Teaching jobs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, UAE 2014-2015
Information about vacancies in Dubai schools, careers and teaching jobs, salaries in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, RAK, Sharjah, and other places in the UAE in national and international schools, universities, colleges, training institutes. Scams and fake teaching jobs, how to apply for the best teaching jobs in 2014-2015 for Americans, Arabs, Asians, Europeans, Filipinos, Indians, westerners. Also teacher recruitment agencies, pay scale, benefits, and conditions. See also the page about teaching in the UAE.
Teaching job scams in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, UAE
- There are many ways to part people from their money, and several companies or organisations have discovered that teachers looking for jobs in the UAE seem to be happy to take an online advertisement for a teaching job at face value, send their personal details and job application, and then when offered a "too good to be true" job package, promptly send several hundred $US to a random person/address (sometimes presented as some sort of UAE government department) for alleged "visa fees" or similar.
- Of course, the job turns out to be bogus, the money has gone, it is impossible to make further contact, and there's little point in complaining to the police since the organisation doesn't operate out of the UAE anyway.
- School names might be made up, for example Mu Idris English School, or a real school's name might be abused for this scam, for example British School of Al Khubairat in Abu Dhabi.
- Being asked to send money to a recruitment agency to find you a job, to process a visa, or for any other employment related expenses should be a warning sign. The genuinely legitimate schools and recruitment agencies in the UAE will not ask you for money for such items.
- Any website related to your job search that ends in .tk should also be a warning sign (not that .coms or other extensions are necessarily safer but .tk domains are free and appear to be more frequently used for this particular hoax).
- See the Global Recruiters teaching jobs in Dubai information for one example of how this works in more detail.
For those teachers who, despite reading the above, are still very enthusiastic about sending money to these organisations, please do the following instead. Keep half, and send us the other half. That way we will both be in a better position financially. Ok, you still won't have a job yet, but you're more likely to find one by reading the rest of this page, and the other related pages, than by sending money to those organisations. And at the bottom of this page, there's a list of recruitment agencies for teaching jobs that we know of, and think are worth using.
Finding a teaching job in Dubai and UAE schools, colleges, and universities
In order of most effective to least effective way of finding a teaching job in a UAE school, especially a good job, try the following (for universities and colleges, the personal approach might be more difficult since they often have stronger firewalls, called Human Resource Departments):
- Search for and do some research about schools in the UAE, then make a list of names of schools you might be interested in teaching in. Adjust your CV to suit each school, and write a letter asking for a job. Don't address the letter with with Dear Sir/Madam. Find out the name of the person in charge. Phone the school to ask or confirm that a name is up to date (or at least search online but information is not always correct or up to date - even the school's own website can be poorly maintained).
Make sure the documents are free of spelling and grammatical errors - you are applying for a teaching job after all.
Learn the difference between its and it's, there and their, your and you're, for example and get it right (a school's website is not "it's website", it's "its website").
- If you know a teacher or another employee at a school, give them the letter/CV to hand over to the head. Networking (or Wasta as it's often called in the UAE) usually helps, and the adage It's not what you know but who you know is as true in the UAE as it is anywhere.
- If you live in the UAE, you can visit the school personally to deliver your CV/letter. It has happened that people are offered a job on the spot with this method.
- Otherwise, make a direct approach to each of the schools in your short list by sending a fax, letter, or email. Our guess is that fax or letter is more effective than email. Follow up the communication with a telephone call a week later if you haven't heard anything, and expect to be fobbed off. If they want you, they'll usually contact you quickly.
- Many schools have an employment or recruitment section on their websites. Visit the school's website to see if they are advertising teaching positions, and apply if they are. General online job application forms, when no positions are being advertised, are less likely to find a job quickly. Schools have these to filter out teachers they don't want, and have a pool of teachers they can call on if a job becomes available. Some school operators in the UAE have a separate website and HRM department, for example the GEMS teaching careers website. These websites and processes are part of the game played by employer's rules. As a teacher, you are not in a position to change the game or the rules very easily, but you can make sure you learn how to play the game and adapt to increase your chances of landing a better job and/or pay package.
- Try one of the specialised education job recruiting agents in the list on this page. Or any others you can find, but make sure they're reputable. There are plenty who aren't.
- Look for teaching job advertisements in specialised newspapers and magazines related to education. The Times Educational Supplement and The International Educator are two that are well known, and it is much more productive to look at them than through regular newspapers.
- Look for teaching jobs in UAE based newspapers (the Gulf News is probably the only one worth bothering with as of 2010, the Khaleej Times has a few also but mostly low-paid jobs), or contact UAE recruitment agents.
