Why Teach in Qatar?
High salary, family benefits package offered by your school, bustling expat community, modern middle eastern culture, and of course- lots of travel opportunities.
If you like the sound of that, keep reading...
Teaching in Qatar can offer you an insight into the culture and lifestyle of the Middle East, with exceptional Qatari hospitality amongst a mix of modern facilities and old traditions. As a teacher in Qatar, you can earn a highly competitive tax-free salary and tons of perks which will mean that you can live a very comfortable life.
As for teaching, prospective teachers will encounter a few positions teaching in smaller private language schools, but the majority of positions are at International Schools with the option to teach a variety of subjects including science, math, PE, history and of course English. Your specialty is certainly celebrated here!
Qatar is a small nation with only around 2.6 million people, but a large majority of that number is made up of expats. The country has been quickly developing, making it one of the richest countries in the world and is becoming popular with international companies. The Football World Cup is also being held in Qatar in 2022 which is creating a lot of hype both locally and internationally.
Although a fairly new country, there are many attractions including water sports, malls, museums and desert activities. The desert climate provides sunny days for most of the year which is highly appealing to many. Due to the hot weather, schools start the day early and finish early so that teachers and students can avoid the hot afternoon sun.
It is very easy to travel in your vacation times, with direct flights to numerous destinations in Asia, Europe, America and Oceania. Due to recent political issues, traveling to some Middle Eastern countries will be a little bit more difficult.
All in all- expect to live the good life with a tight community of expats and teachers with some lavish holidays on the weekend.
And yes, you can drink alcohol in Qatar.
Qualifications to Teach in Qatar
While Qatar has a strong education system with many International schools hiring only licensed teachers, it is also possible to teach with a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL/TESOL certificate. Preference is given to those with credentials and teaching experience so fresh TEFL graduates may struggle to find a position here due to the competitive market.
Bachelor’s Degree: Yes – BA/BS required
Master’s Degree: Preferred, but not essential
Teaching Degree: Highly recommended to land the best jobs
TEFL Certificate, CELTA Degree or Equivalent: Required for those without a teaching qualification
Criminal Background Check: Yes
Health Check: Physical and HIV checks are required for work visa
Citizenship of English Speaking Country: Highly preferred
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How to Find a Job in Qatar
The majority of teachers that move to Qatar are hired while still residing in their own countries so that their working visa can be processed before arriving- it's much easier this way!
Expect between 1-3 months from your interview to actually obtaining your visa! This is precisely why, if you choose to stay with your school for another year, contracts are often filled months in advance of the next school year.
But that's getting ahead of ourselves. Let's land that first job, shall we?
The best way to search for teaching jobs in Qatar is online. Many schools advertise on job boards in Western countries and through recruitment agencies.
Here are the most popular website links to find a teaching job in Qatar...
While most hiring is completed months before the start of the school year, it is possible to find positions throughout the year.
Typically, International Schools have their hiring requirements listed on their website, so it is possible to apply directly with a school.
Even if they don't have current openings, send your CV and ask that they consider you for when a position becomes available.
Here are some links to help you find an International School Position in Qatar...
Turn up to Qatar with CV in hand, put on your most presentable teacher clothes and go introduce yourself to some schools.
While not the most convenient method, if you've found a flight through Qatar or want to scope out the place- give it a shot!
You can enter Qatar on a tourist visa and which will give you more than enough time to shop yourself around.
If you are awarded a contract with a school, it will take up to three months to get a residency permit. During the application process, you may not leave the country. However, your school can organize a temporary visa for you.
That doesn't mean that once you sign a contract that you are a prisoner! Your school can arrange multiple exit permits for you to travel. Also, if you sign a contract and need some time to go home or travel before that- these are all things that can be worked out with your school.
Option 1: Search for Teaching Positions Online
Option 2: Apply Directly to International Schools
Option 3: Go to Qatar and Search
Visas for Teachers in Qatar
Qatar operates under the ‘Kafala’ system, in which every person must be sponsored by an employer. It also means that you must gain permission and an exit stamp to be able to leave the country, i.e you cannot just leave whenever you want. Most schools will automatically allow for multiple exit visas due to the nature of school holidays and teachers wanting to take vacations but it is important to discuss this with potential employers before signing a contract.
- Passport with 1-2 years of validity
- Diplomas/ Higher Education Certificates
-Police Clearance Certificate
- Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
-Clean Health Check Certificate
Note: All legal and educational documents need to be certified and stamped by an official at the Qatari Embassy of your home country.
The visa for teachers in Qatar is called the 'Work Residence Permit (RP)'.
