In a financial sense Saudi Arabia could well be the ideal destination for teaching English abroad as the average salaries are as high as anywhere in the world and most jobs also come with a range of extra benefits. Jobs are plentiful in universities, colleges, international schools, and private language academies across the country, although Riyadh and Jeddah are the main centers for TEFL related jobs.
Is Saudi Arabia a good destination for me to teach English?
Despite the high salaries and extra benefits, it is important to be aware that Saudi Arabia has a cultural environment that might not be suitable for every teacher. All visitors to the country, including teachers, are subject to very conservative laws and traditions that some people find hard to live with. The consumption of alcohol is forbidden and close interaction between unmarried couples is not allowed. It can be a particularly challenging environment for female teachers as they face further restrictions that include the clothes you are allowed to wear.
What can I expect to earn while teaching English in Saudi Arabia?
It is a well known fact that Saudi Arabia offers some of the highest salaries in the world for teaching English abroad. Average salaries range from around $2,500 to $4,000 per month, depending on your level of qualifications and previous classroom experience. As well as a very generous basic salary, many teaching jobs also include an extensive benefit package that often contains paid return airfares, free accommodation, and an end of contract bonus. It is also worth remembering that all teaching salaries in Saudi Arabia are tax free!
What kind of employer will I work for while teaching English in Saudi Arabia?
Private and public run language schools continue to open across Saudi Arabia fueled by an ever-growing foreign born population and an increasing need for English skills in many areas of life. The average salary in these environments ranges from 12,000 to 15,000 SAR (currently $3,200 to $4,000) per month. Working hours are typically around 25 to 30 hours of actual classroom time, with lesson planning and admin duties on top. Teachers who have a good understanding of Arabic will find they are especially sought after.
Another alternative for teachers who are able to meet the high standards required, is to apply to international schools that follow a foreign curriculum, typically American or British. This type of job generally requires a full teaching qualification from your home country and a minimum of two years classroom experience. If you are lucky enough to secure a position in an international school, you can expect a very competitive salary and working hours of around 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday to Wednesday. Teachers are typically expected to sign a contract for one or two years.
Are there any other employers of TEFL teachers in Saudi Arabia?
Colleges and universities offer further good options for English language teachers in Saudi Arabia as most students are required to sit an English language exam at some stage during their studies. Positions in this field generally pay at least 15,000 SAR ($4,000) per month, which means that the competition for each job is likely to be strong. In most cases, employers will be looking for extensive classroom experience when hiring for these roles.
How does the cost of living affect TEFL teachers in Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia is well known as one of the wealthiest countries in the Middle East, if not the world. As a consequence, it is also a relatively expensive place to live by the standards of the region. However, as the average salary is high and most jobs also include free accommodation and other benefits, most teachers are able to put away a large amount of money each month and still enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.