Finding a teaching job in the UAE is easier than you think

A school bus in the United Arab Emirates A school bus in the United Arab Emirates

I’d always been told how difficult it was to find a teaching job in the UAE, especially if you have limited experience, are a new graduate, or returning to the profession after a long absence like me. Apparently the pay is better than most places around the world for a nomadic teacher, and the additional benefits are pretty good too, so the competition for places is tough. But the truth is I found it really easy to get job offers, and I’m here to tell you how you can get them too.

To give you some idea of what I had to offer any prospective schools in the UAE, let me give you a little background on my qualifications and experience. I graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Tasmania in Australia in 1999, and spent 2000 and 2001 teaching a Grade 3 then Grade 5 class at a school in London. I moved back to Australia and spent the next three years as a relief teacher on the Gold Coast and in my home town of Melbourne. Before leaving on our travels in early 2014 I did a 140-hour Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course, and taught at various schools part-time for two months in Chiang Mai, Thailand before arriving in the UAE.

So there you have it, my qualifications are an Education degree and TEFL certificate, two years as a full-time teacher, three years as a relief teacher, then a gap of 10 years before a couple of months teaching English part-time in Thailand. When you stack that up against most working teachers out there, I probably come in just below average, or somewhere in the middle at best. I hadn’t taught for 10 years when I arrived in the UAE, and while the TEFL qualification is better than nothing, it’s not that important if you just want to be a classroom teacher. However, it does come in handy if your goal is simply to get a teaching job in a school, as they do offer English as a Second Language classes.

Some schools are very nice like Al Bateen Secondary School in Abu Dhabi

Some schools are very nice like Al Bateen Secondary School in Abu Dhabi

Before arriving in the UAE I contacted a couple of agencies about finding teaching work, but at the time I didn’t know how long we’d be staying so couldn’t commit for any more than 4-6 months. Because of the terrific benefits you get as a teacher in the UAE and the cost of those benefits to the school, the absolute minimum commitment is one year, while most schools will need you to sign a two year contract. One agency was quite blunt when they said they wouldn’t be able to get me work because I’d been out of the teaching game for so long. Others were happy with my qualifications and said they could probably find work for me, but I couldn’t commit for 12-24 months so I gave the agencies a miss.

Before I go on, let’s take a look at what benefits you get as a teacher. This will give you some insight into the offers I received a little later in the post.

  • Wages – depending on how many years of experience you’ve got, you’ll probably earn somewhere between 7,000 and 15,000AED ($AU2,000 – $AU4,300) tax free.
  • Accommodation – your circumstances will depend on the kind of accommodation you’re offered. Because I’m married with a child, we were offered an apartment to ourselves. If you’re a single person you may be required to share accommodation with another teacher or two. Either way, your accommodation and utilities are covered.
  • Flights to and from the UAE – If you’ve applied from your home country, you’ll be flown to the UAE to start your contract, and after each year of service you’ll be given a return flight home (or one way if you’ve finished your contract). You’ll probably have to pay for the flights of any partners and children, but these could be included too if you’re lucky.
  • Health insurance – This will be covered for you at least, and if you’re lucky, your family could be covered too.
  • Furniture allowance – When you move into your new apartment, you’ll need furniture right? Well the school should give you an allowance for this, generally up to 20,000AED.
  • End of year bonus – At the end of each 12 months of service you are entitled, by law, to a monetary bonus of one month’s salary. However, make sure it’s the full month. Some employees break monthly salary down into different components (basic salary, bonuses, benefits, etc.) and when you think you’re going to get a full month’s salary, sometimes you find just the basic salary component in your bank account.

So there you have it, the list of benefits you may get when employed as a teacher here in the UAE. Pretty impressive right? This is why the competition for places is intense and the better your qualifications and experience, the better chance you’ll have. No matter your situation, you can can have success finding a teaching job in the UAE and I’m going to tell you how.

Generally speaking teaching positions are filled by agencies towards the end of the previous school year (which finishes in late June – the new school year starts in late August/early September). So if you want to find a job before coming here, make sure you plan a long time in advance. However, there are ways around this as I was to discover. We arrived in the UAE on August 1, so the school year was to start in around four weeks and I hadn’t even begun searching for a job. My plan was to get in touch with the local Education Departments and go door knocking at local schools, explain my situation and try and get some relief teaching work for a few months before moving on. But within a few days of being here Sarah and I decided that perhaps a good idea would be to stay for 12 months, save some money and carry on with our adventure through Europe with a bit more financial security. I had no idea how I was going to get a job at this late stage, but as I was to discover, it was much easy than I expected.

There are three reason why it was so easy, and why you shouldn’t worry if you’ve got limited experience or you’ve been out of the teaching game for a while:

  • Teachers change their mind – As I mentioned earlier most teaching positions are filled towards the end of the previous school year by agencies on behalf of schools. However, a lot of teachers get cold feet in the mean time, or they get offered opportunities elsewhere so pull out of jobs they’d agreed to take in the UAE (and probably in other countries as well for that matter). So when the following school year comes around, a lot of schools are looking for teachers in a hurry.
  • Schools get unexpected growth – During the summer holiday enrolment period some schools experience more children enrolling than expected. The UAE, particularly Dubai and Abu Dhabi, are growing rapidly with a lot of foreigners coming here to work. So sometimes schools need to find extra teachers to cope with the increased demand.
  • I was here – Schools didn’t need to pay for my flights because I was already here. I could speak to them on the phone, via Skype or in person. I could visit the school and I could start almost immediately. The convenience for the schools, and for me, is clear.
You see these yellow school buses everywhere

You see these yellow school buses everywhere

We’d decided the best place for us was Dubai, even though we’d been staying in Abu Dhabi with a friend of Sarah’s, so I started contacting schools in the area. In hindsight, as a young family, it would have been better for us to live in Abu Dhabi, but that’s another story.

After a phone call to the Dubai Education Council (+971 (0)4 3640000), I was directed to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority website ( You’ll be directed to a page where you can find the contact details of all schools, universities and training institutes in Dubai. I simply searched for all schools who taught curriculums I felt I could pick up quickly given I’d been out of the classroom as a full-time teacher for a decade, i.e. UK, US, IB, UK/IB and US/IB. All up I fired off about 80 emails in the space of 24 hours. They were all fairly generic emails, copied and pasted with a change or two where necessary, but I just explained I was here in the UAE looking for work and was wondering if any opportunities were available given teachers may have pulled out of contracts at the last minute.

I didn’t really know what to expect, I thought I was clutching at straws, but the response was better than I could have imagined. Within 24 hours I had 5-6 interviews set up, either over the phone, via Skype or in person, and I was confident from the initial contact I’d be able to get a job. In fact, I was sure I’d have a few jobs to pick from which turned out to be the case.

After the interviews I was offered several jobs, and my lack of recent experience didn’t seem to be an issue at all. Most schools get their teachers back a couple of weeks before the school year starts to do an intensive induction where new teachers can learn the expectations of the school, become familiar with the curriculum and meet the other teachers. There are also year group coordinators who help guide new teachers throughout the school year which put my mind at ease. So new teachers, and teachers like me, shouldn’t have any fear when moving to a school for the first time in the UAE.

Clearly the Sheikhs play a prominent role in the schools, as they do in the community

Clearly the Sheikhs play a prominent role in the schools, as they do in the community

So what were my offers like? Well, I’ll go through two I received that were completely different from each other.