- Try responding to one of the zillions of online job websites that advertise teaching jobs, but really, there are only a handful of Dubai job websites that are even worth trying. Or any other form of online marketing for a teaching job. Remember that if a school uses this method, they are probably desperate, which is a sign that they might not be great places to work (or even a real place) - the chances of falling for some sort of job scam in the UAE are much higher this way. The energy and time required to send an application directly to a real person at a real school is higher than responding to an online advertisement. But by applying directly, the risk of a dud job or scam is substantially lower and more than makes up for the extra energy you expend. Remember also that most people choose the apparently easy way - which is responding to online jobs advertisements. Don't be most people and you'll be a step ahead of them in the game of finding a teaching job.
Remember that in order of effort, the most successful job finding strategy is the most work. That's because it's also the strategy that involves the least effort on the part of the school to find a teacher.
- Schools that rely on the least successful methods of finding a teachers usually have to do that because good teachers (and maybe even bad teachers) don't want to work there.
- If what you're trying isn't working, then try something different to make yourself more appealing as a teacher to a prospective employee - rewrite your CV, rewrite your letter, try a different method, cut your hair, wear different clothes, start studying for an additional qualification.
- Don't lie, don't buy fake or bogus qualifications, and don't beg or whine. Any of those strategies might help you to obtain job offer in the short run but in the long run they usually result in more trouble than they're worth. Apart from the moral and ethical issues to do with using deception as a strategy to succeed.
Teacher licensing in the UAE
- Teachers in Dubai and the UAE are supposed to have some sort of teaching certificate or qualification to be approved for a UAE work permit. How stringently this is enforced depends on the school and emirate in which you are working. There are teachers employed who have no relevant formal qualification. Some schools get around this by employing teachers under a different job category - office worker, secretary, driver, for example. This is not ideal, for either the school, the students, or the teacher.
- The more reputable schools, and the better ones to work for, will require evidence of certification, and you'll need to get degree and certificate copies attested before your work permit and residence visa are issued. This is best done in the country where certificates are issued. If you arrive in the UAE without doing that, you'll need to send documents back and forth to the country where they were issued, which can be a time-consuming and expensive exercise.
- 17 Mar 2014 - it was announced that the UAE was planning to require that all public and private school teachers in the UAE be licensed. Emirates 24-7 reported that Marwan Al Sawaleh, Under Secretary at the UAE Ministry of Education said "We are looking forward to introducing the teachers’ licensing system in the UAE". Vague timeline of 1-2 years for implementation mentioned. The proposal is still in the planning stages and is expected to be presented to the UAE Cabinet for approval by the end of 2014.
- 25 Mar 2014 - reports quoted Marwan Al Sawaleh, Undersecretary at the UAE Ministry of Education, as saying "To be permitted to teach in the UAE, teachers will have to have a federal licence that ensures a unified system and teaching standards in schools".
- The pros are obviously that it will be more difficult for schools to employ unqualified teachers, which at present is common in the UAE, and more difficult for unqualified or under-qualified teachers to find a teaching job, which is a good thing in terms of improving the education system.
- The cons are ... well, the same as the pros. For families with money, the proposal sounds sensible. For poor families, the pros are cons.
- Depending on how strictly the new law is implemented (if it becomes law), a number of unqualified teachers at cheap schools will lose their jobs. Schools will then have to either offer higher salaries to attract qualified teachers who are any good, which means a fee increase. Or continue offering low salaries and try to employ qualified teachers who cannot find a job anywhere else because they aren't any good.
- The increasing salary demands are likely to result in poor cheap schools either closing down, or becoming better and more expensive (if the authorities allow them to increase fees), which will result in poor families struggling even more to get their children educated. Given the choice between no education or a basic education, many would choose something more than nothing even if it is inadequate.
- We say "depending" because sometimes laws in the UAE are followed inconsistently. For example the minimum teacher salary requirement is ignored by many of the cheaper schools, and teachers either don't know, or lose their job if they try to complain to the labour department about their school (or worse, the school makes up a complaint about the teacher, the labour department sides with the school resulting in more problems for the teacher).
Minimum requirements for teaching and school related positions in the UAE
- *Article 70 of UAE Private Education Law 2001 specifies the following minimum for positions in education (not confirmed).
||5 years school administration or 3 years admin and 2 years teaching
||2 years school administration or 3 years teaching
||1 year school administration or 2 years teaching
|Head of subject
||degree and teaching certification
||degree specialty matches subject taught, 5 years teaching experience
||degree and teaching certification
||degree specialty matches subject taught, 5 years teaching experience
||degree and teaching certification
||degree specialty matches subject taught, 2 years teaching experience
||secondary school certificate
||can only work in kindergarten or primary school classes
- Emirati nationals are exempt from the minimum experience requirement.
