Teaching English in Saudi Arabia

Teaching English in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Overview

Main Cities/AreasSalary range (USD/month)
Jeddah, Riyadh$2500 – $5000

The best TEFL salaries in the world are in Saudi Arabia.

If you work here for a decade you should be able to buy a nice house outright back in the West. But that’s if you can handle living in such a place for such a length of time.

As with all Gulf States, the ultra-strict Muslim way of life is not particularly compatible with other belief systems and therefore many Westerners will require considerable time to adjust to what can be a stifling and rigid cultural environment. For example, even playing music in public is forbidden. Besides the generous tax-free salaries, the other positive points include the excellent cuisine and opportunities to explore the desert and coastline.

Experience is essential and many employers require at least three years. Many teachers complain of a culture of entitlement by rich Saudis who lack the motivation to learn and feel they deserve to pass exams with no effort whatsoever.

Despite the large ex-pat community and great salaries, life here is hard for Westerners and the rigid laws make it quite difficult to enjoy yourself in your spare time. Western women may find things especially difficult.

It is undoubtedly a great place to save money though, and if it weren’t for that single fact then the number of TEFL teachers in Saudi Arabia would probably be much lower than it is.

Typical Requirements and Tips

Degree?TEFL Certification?Experience?
YesYes3-5 Years

Consider a move to Saudi Arabia very carefully. Can you really handle the considerable cultural restrictions for a year or more?

Having medical insurance (ideally as part of your contract) is essential as treatment costs are very high here and many ex-pats have been prevented from leaving the country until they settle their considerable medical debts.

Be sure to negotiate with potential employers regarding the availability of free or subsidized accommodation, plus medical and flight allowances.

Work permits should be arranged before you arrive in Saudi Arabia. This must be done in conjunction with your employer.

The cost of living in Saudi Arabia is high. However, the fabulous tax-free salaries mean that you ought to be able to save a good portion of your salary each month.

Your salary is tax-free. You should receive your salary on a monthly basis unless otherwise stated in your contract.

Pros and Cons of Teaching in Saudi Arabia


  • Huge demand for English tuition
  • Excellent tax-free TEFL salaries
  • Decent infrastructure


  • Few openings for those without considerable experience
  • High living costs
  • The cultural differences associated with living in a Muslim-majority nation may be a shock to the inexperienced

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