Offer One

This was a brand new school who had experienced a larger than expected enrolment over the summer months, so were in need of new teachers. I was going to start by teaching a grade 3 class while they looked for full-time teacher, after which time I would become the second TEFL teacher. My interview lasted 10 minutes over the phone and I was offered the job immediately. It was much easier than I thought it was going to be. The principal who I spoke with was Scottish, seemed like a great guy and we hit it off straight away. He took my five years of teaching experience into account when this contract offer arrived via email:

  • Salary: just over 12,000AED per month
  • Accommodation: A furnished apartment for our family with all utilities included
  • Health Insurance: I’d be fully covered, but I’d have to cover Sarah and Jack
  • Flights: A flight home at the end of the school year for myself, but I’d have to pay for Sarah and Jack
  • Bonus: One month salary bonus at the end of the year
  • Contract: One year

Offer Two

This school had a teacher pull out at the last minute and was looking for a replacement at short notice. I was to teach a grade 2 class for the whole year. I spoke with the Assistant Principal, who was in England at the time, via Skype for about 45 minutes. After the interview she said she had to speak with the Board and would email me an offer within 24 hours. Unfortunately they didn’t take my five years of teaching experience into account when the offer arrived:

  • Salary: 12,700AED per month, inclusive of all additional benefits. The basic salary was 7,000AED, with the remaining 5,700AED constituting accommodation, furniture, heath insurance, flights, and end of year bonus.
  • Accommodation: The use of an apartment for two months while we found our own accommodation. The school would assist in the process of finding suitable accommodation, and the rent is included in the 12,700AED salary offer.
  • Contract: 2 years

Obviously Offer One is much better for me, given I’ve got a family to support and we only wanted to be here for a year. Offer Two is for a new or recent graduate who is single and can share accommodation with other teachers in a similar situation, benefiting from a couple of years teaching and living in a foreign country. What both offers show is that it doesn’t matter what your experience is, or what your circumstances are, there are positions available for you in the UAE if you’re prepared to show a bit of initiative and make something happen.

The obvious advantage for us was we were here, ready to go. So if you’re prepared to take the risk, and you’ve had no luck getting a job through an agency at the end of the previous school year, then perhaps you should go to the UAE and find a job yourself using the advice in this post. Having said that, my interviews could easily have been done from Australia via Skype or over the phone, and if successful, jumped on the next plane to Dubai. Either way, don’t let a little thing like rejection get you down. I was rejected by a teaching agency who cited a lack of recent experience, yet found it easy finding a teaching job in the UAE with a good salary and benefits. And you can too!

172 Comments on Finding a teaching job in the UAE is easier than you think

  1. Thank you for such informative tips! I’m currently teaching English in Spain (and after being here 6 years) am looking for a change of scenery. My sister lives in Dubai so it’s at the top of my list! Will be going in a week for a visit and although it’s late to look for a job , one never knows!

    • Hi Katherine, we’re also interested in teaching English in Spain at some time in the future. What’s that like? Dubai is great, in my opinion, for singles or those looking to have a lot of fun. I don’t think it’s a place you can fall in love with, because it’s almost impossible to get around in the hot weather and there’s no real street life anyway. Everything is indoors which is a real change from what we’re used to. Good luck and I hope you prove me wrong and fall in love with Dubai.

  2. Hey there Chris!

    I am currently an intern for Xplore Asia in Hua Hin, Thailand and I am doing research into expanding the program in the UAE. And I am wondering if you could please let me know of some of the agencies you sought out in Dubai. It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • Hi Alexandra

      I actually didn’t seek out any agencies in Dubai after I arrived in the UAE. I just went to this website – – and started contacting schools directly. I did contact a few agencies before I left Australia, but to be honest my contact with them was fleeting and I can’t remember what they were called. Sorry about that! By like I said in the post, I would bypass the agencies and contact schools directly. It’s much easier that way.

      • Abhinandan Bhattacharya // September 25, 2016 at 4:10 am //

        Hi Chris, I am from India and I teach English at the IGCSE and AS levels in an affiliated Cambridge school here. I am planning to move base soon. I have completed my 220 hours TEFL Certificate Course. I have been teaching for the past 8 years now with continuous process in ESL, First Language English and ICSE & ISC.I am an accredited teacher for conducting the Speaking component under the CIE. I am an external examiner in the same component in another school in my city. I am a thoroughly trained teacher and well abreast with the latest curriculum techniques. I am currently working as the HOD of English at my school.

  3. What if you don’t have any experience in teaching
    Is possible to get a job In UAE?

    • Hi Momo, it would be very difficult to get a teaching job without any qualifications. While it’s easy to get a job, you really do need to be qualified. Good luck.

  4. Hi everyone,

    Can someone tell me how many hours is the workweek in Dubai? Do they expect you to take part in / sponsor extracurricular activities / clubs like they do here in the states? And how is life in Dubai? Are there school sponsored activities / outings for new teachers? And why would you prefer to teach in Abu Dhabi as opposed to Dubai?

    • Hi Olivia, I can’t tell you anything about school life such as hours, extra curricular activities, etc. But I found Abu Dhabi a little smaller, more greenery, spaced out more, while Dubai is busier, has impressive buildings, loads to do. Abu Dhabi is for families, Dubai is for singles…as a gross generalisation!

  5. Emelyn Salgado // July 3, 2015 at 10:29 pm //

    I am really motivated and inspired by this article. I am intending to work in Dubai as a Teacher and this article is so amazing. It answered all my queries and worries. Thank you very much.

  6. Kristianne Bernard // July 24, 2015 at 3:46 am //

    My sister-in-law is in the UAE and has been pestering me to coma and try working there. She sent me this article and after reading it, I was quite convinced. I have been looking at jobs for an ESL teacher at ( ) for months now. I mainly teach via Skype. But if this venture turns out to be a good one, I’ll have to work online part-time.

    • You can earn some decent money, all tax free, while also getting your rent and utility expenses covered so it’s definitely worth it if it’s something you really want to do. Good luck, I hope it all works out for you.

  7. Hi, Great article, it put my mind at ease. I would like to teach in Abu Dhabi. My teaching experience is from many years ago.. I just finished my master’s degree in special education. I am in the process of getting certified to teach.

    • Hi Sharon, I’m glad the article helped put your mind at ease. I hadn’t taught for around 10 years when I was offered those positions, so I’m sure you’ll be offered a job. Good luck 🙂

  8. Thank you so much with such informative articles….I also intend to move to Dubai for job search but I wonder if they hire Zimbabweans, am a qualified teacher with 6years experience currently teaching and also have a Science Degree.

    • Hi Sa, I’m not sure what nationalities they do and don’t allow to work in the UAE. But my best advice would be to email schools individually like I did and see what they say. Good luck and let us know how you go 🙂

  9. Hello Chris,

    Thanks for sharing your story! I have decided to apply for a teaching job in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I don’t have a personal preference, I am just hoping to get a great experience and to save some money. One agency told me I was out of the classroom for too long. I have not heard from the others yet but I am hoping for the best. On that note, were you a certified teacher before you went? I am certified to teach in Jamaica but not the US. I also check out the site you posted, but I could not figure out how to get to the different schools and apply directly from there.. I really appreciate your feedback.. thanks

    • Hi Kristen

      Don’t listen to agencies, all they care about is placing teachers and making money. If they think it might be a little too hard for them, they won’t bother. I spoke with several agencies and they didn’t want to know me either because I hadn’t taught in 10 years, despite the fact I was certified here in Australia. Thanks for pointing out they’ve changed the website, the Dubai school directory is now on a different page – I’m not sure where you’ll find the Abu Dhabi school directory, but I’m sure there is a website for there as well. Send an email to as many schools in the directory as you can and you will definitely get a few responses. Good luck and let me know how you go.

  10. Great article! thank you for sharing your experience. I’m planning on moving to the UAE this coming school year, it would be great to begin there late August 2016, but I would like to stay in Abu Dhabi. Do you have an e-mail where we maybe can stay in touch and I can share with you a background of my qualifications and experience? Thanks!!!

  11. Hi Chris, thank you for sharing this it is very helpful. Do you know if the same would apply if wanting to start a high school teaching job in January 2016 or are there more jobs in September? I am looking for a high school job and have 13 continuous years of high school teaching experience. The agencies seem to be a let down. Cheers

    • Hi Bella, thanks for your question. My experience was based on schools looking to fill positions quickly just before the start of the school year. I’m not sure there would be as many open positions in the middle of the school year. However, if you were willing to move to other countries in the Middle East, and not just the UAE, there are plenty of opportunities available. I still get emails from regularly with positions vacant. Good luck.

