Guide to teaching English in Qatar

Qatar, a small country on the Persian Gulf, is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. It has a booming economy with significant investments in education and tourism.

No wonder teaching English in Qatar is becoming more popular! Qatar offers competitive salaries and fantastic benefits for ESL teachers from all over the world. Plus, it's an exciting place to travel to and explore.

There are many reasons you might choose to live and work in Qatar: culture, history, adventure – these are all big draws for educators who want to teach English abroad. Qatar's salaries are generally high, ranging from $3,100 to $4,779 USD.

Interested in teaching English in Qatar? We’ve got you covered! Keep reading to learn more about the types of English teaching jobs, average salaries and benefits, and how to get an ESL teaching job in Qatar!

Types of teaching jobs in Qatar

Qatar's demand for English teachers is high, and the opportunities are plentiful. This has made Qatar a popular destination for teaching English abroad. In addition, with its rapidly growing economy, stable government, and low crime rate, Qatar has become a popular choice for ESL teachers looking to experience a different culture while pursuing their careers and interests.

Most schools in Qatar are looking for qualified, experienced English teachers from native English-speaking countries such as the United States, Canada, UK, or Australia. However, there are plenty of opportunities for native Arabic speakers who want to teach in Qatar.

Private international schools

Due to a constant influx of new expats, there is an ongoing need for qualified, experienced English teachers at private international schools. These schools are semi-regulated, so you may find the standard of teaching or teaching methods a little different back home. However, they typically offer the best package for degree-qualified international teachers.

Tutoring

Teaching English in Qatar as a personal tutor, you may have more flexibility in your hours worked and work on a smaller group (or 1:1) basis. However, you will need to ensure that a company or family sponsors you to remain in the country legally. Whatever you do -- don’t try to freelance as a tutor without a permit to work! This is highly illegal, and you could face deportation or, worse, jail time.

English language schools

With local Qatari people wishing to expand their English language skills and non-English speaking expats also looking to develop their skills, teaching English at language schools are becoming more common. While these are not as high-paying as the private international schools, they typically offer shorter teaching days, more flexibility, and opportunities for evening lessons.

Average salary and benefits for teaching English in Qatar

English teacher salaries in Qatar are generally high, ranging from $3,100 to $4,779 USD for a degree-qualified teacher at a private international school. Your salary will be tax-free, but many other costs in the country are taxed.

When considering a salary, you should also be mindful of the offered package. The best packages include accommodation or housing allowances, and some even have a transport allowance. In a country with poor public transport, you will be required to drive or taxi everywhere so a transport allowance can make a big difference.

Common benefits included for English teachers in Qatar

If you're looking for an ESL teaching job in Qatar, you'll likely be interested in the benefits that come with it. At first glance, these benefits may seem too good to be true — but they're not! The following are some of the most common benefits for ESL teachers in Qatar:

  • Housing allowance
  • Expat package (if you’re staying long-term)
  • Airfare reimbursement if your employer does not pay for your plane ticket; this also includes pre-departure orientation
  • Free medical insurance for up to 2 years after arrival and a free annual flight ticket

Read more: How Much Money Can You Save Teaching Abroad?

Cost of living in Qatar

The cost of living in Qatar is similar to that of other developed countries. The average monthly income for an expat teacher is approximately $3,100 USD. This amount can be used to pay your rent, bills, food, and entertainment expenses.

The most expensive cities in Qatar are Doha and Al Khobar due to their urban location and luxurious lifestyle. However, if you choose to live outside these cities, your salary will be enough for you to get by with a few additional costs (besides transportation).

  • Food: $220 USD per grocery trip
  • Transportation: $41.20 USD/month (monthly transit pass)
  • Entertainment (movies, bars/clubs, etc.): $194 per night out
  • Housing: $1,854 USD/month (one bedroom in city center)

Source: Numbeo

Where and how to find housing

Finding housing in Qatar can be a challenge for new expats. The country has an expat-friendly law that protects tenants, but finding an affordable and safe apartment isn't always easy.

The best way to find housing in Qatar as an English teacher is to start by searching online and narrowing down your options by going on property tours. You should also ask around at work or with friends who have already lived in the area, especially if they are from the same country as you (or speak your native language).

Make sure you aren’t paying more than three months' rent upfront when signing a lease agreement since this is illegal according to Qatari law; instead, ask for six monthly payments instead of one large payment upfront. Also, make sure your home is registered with the police. This is a requirement of all expats who live in Qatar, as it helps prevent fires and theft. Some landlords will do this for you if you ask, but it's still something to check into.