- See also the teaching in Dubai page for general information.
Best schools for teachers in the UAE
- This list is our very subjective opinion only. By "best" we mean relatively professional working environment, administration for the most part is supportive of teachers in a professional capacity, resident visas are organised promptly, salaries and benefits package are decent to good (roughly AED 15k-20k per month in 2010-2011), salaries are paid on time, and teachers should suffer from minimal or no bureaucratic hassles on arrival, during employment, or when departing.
- If a school is not in the list below, that doesn't mean it is necessarily bad (although there are plenty that are), but it's not regarded as one of the best ones, or we don't have enough information to add it to the list. The list is deliberately kept short.
- Jobs at schools in this list are usually hard to come by. You're unlikely to find them advertised on job websites. Best approach directly to the school early in the academic year, and/or keep an eye on the specialist teaching recruitment agencies and publications. You'd be expected to have at least 2 years experience, be properly qualified, and have achievements that make you stand out from the crowd.
- Many schools (and companies in general) in the UAE often make things particularly difficult for departing teachers, attempting to withhold gratuity and/or other payments that are due to them. Before whining and jumping up and down, teachers should at least check the UAE labour law since confusion over contracts and other employment related matters is common in the UAE.
- Schools in this list are usually western or international curriculum. Even the better Asian curriculum schools still have relatively low salary scales.
- Schools in this list usually coincide with schools that are also the best for students, in the opinion of parents.
Best schools for teachers in Abu Dhabi
Schools worth trying in Abu Dhabi if you can't find a job at one of the best ones
Best schools for teachers in Dubai
Schools worth trying in Dubai if you can't find a job at one of the best ones
Best schools for teachers in Ajman, Al Ain, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain
- None that we can think of which compare to the ones listed for Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Teacher job satisfaction in Abu Dhabi - mid 2011 survery
- A WAM news report 15 August 2011 had the headline Teachers' professional satisfaction rate in Abu Dhabi Schools is as high as 78.3%. The conclusion was the result of a survey conducted during June and July 2011 whereby 5022 public and private school teachers completed a questionnaire on the ADEC web portal. It wasn't clear from the report how random the survey was or how participants were chosen.
- There was a confusing line in the report about overall job satisfaction (the first question) which said ... related to the teacher's salary and as predicted, the levels of satisfaction were relatively low, in both public and private sectors, with 31.9 in the public sector and 43.8 in the private sector (but didn't say who made the prediction or when it was made). Presumably referring to a component asking about pay and salaries. Whereas the first paragraph of the report said A recent survey conducted by Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) on teachers' job satisfaction in Abu Dhabi Schools showed a satisfaction index in public schools of 77.7% while in private schools, it reached 78.9.
- The National had a slightly different slant on the survery, with a headline on 16 August 2011 that said Teachers criticise apathetic parents, and highlighted that In a survey of 5,000 teachers, carried out by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) last month to gauge job satisfaction, it was found that 76.3 per cent of public school teachers and 67.3 per cent of private school teachers were unhappy with behaviour in the classroom.
- The actual results of the 12 questions are summarized in the table below:
||Overall job satisfaction
||Satisfaction with salary and pay (not clear which question)?
||Teaching profession satisfaction
||Satisfaction within school environment
||Professional development (PD) progress2
||Self assessment of progress towards personal PD goals2
||School support towards professional development
||Self-assessment of teaching abilities and strategies2
||Self-confidence in performing their job as teachers2
||Coherence between education system and life in general (or something)
||Moral and psychological support from school to the teacher
||Student behaviour in classrooms (higher means participants think behaviour is worse)
||Independence of teacher
- Not clear from report if figures apply to public, private, or both.
- There appears to be significant overlap between some pairs of questions - 4 & 5, 7 & 8.
- Male : female response split was 37% : 63%.
- Public : private sector response split was 80% : 20%
- Regional response was Abu Dhabi 46%, Al Ain 40%, 14%
Teaching qualifications in Dubai
Teacher training in Dubai and the UAE
Salaries for teaching jobs in Dubai and the UAE
There is supposed to be a minimum teacher salary of 2,000 dhs/mth in the UAE according to the UAE Ministry of Education (for most jobs in Dubai there is no minimum salary) but some schools try to pay less than that, at least according to several press articles. See the teacher salaries in Dubai discussion. Update (16 June 2010): the minimum might be higher - Gulf News reported that Asian schools teachers are among the lowest paid in the market with the minimum salary fixed at Dh2,500 by the Ministry of Education. Figure unconfirmed. Update again (22 February 2011): the minimum is apparently still AED 2,000 per month - Emirates Business 24-7 reported that Currently, most teachers in schools with Indian curricula earn less than Dh2,500 - just above the UAE Ministry of Education's minimum wage cap of Dh2,000.