  12. Hello chris
    Thank you so much your article just made my depressing day back alive. I was very down after hearing one of the agency consultants telling me I may not find a job.
    Any how I have completed my bachelors and masters in primary education in 2015 July.
    I have very little teaching experience that is all gained from my university practicums and a few volunteer work. Would that be an issue when finding a job in the UAE? However i am a brand new teacher without any qualification and solid experience
    what would you recommend me? Should i go to the UAE and look for a job? I am stuck and have no idea what to do. Please do advice me

    • Hi Hina, don’t let the teaching agencies get you down. They’re not interested in helping people, all they want to do is make money. If I were you I’d contact schools in Dubai from wherever you are, have a phone and/or Skype interview with the schools that reply to your emails, then jump on a plane if they want you there ASAP. Good luck and let me know how you go 🙂

      • I am from Pakistan and currently working as subject specialist of English language .so I would like to go to UAE for it will be possible to get a job in UAE I have two years exp

        • Hi Nisar, all I can offer is to read the article and follow the steps I took. I don’t have any direct contacts with schools or teaching agencies. Good luck.

  13. Firstly thank you so much for your instant response. Means a lot to me. I will start calling each schools individually and requesting interviews. placing an estimate how much would they be willing to pay a new starting teacher like me?

    Would they be willing to pay for mine and my spouses visa? with benefits or should i be willing to negotiate?

    Hina khan

    • No worries Hina, happy to help. If you’re offered a job the school will sort out your visa and that of your spouse. So don’t worry about that. They should also pay for your accommodation, so don’t worry about that either. As for wages, you’ll have to negotiate that, but I’d be aiming for somewhere around the 8000AED mark given your a brand new teacher. This is tax free as well. They should also pay for your flights, but I don’t they’ll pay for your spouses, and your health insurance. And you should get an end of year bonus, which is generally one months wages. All of this information is in the article. The best thing you can do is send as many emails as you can, follow up if you don’t hear anything in a week or so, and just keep pushing for a job. Good luck.

  14. Hi,
    First of all thanks a lot for the article. I have completed my masters in engineering. I am very much interested in teaching school students. I don’t have any teaching experience apart from taking some sessions and seminars to junior students. Can you please tell me dased on my qualification, is it possible to find a teaching job in UAE?

    • Hi Farhan, thanks for your message. I don’t know for sure, but given the competition for jobs in the UAE, I would think they are looking for people with teaching qualifications. However, like I said, I don’t know for sure. My experience was about finding a great window of opportunity just before the school year starts to fill positions that have suddenly opened or become available. If a school is desperate for an engineering teacher with no teaching qualifications, you might be in luck. But if you really want to teach in the UAE, perhaps consider doing a Diploma of Teaching which could be enough. Good luck.

  15. Dear Chris,
    firstly, your blog helped me pull myself back up and look for a job despite the fact that I had no experience. I was not getting any positive response from any school or agency. However Good news i did a job offer by a private school in Dubai. They are offering me 10,000 Dhr Salary per month and benefits of 50% off children school fee. I have no children therefore i cannot benefit with this. They are not providing me with accommodation or any other benefits. I wanted to ask you is this a fair offer. Or should i request for at least an accommodation?
    As Dubai living is expensive and after paying rent i will be left with an small amount for the rest of the month.

    Your advice will be helpful.
    Kind regards

    • Hi Hina, firstly congratulations on the job offer, that’s awesome. Well done for not giving up! The offer is a little low when you consider there are no other benefits. And they’re saving money by not paying an agency. Often expat teachers live together so they can share costs, so I’d be asking the school to help you find accommodation with one or two of the other teachers. I’d also definitely be asking for them to pay for your health insurance and agreeing to a one month salary bonus at the end of each school year. Are you planning on staying more than one year? If you are, perhaps you could say you’re willing to take that wage for the first year, but you’ll want 15,000 in your second year, and 18,000 in your third. The school should be willing to negotiate, but ultimately the choice is yours. Don’t forget, once you’re there in the system, you’ll be able to look for other jobs that pay better to move into after your first year of this school isn’t willing to budge. You need to ask yourself if you’re willing to be paid poorly in year one, with the goal of being paid much more in years two, three and so on. Let me know if you get any more money and benefits out of the school. Good luck.

  16. Dear Chris
    Thank you once again for your response means a lot to me. Well I did ask them for accomadtaion they refused but Instaed are providing me with health benefits visa for me not my spouse, and two months off at the è do of year with bonus salary.
    I will be promoted in salary after my prohibition period they may include increase of salary.
    I do want to use this opportunity to step in Duabi and gain experience, hopefully my spouse finds a jobs aswell and our income together shall be okay to survive in dubai!

    Much appricated for the respones

    Kind regards

    • Well done Hina, congratulations. There is never any harm is asking for more, they can only say no. After all, if you never ask you’ll never know and you’ll definitely never get. Let me know how you go when you’ve been in the job for a few months.

  17. It is worth reading ur experiences .i m from india and planning to go on a visit visa hunting for a teaching job in dubai.i have been teaching since 2011 as an english and social science teacher for standard 6 to standard 10 .i m a science graduate and had done b.ed. .Really worried how to go about and how good the chances for me there in dubai as i hardly have any contacts there .

    • Hey Tajinder, I didn’t have any contacts there either. All I did was contact heaps of schools in Dubai by email. Some of them got back to me saying there were no vacancies, some didn’t get back to me so I followed up with another email, and a few got back to me to request an interview. Out of about the emails I sent to around 70 schools, I got 2 job offers. You just need to start reaching out to schools and sell yourself. Good luck.

  18. i have been looking for a teaching job in dubai for the last 1 and half years but i haven’t got any responses. how else can i apply for a teaching job? which websites or email addresses should i use? i have 7 years experience and have a diploma in education from the university of zimbabwe. please help

    • Hi Getty, all I can tell you is what I’ve laid out in the article. Head to the website, send emails to as many schools on the list you’d like to work at, then keep following up. The key to success for me is the timing. Hitting the schools with your emails and follow up calls just before the school year starts is the key. Also I think being in the country helped, but it’s not critical. It’s not hard doing a phone of Skype interview and then getting on the next plane of successful. Good luck.

  19. Chloe Smith // January 6, 2016 at 11:29 pm //

    Hi Chris,Im from South Africa and I am hoping to become a provisional-licensed-teacher this year. In SA students in their final year can apply for provisional registration. With this registration I am hoping to secure a job in the UAE? Any advice? What are my chances?

    • Hi Chloe, the only advice I can offer is to contact the education departments in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and ask them. They would be able to tell you whether a provisionally licences teacher from South Africa can secure a teaching position in the UAE. Good luck.

  20. Thanks so much for this article! I have a bachelors in Psychology and a TEFL, I am currently teaching English in Peru but I want to apply to teach in Dubai. I am nervous though because all of the job postings state that you need your teachers license. Do you think it is possible to get a job there without one?

    • There are definitely TEFL jobs available in schools, so if you’ve tried the agencies and they won’t help, go to the schools directly. My strategy was to contact the schools a few weeks before the school year started when they were searching for extra teachers. By finding someone directly the school saves a lot of money in agency fees, so send off plenty of emails and see what happens. I think you’ve got a good chance. Good luck.

  21. Hi chris,
    you are going well job by helping and guiding people. i want to inquire that i have too the craze to teach in dubai, but i am a veterinary graduate, and having experience of 3 plus years in teaching profession. what you suggest for me?

    • Hi Ishtiaq, thanks for your kind words. I’m going to give you the same advice I give everyone. If you’re not getting any help from the agencies, or they’ve told you they won’t be able to get you a job, then send emails to as many schools as you can in Dubai. If you do so a few weeks before the school year starts, you might get lucky and find a school who is looking for someone to start immediately. The school doesn’t have to pay an agency huge fees then, so it’s win-win for everyone! Good luck.

  22. Iam confused.iam INDIAN.i can teach science,computers and english.but which school to apply?i have to apply only Indian schools?also i dont have that TEFL degree.but iam masters in english along with teacher education (b.ed)I applied many Indian schools..but they are not offering much salary.its very less.can you help me to choose any school?also they are not replying back 🙁
    if they call i can give present iam in INDIA

    • Hi Syeda

      Do you have to teach in an Indian school? Why don’t you send emails to schools that offer a different curriculum as well? That way you can expand the chances of getting a job.

