How to Teach English in Morocco: Requirements, Salary, and Jobs
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Morocco, the gate-way to Africa, is an enchanting country filled with dazzling cities, vast mountains and sweeping deserts. From the call to prayer of the mosques to the colorful, crowded street markets, Morocco opens its arms to all those who are after an adventure with a touch of spice!
In the past, Arabic and French have been the country’s main languages, but due to the growing economy, the English language is on the rise. This has led Morocco to emerge as one of the largest English teaching markets in North Africa, with English teachers in high demand.
Most teachers will need a bachelor’s degree, a TEFL certification and a native level of English proficiency to teach in Morocco. Expect to earn anywhere from $600 to $1,000 a month at a language school, with higher salaries at universities and international schools. While this is enough to live comfortably, private tutoring is an option to bring in some extra pocket money.
While there are an abundance of reputable teaching opportunities about, Morocco does have a slight reputation for bad employers and questionable contracts. It’s worth doing your research and being wary of any school that may fall into this category.
So, with all that said, if you’re after a new and exciting challenge, Morocco could be just the ticket. Read on to discover all the stuff you need to know to start your teaching adventure…
What are the requirements to teach in Morocco?
To teach English in Morocco you’ll need to meet the following teaching requirements:
- Bachelor’s degree
- TEFL certificate (or equivalent teaching qualification like a CELTA, TESOL)
- Native english proficiency
- Previous teaching experience is preferred, but viewed as an asset rather than a requirement
You will find some schools who hire ESL teachers without any certification, or the bare minimum. These are likely to be locally owned language schools who are cashing in on the demand. It’s worth treading carefully here as these schools can come with a reputation and a lack of professionalism. They may avoid signing contracts, or if they do they’re questionable, and they tend to have a lower (and more unreliable) rate of pay. It will also impact your ability to secure a working visa – we will look at this in more detail in the visa section.
Teaching positions in international schools and private elementary and high schools will require a teaching license (like a K-12 certification), a bachelor’s degree at a minimum, and may show a preference to those with previous experience. Universities tend to insist on a master’s degree.
What does teaching in Morocco pay?
The average monthly pay for teaching English in Morocco will be dependent on the school, your qualifications and your experience:
|Type of school||Average monthly pay (USD)|
|Language schools||$500 to $1,000|
|International schools||$1,000 to $2,100|
|Universities||$1,200 to $3,000 +|
|Private elementary and high schools||$1,200 to $2,000|
|Private tutoring||$5 to $20 an hour|
Cost of Living
While teachers don’t come here to make their millions, most end up with enough to live comfortably and dip into their back pocket for some adventures around Morocco or the surrounding European countries.
The average cost of living in Morocco will range from about $600 to $900 a month, depending on your lifestyle. Accommodation, unless included in your salary, will likely be your biggest expense. Most teachers find that sharing with their fellow co-workers or other expats tends to be the better, and cheaper, option.
What is the visa process for Morocco?
To be able to teach English legally in Morocco, you’ll need a working visa and any reputable school should help you secure one. If a school won’t help you acquire this working visa, you should view this as a red flag.
Let’s look at this in a bit more detail…
In order to be eligible for a work visa, you must have a bachelor’s degree and a proper teaching certification (like a TEFL or a CELTA), as these are the government regulations. The school or company hiring you has to be able to prove to the labor ministry that you are qualified to be able to obtain the visa for you.
If a school you’re applying to doesn’t insist on these qualifications, they’ll be unable to secure you the working visa. These types of schools are most likely going to be small private language schools, who are more lax on their teaching requirements. So when you’re job hunting, especially if you do have the qualifications, it’s worth applying to schools who insist on them to ensure you can obtain this visa.
It’s possible to get a teaching position in Morocco while on a tourist visa. However, this is not technically legal so will be done at your own risk. It also may lead to questionable (or non-existent) contracts and lower pay. As the tourist visa is only valid for 90 days, you’ll need to keep leaving the country every 90 days to renew it.
How to get the working visa
Most teachers find that they enter Morocco on a tourist visa. Then, working together with the school or company that’s hiring them, they submit the paperwork and any official documents needed for the work visa.
It’s worth noting that the visa process takes a while, and will likely take longer than 90 days. In this case, when the tourist visa expires most people ‘border run’ to neighboring Spain. You can then re-enter as a tourist to get another 90 days.
Once you have the visa, it’s valid for one year from the date of issue. After a year, you can choose to reapply for one that is valid for up to 10 years.
What’s it like teaching in Morocco?