You'll need a Qatari sponsor (your school) in order to get it. Schools will take care of the visa process for you, and will organize a temporary visa (if required) until the RP is able to be put into your passport. The RP is valid for up to two years and you are unable to leave the country while the RP is being processed.
If your RP has been processed before you arrive in the country, you will be asked to go for your medical examination and have your fingerprints taken within seven days. It is your schools responsibility to guide you through the process and ensure all steps are met.
Note: Once you have your residency permit with 1 school, you are contracted to them. If you want to leave your employer and switch to another employer- we've got weird news: you must leave Qatar for two years before returning to Qatar again.
Documents Required for a Visa
How to Apply for a Visa Once you Land a Job
What's Included in the Job
It pays to teach in Qatar.
The list of benefits are so enticing, including the fact that some International Schools may even provide a relocation allowance to cover your shipping, luggage or settling in costs. And for your family? Your children are often given allowances to attend your International School and your spouse has an unofficial, yet direct connection to finding a clerical job if they wish.
Average Monthly Income: $2000-$4000 for teachers & even higher for senior positions (director, counselor, etc.)
Housing: Included! Typically, a single apartment, a family apartment, or housing allowance
Flights: Typically included- round trip flight to Qatar
Bonus Flight: Included- will fly you home annually for vacation
Medical Insurance: Included
End of the Year Pension: Not included
End of the Year Bonus: Many schools provide a one month bonus at the end of each completed year.
Vacation Time: Around two months summer holidays, term breaks and national holidays.
Contract Commitment: 1-2 years
Cost of Living in Qatar
Wiki Creative Commons
With your school covering your housing costs, medical costs, and sometimes- your transportation costs, there is some serious potential to save some cash in Qatar!
Check out what to expect to spend...
(Prices are in USD roughly according to numbeo.com and individual research– Updated October 2017)
Taxi (1km): $0.53
Gasoline (1 Liter): $0.42
Cinema- International Release (1 Ticket): $9.25
Milk (1 Liter): $1.53
Chicken Breast (1kg): $7.10
Loaf of Fresh White Bread: $1.48
Draft Beer (pint): $10.57
Restaurant Meal (average restaurant): $20[M1] -25
McDonald’s Combo Meal: $5.42
As for alcohol- it's illegal to drink or be drunk in public- that'll save you some money!
However, you can drink alcohol in Qatar!
Licensed bars, hotels, and restaurants sell alcohol.
Expats can also apply for an alcohol permit to purchase alcohol and take it home- check the details out here.
The Low Down on Qatar
Language: Official language is Arabic, but many people speak English
Currency: Qatari Riyal
Type of Government: Monarchy
Crime: Low crime rate
Safety Concerns: It is generally safe to walk around in the day or night time and crime towards expats is rare.
Public Transportation: There is an extensive (and cheap) bus network in Doha with services to other cities. Taxis are available but some drivers avoid turning on the meter for foreigners in order to get a higher fare.
Gay Friendly: Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and also against the beliefs of Muslim people.
Alcohol: Get an alcohol permit to drink alcohol at home, or venture to some big hotels and restaurants who have permits.
What's it like Living in Qatar...
While there are many towns and cities in Qatar, around 60 percent of the country’s population live in Doha. This is also the most popular place for expats to live and where you’ll find the majority of International schools.
Doha is a dazzling modern city and you can certainly see why it is one of the richest cities in the world. Modern skyscrapers, fancy malls and expensive cars show you that there really is some money here. Under the glitz and glamour, the country abides by rules and habits that are found in most Middle Eastern countries and can seem quite restricting and take some getting used to for Western expats.
Couples must be married to live together and signs of PDA are not tolerated. Homosexuality is also not accepted and is illegal. It is important to understand the legalities of these situations as not following the rules can land you in jail, with a hefty fine and/or deported.
As Qatar is a Muslim country, both men and women should dress conservatively. Women should always have their shoulders, cleavage, midriff and knees covered when out in public, and both sexes will need to cover up when entering mosques.
You will not find pork in any restaurants since Muslims do not eat it, but it is possible to find in some stores to be able to cook it at home. Alcohol is not widely available but you can find it at bars and restaurants in hotels, some members clubs and you can also buy a permit to be able to drink at home.
What's to Love about Qatar
Sunshine on most days
Lots of shopping and entertainment
Low crime rates!
Easy to make friends in the large expat community.
Easy access to Europe and Asia for vacation time
What's to Dislike about Qatar?
Summers can be uncomfortably hot
Depending on your proximity to a mosque, the early morning prayer can wake you up
Lack of green areas
Governmental red tape means that take a long time to get done compared to Western countries