      There’s not much I can do about the salary you’re offered, but if you’re not getting replies from schools, follow up with a phone call yourself. If they see how keen you are by following up your emails with a phone call, it might make a positive impression.

      Don’t get demotivated, keep persevering and exhaust all potential opportunities. That’s the best advice I can give you. Good luck…

  23. The ADEC website seems to be down. Do you know of any other lists of UAE school email addresses? I’m a 6-year, American English teacher looking for a job for the coming school year.

  24. Hi Chris, I noticed your still replying to people that post comments, thats awesome! I have some questions for you if you dont mind answering. Abit of background info first, I live in Australia, Adelaide, and am wanting to study a bachelors of Education, My intention is to teach English in the UAE. What is the best way to go about it? I plan on doing my bachelors in education, TEFL, and then after graduating, do what you done, basically start applying directly.

    Any tips or pointers, things you would differently?

    I notice when looking at bachelors, there is a difference between, primary and highschool, Do employers take that into account?

    • Hi Hussein, sounds like you know what you want which is awesome. I’m in Melbourne, so not too far away from you in Adelaide! My first piece of advice would be to contact schools in the UAE right now and ask them if you need a Bachelor’s degree in education to be a TEFL teacher, or whether a TEFL qualification is enough. It might save you 3-4 years of Uni studies, and instead be qualified in a matter of a few months. You will probably be paid more if you have a degree, but it might not be necessary. An advantage I had was I was in the UAE when I started applying for jobs, but as long as you are willing to jump on a plane as soon as you’re offered a job, I don’t think that’s too big of a deal. For example, one of my interviews was via Skype with a head teacher who was in London. I was in the UAE but she wasn’t! My other interview was with an Irish head teacher over the phone. Neither were face to face, so being in the country immediately probably wasn’t that big of an advantage. My Bachelor of Education degree was in early childhood because I wanted to be a primary school classroom teacher. You need to make a decision whether you’d rather work in primary schools or high schools. There is a difference in the way you teach and schools will take this into account when you apply. I hope I’ve helped, and let me know how you go.

  25. Hi Chris,

    I am originally from Nigeria. I am a Nigerian trained teacher with 5 years experience of teaching English in my home country. However I moved over to the UK years ago. I have since managed to obtain a Bachelor degree in English. I am in the middle of my PGCE in Further Education. I finish this course in June 2016. I am now a British citizen because my mother is British. What are my chances of getting a job there as an NQT(Newly Qualified Teacher). Do you think my 5 year Nigerian teaching experience will be acceptable? One last thing, I know there is preference for Native speakers of English. Have you seen non-native speakers in UAE schools. Please advise.


    • Hi David

      Sounds like you’ve got experience and the qualifications, so you have a decent chance from what I can tell. But I’m not a head teacher or recruiter, so I have no idea what they’re looking for at this moment in time.

      My advice is the same as I’ve been telling everyone else. Contact as many schools as you would feel comfortable working in based on the curriculum they offer, and sell yourself. Only you can do that. Follow up with another email if you don’t hear from them for a week or so, then follow up with a phone call. If you get to talk to someone on the phone, this is your opportunity to sell yourself so be prepared.

      If you don’t secure a job straight away, be persistent, it just wasn’t meant to be at the moment in time. It’s competitive, but if you happen to contact someone at the just the moment when they’re looking for a teacher you might be in luck. If you can solve a problem for a head teacher, there’s a chance you’ll be given the job.

      Good luck.

  26. Your article is great .thanks for sharing your experiences ,it’s a relief to most teachers who have an eye for UAE ….

  27. Thank you so much for your advice! We are a family of 4 and teaching in Macau, China right now, but want to continue our adventures. I will start emailing schools! My question to you is more of living standards for the kids. We want to leave Macau because it is all city and no place for the kids to go out and ride bikes and play in clean dirt. Is there a place in the UAE that is kid friendly and not so much city area that we could apply too?

    • Hi Shelly, what a fantastic adventure you’re on, that’s awesome! We’re back home in Melbourne now but I’m already planning our next adventure. North, Central and South America here we come!!!

      To answer your question, I think Abu Dhabi is far more family friendly than Dubai. More open space, more green parks and it’s far less hectic. But the UAE is very hot most of the year, so being outdoors for long periods of time is not going to happen for much of the year, at least not during daylight hours! Good luck and let me know how you go.

  28. Hi there thank you for the very informative article. I am currently teaching in Rome and hope by the end of this year to be in Dubai. However I am finding it very difficult to find reputable schools that would hire me without a teaching qualification. I have a degree in modern languages and a 120 hr TEFL certificate with business English and of course about 3.5 years of experience in Rome plus1 year in Morocco and 6 months teaching French in Canada. Nevertheless I feel like I should spend further money to get a teaching qualification. I know I should individually email schools but are you aware of an easier way to find a job? Like and agency or something similar? Also do you think a private school or a company would hire me? Thank you so much

    • Hi Nancy, thanks for your message. My suggestion is you start contacting schools directly and asking if you’re qualifications and experience are enough. You don’t know what they’ll say until you ask! Also, get in touch with agencies and see what they say. Again, you’ll never know until you ask. Once you’ve had contact and responses from multiple sources you’ll then be able to make an informed decision about whether you should spend money on further education. Good luck.

  29. Cata Villagran // March 15, 2016 at 11:35 pm //

    Nancy, I’m also applying to Emirates but I read you are teaching in Rome and I would love to know about your experience and how hard or easy it was to get a teaching job there. Thank you!


  30. Hi sir, kindly help me please how to get hired in a school in Dubai. My qualifications are Economics, M.A Education, M.A Islamic studies and B.ed
    I have an experience of 7 years. I wanna get a job.please help me

    • Hi Sumaira, sounds like you have incredible qualifications and some great experience. Have you contacted teaching agencies in Dubai? What did they say? The only advice I can offer is the same advice that is in the article. Start contacting schools directly, first via email then by phone. Keep persisting until you get an interview and then be ready to sell yourself. I don’t live in Dubai nor do I have any contacts, so you’ve got to put in the work yourself. Good luck.

  31. Dambar bishwakarma // April 4, 2016 at 1:05 pm //

    I have completed degree in major Engish from Tribhuvan University Of Nepal..and i have too intense desire to teach in dubai’s school.So how can we get opportunity?

    • Hi Dambar, the best advice I can give you is to follow the steps I took that I’ve outlined in the article. If a teaching agency can’t help you, then start contacting schools directly via email. Good luck.

  32. Hi there,
    Currently looking for a teaching job in Dubai. Will take your advice on sending out emails to potential schools. I had two questions. It’s april right now.
    1) When should I send them? Right now or May?
    2) What should I say in my email? I’m not the best with emails.

    Thanks so much for your advice.

    • Hi Sabrina, there’s no time like the present. If you don’t get a favourable response now, don’t be scared to email the schools again in May or June to remind them you’re still available if they need a teacher. I didn’t send an email until around August, so you’ve got time. In the email just tell them who you are, where you’re from, what qualifications you have and why you want to teach in Dubai. Don’t be scared to really promote yourself without sounding like you think you’re the greatest teacher that ever lived! Good luck 🙂

  33. Hi am a Zimbabwean can l get a teaching job in UAE

    • Hi Eunice, to be honest I have no idea if you can get a teaching job in the UAE. Send emails to the schools and ask, they would know better than me. Good luck.

  34. Hi Chris,
    I’ve been applying for a job in the UAE for the last past months and so far, no one responded. I have 6 years experience of teaching English. 5 in Korea and 1 in Kyrgyzstan (my current location). I have a BA in Fine Arts and a MA in TESOL but no teacher certificate and no TEFL certificate. Because I have two kids and the UAE has the best benefits for teachers with family, I really want to get a job there. Do you think it’s possible for someone with my qualifications to get a job there? Should I continue applying online or give up? Also, would I need to provide a criminal background check? If so, I will get a start on it since it can take 3-4 months.

