Teacher Pay and Benefits in the Middle East
The main benefits to teaching overseas are the enjoyment of teaching in an international school, the friends you’ll make, the adventure of living life abroad, and the travel opportunities living overseas brings you. Money should not be your main motivation for teaching abroad and you should know that you won’t get rich doing so. However, we know money is important, so here is what you can expect teaching in the Middle East, the most lucrative area in the world to teach in.
Salaries for international school teachers vary widely from country to country depending on the cost of living in each country and the desirability of the location. As such, when considering a teaching job abroad, the best way to compare salaries is to look at how much income is left after expenses. For example, if you want to teach overseas in a large and touristy city like Dubai, or even Jeddah, Saudi Arabia the salary will be higher because, 1) the cost of living in those cities is high and 2) teaching jobs in those types of cities are in higher demand (yes, even despite a perceived security risk).
Teachers in the Middle East can make anywhere between $2400-$5500 USD, depending on experience and location. However, the cost of living in the Middle East is more expensive than elsewhere, and the living conditions can be a lot more rudimentary. As an added bonus, the salary in the Middle East is usually tax-free. Tax-free salary in the middle east often translates into saving power of around $1500 USD per month.
In addition to a teacher’s regular salary, most schools in the middle east offer the following benefits to hired teachers:
- Airfare to and from the host city for the teacher
- Health insurance*
- Housing or a housing allowance
- Summer vacation
- Assistance learning the country’s language
- Procurement of all appropriate visas and country permits
- Local taxes paid (but double check with the school when you sign the contract!)
In addition to the above, many schools offer some or all of the following benefits to teachers hired from abroad:
- Career development opportunities
- Retirement plan
- Life insurance
- Sick leave
*While it may sound like a given, some schools don’t provide health insurance for teachers. Fortunately travel health insurance can provide overseas residents and travelers extremely generous coverage for minimal amounts of money.