Where to teach English in Qatar

As with starting a job in any new country, it's important to do your research before coming to Qatar. Start by exploring these major teaching cities in Qatar:

Doha

The leading destination for English teaching jobs in Qatar is Doha. It is a safe and comfortable, if quiet, destination. However, if you’re looking for a more lively and social environment, it’s important to note that in Doha, alcohol can only be consumed with permission at home or in hotels, but outdoor activities are abundant during the winter. There are also many expat clubs and groups with a small-town feel for activities such as yoga, running, sailing, and hiking. It's also great for families, and some contracts will include an education allowance.

Al Rayyan

If you are looking for a place to teach English in Qatar that's close to the beach, Al Rayyan may be a perfect choice. Al Rayyan is also known to be one of the best places in Qatar for expats to live because it offers both modern amenities and historical sites that visitors can explore on their days off.

Al Khor

Al Khor has some great restaurants and shops within walking distance from your apartment or villa rental. The city also offers several parks where residents can relax after work with friends or family members without having their activities interrupted by traffic noise from nearby streets where cars pass through all day long during rush hour times (which happens between 6 am and about 3 pm).

How to get a job teaching English in Qatar

While there are many opportunities available to become an English teacher in Qatar, it isn't always clear just what the application process for these jobs is. You can get started on your big move by preparing your documentation, which will be needed several months before your departure.

Where to find teaching jobs in Qatar

Go Overseas has a number of teaching job opportunities available in Qatar, based mainly in Doha. Whether you want to work at a high school with Teaching Nomad or work at a private American International School with Teach Away, there are many different jobs for you to consider.

When to apply to teaching jobs in Qatar

You need to start your job search at least six months before you plan to move to Qatar. This is because the government process for visa approval can be prolonged. In addition, there is a range of documentation requirements (such as having your marriage certificate or degree attested multiple times) that are time-consuming.

Qualifications needed to teach English in Qatar

To teach at an International Private School, you must have a teaching degree and, ideally, 2-3 years of relevant teaching experience. To teach at an English Language School, you must hold a TEFL/TESOL certification, and again, experience is preferred (but not always necessary).

Read more: What are the Requirements to Teach English Abroad?

Work visa

Your employer is required to sponsor your visa. You will be tied to your employer for the duration of your visa, which you will need to remember if you want to change jobs. You may be required to request permission from the government, or your former employer, to change jobs.

What’s it like to live & teach English in Qatar

As an ESL teacher in Qatar, it’s essential that you take the time to research the country’s etiquette and classroom culture, as it can be vastly different from what you’re used to at home! ESL teachers should be respectful and understanding while adapting to a new classroom environment.

Classroom & work culture

In exchange for a high salary package, English teachers in Qatar work hard. However, schools are generally well resourced and provide excellent teaching facilities for staff and students.

Classes typically start at around 6:30 or 7:00 AM, when the temperature is cooler, with students leaving between 1:00 PM and 2:30 PM. You are likely to be accompanied in the classroom by a Teacher Aide or Teacher's Assistant, and some classrooms even have a "Class Mother." The Class Mother will be in charge of coordinating some administrative activities for you. All children must learn Arabic, and an Arabic teacher will be allocated for this purpose if you do not speak the language.

Culture & etiquette tips

Before you even think about packing your bags and jetting off to teach English in Qatar, it's essential to be aware of key cultural differences between your home country and the local culture. In addition, there are many different ways in which you can adjust your behavior when living here to avoid any awkwardness or misunderstandings:

  • Be punctual - You must arrive on time for all appointments or meetings. Arriving early will make a good impression on those you're meeting with! Similarly, if you're hosting someone, try not to keep them waiting as this could be considered rude behavior.
  • Respect local traditions - As an English teacher in Qatar, you must be respectful toward local customs and traditions by wearing clothing appropriate for both genders (long trousers/skirts for women) in public places such as malls or restaurants. Don't forget about Ramadan either; Muslims fast during daylight hours, making eating at regular times difficult!
  • Always ask before taking photos - This is particularly important at someone’s home or when entering a mosque or other holy places such as a museum or religious monument, including prayer rooms (masjid). However, some mosques now have areas designated specifically for photography purposes.

Health & safety

Qatar is a highly safe country, and Doha is a safe city. However, you will need to brush up on Arabic customs and be prepared to respect local rules and traditions. For example, you will be required to apply to the government to exit Qatar -- which might not be to everyone’s liking. The country does also experience some fairly hot temperatures -- up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more! So while you will be working in air-conditioning most of the time, you need to prepare yourself for the sticky summers. The flip side is that winter has a much more pleasant average temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit, perfect for beach-club lounging.

Ready to find your dream teaching program in Qatar?

Start researching and comparing teaching programs here at Go Overseas in the Teaching Programs in Qatar section below.

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