If you’re the type of person who enjoys endless, sandy beaches and hot, dry climates, teaching English in Oman might just be for you. A Gulf state unlike the others, Oman may have a climate akin to its neighbours, but its outlook is rather different.
Oman is an exceedingly wealthy country. However, there aren’t skyscrapers dominating the horizon. And while oil was and is a major commodity, the pace of life isn’t the same as Middle East hotspots like Qatar, Dubai or Abu Dhabi. What’s more, while Oman attracts tourists – especially to big cities like the capital, Muscat – the culture is more relaxed than neighbouring states. While the tourism industry is growing, Omani culture is more about letting you discover the land for yourself, rather than having major attractions signposted to visitors.
There are rules, though. Like many states within the region, social media and public speaking are heavily monitored, and the conservative culture means that public displays of affection aren’t tolerated lightly. It’s important to know the do’s and don’t’s of a country like Oman before visiting, as its relaxed and peaceful nature is based upon a strict moral code. Adapt, and you’ll thrive there while expanding your teaching abroad horizons.
So, what’s it like to teach English in Oman? Short answer: pretty amazing. Longer answer: while the requirements are strict for teaching jobs, the wages on offer in Oman are comparable with the best in the world. Oman attracts visitors from all over the world, international schools are exceedingly common (and well-funded), and Omani natives are keen English learners. Students, of all ages, are said to be extremely respectful and well-behaved, and English teaching jobs come with a lot of bonuses.
So let’s get into it: how does one go about teaching English in Oman?
Oman: An overview
Based on the southeastern coast of the Arabian peninsula, Oman borders Yemen and Saudi Arabia to the west, and the UAE to the north, with India across the Arabian Sea. Its location means that, as a trade route, Oman has been of economic importance to a whole host of countries.
A sultanate, Oman is the 120th most populous country in the world, with around 5.5 million residents. Since the beginning of the reign of Sultan Qaboos bin Said in 1970 (lasting until 2020), Oman has expanded rapidly even by Middle Eastern standards, ranking first in the UN’s list of developing countries over a 40-year period. Education was a fundamental part of that growth, with spending on the education sector seeing direct results. Literacy has steadily risen to over 95%, as of 2018.
Language is a vital part of that. With English being the lingua franca of business, and Oman having natural resources to trade, plenty of expats from English-speaking countries have made Oman home, while Omani society has placed immense importance on English proficiency. Yet, Oman has a proficiency grade of “very low”, according to the EF English Proficiency Index.
In short, while Oman has progressed in a number of ways since 1970, its English proficiency remains well short of where it could be. Little surprise, then, that English teachers are in high demand, with teaching jobs (including excellent benefits) not hard to find.
So, what do you need to find teaching jobs in Oman? Let’s explore:
A TEFL certificate is an absolute must for most teaching jobs, if not all. Typically, CVs without a TEFL certificate won’t be looked at in Oman, so it’s advised to secure a high-quality qualification in Teaching English as a Foreign Language well before you plan to head out. In short: TEFL certification is a must for English teacher jobs in Oman.
As a minimum, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree along with a TEFL certificate to land a job teaching English in Oman. What’s more, some institutions will also insist on a master’s, and while the bachelor’s can normally be in any subject, a master’s in teaching or an adjacent subject is required for certain jobs.
In fact, a teaching license is also a prerequisite for many English teaching jobs in Oman, so be careful to read job adverts thoroughly to see if that kind of certification is needed. Teaching licenses are particularly important if you’re wanting to find English teacher jobs in Oman, but you’re not a native English speaker.
If you have experience of teaching English abroad, it helps enormously. Given the value of teaching licenses, it stands to reason that most applicants for Omani teaching jobs will have a decent level of experience before heading over, but it might not be a pre-requisite. The need for experience tends to vary by role and employer.
Most teaching jobs will include a year’s experience of teaching abroad under the “desirable” column.
If you’re a degree holder, have TEFL certification and – crucially – an offer of employment, you’ll be accepted to work in Oman. For visa documentation, it’s important that your employer takes the lead, providing evidence of a contract offer and – in most cases – covering costs.
To receive a visa, you’ll need to pass a health test and provide a complete criminal background check. The whole process normally takes between 4 and 12 weeks, so leave plenty of time for Omani officials to process your visa application.