A teacher's salary in the UAE often appears to be dependent on nationality. Indians, Filipinos, Pakistanis, expat Arabs from non-GCC countries seem to be paid the lowest salaries (less than AED 5,000 per month is common) but the salary paid is more likely to do with the school having low fees than specifically the nationality of the applicant. Indian, Filipino, etc teachers in places with a better pay scale usually (but not always) get the same salaries as western and Gulf Arab teachers if they have the required qualifications (normally a degree and teaching qualification from a western country or institute). Individual school information pages have salary and pay scale range where details have been provided.
In public schools or government schools, salary range for expat classroom teachers is 1,000-6,000 dhs per month for many schools, but substanitially higher for Emirati teachers, for example in Abu Dhabi, AED 24,000-34,000 per month reported in Feb 2014 ("I used to get Dh24,000. Now I’m getting Dh34,000 ..." - The National, 06 Feb 2014). In private schools, salary range is from 1,000-25,000 dhs per month. Schools with IB, UK or US curriculums usually pay the highest - the better ones are 10,000-20,000 dhs per month from 2000-2010 (with accommodation, flights etc included), at the top of the range secondary school teachers could get over 20,000 dhs per month, possibly up to 25,000 dhs/month in 2014-2015. Indian and Filipino schools pay about 2,000-4,000 dhs per month. Other Asian schools are similar, other European schools are closer to UK/US curriculum schools with their packages.
- For example, a British curriculum school in Abu Dhabi (unnamed) was advertising in August 2010 for a primary school teacher to KS1 with salary range of AED 11,000-15,000. Benefits included family housing, flights, medical, free schooling for 2 children (presumably if they attend the same school as the employee, not clear if fees paid to send them to another school). School claimed to be offering one of the top Abu Dhabi international school teacher salaries.
- ADEC was offering Abu Dhabi teaching jobs in their Abu Dhabi PPP schools program which started in 2006, with salaries advertised up to AED 20,000 per month from some providers. But that's a maximum. Range is probably something like AED 5,000 to 20,000 per month.
In the list of Dubai schools, if there is no teacher salary information, the school fees will give an indication of the salaries on offer. Divide the annual secondary school fee by 3 to get a very approximate monthly salary figure, or divide the primary school annual fee by 2. Reduce the result by 25% for profit-making schools. This should give you a mid to high point on the school salary scale.
- Teachers should check carefully what the salary package includes. Most overseas hire packages will include accommodation (which can vary from very good to slum), medical (which can also vary substantially - a government health card is only regarded as a bare minimum), return flights once a year (if the school insists on making bookings for you, this can be an aggravating experience). Some will include allowances for transport and utilities, and free or reduced tuition charges for children attending the same school.
- If a school offers an accommodation allowance instead of accommodation, it is likely to be insufficient for good accommodation - assume it will cover about 50% of your rental costs (which are normally paid one year in advance in full). Especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and until 2009 at least, it's difficult to even find properties for rent.
- Teachers on local contract hires will normally not be offered any of the above and may find it difficult financially if they have to cover their own accommodation costs - rental properties are very expensive in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
- Check also the policy for salary increments. Some schools do not move teachers up a salary scale irrespective of years of service or additional qualifications gained.
Teachaway teaching job salaries in Abu Dhabi, and job vacancy applications
Teachaway were advertising teaching job vacancies for Abu Dhabi public schools (government schools) in November 2013 (or earlier). Teachaway were advertising jobs in trilingual public schools (Arabic, Chinese, English) for elementary school level Mandarin teachers starting September 2013 (but possibly more vacancies coming up), with similar pay and benefits. More Teachaway jobs with ADEC schools advertised in December 2013 - High School English and Middle School teachers.
- Pay and benefits package as follows:
- Monthly salary AED 12,300-20,400 (about CAD$3,300-$5,500 or USD$3,350-$5,500). Tax-free, at least no UAE taxes on income.
- End of service benefits not mentioned in general information but specific jobs state end of contract bonus of 1 month salary per year, which is more than the usual UAE gratuity payment calculation.
- Annual flights and health insurance for employee, spouse, and up to 3 children.