    • Hi Joy, I honestly don’t know whether you’re qualified to work as a teacher in the UAE or not. It sounds like you’ve got plenty of experience teaching English, is that the area you’ve been applying for jobs? Have you been contacting schools directly or applying for advertised positions? I can only advise what I did which is email schools directly, and follow up with phone calls if necessary. Talk to someone there and find out directly if your qualifications and experience is enough. It’s competitive getting a job in the UAE and my advantage was in the timing. I contacted schools when they were desperately looking for teachers just before their school year started. As for the criminal background check, again I don’t know. I think everyone who works will children will need some sort of background check. Again, ask that question to the schools directly in your emails and phone calls. Good luck 🙂

  35. Hi Chris,
    Really inspiring article and very helpful too. I’m British and have been wanting to teach in the UAE for quite some time but am unsure where to begin as I am married and we are a family of 4. I have 3 years teaching experience with the early years and 5-7 year olds. I also have 1-2 years TEFL experience in Japan. I have a TEFL Certificate, CACHE Level 2 Early Years and a BA hons in English Language and Literature all from the UK but I’m not sure this is enough to apply. What do you think? Would really appreciate any advice you can offer and all the best with your work too. Thanks.

    • Hi Ayshii, thanks for getting in touch. I’m not an expert in the UAE education system, but it sounds like you’ve got the qualifications and experience to get a job. The best advice I can give is to first go through an agency if you want to try and secure a job now, or wait until around a month before the school year begins and start contacting schools directly. At that late stage schools are scrambling for extra teachers and you might get lucky. We are a family of 3 (wife,son and I) and I was offered an apartment as part of my package, so don’t worry that you’re a family of 4, it won’t count against you. Best of luck and let me know how you go.

  36. Hi Chris,

    Fantastic article and thanks for sharing your experience. I’m based in the UK and have 4 years experience teaching with a first degree. Over the last few days I have been applying for primary school teaching jobs directly with the schools (11 so far) but have not heard anything back. I’m single and want to teach in Dubai. Do you think I should try an agency? If so is there any that you recommend?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Fran, given the school year doesn’t start for quite a few months yet, I suggest you go through an agency initially. I don’t have any to recommend sorry, they’re all as bad as each other!!! If you have no joy there, sending a heap of emails a month before the school year starts might get results. That’s when schools are scrambling to fill positions because they’re short of teachers. Also, you’re going to need to send more than 11 emails, and when you don’t hear back from them a week later, send a follow up email and maybe a phone call. Do whatever it takes! Good luck.

  37. Michelle // April 22, 2016 at 2:43 am //

    I have completed my degree in sport and exercise science. I also done a years placement, teaching physical education in a secondary school and achieved a diploma in industrial studies. Would it possible to get a teaching job with this??

    • Hi Michelle, I don’t know if that’s enough. I recommend you get in touch with schools in the UAE and ask. That way you’ll get the best information straight from the people who matter. Good luck.

  38. EDWIN TIGERE // April 26, 2016 at 12:31 am //

    Thank you for the post, I was down today after being rejected by ADEC I will take your advice and apply to schools.

    • Hi Edwin, teaching positions in the UAE are in high demand, do competition is fierce. So don’t let rejection get you down, just keep plugging away. Don’t forget, my experience was all about the timing, emailing schools a month before the school year began to take advantage of any shortages schools may be experiencing. Good luck.

  39. M B Mehdi // April 28, 2016 at 9:22 am //


    It’s no longer as easy as you make out. Without experience i.e. if you’re newly qualified it’s extremely difficult to find work in the Middle East regardless of your qualifications.

    • Hi there, it’s definitely not easy, however if your timing is right and you reach a school as they’re scrambling to find new teachers, it’s easier than going through teaching agencies. Getting a teaching job in the UAE is competitive because of the great benefits, so some people think it’s virtually impossible. But given I was offered two jobs having not taught for 10 years, it’s definitely possible.

      • M B Mehdi // April 28, 2016 at 11:52 pm //

        Ah but you said you had not taught for 10 years. If you haven’t taught previously it’s very, very difficult today. Things have changed a lot over the past two years. Getting into either Saudi Arabia or Dubai isn’t as easy as it used to be.

        • Hi M B, like I said, it’s very competitive trying to get a teaching job in the UAE regardless of how much experience you have. Obviously having no experience is going to make it a lot more difficult, so getting experience in your own country first is probably a good idea. As for getting into the UAE and Saudi Arabia, I’m not an immigration expert so I wouldn’t know what it’s like for various nationalities. What I can say is, as an Australian, it’s incredibly easy getting into the UAE. Anyway, best of luck with whatever you decide to do.

          • M B Mehdi // April 30, 2016 at 2:47 am //

            Getting into Saudi depends more on your employer than visa requirements. If you hold a UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand or South African passport for example it’s straightforward. If your passport is from anywhere else it depends on how much stroke your employer has! If they have the right contacts they can get anyone from anywhere into the country inside a week.

  40. Hi Chris,
    Thanks alot for putting out this article for all to see and still answering all the questions. Bless you.
    I’m a bit confused as to which qualification to get. Do you think I get TESOL or TEFL or CELTA certification? I have 5years experience teaching both Mathematics and English. Your response will go along way in helping me decide what to do.
    Thank you

    • Hi Sophia, I’m happy to help where I can and I’m glad you’ve got something from it. I don’t know much about the differences between the English language certifications. Aren’t they all kind of the same? I have a TEFL qualification and it was enough to be offered a job in a school as a TEFL teacher. You seem like you’ve got plenty of experience so good luck with getting a job 🙂

    • M B Mehdi // April 30, 2016 at 2:43 am //

      Hi Sophia

      The CELTA is a Cambridge University developed course. Unlike TEFL/TESOL it cannot be completed online as there is a live teaching element. It’s a 120 hour course in which you teach 9 lessons to a class of ESL learners. You also have 4 written assignments. It is by far the most highly valued ESL/EFL/TEFL/TESOL course. I’m guessing the Cambridge University badge has a lot to do with it. You’ll learn more from this course than through years of teaching. The classroom management and planning skills and the range of activities you will be introduced to you would benefit any teacher, regardless of their qualifications or experience. There’s a reason Universities are sending lecturers to CELTA courses. You cannot fail to become a better teacher if you complete it. The one month course is incredibly intense, it’s a lot of work in a short space of time and being grilled by tutors and fellow trainees is no fun! It’s like the last month of University. Breakdowns, tears and fainting are common!

  41. Thank you. I intend applying for a job in Abu Dhabi. Do you think I can get a job with just my experience? Or my experience with any of the English certifications?
    Then, what would you advise I request for, with regards to salary.I reside in Abu Dhabi, and sponsored by my husband. The school will not have to pay for flight ticket, accommodation, insurance etc. Do I need to convert these bonuses to cash and add it to my basic salary or accept just the basic salary while negotiating?
    Thank you!

    • I’m not sure if your experience is enough, but you’ll find out soon enough when you start sending your emails. But you’ve got 5 years of experience, the same as I have, so I assume you’ll be fine. In regards salary, that’s up to how much the school offers and how good at negotiating you are. I doubt you can convert flights, etc. into your salary, but because you’re already there will be a huge advantage. Let me know how you go. Good luck.

  42. Thanks alot Chris!! Will do.

  43. Hi Chris,

    Very good article, thanks for sharing all that information and experience. I’m based in the Quebec in Canada fully qualified teacher in ontario french, mathematics but I don’t have enouph experience teaching in the classroom.

    Since 2012, I chose to work freely as a tutor and homework assistant for secondary and high school students, I helped them complete homework assignments and broaden their understanding.
    Now that his condition is stable and becomes relatively autonomous, I am seeking a full-time teaching position in the classroom.
    Want to teach in Dubai. Do you think I should try whit a french Canadian qualification ?

    thanks a lot …..

    • Hi Fran, thanks for your message. The best advice I can give is to contact a few schools and ask them whether your experience and qualifications are enough. There are lots of people applying through teaching agencies for positions so it’s extremely competitive. For me, it was all about the timing of when I contacted schools and how I went about it. Good luck…

  44. Clara Morris // May 6, 2016 at 8:42 am //

    Hi! Thanks for the helpful post! It really does seem like we’re in demand in Abu Dhabi!

    I’ve actually had a good experience with a recruitment agency so far called Teach Away. They gave me a lot of info and the recruiter I had told me all the facts very straight, rather than glossing over things, which is what a couple of other companies tried to do. Fingers crossed I get a job this summer.

