ESL in the Middle East?
During any research regarding teaching English abroad you are sure to come across the Middle East as it has a very vibrant job market for TESOL qualified teachers. Jobs are abundant in many areas, mainly due to the huge number of immigrants from all over the world who flock here to find work in a wide variety of industries. English language skills are highly prized in many countries and employers are happy to pay some of the highest salaries on offer anywhere in the world in order to secure your services. However, as the benefits are so attractive, the requirements for teachers are usually much higher than in many other parts of the world. If you can meet the criteria expected, the following are some of the most popular countries for teaching ESL in the Middle East.
United Arab Emirates
The most astonishing fact about the UAE is that around 90% of its population were born in another country, which makes it one of the most diverse places in the world and a hotbed for ESL teaching. English skills are highly sought after in the workplace and there are countless schools and language centers geared up to supply the necessary instruction. Jobs can also be found in kindergartens, colleges, universities, and international schools that follow a foreign curriculum such as British or Australian.
In order to secure a teaching job in the UAE you will usually require at least a year or two of classroom experience, a degree, and a TESOL certification, although these requirements are not always set in stone. If you do manage to land a job you will be handsomely rewarded in most cases, with tax-free salaries, free accommodation, return airfares, and bonus payments all commonplace. Thanks to these excellent benefits, ESL teachers are typically able to save a large percentage of their income each month.
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Similar to the UAE, Saudi Arabia has an insatiable thirst for English language instruction. ESL teaching jobs are widespread, with a range of different employers all trying to fill their vacant positions with qualified and experienced teachers. If you have already completed one or two years in the classroom you should have little trouble finding a suitable position, although the very best jobs will attract strong competition and have a high set of requirements. If you can also offer Arabic language skills you will be particularly sought after.
Once again, teachers who are able to meet the requirements can expect a very generous tax-free salary and a benefit package that allows you to save a good chunk of money every month. However, one thing that every teacher needs to think about before accepting a job in Saudi Arabia is whether the local conservative laws and traditions are something you can live with. For some teachers it is no problem at all, but others might find that a ban on alcohol and restrictions on personal relationships can be an issue.
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Despite its relatively small size and population, Qatar has a strong market for ESL teachers largely due to the huge number of foreign workers who call it home. As with the UAE, around 90% of the population was born elsewhere and there are countless schools and language centers catering to their language needs. The FIFA World Cup that was recently held in Qatar has also gone a long way to lifting its profile and creating more teaching options. Over 80% of the population live within the capital city Doha, which is why this rapidly growing destination is where the vast majority of ESL jobs are found. As with most countries on this list, teaching jobs are typically secured from within your base country before leaving home and interviews are conducted online.
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While the previous three countries are the biggest employers of foreign ESL teachers in this region, Oman is one of several that is starting to challenge their dominance in the job market. As the country continues to grow in population and influence, so does the amount of opportunities for teachers. New schools are opening on a regular basis and the potential salaries and extra benefits continue to grow along with this expansion. Government schools and private language schools dominate the market, although there are also highly sought after jobs available in international schools and up market kindergartens. Oman’s reputation for being a little more laid back than some of its neighbors is also a factor for some teachers who are considering the Middle East as a destination.
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Kuwait is another Middle East country where a huge percentage of the population were born overseas, leading to plenty of potential options for foreign ESL teachers. Jobs can be found right across the spectrum, from kindergarten to university level and everything else in between. The requirements are generally the same as other countries on this list, although there is probably more chance for those with less experience than there is in the UAE or Saudi Arabia. Although the average salaries are generally less than the top paying countries in this region, ESL teachers should have little trouble living well and also saving a substantial amount of their income.
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