There are 5 main options for teaching English in Morocco:
- Language schools
- International schools
- Private elementary and high schools
- Private tutoring
Teaching at a private language school in Morocco is the most popular choice for foregin teachers. As mentioned above, it’s worth keeping an eye out for the more reputable ones as this will increase your chances of getting a working visa, as well as a more solid teaching contract.
Most of the teaching jobs can be found across Morocco, but the majority of positions are concentrated in the major markets, like Marrakesh, Casablanca, Fez, Rabat and Tangier. Some of the more established private institutes out there are schools like British Council, American Language Centres in Morocco, Wall Street English and AMIDEAST.
Teaching opportunities at language schools can be found year round. While some positions can be filled in advance, most teachers tend to land a job on the ground in Morocco by interviewing in person. Schools may not publically post positions, so your best bet is to contact schools you’re interested in directly, ideally in person, and ask about job possibilities. You can email, but you may have to follow up a few times.
The working week consists of around 20 hours, running from Monday to Friday, typically from 9:00 in the morning until mid-afternoon. There may be hours available in the evenings and weekends too, or these can be kept free for private tutoring or travelling! Most teachers find that they can finish all their teaching responsibilities during the school hours so they don’t have to take any work home.
These schools are often open year-round, and Moroccan labor law stipulates that you will be entitled to 18 paid days of vacation a year, plus any government (or Islamic) holidays. Some schools, like the larger American ones, may not stay open all year so their teachers will receive summer, winter and spring vacations.
Teaching English in universities in Morocco can be a pretty rewarding experience. Staffing tends to have quite a high international teacher ratio, salary is good and teaching loads are relatively light – 3 to 4 classes of around 20 students. Most of the universities will require you to have a Master’s degree to be considered for a position.
Certified teachers, with a BA degree and teaching license, can get a pretty decent gig at international schools in Morocco. As well as a higher salary, they often get the all round good package deal – accommodation and flight allowance, good vacation (June – August), health insurance, professional development opportunities and subsidized tuition for their own children.
The majority of the international schools are found in the bigger cities, like Casablanca, Marrakesh, Fez, Rabat, Ifrane and Tangier. The school year runs from September to June, hence the long summer break. You’ll be working a 40 hour week, 5 days a week, and there are opportunities to teach children of all ages.
Private Elementary and High Schools
In most of the bigger cities and towns there are private elementary and high schools who hire certified teachers. Pay is decent (higher in the cities) and most positions come with free or subsidized accommodation as well as help with travel expenses and healthcare.
Hours are Monday to Friday, with class sizes between 5 – 30 students. You’ll find larger class sizes in the city schools.
If you want to supplement your income, private tutoring can be a good shout. There is definitely a demand for it, with tutors charging anywhere between $5 and $20 an hour, depending on where you are.
Be prepared for you students to be a little flaky – research shows that it’s best to get students to pay for lessons up front, and to make a habit of having the lesson at the same time and place.
Moroccan people are known for their warmth, modesty and high levels of hospitality. Don’t be surprised if you’re welcomed into the homes of locals for a spontaneous dinner of saffron-infused couscous alongside a traditional tagine.
While tolerant of other faiths, Islamic practices and beliefs are deeply rooted in Moroccan laws and customs, so you’ll need to be culturally sensitive and respectful of all religious and social traditions. Try to dress conservatively and behave discreetly – drinking alcohol in public, for example, is prohibited.
In terms of things like punctuality and efficiency, however, you can expect a slightly more laid-back work culture. Teachers do need to be careful with their communication style though, as direct confrontation with a Moroccan can be upsetting for them, leading to feelings of shame upon their families – it is often considered better practice to express criticism either in private, so outside class, or through a colleague or friend.
Women may find they experience some street harassment, and in some cases verbal abuse, especially if they’re alone. This harassment doesn’t tend to escalate too far, but women may feel safer in unfamiliar areas and at night when they’re out with someone.
Unless you get a job in an international school or private elementary/high school, it’s unlikely you’ll be offered attractive benefits or any sort of package. You should be given some vacation time, usually 18 days as a bare minimum, depending on your contract – make sure to check what your school offers before signing the contract.
Can you teach without a degree?
While it is possible to teach in Morocco without a degree, the more reputable schools will require you to have one.
Do you have to be a native speaker?
No, you don’t need to be a native speaker to teach English in Morocco, but most schools will expect you to have native english proficiency.
Do you need a TEFL?
Like a degree, you’ll find that the more reputable schools will insist on a TEFL certification. There will be some language schools who will hire you without one, however these schools do come with a bit of a reputation as being bad employers.
Your job chances will increase if you have completed a TEFL course before heading out to Morocco.