    • Good luck Clara, sounds like you’ve found a really supportive agency. That’s great news. If for some reason you don’t secure a job through them, don’t despair, schools are always looking for teachers at the last minute. Send emails, follow up and stay positive. Good luck.

  45. Mbaziira musa // May 15, 2016 at 2:58 pm //

    Hi Chris
    Thanks for your efforts. My name is mbaziira musa a graduate teacher of biology with 10 years teaching experience in Uganda. Would like to teach biology in uae any chances

    • Hi Mbaziira, thanks for your message. Sounds like you’ve got plenty of teaching experience, but to be honest I don’t know if it’s enough or not. My best advice is to contact the schools directly and ask, that’s what I did and it turned out well. For me the timing was just right, so take that into consideration when you make contact with them. Good luck.

  46. Sue Maatar // May 22, 2016 at 4:12 am //

    Hi Chris
    I read all the comments and I’m really astonished by your commitment, patience and will to help and reply to everybody from different nationalities, races and perspectives.That’s simply awsome.
    I’m Sue from Algeria. In 2011 I get my master in Psycho-pedagogy and TEFL and just after I have been recruited as a full-time teacher of
    TEFL till now. Lately I have gone through a very severe personal
    problem. Now I’m OK but I want to change my paysage even for a while. Indeed Idon’t care which level to teach I’m ready to teach in primary, middle or secondary school I’m just looking for a new experience in life. After reading your article you gave me hope I just feel as everything is easy and life is not as complicated as I experienced, so from heart thank you. I just want to know if with my qualifications mentioned above I’ll be accepted? Thanks Chris and enjoy a long and happy life with your nice family.

    • Hi Sue, thanks for your message. I reply to everyone, but I really can’t offer any more information than I’ve already included in the article. I’m not an expert in the UAE education system, I just wanted to share how I went about securing a couple of job offers while I was in Dubai. To find out if you’re qualifications are enough to get a job there I suggest you email as many schools as possible and ask them directly. You never know, one of the schools may be looking for someone just like you. After all, it’s all in the timing and you might get lucky like I did. Good luck 🙂

    • It’s very difficult to get into the UAE if you’re a non native speaker. If you want to try a new experience have you thought about China or South Korea? You don’t need to be a native speaker to get work there.

      • Fluency in English is very important, there’s no doubt about that. China and South Korea are great options for TEFL teachers, and there are so many opportunities for teachers right around the world. A good friend of mine has spent the last 15 years teaching in England, Turkey, China and Indonesia. While the UAE offers very good pay and benefits, it’s not the only place to earn s good living as a teacher.

  47. Hi Chris

    I’m a Nigerian graduate with just about 2 years work experience outside of teaching. If I get my TEFL sorted out, what are my chances of securing employment in the UAE?

    If chances are slim, what else do I need to do? And who do I talk to or email about this? I have a few more questions.

    • Hi Tobi, I’m not an expert in the UAE education system. The information in my article is about my experience and how I managed to get offered a couple of jobs. My advice is to contact schools directly with your questions. They will be in the best position to answer your questions. Good luck.

  48. Hallo Sir,

    i am a post graduate (M.A) in English and B.ED (Bachelor of Education), doing my PhD in India. i have native speaker like fluency.i have been trying to contact agencies for last month or so.i have 12 years teaching experience at UG and PG level. The information from your article is very inspiring.
    I am thinking about searching job in dubai and abu dhabi. Is it alright if i directly come and start finding jobs? Sir please do help me in this regad.
    Than you

    • Hi Sandip, my best advice is to contact a lot of schools directly. Chances are only a handful will reply, but they will be the ones who might be interested in your services. Good luck.

  49. thanks a lot sir!

  50. rashid rizvi // May 29, 2016 at 10:49 pm //

    sir good evening. my name is rashid rizvi from india.i have 10 yrs experience in teaching chemistry and biology in india to teach 10th & 12th class. looking to go dubai in july on visit to get teaching job.i did msc in distance mode from eiilm university in june 2012.but in november 2012 after completion of my degree ugc dissolve the recognition of university. can u help me to verify my degree. i can send u details. i am b.ed and talented teacher with 50 yrs of age. i have 5 yrs of gulf exp. in administration also in doha. pls advise that i should mention my msc degree in cv or not. or i should mention only graduation and b.ed only. what is better for me. i will get the job it is sure but advice me. i will be very grateful t u. thank. pls give me instsnt reply today.

    • Hi Rashid, sounds like you got great experience and qualifications. However, I have no idea what you should include on your CV, and I’m in no way qualified to verify if you’ve finished a degree or not. My suggestion is to contact schools directly and explain your situation, just like you did here. They will be able to give you much better advice than I can. Good luck.

  51. rashid rizvi // May 30, 2016 at 4:32 pm //

    thanks a lot sir for yr is very encouraging.ok i will do the same as per yr advice. i am thinking to contact hrd office in india regardind confirmation of my msc degree with explanation and proof whatever i have before my departure. pls advice me i am in right direction.once again thank u very much. pls reply me awaiting anxiously.

    • Hi Rashid, I think you’re heading in the right direction. However I know nothing about the Indian education system, and all I know about the UAE education system is what I’ve shared in the article. The rest is up to you. Good luck 🙂

      • rashid rizvi // May 30, 2016 at 9:40 pm //

        thank u sir for yr instant reply. in future i will let u know about the progress. thanks again.

  52. Hello Sir,

    I’m currently residing in UAE, Abu Dhabi. I have a Masters Degree in English (Linguistics) and I’m also pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Education. Moreover, I plan to get enrolled in TEFL Certification. I only have 1.5 years experience of teaching. Do you think it’s sufficient to start with a teaching career in Abu Dhabi or will I be needing some extra certificates or degree or experience?

    • Hi Arshia, the truth is I don’t know if it’s enough or not. The best thing you can do is contact schools directly and ask. If your qualifications and experience aren’t enough, ask them what you can do to satisfy their requirements. The big advantage you have is you’re in the UAE already, so they can meet you in person and there will be no relocation or teacher agency fees for the school to pay. Good luck 🙂

      • Thank you Sir for your prompt response. I’ll definitely let you know as I progress.
        Your article has been of great help for me. 🙂

  53. Hi Chris,
    I’m in Dubai, my husband works here. I have a Bachelor in Psychology and just completed M. Ed I have 2 years of Experience in total as Teaching and as Behaviour management in SEN department. I’m completing SEN diploma soon, and we’re thinking if I need TEFL/TESOL at all ? My Education is from USA. I don’t have Teaching Certificate or Licensure is that necessary ?

    • Hi Saba, thanks for your message. Sounds like you’ve got some excellent qualifications and a little bit of experience. However I honestly don’t know if it’s enough or not. I suggest you contact a few schools directly and ask them. They will be in a much better position to tell you whether your qualifications and experience are enough. I sent off 80-90 emails and after a couple of weeks had 2 job offers. It’s all about working the numbers and then selling yourself. Good luck…

  54. Hi, Chris, thanks for taking out time to answer all these queries. Am Paul, at the moment I teach mathematics and sciences in a military school here in Nigeria. I have a B.Sc Chemistry/Mathematics Education, B.Sc Computer Science, an M.Sc operations Research and an MBA degree. I equally have about 14 years working experience. Really very interested in a teaching job in UAE. Kindly guide me on how to go about it.

    • Hi Paul, great to hear from you. My advice is twofold:

      1. Sign up with teaching agencies who specialise in finding teaching jobs for teachers in the UAE. They are much better at providing you with teaching opportunities than I am.

      2. Contact schools directly yourself as well. There’s nothing wrong with emailing schools, explains your qualifications and experience just like you did with me, and asking for their advice. It’s a great way to make connections with schools that might turn into future employment.

      Good luck with your endeavours finding a job in he UAE.

  55. wow,
    thats all i can say Chris.

    i am Idayat and from Nigeria, i have a BSC in Marketing, worked as a full time customer care all my years but i have passion for teaching and i dont let my career ever affect gathering kids and teaching them on weekends, out of job and when on leave, this i have been doing for over 7years. Recently i decided to go into teaching full time as its passion for me, so i did a 120hr TEFL, Diploma in Child Study and Diploma in Basic English Language. Considering Dubai, do you think i stand a good chance is securing a teaching Job in Dubai?