Salary and cost of living
The first thing to mention when it comes to Oman and teaching salaries is that they’re tax-free. Yep – not a single penny of tax is taken off your payslip at the end of each month. That means even the lowest teaching salaries in Oman will stretch further throughout the month, and should mean you’re able to save while working as an English teacher. This is common in the Middle East.
Typically, TEFL salaries for new starters on a full-time contract range between £1,280 and £2,480 ($1,600-$3,100) per month, and these salaries are – again – tax-free. This isn’t necessarily an unusually high wage for teaching jobs in the Middle East; oil-rich states are very keen to compensate ESL teachers highly in order to improve the level of English proficiency in the region.
That said, wages for teaching jobs can rise even higher, depending on the number of years of experience you have teaching in Oman, and your qualifications. If you have a master’s or PhD in teaching (or a teaching-related field) and have worked in Oman for a decent length of time, an international school might pay you an even higher TEFL salary.
Explore the potential salary opportunities available to you when you teach English abroad.
Cost of living
To get an idea of the cost of living, it’s important to look at Oman’s capital city, Muscat. As a city, it’s nearly 40% cheaper to live in than London, according to Numbeo. Rents, incredibly, are nearly 75% lower than in London – this is important to remember because TEFL jobs often include furnished accommodation as a bonus!
If you were looking to live in Muscat city centre, in a one-bedroom apartment, your typical monthly rent is likely to be around £510/$640, and if you’re looking to live in a more suburban or residential area, the average rent goes way down, to £360/$450. Even if you were living in a three-bedroom house near the city centre, rent is favourable: £992/$1,240 per month.
Utilities are also comparatively cheap. For electricity, maintenance and water, the typical expenditure is £79/$99 per month. However, internet access is more expensive, costing around £60/$80 for one month’s access.
You can use less internet by heading out and about, and trying some local cuisine. Thankfully, it’s very cheap to do just that, with a solo meal at an inexpensive restaurant only likely to cost around £4.15/$5.20. If you’re eating in a restaurant as a couple, in a mid-priced restaurant, expect to only pay around £31/$39 for a three-course meal.
As you might expect in a Muslim country, public enjoyment of alcohol is strictly prohibited. However, tourists staying in hotels, or businesses owned by non-Muslims are often offered alcoholic beverages. Be warned though, it’s pricey – a pint of beer costs about £8.30/$10!
Teaching Jobs in Oman
So what kind of jobs are available to English teachers in Oman? Luckily, the opportunities are widespread, with Omani education putting major emphasis on the teaching of English, and the improvement of proficiency across different age groups.
Public education can provide teaching opportunities from kindergarten age right up to secondary school, given the importance of English in Oman. Public schools in Oman are typically gender-specific past primary education, and most lessons are in Arabic, unlike in international schools, where different languages are used.
Public school jobs have excellent benefits, including 6-12 weeks of holiday per year, as well as visa assistance, (often) furnished accommodation and flight reimbursement, depending on the school.
Teach English in Muscat
Muscat has been known as an important trading port since the 1st Century AD, which goes some way towards describing what Oman’s capital city is like now. Muscat remains an important economic and cultural centre and the biggest city in Oman, home to the Muscat Securities Market and offices from major corporations from around the world.
It’s in Muscat where you can see the true diversity of Oman; along with English, languages including Swahili, Indian, Balochi, Sindhi, Urdu and Tamil can be heard. This is partly down to history, and partially down to the heightened level of tourism, which is anchored by attractions like Old Muscat, the new opera house, and the remarkable Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.
Muscat is home to the most private language schools, private international schools and universities in Oman, and as such, is an absolute treat for TEFL teachers. While the rest of Oman deserves attention, with beautiful lanscapes, sandy beaches and remarkably friendly locals, it’s Muscat where the majority of action is for ESL teachers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How much do English teachers earn in Oman?
TEFL salaries for new starters on a full-time contract range between £1,280 and £2,480 ($1,600-$3,100) per month.
Q. Is Oman a good place to teach?
With its remarkably friendly locals, an immense appetite for learning English, fantastic salaries and facilities, Oman is a great place to teach English as a foreign language.
Q. Can non-natives teach English in Oman?
Yes, non-native English speakers can work as English teachers in Oman, but it’s a little more difficult. You’ll need a high TOEFL/IELTS score, as well as meeting the other requirements, including a teaching license, at least a year’s experience and at least a bachelor’s degree.