Teaching jobs in the UAE presents an enticing prospect for educators seeking a blend of professional growth and a vibrant lifestyle in the sun-filled country. With the opportunity to teach highly motivated students in modern and well-equipped schools, the UAE offers exceptional advantages and generous perks, such as tax-free income.

Schools in Dubai and the wider UAE are characterised by their modern infrastructure and ample funding, ensuring a conducive environment for both teaching and learning. Unlike the resource constraints often faced in other educational settings, schools in this country prioritise providing the necessary materials and resources to enhance teaching outcomes.

Advancements in Education in the UAE

The UAE’s education system aims for high yet achievable objectives to ensure the success of every child in education and life. These efforts are crucial for the UAE’s transition into a knowledge economy capable of competing globally. Teachers play a central role in shaping the quality of education both now and in the future.

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), initiatives such as Qudwa 2019 highlight the importance of placing teachers at the forefront of discussions regarding future-ready schools. This reflects a national commitment to prioritising teachers and teaching in education policies.

teaching english in the UAE
Teaching English in the UAE

Teaching English in the UAE

There are abundant opportunities for educators considering teaching in the UAE, particularly for qualified teachers from countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. To teach aboard, you must have a valid teaching license or TEFL certificate and be a native English speaker.

With over 1,600 international schools and a diverse student population exceeding 1.1 million in Dubai alone, this city offers a wide array of teaching styles, curricula, and philosophies. Some international teachers rely on the help of recruitment agencies to streamline the application process. 

For those who prefer to avoid the intervention of third parties, the prospect of teaching in the UAE may seem daunting. However, the documentation and visa requirements are manageable with proper guidance, so learning about teach English in UAE is crucial. 

  • Qualifications and documents

International schools typically require recognized teaching qualifications and a minimum of two years of teaching experience. Upon securing a job offer, teachers must prepare and authenticate documents, including passports, university degrees, and teaching qualifications. However, schools often assist with the visa application process, making the transition smoother for incoming teachers.

  • School calendar

In terms of the academic calendar, the school year in the UAE aligns closely with that of the UK, starting in late August and concluding in early July. For you as a teacher, this means that breaks for half-terms and holidays provide travelling opportunities to spend time with family and recharge your batteries for the new term ahead. 

Qasr Al Sarab in Liwa Al Dhafra Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
Qasr Al Sarab in Liwa, Al Dhafra, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Salary, perks, and cost of living

The UAE’s commitment to developing a top-tier education system, as outlined in the National Agenda’s ‘Vision for 2021’, led to substantial reforms in the public school system. Consequently, lucrative contracts are available for educators seeking opportunities in the country.

A teacher’s salary in the UAE can vary significantly – from 100,000 AED (£22,000) to 200,000 AED (£44,000) per year, tax-free. This depends on the level of overseas teaching experience required by higher-paying schools.

In addition to competitive salaries, most schools in the UAE provide benefits such as free accommodation or an accommodation allowance and often cover the cost of flights to and from the UAE, which may extend to partners and families.

Health care coverage is typically included in employment contracts, and a relocation allowance, usually around £500, is commonly offered to assist with initial expenses. Teachers are often rewarded with end-of-year or end-of-contract bonuses, equivalent to one month’s pay.

Regarding the cost of living, the currency in the UAE is the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED), with utilities for a two-bedroom apartment in Dubai averaging around 585 AED (£130) per month. Eating out is considerably more expensive than in the UK, especially if consuming alcoholic drinks, often costing 40 AED (£8) for a beer or 185 AED (£40) for a bottle of wine at bars or restaurants.

Woman teaching in the UAE
Teaching in the UAE is rewarding

FAQ about teaching in the UAE

Before deciding on a job opportunity in the Middle East, you might have many questions running through your mind. It’s important to have an answer to all of them before accepting the position.

One essential question to clarify is whether you’ll be expected to enter the country as a tourist and then have your visa converted or if you’ll enter on a work visa directly. It’s imperative to understand that working while on a tourist entry visa is illegal. You must request a work visa from your employer to avoid legal issues and ensure your rights as an employee.

You should ask your employer how long the school would take to process your residency visa and issue your ID and medical card. Knowing this information helps you plan your transition and settle into your new life as quickly as possible. Furthermore, a school with clear procedures and timelines indicates a well-organised institution.

Ask your employer about professional development opportunities outside of the school. A good school should invest in its teachers’ growth and provide avenues for learning beyond the classroom. 

You should not overlook questions regarding practical aspects of your arrival into the country and teaching practices, such as who will fetch you from the airport and what kind of curriculum they follow. 

Let’s go to the UAE

Moving to a country where the lifestyle, climate, and culture are very different from yours can be challenging, so it’s necessary to do some research. Asking questions (and finding answers!) can help you avoid potential pitfalls and start your new teaching experience on the right foot.

Paying attention to red flags, such as excuses regarding visa processing or flight reimbursement, can indicate poor management and should be taken seriously.