- Tuition allowance for children not mentioned. Large expense if not provided. Some specific jobs state subsidized allowance for dependants (amount of subsidy not supplied, check because expat children cannot attend public schools, and private education can be expensive).
- Accommodation provided, furnished or unfurnished, AED 20,000 furniture allowance if unfurnished (enough for 1-2 bdrm apartment furniture from IKEA or similar but not much more).
- Minimum requirements: Native English speaker or equivalent, Bachelor's degreee, acceptable teaching certificate, minimum 2 years teaching experience relevant to post applied for.
- Contract duration 2 years.
- To apply for Teach Away jobs, register at their official website (www.teachaway.com). Avoid any third party options, especially any that smell like a scam or hoax.
Salary scale for UAE public (government) school and kindergarten teachers and principals (UAE Federal Law number 11 of 2008 - Human Resources)
- 27 Nov 2013 - ADEC announced they had approved the organisational and salary structures for public schools across Abu Dhabi, but didn't give details of what the new salary structure would be. The press release also said things like:
- ... More staff were added to the new structures and allocated to students with special needs, where jobs and technical counseling for Cycle 3 guarantee harmony between requirements of higher education and the labour market.
- ... benchmarking studies and questionnaires show that staff satisfaction, salaries and financial allowances result in Emiratis considering teaching jobs as un-attractive.
- ... the new salary structures are expected to attract more Emirati’s [sic] into the teaching field, and is competitive in that it honours qualified staff that hold an advanced certificate and have excellent performance skills.
- Some reports said that Emirati female teachers would get a 25%-35% pay rise, and the new salary structure would take effect from Jan 2014, and be backdated to Sep 2013. Gulf News quoted Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, ADEC Director General, as saying "... and to make teaching and other careers in the education sector more attractive to Emiratis, we will offer a 25 to 35 per cent increase in salaries and benefits on average for Emirati employees in public schools. The changed pay structure is expected to become effective from January onwards."
||Basic Salary (AED)
||Total (monthly, AED)
||Total (annual, AED)
|Emirati teacher (starting salary)
|Expat teacher (starting salary)
|Emirati principal (starting salary)
|Emirati principal (maximum)
- Salaries might have been amended in 2011 or 2012 when a revised law was issued (November 2011 or January 2012?).
- Note that these salaries are for government schools and kindergartens, not private institutions.
Teacher Recruitment Agencies and Finding Teaching Jobs in the UAE
The local UAE recruitment agencies and newspapers are not the best source of teaching jobs. The better options are (see end of page for links to relevant websites).
- ECIS - European Council of International Schools - organise teacher recruitment fairs. The main one is London in Jan/Feb but there are others.
- Search Associates - another teacher recruitment agency with job fairs in Dubai.
- Teach Away (or TeachAway) - an American based organisation? For the UAE they seem to be focused on jobs in Abu Dhabi public government schools for teachers who are Americans or Canadians. Positions advertised are real enough but it's a bit of a lottery finding a good place to work. Challenging is a suitable description for many posts, although the salary and benefits package offered is decent enough usually. Teachaway also offer private school teaching jobs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, ESL jobs, Teach Abroad programs, principal and other senior management positions, college and technical institute vacancies, etc, in the UAE and worldwide.
- TES - Times Educational Supplement - UK weekly newspaper with good listings of international teaching jobs.
- TIE - The International Educator - a US based publication with many international teaching jobs. Comes out infrequently (quarterly?).
- One not so promising option seems to be Global Recruiters (name changed to Global Recruiting Resources), which claims to be a Dubai employment agency but you should confirm anything from them independently. For example, we've seen teaching job offers from them for several different schools, training institutes, and colleges in Dubai, none of which appear to exist, including Deira Homeland School, Atika Language School, Zafirah Language Institute. They also charge job-seekers a fee, a practice which is not allowed according to UAE labour law.
Teaching jobs for women in the UAE
- International schools rarely advertise specifically for women or men teachers. Schools that do specify a gender usually do so for one of several reasons:
- The school is a segregated institute for boys or girls only (public high schools for example, or some private schools), or has separate campuses for each gender, and prefers to have teachers of the same gender as the students. Or is required to. It is more common for female teachers to teach in male student campuses than for male teachers to teach in female student campuses. Less so in tertiary institutes, colleges, and universities.
- The school is attempting to save money by employing women who already live in the UAE and have a residence visa sponsored by their husband.
- Nursery schools only employ women teachers and classroom assistants, although kindergarten and pre-school level institutes are often co-educational whether public or private.
This section moved to the Dubai private tutors page.
Last update Tuesday 24-Jun-2014