    • Hi Idayat, thanks for the message. You sound like you love teaching which is awesome. And it looks like you’ve got some great qualifications and experience. Unfortunately I can’t answer your question. Sorry about that. My suggestion is to contact teaching agencies in the UAE and see what they say. But they may reject you because you don’t have 20 years of experience and a Masters degree. They rejected me!!! If they do reject you, don’t give up. Contact the schools in Dubai directly and ask them if your experience and qualifications are enough. That way you’ll get the information you want direct from the schools, and you’ll also start creating relationships with schools which could come in very handy when a vacancy becomes available. Good luck, I wish you the best…

  56. Thanks Chris,
    I will sure do what you advice.
    Have a splendid day

  57. nformi ernest njila // July 23, 2016 at 9:57 am //

    hi,I am a trained primary school teacher in Cameroon with a five years teaching experienced.I have already had a visa to visit dubai this August and I will also like to teach there as a primary school teacher. please sir, I begged on you to help and guide me on how to find a school while there because have tried to looked for some school emails without seen.If possible you can sent me some.Thanks for responding in advance.

    • Hi Nformi, unfortunately I am not an expert in finding teaching jobs for people in the UAE. I have just shared my experience at finding a teaching job in Dubai. Click the link within the article that will take you to the list of schools in Dubai. Choose the curriculum you’d like to teach and a long list of schools will appear. Start emailing them to ask for advice on how to get a job there, and let them know you’ll be there on August. Be persistent, but there is no guarantee. The job market is very competitive, but timing your contact right and a little luck will greatly enhance your prospects. Good luck…

  58. Hi Chris,

    Love the blog name. I think it’s so cool that you still reply every single message since this post’s been published. I’ve never seen that on any blog until now. Thank you. Great post by the way.

    Career transitioning here…
    Background in Law, Masters in International Development Law. Passionate about people, training and development. Been teaching ESL in Germany since 2011 without any certification, just on the basis of being a native speaker.

    I’ve however recently decided to take this a notch higher. ( Marriage brought me to Germany, my degrees were/aren’t very useful here) so I got into TESL as I didn’t want to sit at home doing nothing. I’ve loved it so much and want to take teaching as a career.

    I would love to teach in the UAE for the following reasons : would love to expose our 18 month old to different cultures( not a short term move), I believe I can achieve professional growth there, and the financial security in that region won’t be so bad. 😉

    I’ve done a lot of research and in preparation for this move. I’m about to enroll in a 250 hour TESOL Diploma with certifications in TEYL and TBE ( a 20 hour Teaching IELTS course is also thrown in as part of that package) and this will run concurrently with a Teacher preparation course in English (7-12) which on completion leads to a Washington DC license.

    I’m hoping that when all is done in a year, I am able to secure a teaching position in the UAE ( even if I don’t have the 2 year post licensure experience). I am willing to apply at International Schools here in Germany to get some experience teaching grades 7-12. But the earlier I can leave Germany, the happier I’d be.

    I just wanted to share.

    If you have any advice or tips for me, I’d appreciate reading from you.

    • Hi Frau R, it always makes me happy when I hear about people who have found their calling. Congratulations on having clarity about what you really want to do in life. I’m no expert, but it sounds like you’re doing everything right to give yourself the best chance of securing a TEFL job at a school in the UAE. My only advice is to start building relationships with schools in Dubai now. You may not be going for a year or two, but what if you offered your services free of charge once or twice a week to teach students who may be struggling or want to be advanced via Skype? I’m sure there would be a school or two that would jump at the chance and then you’ve got connections for when you want to move. Even if the school you volunteer at doesn’t have a position, you’ll have experience teaching Emerati children and a reference from a local school. Good luck, but something tells me you won’t need it.

  59. That is a fantastic tip Chris.

    I’ll certainly be giving that a go. Will keep you posted.

    Thank you very much.

  60. Thanks a lot for your prompt response, I will get in touch as soon as it works out for me. Kind Regards

  61. Cynthia // July 31, 2016 at 3:25 am //

    Hi my name is Cynthia from South Africa,Teacher by Profession,I wud love to teach in United Arab Emirates… How can I contact agency,they can contact me through my email…thank you
    Kindly regard Cynthia

    • Hi Cynthia, sorry foe the delayed response. I’ve had issues responding to comments until just now. I’m afraid I don’t know what teaching agencies there are in the UAE. However, if you Google ‘teaching agencies UAE’ I’m sure you’ll find plenty. Contact them via their contact page and see what happens. Good luck…

  62. adamu tijani // August 6, 2016 at 4:34 pm //

    hi my name is adamu from nigeria.iam so much interested in getting a teaching job in dubai.i intend coming to dubai wit 3 months visa.can i get the job within these periods?i hv Bsc in physics an diploma in education.i hv 7yrs experience in teaching.i wil appreciate ur quick response.thank u

    • Hi Adamu, to be honest I have no idea if you can get a teaching job within that time frame. All I can recommend you do is contact the teaching agencies in the UAE about working there, AND contact the schools directly yourself BEFORE you go to try and secure a job. You seem to have good qualifications and experience, but I’m no expert and it’s competitive in the UAE. Good luck.

  63. Great article Chris! For those asking about teaching agencies, have a look at, and ADVETI (Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute) and ADEC (Abu Dhabi Education Council) currently have a huge recruitment drive going on. In addition, and advertise English teaching positions in the UAE.

    Hope that helps 🙂

    • Thanks Koloi, that helps heaps. I get plenty of people asking about teacher agencies, so this will be a great start for people to find a teaching job in the UAE. Cheers.

  64. HI. I’m currently teaching English at a private Kindergarten in Seoul. I’m fully TEFL certified and have a BA from the U of Manitoba, but I’m not a certified teacher. Is it impossible to get a job as an English teacher in the UAE if I’m not certified?

    • Hi Faith, I don’t know if you are qualified enough or not. I suggest you contact schools directly and ask the question to them. That way you’ll get an informed answer direct from people in the UAE education system, and potentially you’ll make a contact or two that may lead to a job offer. Good luck.

  65. Hi Chris,
    Your elaborate information about your journey is acquire a job is so uplifting for me at the moment. My husband has been without a job for the past 2 years and I hadnt worked for the past 14 years. So here I am at 46 years.. started doing my B.Ed in ECE( Online from New Zealand Teritary college)and a TEFL( University of Toronto) side by side while teaching in an IB school grade 1. Hoping to finish this year and gain a 2 years experience in teaching. Today was a downer for me until your blog brought a ray of hope. Being Indian I was already told by the agencies that my chances are slim. From your experience working in the UAE do u think there’s a chance for me..

    • Hi Debbie, congrats on our new found qualifications and career. It’s never too late I say. I’m 42 and I’ve just finished getting my qualifications to be a personal trainer. I’ve just acquired my first few clients, and I’m building for this to be my new career! Anyway, back to you…

      To be honest, I don’t know what your chances are. Teaching agencies are so inundated with teachers looking for work, they can afford to be picky. If it’s not going to be easy for them, they’ll just put you in the too hard basket. That’s what they did to me! The reality is they do treat various races differently, it’s not right, but that’s the way it is there. Having said that, you should still contact schools like I did and see what reaction you get. You’ll get information straight from the source, and you’ll start building relationships that could result in a job offer down the track. Good luck…

  66. Thank you so much Chris for providing us with such a platform, in Dec 2015 I myself was looking for a teaching Job in UAE and was struggling but this blog gave me hope!
    A huge thanks for the positive advice much appreciated

  67. Hey Chris, good article. Quick question, what was your experience with getting your certifications/degrees/documents attested? Was this an issue?

  68. Hi Chris

    Thank you for posting such an informative article. I am just wondering if you know what pays more…an ESL job or Full time class teacher positions? I am a Canadian certified teacher.


  69. Hi Chris,

    I graduated with a BSc Honours degree in Sociology and i have 1 year teaching experience though i do not have a relavent teaching qualification. I wanted to find out if this would suffice for a teaching job in the UAE.

