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Oil wealth has meant that many of the countries of the Middle East have been able to pay high salaries to attract the 'best' and most qualified teachers. As a result there are not many opportunities for the recently qualified teacher. Turkey is the exception where thousands of newly qualified teachers find employment. The lifestyle and strict conditions found in some of the oil rich nations may not appeal to all.

Recent political events in the region may ultimately create more demand or reduce it. Time will tell.

To view a map of the Middle East as well as current job listings for this region

Bahrain Area: 665 sq km
Pop: 667,238
Capital city Manama
Languages Arabic, English
Currency Dinar
Climate Arid; mild winters, hot humid summers
Typical teacher salary $1,500 tax free
Major teaching locations Nationwide
Job Prospects:
Bahrain is among the more liberal of the oil states, and one which attracts foreigners, including women, because of its tolerance to women in the workplace. Opportunities mainly exist in companies, colleges or private language schools.
Israel Area: 20,770 sq km
Pop: 6,116,533
Capital city Tel Aviv
Languages Hebrew, Arabic, Yiddish
Currency Shekel
Climate Temperate, hot/dry in SE desert areas
Typical teacher salary Local salary
Major teaching locations Tel Aviv, Haifa, Holon
Job Prospects:
Due to the large number of native speaking Jews who have settled in Israel, almost all positions are filled from the local population and there is no active recruitment of foreign teachers.
Kuwait Area: 17,820 sq km
Pop: 2,183,161
Capital city Kuwait City
Languages Arabic, English
Currency Dinar
Climate Dry desert; hot summer, short cool winter
Typical teacher salary US$30,000 per year
Major teaching locations Nationwide
Job Prospects:
The general consensus seems to be that the glory years of extremely high, tax-free salaries are over in Kuwait. While that may be true the salaries offered are still higher than most other countries. Opportunities usually only exist for the highly qualified and experienced.
Lebanon Area: 10,400 sq km
Pop: 3,727,703
Capital city Beirut
Languages Arabic, French, English
Currency Lebanese pound
Climate Mediterr; mild/wet winter, hot/dry summer
Typical teacher salary Volunteer/local salary
Major teaching locations Beirut
Job Prospects:
Lebanon is only just emerging from its turbulent past, and job opportunities are presently limited to placements through voluntary agencies. A teacher 'on the spot' may well be able to arrange work for a local salary. Hopefully the future will bring with it a greater variety of possibilities in this tiny but fascinating country.
Oman Area: 212,460 sq km
Pop: 2,807,125
Capital city Muscat
Languages Arabic, Baluchi, English
Currency Rial
Climate Dry desert; humid coast, dry Interior
Typical teacher salary $20,000 per annum tax-free
Major teaching locations Muscat
Job Prospects:
Despite a fast-expanding EFL market there is no room here for the 'casual traveling teacher' as a tight control of tourist visas is maintained. It is essential to have an MA in a related subject plus three years of experience to even be considered. Jobs are well-paid and not to difficult to find if you meet the above criteria
Saudi Arabia Area:1,960,582 sq km
Pop: 24,293,844
Capital city Riyadh
Languages Arabic, English
Currency Riyal
Climate Harsh, dry desert; temperate extremes
Typical teacher salary $3,000 per month tax-free + other perks
Major teaching locations Various
Job Prospects:
Like Kuwait the days of wonderfully high salaries are probably over. However, the salary package usually compares favorably with almost every other country. Teachers are usually required to have the highest qualifications and substantial experience. Not many women are employed and some teachers find the rules and regulations of life in Saudi Arabia rather too restrictive.
Syria Area: 185,180 sq km
Pop: 17,585,540
Capital city Damascus
Languages Arabic, Kurdish, Armenian
Currency Syrian pound
Climate Desert; hot summers, coast: snow/winter
Typical teacher salary US$400 per month
Major teaching locations Damascus
Job Prospects:
Syria is not a wealthy country and salaries are considerably lower than those offered in oil rich countries. There are a limited number of opportunities in the private language schools in Damascus. Teachers should arrange teaching positions and contracts before arrival.
Turkey Area: 780,580 sq km
Pop: 68,109,469
Capital city Ankara
Languages Turkish, Arabic, Kurdish
Currency Lira
Climate Temper; hot/dry summer; mild/wet winter
Typical teacher salary US$1,000 per month
Major teaching locations Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir
Job Prospects:
There is an enormous demand for English teachers in Turkey, particularly in the larger cities. Salaries are reasonable and most teachers are able to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. Opportunities primarily exist within the private educational sector. Most teachers seem to find teaching and living in Turkey an enjoyable experience. A university degree is essential for working in Turkey.
United Arab Emirates Area: 82,880 sq km
Pop: 2,484,818
Capital city Abu Dhabi
Languages Arabic, Hindi, Urdu, Farsi, English
Currency Dirham
Climate Desert; cooler in Eastern mountains
Typical teacher salary US$18,000 per annum tax-free
Major teaching locations Dubai, Abu Dhabi
Job Prospects:
As in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, reasonably well-paid jobs exist for those with prior teaching experience. Salaries are a bit lower but so are the educational requirements. Many teachers find the UAE less restrictive than some of the other gulf states.