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Teaching English in Saudi Arabia

Teaching English In Saudi Arabia Feature
Teaching English in Saudi Arabia is difficult for some TEFL teachers to absorb. No alcohol. No dating. Saudi Arabia has opened up to the idea of cinemas since 2018 in Riyadh.

Teaching English in Saudi Arabia


Bachelor’s Degree: Required. Master’s preferred.

Monthly Salary: $4,000 to 6,000 USD

Peak Hiring: All year round

Visa Information: Work visa before entry

Housing: Compensated or subsidized

Airfare: Reimbursed

Student Types: Business English and children

At a Glance

Teaching English in Saudi Arabia comes with all the bells and whistles like free housing, high salaries, and paid airfares. But at the same time, you might be in for a bit of culture shock compared to the rest of the Middle East. In this guide, we’ll explore the various teaching opportunities available in Saudi Arabia.


Saudi Arabia is a strange place to live for many expats. Reactions vary considerably with many staying only a year or less. A lot of foreign teachers think it’s best to ease yourself gently into the culture by doing a year or two in another Gulf country like Kuwait, the Emirates, or Oman.

Saudi Arabia pays big. Don’t be star-struck by a big salary ($4,000-6,000 USD monthly). They’re all big salaries here. Teachers require a Bachelor’s Degree and often be a native speaker of English. Employers look for CELTA or TEFL certificates.

Teaching English in Saudi Arabia is difficult for some TEFL teachers to absorb. No alcohol. No dating. The country is a big desert. Cinemas have opened up since 2018. The first year is always going to be a culture shock. But it gets easier the longer you are there. They say if you can teach in Saudi Arabia, you can teach anywhere.

English Language Schools in Saudi Arabia

In general, there are three different types of teaching positions in Saudi Arabia. This includes EFL centers, universities, and large private companies. 

EFL Centers

English as a Foreign Language Centers teach mostly adults and are the lowest paid for teachers. Typically, they work split shifts in the mornings and evenings for five days a week. The advantage to these centers is that they are usually in the bigger cities. The teaching centers pay similarly to the universities, although a bit less.


Although it depends on the university, for the most part, teachers don’t spend more than four hours a day in the classroom. Of course, the pay is good even if it doesn’t compare to the private company jobs. Salaries range from about $2,800 to $4,000 USD per month. Usually, housing will be provided for the foreign teachers. 

Large Private Companies

The best deal you can get is with one of the private companies. They will pay you anywhere from $4,000 to upwards of $6,000 a month. These positions usually require at least a Master’s and a decent amount of experience. If you can get one of these positions, you will be the envy of all other teachers in the country, maybe even the Middle East.


Salaries in Saudi Arabia are very high compared to the rest of the world. But Saudi Arabia isn’t doing it out of charity. Without the high salaries they offer, few teachers would go there or stay.

As there aren’t any bars, nightclubs, few cinemas, and less to do recreationally, expect to save most of your tax-free income. This is because there isn’t much to spend your money on except food.

Before you pick an employer, make sure you do your research. Don’t be star-struck by a big salary because salaries are very high compared to the rest of the world. Rent is subsidized and utilities are usually free in Saudi Arabia.

Monthly SalaryTotal
US Dollars (USD)4,000 to 6,000 USD
Saudi Riyal (SAR)15,000 to 22,500 SAR


Many TEFL programs will provide you with a background in linguistics, grammar, and different pedagogical approaches so you are prepared to teach a classroom of students who are learning English for the first time.

TEFL certification gives you the opportunity to travel the world and earn money teaching English. There are also many online TEFL courses that you can take if you prefer. Here are our recommended courses to get certified.

Frequently Asked Questions

How common is English spoken in Saudi Arabia?

English is widely spoken. Retail and restaurant staff are usually immigrants and fluent in several languages.

How is the dating situation there?

It’s not good. If you’re a male teaching English in Saudi Arabia, don’t expect to engage in a conversation with a female Saudi. This will result in plenty of embarrassing reactions and possibly fierce retribution from nearby Saudi males. Public places are mostly male. Saudi girls can be interested in foreigners but social protocols are very against any mingling.

What is Saudi culture like?

Saudi Arabia has lots of character to it. The culture consists of going out to the desert, shopping, talking about football, playing on your phone, or going to an expensive gym.

How bad is pollution?

Because of the dust in general and dust storms occasionally the country has a low rating. A lack of heavy industry in most of the country means the air is pretty clean, as are the streets.

Does it get cold there?

Winters can be cold in Saudi Arabia with occasional snow. It reaches the single digits temperature in Celsius. Air conditioning is a savior for the hot summers.

What are some of the common complaints about living in Saudi Arabia?

Some of the common issues are a lack of freedom, a national no-liquor policy, and a lack of recreational activities.


  • The largest sand desert is located in Saudi Arabia.
  • Saudi Arabia is an Islamic country with a monarchy system.
  • Citizens have free public health care.
  • Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia.
  • Women were banned from driving in Saudi Arabia until 2018.
  • Saudi Arabia has the most oil reserves in the world.
  • Most people in Saudi Arabia are Muslim.
  • Birth control is illegal.

One Comment

  1. Hello,

    Your post is scary, dishonest, and quite ignorant and sounds just like a typical ignorant westerner. Its quite strange you folks put so much emphasis on dating, alcohol and clubs. Thats very strange.

    Saudi Arabia has changed. Women can drive and are actively participating in social, ecnomic, cultural and political life. There is a booming social landscape, cinemas, entertainment, and lively appropriate night life unlike the terrible public intoxication scenes in UK and the rest of the west. We try to keep modesty and respect ourselves.

    Go learn some facts before spreading your bullshit. Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries must be careful allowing folks like you to enter their soil. You folks dont really deserve the money we give you.

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