    • Hi Linc, sounds like you’re very intelligent with some fantastic experience. But the reality is I don’t know if it’s enough to get a teaching position. I can k my suggest you contact schools in the UAE that you’d like to teach at and ask them. You’ll find out what you want to know straight from the source, and you might peak a school’s attention at just the right time. Good luck…

  70. Hie Chris, thanks very much for sharing your experience with us. I’m a qualified maths teacher from Zimbabwe and have graduated with a deploma in teaching last year, so far I have no experience except for that of one year in2014 when I was on TP. is it possible for me to secure a job in Dubai.

    • Hi Joyce, sounds like you’ve got some great qualifications and a little bit of experience as well. Unfortunately I can’t tell you if it’s enough or not. I suggest you contact schools directly and ask them, that way you’ll get the right advice straight from the source, and you might make a contact or two as well that could turn into a work opportunity in the future. Good luck!

  71. Hello Chris,

    I am from India. I am a Waldorf trained teacher and have 2 years of experience in kindergarten. Previously I have worked in the field of human resources for about 5 years. I am married and have 2 kids. I am very much interested in applying for a teaching job in dubai. Would appreciate if you could guide me for the same. I am not sure if there is a Waldorf school in dubai. Please let me know if I stand a chance.


    • Hi Rubina, the only guiding I can do is tell you to follow what I did from my article. Click the link to the Dubai schools page in the article and see if there are Waldorf schools. If there are then start contacting them directly. If there aren’t, there are plenty of other types of curriculum to choose from. Good luck.

      • Hello Chris,

        Thank you for replying. I do not want to restrict myself to only Waldorf school. I need to understand considering I do not have a substantial experience in teaching and also do not hold any mainstream teaching qualification…,do I have any scope in teaching in dubai? And if I don’t then what teaching program can I enrol into to make sure I get a good chance? Pls guide. Thank you.

        • Hi Rubina, I’m sorry but I don’t know the answers to your questions. What I do know is securing a teaching job is very competitive given the excellent pay and benefits on offer. If you do not hold any qualifications and have very little experience then you might struggle to get a job. But I’m not an expert in the UAE school system. That’s why I always recommend to people that they should contact schools directly like I did. Good luck.

  72. Hi Chris. I need to go and look for a teaching job in Abu Dhabi for a week, when is the best time, Beginning of December or January?

    • Hi Rute, I don’t think there’s much difference given that’s right in the
      Middle of the school year. The reason I had success when applying was because I contacted schools just before the start of the school year. Good luck.

  73. Reham Abuargob // October 16, 2016 at 7:39 pm //

    Hi Chris,
    Firstly thank you for sharing your experience really helpful. secondly, I’m a pharmacist with a master degree in chemistry from the UK, being teaching science in supplementary schools during the weekend for nearly five years,do I have a chance?

    • Hi Reham, thanks for your message. Unfortunately the message I can offer you is the same as everyone else. I have no idea if your qualifications and experience are enough to secure a job. The best thing you can do is contact schools directly and ask them. Good luck, I hope you find a great job ?

  74. mohamadreza Jafary // October 19, 2016 at 8:03 am //

    Dear Chris, going through all your fruitful comments and positive feedbacks. I was surprised how patiently you addressed all inquiries. Truly appreciate on behalf..I am Reza, PhD holder in TESL graduated from UPM Malaysia( top uni) along with master degree in TEFL and BA in English translation. I have had 2 years of teaching experience at Tehran and manyy years of engagements as IELTS @ TOEFL trainer at national and international centers plus 5 years of English teaching at high schools. I am non-native though I do have native like fluency. I really need to move to Dubai with my wife and get a decent position. Do they grant work permit to Persian people and what can I do to get a position in college or even school? shall I come as tourist and keep looking or …? I really appreciate your help

    • Hi Mohamadreza, thanks for your message. Sounds like you’ve got plenty of great qualifications and experience. But like I say in all of my replies, I’m not an expert in the UAE educations system. I simply recounted my experience looking for a teaching job in Dubai. My advice for you is the same as everyone else – start contacting schools directly and ask for their advice. They would know better than I, and you may make some good contacts. Good luck.

  75. hi sir
    This is nasin from india i have 6.5 years experience in teaching field, i have completed B.Sc,B.Ed can i get job in dubai

    • I don’t know Narin. But you seem to be well qualified. My suggestion – contact the schools directly and ask them. They will know better than I do. Good luck.

  76. hi sir iam nasrin from india i have 6.5 years experience in teaching field. can i get job in dubai?

  77. Thank u for your valuable reply sir. How can i contact them directly? i don’t know the way. could u show me the path?

  78. Hi nasrin..I am also from India, Karnataka..I did M.Sc B.Ed and planning to do job in Dubai , yet I have no experience .if u wish shall we discuss together… This z my email I’ please send me an email.

  79. Respected Sir/ Madam,

    I am Satya, Spl Ed Teacher, I have completed my Masters in Sociology and diploma in Special Education. I have more than 22 years teaching experience with different class in mainstream Schools, Special Schools, Prison School and Rehabilitation Center based teaching and training.
    I have adequate knowledge on therapeutic interventions like Physio Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech and language therapy, behavior interventions. I am trained on designing and implementation of IEPs (Individualized Educational Plan).

    I attend various training programs like short term course on vocational training, Special Olympics Coach training, crises intervention training and also successfully completed induction training programme at Lee county School District in South Carolina as a International Teacher.

    I have experience in Research on quality education in Government Primary Schools in India, As a District Child Welfare Committee Chairperson have working knowledge on Child Rights Protection, rehabilitation and dealing legal issues related to children under Juvenile Justice Care and Protection Act 2015, in the East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh, India.

    I am trained as Special Olympics coach; I was member in crises intervention in the Lee County School District in the year 2007 – 2008. I have Reich experience in vocational training to the students and involving hands on activities.

    I am applying and attaching my Resume for Special Education Teacher / Therapeutic Intervention Specialist job your school/ hospital based interventions. Please consider my request and provide me an opportunity to face the interview.

    Thanking you Sir/Madam,
    With Best Regards,

    SATYA, from India.

    • Hi Satya, wow, you sound like the most qualified person on Earth! Unfortunately I don’t work at a school/hospital, so have no way to offer you a job. I suggest you contact schools in Dubai directly and tell them what you’ve told me. I hope you get a positive response. Good luck…

  80. Hello Sir.
    I’m Alexandra.
    I would be an English graduate by June, 2017 and would like to move into teaching (specifically in the UAE) almost immediately.
    How do I go about this?

    • Read the article Alexandra, all of the info is there. Good luck.

      • Thank you very much Sir. I have read the article over and again and I appreciate the awesome work you have put into it.
        I am from Nigeria and I have tried seeking information on how to earn a teaching certificate online but it seems impossible.
        In addition, I have no teaching experience, apart from my undergraduate tutorial-coordination experience.
        What am I supposed to do and how am I supposed to go about it if I want to teach in the UAE?

  81. Hello Alexandra,

    You should do your research on the internet. There’s loads of information on teaching in the UAE. The minimum requirement is 2 years experience post qualification. I would advise you focus on getting your teachers license and some experience.

    There are a number of institutions that offer Teacher’s License certification online. TEACH NOW is one of them.


  82. v sadanandam // December 21, 2016 at 1:50 am //

    Hi All,
    I am V.Sadanandam worked as an Assistant Professor with M.TECH as Highest Qualification in Electronics and Communication Engineering qualified with a Aggregate of 85.9% and looking for same position/Entry level career
    I am here by to Introduce that I am Coming DUBAI ON SINGLE PERMIT VISA FOR 90 DAYS from Date DEC 7 , 2016 to March 2,2017 So, please kindly let me know your suggestions/Advice in these Regard will be helpful to go head

    Email id :
    Skype: Vavilala.sadanandam1

    • Hi V, I’m not sure how I can help you to be honest. The article is simply a recount of how I went about applying for and securing offers to teach in primary schools in Dubai. The way I went about it is laid out in the article. If you want to teach in primary schools then follow the plan and see how you go. Good luck.

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